Sealife

Sealife Centre Manchester

Ever since we visited the Legoland Discovery Centre, the kids have been begging to visit the Sealife Centre, which has recently opened in Barton Square at the Trafford Centre, Manchester.

We were very lucky to be invited along with Blogs Up North and lots of other lovely bloggers to have a sneaky peek of Sealife Centre Manchester before it even opened. The kids were extremely excited. They couldn’t wait to get in there. And to be honest, neither could I! Hubby (being a proper grown up) was slightly more reserved.

The tour began with an interactive turtle show which told us all about turtle babies. The children were encouraged to cheer them on to get into the sea, which they really enjoyed and were happy to join in!

The next room we went into was like a fish vortex. It’s actually called the shoal room. It was pretty cool watching them swim round and round, quite mesmerising in fact!

There were little tunnels in between all the tanks and areas where the kids could pop up in little bubbles as if they were inside the tank which quite amused them. I also had a go, and almost got stuck. That’s one thing I wouldn’t recommend!

Sealife Centre Collage

We didn’t get to spend as much time in the tunnel and the Shark Shipwreck as I would have liked, it got a little cramped as one group were trying to leave as we were in there so we thought it best to get out & come back later, unfortunately we didn’t get chance. I’d have happily stood watching the sharks swim overhead for much longer.

Lil Man spent a lot of his time here searching for pirates. He was convinced that there’d be some as they live on the sea and even more so when he spotted the skull in the shipwreck!

Sealife Centre Collage 2

The Manchester Sealife Centre is one of the first places in Europe where you can experience a Sea Trek! It looks like amazing fun (I’d love to experience it. If I weren’t such a wimp that is, I don’t do fish kisses!) You get to go in the tank where their resident turtle Ernie lives. We didn’t get to see much of Ernie as he was napping under a rock (not that I blame him!)

Before we went to the Sealife Centre we spent some time looking through all the Facebook page learning about all the different creatures we might see. There were quite a few that we missed, but as the Sealife Centre wasn’t quite ready to open at the time (we were just invited for a sneaky peek) we didn’t get time to see all the displays. We were most disappointed that we missed the turtles, the octopus, the seahorse nursery and the hammerhead sharks.

One of our favourite places was Stingray Bay. We did spend quite a lot of time there. You can see all around the tank and if you stand there for long enough the fish all crowd around. If stand with your hand on the glass, the stingrays swim past & touch the glass as they swim past. Kinda like fishy high fives! The kids were fascinated with this tank, Lil Man loved the peepholes & would’ve sat there watching for hours if we’d let him!!

Sealife Centre 2

One of the areas they would’ve liked to spend more time were the rock pools. These had crabs in at the time of our visit but I understand there will be more in there now. The kids had to have a second trip back to the rock pool before they were brave enough to have a stroke of a crab, but they did it. Lil Man was particularly proud of himself for picking up an empty shell!

The kids were particularly upset about not going on the soft play area, because it looked ace! Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite ready at the time of our visit, but will be open now. I think the kids would happily go back again just to try that out.

Big thanks to everyone at the Sealife Centre for having us and to Blogs Up North for organising our trip!

We received free entry to the Sealife Centre in order to provide a review.

Lego, Baddies & Ice Cream

Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester

Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester


On Sunday we went to play at the Legoland Discovery Centre Manchester in Barton Square at the Trafford Centre for a Blogsupnorth meetup.

Lil Man has been begging to go to the Legoland Discovery Centre for ages so even though I was slightly nervous about taking a very spirited 3 year old and boisterous 4 year old on my own, we couldn’t not go.

He was fit to burst when I told him we were going and once Lil Miss has got over her strop about not being allowed to go to Hello Kitty Land instead, she was pretty excited about the prospect of a day out somewhere fun!

I was very impressed at how organised they were when we arrived, which incidentally was on time after a very blowy drive on the motorway. That makes quite a change. Us being on time I mean, not the blowy motorway!!

IMG_7579 The kids looked in awe as we entered the lego factory and it was explained to them how lego was made. I was expecting a little more from the lego factory tour to be honest, it seemed quite a big build up for something that barely lasted a couple of minutes and would’ve been more fun for the parents if the professor had been a bit more of an eccentric actor, well maybe more fun for me anyway!

However, all the children seemed to enjoy jumping up and down to give the machines power and mine were chuffed to bits to get the machines working and then their own little piece of lego to take home.

Afterwards we headed straight for the Kingdom Quest ride where I was pleased to see that the three of us could go on together. The kids were beside themselves when they realised there were guns to shoot baddies with! Lil Miss wasn’t too keen on the trolls and announced at the end she wouldn’t be going on again. She soon changed her mind when she realised she couldn’t go on the other rides. One because she wasn’t old enough, and the other because it would’ve required another adult with us, which was a bit disappointing. They weren’t too happy about it either! However, she really enjoyed herself the second time around on Kingdom Quest and would have happily gone back to shoot the skeletons, spiders and trolls again straight after!
IMG_7453The kids absolutely loved the soft play area. I actually think they’d have been happy spending most of the day in there. I was a bit disappointed we missed the earthquake tables. And there was no time to look at miniland either, they weren’t interested one bit and unfortunately both wanted to do different stuff at the same time, which was quite a challenge. Fortunately there was a rather big group of bloggers with us and eventually we found Becky from Lakes Single Mum and her two fab children, particularly Miss E who kept my two thoroughly entertained!

IMG_7603They did love looking at all the large lego displays such as the stormtrooper and the car in the shop (which I couldn’t get Lil Miss out of!) And having seen Harry Potter and Hagrid characters at a children’s festival just the previous weekend they were very excited when they spotted lego versions!

The one bit we all really enjoyed was the 4D film. I almost didn’t take them in as I wasn’t sure they’d sit through it. They also weren’t overly keen as there was too many other attractions catching their eyes, but I’m glad we did. They sat through the whole film in their glasses trying to grab at everything they saw. The snow & rain effects were great. I didn’t realise at the time but there were also wind effects. I actually thought it was just the air con!! Duh!

We really had a great day out, although by the end of it I was more worn out than the kids. Unfortunately, I had to drive home so couldn’t take advantage of a nap in the car like they did!

We’ll be returning at some point, they really enjoyed it and there was lots they didn’t get chance to do. Lil Man has already asked when he can go back and both have enjoyed telling everyone who’s asked them about playing with the lego, and rather enthusiastically, about shooting all the baddies!!

Next time I’ll make sure I don’t go solo and we’ll also be going when it’s a bit quieter. To be fair it was the last weekend of the Easter School holidays but it was pretty hot and manic in there & there are areas where there wasn’t a huge amount of space. The kids being much smaller and far more nimble than me, could zip through little gaps which made it hard for me to get past people to keep up with them. There was a few times I lost sight of them which I didn’t like. I would have liked to see a security door or gate on the exit that can only be opened by adults. Mine are more than capable of opening the heavy fire doors and the exit to the shop had no door at all. Lil Man was so desperate to get out to the shop that I did worry that rush off without me!

We were also invited to Cawaladers afterwards, which is quite handily, right next door. The kids were given an ice cream each and I had a coffee. I couldn’t wait to go in there. We spent many an afternoon in Cadwalders in Porthmadog during our childhood holidays so it was a bit of a blast from the past. The ice cream was just as good as I remember and the coffee was a very welcome (desperately needed) caffeine boost after 3 hours of chasing round the LDC!!!

IMG_7498
We received free tickets to the Legoland Discovery Centre to attend the Blogs Up North meetup and also free ice creams and coffee at Cadwaladers.

Little Fun Fest

For WEEKS the kids have been literally bursting with excitement because we’d been invited to the Little Fun Fest at Redhouse Farm in Altrincham.

Ok, that was me.

They were really looking forward to it though, more so with only a few days to go.

Little Fun Fest

All week they’ve been counting down the days and on Friday morning Lil Man got up and shouted ‘one more sleep til SATURDAY!’ They were looking forward to seeing Alex Winters (from cBeebies) and Mr Bloom and most of all the inflatable slide!!

We were all set to go early & get breakfast somewhere else until breakfast at Red House Farm was highly recommended, so we headed straight for the tearooms with our rumbling bellies the second we got there.

I only had the mini breakfast that we also ordered for the kids. Stuffed is not the word. The giant sausage was a mini meal in itself. My only disappointment was that I was too full to finish off what the kids couldn’t eat!

With very full tummies we headed out to have a look around. Lil Man was a bit overwhelmed with everything there was to do and struggled to choose at first, from fairground rides to the inflatable slide and bouncy castle to the petting farm, the barrel train ride and of course all the entertainment in the barn and the big top. All of which were included in the ticket price!

IMG_7064

We needn’t have been worried about the weather one little bit as the sun shone all day, specially ordered by Jem for the Little Fun Fest of course! But even if it hadn’t there was plenty to do inside where we could have kept dry. Parking was really close to the event too, which was excellent as it meant we were able to leave the picnic in the car, plus changes of clothes for the kids and didn’t have to lug loads of stuff about all day.

We didn’t see much of Hagrid after Lil Miss ran away from him because he was too big, but Harry Potter was hilarious. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when he pointed at her umbrella and told my mum the end had fallen off her broomstick!!!

Waiting a while for the kids to have their faces painted meant we missed some of the entertainment, but it was well worth it. We did get to see some of the Puppet show in the barn while we were waiting and although That Face Painter was the only one there, she did a sterling job. She was pretty rapid & it seemed that every child got exactly what they wanted. Lil Man bless him, helpfully stood there holding Lil Misses hair out of her face while she had it painted. The kids were chuffed to bits and Lil Man even asked to go to sleep in his face paint!

I loved the fact that the Little Fun Fest was so close to home, it meant that loads of people we knew were there too. We got to spend the day, well most of it, with my mum, sister, brother-in-law and niece and some of my closest friends and their little ones. We also got to see Mommatwo and her brood, Fi from Childcare Is Fun and her tribe too, and we got to meet some other Twitter friends too like Claire and Rural Mummy!

Starkidz provided some of the entertainment including characters such as Spiderman, Spongebob & the Easter Bunny. Lil Man was made up to have his picture taken with Spiderman, he even smiled nicely without pulling a face, which is a miracle in itself!! (There’s another story in there, which I’ll tell you another time) And having recently had Hello Kitty visit our house where Lil Man hid under the dining table for the entire duration of her visit, I was amazed when he volunteered to hold Lil Misses hand so she’d have her picture taken with her!

Meeting Spiderman totally made his day and given that he’s usually very quick to accuse characters of being ‘people dressed up’ I was surprised when he whispered to me that it ‘really was the real Spiderman’!

The mini mosh pit in the big top was fab, we were able to let the kids just go and dance and we got to sit on the sidelines (hay bales) and watch. It meant that they were all safe and contained, and Lil Miss didn’t need to attempt scaling barriers to get to Alex like last time!!

One of the highlights of the day was the dance off between Alex and Fi.

Fi challenged Alex to a dance off as a joke on Twitter and didn’t realise that it was going to form part of her day, least not in the big top anyway, until she arrived at the Little Fun Fest to find it on the schedule!

IMG_7134

I have to admit I was a bit cowardly and hid behind Lil Miss and my niece when he asked for another mum volunteer. He’d already thrown buns at me, made me dance to get a lollipop for Lil Miss and picked me out of the crowd when I started cheering for Fi! That man busts some serious moves (more so the man in the hat!!), no way was I taking him on! I did get a little video…but the best one was filmed by Claire and now she’s kindly popped it on Youtube, you can have a peek below 🙂

We also got some special treatment and were allowed to go meet Mr Bloom and spend some time with Alex in the VIP area, which me and the hubs thought was great. The kids were fairly indifferent, having met them both before. They were more interested in the juice and the lollipops! However, Mommatwo’s Jellybean kept us entertained by rolling around on the floor leaving a sand trail & generally being very sweet to all the other little ones. Alex also helpfully fed the kids a ruck of sugar ensuring we were able to keep them awake the entire way home!

I can’t tell you what an amazing day we had. It was an absolute blast! The Little Fun Fest did exactly what it said on the tin, there was so much to do we couldn’t get round it all, they didn’t even go on all of the free fairground rides, we could’ve quite easily gone both days and been completely entertained the entire time.

I can’t wait for the next one!

The organisers did an amazing job. It was so well planned and there were loads of little things that put the icing on the cake, such as the Easter Bunny saying goodbye to all the little ones and giving them a chocolate egg as they left.

If you missed this one, GO SUBSCRIBE NOW to the Little Fun Fest website and make sure you’re the first to know about any other Little Fun Fest events. If you’re there listen out for me. I’ll be there. WITH BELLS ON!!!