10 things to do at Sherwood Pines Forest

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Whilst staying at Forest Holidays in Nottinghamshire, we were lucky to have had Sherwood Pines on our doorstep. Sherwood Pines is a huge forest park run by the Forestry Commission, and it has something for everyone. We spent many hours exploring the forest, as it was only a 5 minute walk away from our lodge. If you travel by car there is a large car park charged at £1.00 for an hour or £4.00 for the day. Here are 10 things you can do at Sherwood Pines.

1 – Hire bikes

Husband and the 2 children hired bikes from the excellent cycle centre located on site. The price for 3 bikes for an hour was £25.00 which included helmets for the children. You can hire them for longer, but with daughter in tow an hour was more than enough. There are plenty of bike trails around the forest ranging from easy to hard.

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2 – Do the Superworm Trail

This a lovely 1 mile walk through the forest ideal for young children. There are signs along the way which have various Superworm activities on. You can purchase an activity pack from the café which includes a book and a trail leaflet. Not sure of the cost as we just wandered around the trail.

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3 – Go Ape

For the more adventurous there is Go Ape located on site. As we live 15 minutes away from our local Go Ape site, the children decided they wanted to hire bikes instead. The course looked great and maybe one day I will conquer my fear and have a go.

4 – Hire a Segway

What better way to explore the forest than on a Segway. Son is desperate to try this activity but you need to be at least 7 stone.

5 – Visit the café

I was really impressed with the café, and we decided to have lunch there one day. There is a good choice of food at reasonable prices. I opted for a sausage cob which was £2.95 and was delicious. Or you can grab a takeaway coffee and sit outside and watch the world go by. If you are staying at Forest Holidays you get a 10% discount in the café.

6 – Build a den

Is there a better place to build a den than in the forest.

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7 – Enjoy an evening stroll

Our plan yesterday was to follow the pink trail which is a 3 mile walk through the forest. However we did get a little lost (tip of the day, bring the walking trail map with you) but thankfully we didn’t end up sleeping in a den. The forest was lovely and quiet, with the occasional cyclist passing us. And the highlight of the evening was seeing this little fella.

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8 – Visit the play areas

I was really impressed with the play areas at Sherwood Pines. I even managed to get the tween on one of the areas which was for older kids. It was nice to see lots of benches near to the play areas so us parents can have a well deserved sit down.

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9 – Grab a picnic

As well as lots of benches dotted around the forest, there is also a large grassy area perfect for those summer picnics.

10 – Enjoy the outdoors

We are probably guilty as a family for not getting out more and enjoying the great outdoors. All of our visits to Sherwood Pines were filled with fun and laughter, and it was great to see the kids having fun together.

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Sherwood Pines is a wonderful place to visit, and if you are lucky enough to be staying at Forest Holidays you will literally have the forest on your doorstep.

Monday escapes

Coombe Mill

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Forest Live Concerts – Tom Odell

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On Saturday evening I had a much needed night out with the husband, as we headed to our local forest for a night of live music. Forest Live concerts are organised by The Forestry Commission in 7 locations around the UK. We are lucky to live only 15 minutes away from our nearest location, Delamere Forest. After years of ‘wishing we were there’ when the pictures emerged on friends social media, I knew I had to book tickets when the line up was announced.

The acts for this year were

Friday – Paloma Faith

Saturday – Tom Odell

Sunday – James

Enjoying the sunshine at Forest Live

Enjoying the sunshine at Forest Live

We opted for Tom Odell as we both like him. Thankfully the weather was looking great for the Saturday evening. We headed to the concert with our classy picnic (subway, chipsticks and some chicken bites), a plastic bottle filled with Prosecco and our trusty camping chairs. Hubby was driving as he was doing a run the following day. The car park was very well organised and it was a short walk to where the concert was. Security do check your bags as you are going in, so make sure you read the conditions on your ticket. No glass, cans, spirits (sob no gin), cutlery and you are allowed 2 litres of alcohol or soft drink per person. I love the idea of taking your own food and drink in with you.

The stage is set at the bottom of a large grassy slope. This means that wherever you choose to sit, you will get a great view of the stage. There is also the option of standing infront of the stage, but no chairs are allowed. As there was no way I was going to stand for a whole concert (far too old for all that) we set up camp at the back of the slope, and delved into our picnic !

Classy picnic !!!!

Classy picnic !!!!

There were 2 support acts before Tom came on at 9pm. It was such a fantastic experience being in the forest listening to live music. There was a chilled out atmosphere throughout the whole evening, and a wide mix of ages, the youngest being around 12 months. After having a tough few days, I was happy to relax in my camping chair sipping my Prosecco, listening to the amazing voice of Tom Odell.

Tom Odell at Forest Live

Tom Odell at Forest Live

The whole night was very well organised, and I have to say a huge thank you to the security staff who reunited a lost purse with my step sister (who had been to see Paloma Faith the previous evening). Thank you to whoever handed it in complete with ALL the money still in it.

Would we go again ? Most definitely, and I can’t wait to see next years line up. Praying The Vamps won’t be on as that means I will have to take the 9 year old ! And I will definitely increase the classiness on the picnic. I am thinking cocktail sausages and cheese and pineapple on sticks !

Cheers

Cheers

I am linking up with the lovely ladies at www.goingonanadventure.co.uk and www.myfamilyfever.co.uk for Tried and Tested

Tried and Tested

Our extended weekend

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This weekend has been an extended one as hubby and I had a night away on Thursday night. The minute I finished work we were on the M56 heading to the Trafford Centre. I had booked my favourite Premier inn at the bargain cost of £39.00, and we were quickly checked in and the bags were in the room. We had planned to go to the local David Lloyd for a swim, but I received an email inviting us to a fantastic event at the Trafford Centre. Well it would have been rude to turn it down as we were already there. I will do a separate post about the event and all I will say is WOW. We had an amazing and slightly surreal night. After the event we wandered back to the hotel and did what I love…. people watching at the hotel bar. Around 1.00am, after a mixture of too much alcohol we literally fell into those heavenly Premier Inn beds.

The next morning, after a hearty full English breakfast and a hot shower, we were ready to hit The Ideal Home Show which was at Event City. We headed straight for the main stage where I knew Martin Lewis  was on at 12pm. He is definitely a hero of mine, as since I discovered his website more than 7 years ago, we have literally saved thousands of pounds. His talk was informative and afterwards you got to meet him, and yes I was first in the queue.

Afterwards we wandered around the various stands, gazing longingly at the hot tubs and the gorgeous garden furniture. There were Smeg fridges to admire and beautiful fireplaces. There was of course plenty of stalls from homeware, beauty and lots of delicious smelling food. As we were just about to leave we bumped into the ‘even more handsome in real life’ George Clark. After a picture with him, we headed over to the Trafford Centre for a look round the shops before heading home to see the kids.

The rest of the weekend was spent catching up on washing, gardening jobs and the food shop. I love having the chance to go away for the night with hubby. We are really lucky to have my Mum as our main babysitter, and we try to get away for a few nights during the year. You definitely need it in the busy world of parenting.

The Crocky Trail Chester

The Crocky Trail in Chester

The Crocky Trail in Chester

On Sunday we made our very first visit to The Crocky Trail, which is in Waverton in Chester. Over the years I have heard many good things about it, and we were really looking forward to trying it out for ourselves. As I knew there would be mud involved, I packed a change of clothes and some towels, along with a bin bag to put the muddy clothes in.

We parked easily and the children couldn’t wait to get out of the car and head to the activities on offer. Now with having a nearly teen boy and a 9 year old girl, I really struggle to find days out that they both enjoy. But this certainly ticked all the boxes. They both wanted to try out the slides first, and this kept them both amused for about 30 minutes. In fact they spent a good few hours on all of the activities and challenges before we even got to the trail. The Titanic is hilarious. Its basically a slide which goes higher and higher until you admit defeat and slide to the bottom. Hubby was rubbish at this and blamed his ‘slippy’ jeans !

Which slide to go on first ?

Which slide to go on first ?

Braving the slide for the first time

Braving the slide for the first time

On the Titantic. Hubby and his slippy jeans !

On the Titantic. Hubby and his slippy jeans !

There is also The Dungeon which hubby and the tween went in. This is not for the faint hearted, and hubby said it was better than a scary attraction he had paid to go in at Alton Towers. Us girls waited outside and we could hear lots of screams. Daughter had a go at the skipping challenge, as well as the seesaw and various spinning rides.

Anyone up for time travel ?

Anyone up for time travel ?

Concentrating on the balance beam

Concentrating on the balance beam

It was then time to head to the trail which is around a mile long. You walk along by a stream and there are lots of activities that you can have a go at, such as rope swings, bridges and logs. Yes there was mud involved but kids are kids and it was great to see them having so much fun. At the side of the stream there is also a path which avoids the obstacles, and would be great if you have a buggy.

Having fun on the trail

Having fun on the trail

Swinging over streams

Swinging over streams

The whole Crocky Trail pushes your boundaries, and its a great place to have fun as a family. I heard so much laughter from other like minded people, and equally muddy kids. It has a rustic and simplistic charm about the place. Its definitely all about getting into the outdoors and enjoying back to basics fun. What’s not to love about that in this media world we live in.

Failing on the hamster wheel

Failing on the hamster wheel

Among other things that impressed me were the amount of picnic benches, the friendly staff and the place was clean and tidy. If you don’t bring a picnic though there is Crocky Bites for a well deserved cold/hot drink and snack.

I am a Blogging Ambassador for The Crocky Trail and I have been supplied with an annual pass for a year. Annual passes are now available on their website and are great value. The Williams family can’t wait to return. Thank you Crocky Trail for the laughter, mud and memories.

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My first blogging conference – Blog on MOSI

The fantastic Blog on cake

The fantastic Blog on cake

Yesterday I attended my very first blogging conference at the Museum of Science and Industry (or MOSI for short) in Manchester city centre. The conference is organised by the very talented Laura Seaton who blogs over at www.tiredmummyoftwo.co.uk . In the run up to the conference I spent my days on the Blog on MOSI Facebook page. I learnt that an empty wheeled suitcase was a must (for the amazing goody bags), everyone would be super friendly, and most importantly there would be Prosecco and cake.

Cookies for breakfast

Cookies for breakfast

I took the train into Manchester with my empty suitcase for company. I was a mixture of nerves and excitement (or nervexcited as it is now known), knowing deep down I would have a great day. I was signed in by the lovely Nikki (@stressymummy) who I have chatted to on twitter since I started blogging. I then met the equally lovely Lorraine @nortonmum who did a fantastic job of looking after me for the day (and her husband for giving me a lift home). There was a chance to grab a coffee, cookie or chocolate pastry before heading for the opening talk. It was then onto the various sessions throughout the day which included photography, vlogging, beginners blogging and travel.

Meeting the PR brands and MORE cakes

Meeting the PR brands and MORE cakes

Browsing some of the amazing Villas at the James Villa stand

Browsing some of the amazing Villas at the James Villa stand

In between the sessions there was plenty of opportunities to speak to the many brands and PR companies that were there. And the chance to meet some of the wonderful ladies who have been my ‘virtual blogging friends’ since I began 18 months ago. I also met new friends who I had not come across yet in the blogging world.  You see Laura was so right when she did her closing speech. We should be proud of the community we belong to, and after today I could not be prouder.

Cheers from Blog on MOSI

Cheers from Blog on MOSI

I have come away inspired to improve my photography, work harder at my blog and to not be scared to approach companies. The one thing I will not be doing though is vlogging. Definitely not one for me !

A huge thank you to Laura who works SO hard in putting the conference together, and not forgetting the AMAZING goody bags. On the day I could see how hard she works, ensuring everything is running on time, and making sure no one is left out. She is simply Superwoman. Thank you everyone at Blog on MOSI for making me feel so welcome. I WILL be back next year.

A definite for a blogging conference. A little gadget to keep those phones charged

A definite for a blogging conference. A little gadget to keep those phones charged

The Pirates Show in Majorca

Pirates Show in Majorca

Pirates Show in Majorca

On our recent holiday to Majorca, we spent the evening at The Pirates Show in Magaluf. The show is now in its 29th year which is just incredible, and promises an evening of acrobatics, comedy and dance. My Dad who has lived in Majorca for over 20 years, raved about how amazing the show was, so I knew we were in for a good evening.

We got to the indoor theatre before the doors opened, and there were pirates outside interacting with guests. There was the chance to have your photo taken with a large bright parrot, and on the way into the indoor theatre we were handed a small bottle of cava each. Kids got some treasure in the shape of chocolate coins. We were then shown to our table by one of the stars of the show. I thought this was a great idea, and certainly reinforced what a great interactive show Pirates is.

We were seated on the Quarter Deck, and had a great view of the stage. To be honest I think every table would have a good view. We had a jug of Sangria on the table, together with a large bottle of coke. We were quickly served our meal which was chicken and chips, coleslaw, bread roll and a sausage. For afters there was ice cream. There were plenty of staff serving extra drinks to your table, and we ordered some more bottles of small cava which were 5 euros. Whilst we were waiting for everyone to finish their meal, there was plenty of interaction between the children and pirates. This certainly helps with the ‘when is it going to start mum’

Food at The Pirates Show

Food at The Pirates Show

Hubby helping himself to the Jug of Sangria on the table

Hubby helping himself to the Jug of Sangria on the table

Soon it was time for the show to start. I won’t say too much about it as I really don’t want to spoil it for you. But WOW what a truly amazing show. We were all mesmerized from start to finish, even the tween (and we all know how hard it is to get a nearly 13 year old mesmerized). The acrobatics were dynamic, the host of the show hilarious and the music fantastic. Afterwards there is the chance to meet the stars of the show and have pictures with them.

Meeting the stars of the show

Meeting the stars of the show

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Katie in a pirate headlock

 

Trying to make the tween smile !

Trying to make the tween smile !

My dad got us complimentary tickets, and I have to say a huge thank you to The Pirates Show for providing them. It truly is an amazing show, and I would not hesitate to return when we are next in Majorca. Thank you to all the acrobats, pirates, staff and all the stars of the show for providing us with a fun filled evening on our holiday.

The lovely Captain Scarlett. This was husbands favourite. I can't think why !

The lovely Captain Scarlett. This was husbands favourite. I can’t think why !

Gadget Show Live 2015

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The husband and tween are huge fans of the Gadget Show, and when they were given the chance to visit the Gadget Show Live they were beyond excited. The Gadget Show Live is held every year at the NEC in Birmingham, and promises to bring the television show to life. They caught the train to Birmingham International which is located at the NEC with the show just a short walk away.

What follows is what they saw, felt and experienced in their own words.

Upon entry we could not help but notice the vastness of the arena and the multitude of stalls and exhibitions. There were people of all ages there wandering around and taking in what was on show. We were instantly drawn to the bike race and decided that we were up for the challenge. After a few minutes of queuing we each were allocated an exercise bike that was linked to a large screen. All ten competing bikes were graphically represented, soon the race was on. Three…… two……. one ……..go and we were off. The faster we rode the bike the faster our avatar travelled within the race. Two laps later and after much panting the race was over. We did not win and we will not be entering the Tour de France in the near future based on our performance. (basically the husband was last) !

Interactive bikes at The Gadget Show Live

Interactive bikes at The Gadget Show Live

It was soon time for the live show with all the presenters  from the Gadget Show. We got there in plenty of time and were allocated good seats at the front of the stage. We were entertained by a flying drone that was also filming the crowd. A large screen above the stage also showed random audience members, our appearance was greeted by vigorous waving. Soon the lights went out and the show began.

Waiting for The Theatre Show to start

Waiting for The Theatre Show to start

And what a good show it was too with great audience participation and lots of chances to win prizes (sadly not by us). One person walked away with over £4000 worth of tech prizes, we were not jealous at all (honest…well just a little bit). The highlight for us was the appearance of a replica Back to the Future time machine car.

Replica Back to the Future car

Replica Back to the Future car

Next was a hands on history lesson of electronic gaming at the Centre of Computing History stand with consoles ranging from “Ping pong” from the 70’s to Amiga computers from the 90’s. Each was set up with a classic game like Crash Bandicoot or Lemmings. For one of us it was a trip down memory lane, for the other it was a glimpse into the dark ages ! This area was very popular with all ages, and seems to confirm the increasing interest of retro gaming.

Hands up who remembers Ping Pong ?

Hands up who remembers Ping Pong ?

Playing Crash Bandicoot

Playing Crash Bandicoot

A great hands on experience was the Robo Challenge arena where members of the public could build  robots, and let them battle it out in a purpose built arena. We managed to get booked onto a slot for the last session of the day. This was good fun and I would recommend booking on to this as soon as you can upon arrival. With screw drivers in hand we set about putting together our instrument of destruction, and soon we were ready for combat. My son volunteered to be the controller for the challenge and performed well, and soon dispatched the other robots like a professional.

Building the robot

Building the robot

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While there my son became a DJ, played the musical vegetables, ducked from a drone or two and battled 3-D zombies. We both had a great time and will be back again next year.

Anyone for musical vegetables ?

Anyone for musical vegetables ?

DJ Morgan

DJ Morgan

Time for a rest and some computer gaming !

Time for a rest and some computer gaming !

Huge Rubiks Cube

Huge Rubiks Cube

And here are some words from the tween. Remember he is 12 and a master of very few words.

I really enjoyed the experience of going to The Gadget Show Live with my Dad. My best bits were designing our robot, and also playing on all of the retro games. I just wish my Dad still had his PlayStation 1 so I could play on it. I was very jealous of the guy who won the £4000 worth of tech. How awesome would that be.

Currys have also teamed up with The Gadget Show and have some great videos and tech on their website below

http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/gifts-the-gadget-show-love-1443-commercial.html

Thank you to Currys and Joe Blogs Blogger Network for supplying 2 tickets for The Gadget Show Live and the Theatre Show. As you can see my husband and son had a fantastic time.

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