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A trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park

A trip to Yorkshire Wildlife Park

Disclaimer: Please note this might be my worst post to date. I started writing it on 5th September (yes, I know) and it’s now 11th October and I’ve decided enough is enough and just to hit publish. Apparently when you move house it’s impossible to push out blog posts. Here goes…

As part of Great Granny’s birthday present we’d said we would take her on a day out to Yorkshire Wildlife Park (with PG in tow, of course!). She loves giraffes and they’ve got four, it’s only about 50 minutes away from where we live so happy days!

We’d had a date in the diary for a while given everyone seems so damn busy these days (mainly us) and finding free Saturday’s is a bit of a nightmare. Saturday came (that’s a few Saturday’s ago now!) and we’d checked the weather on the Friday and decided we needed to get there for opening to miss most of the typical British summery weather (ie rain).

The park, located just south of Doncaster off the M18, opens at 10am in Summer. Google reckons it takes 2.5 to 3 hours to get round and with rain forecast from about 12 noon, we either needed to walk quickly (difficult with an 8 month old, and 88 year old with a knackered knee), or take our coats – which we did. We arrived just after 10 and were pretty surprised at the size of the place. The road to the free large car park seems to last forever which gives a clue as to how big the park itself is once inside.

Yorkshire Wildlife Park isn’t the cheapest day out (I’m not saying it’s too expensive either, just for the record), so you need to make sure you’re going to get plenty out of it. You can save a few pounds booking your tickets online, but you need to prebook them in advance as you can’t book them on the day you want to visit online. As I write this, adults are £16.50 on the gate or £15.50 online, kids aged 3-15 are £13.50 on the gate or £12.50 online, and kids under 2 are free (hurray!) .There’s also various prices for disabled visitors, and senior citizens/students etc. Great Granny took great delight in telling the girl at the gate how old she was, and that she could still trot round at 88. If you’re likely to make a habit of visiting the park, it might make more sense to get an annual pass, so be sure to check this option out.

I drew the “carry the baby in the carrier” straw so after the hassle attaching her to me so she couldn’t fall out (nearly resulting in me being chopped in half it was that tight), off we trotted (the Park Map was semi useful here. I ended up in charge but couldn’t really be arsed navigating so we just walked round). First impressions are always important and me and Wifey both commented on how well kept the park is. It’s very tidy, no litter, and obviously well cared for by their dedicated team.

First stop, Baboons! PG’s little face lit up instantly. She loves animals, even ones with big red butts. Even the two that started bonking each other right in front of us (yeh thanks Boris Baboon, just what we wanted to see). Great Granny, avert your eyes!

Through a short pleasant woodland trail we ended up at Lemur Woods. This is a cool place, a caged enclosure you can walk around in amongst the lemurs, fascinating creatures of incredible agility and speed, jumping high in the tree tops. I was glad there were a couple on the ground to look at as PG’s eyes aren’t quite up to looking 10 feet up.

Lemur Woods
Lemur Woods

At this point, typically it started to rain. Great, I thought. We’re going to get p*ss wet through and can’t walk too fast with hop a long an 88 year old. It turned out not to be that bad, although some of the animals weren’t very forthcoming in saying hello so we’ll definitely be back on a nicer day. I won’t bore you with the details of every animal we saw, I’m sure most of you reading have seen a tiger, giraffe, ostrich, zebra etc before. All in all we spent just under three hours at the park and did enjoy ourselves despite the weather. We’d taken a picnic and there’s a massive open tee-pee style tent thing that’s got picnic benches in which is great if you don’t want to have to buy food while you’re out.

Terry the Tiger
Terry(?) the Tiger! Rawr!

Yorkshire Wildlife Park is definitely worth a visit and is a decent day out.

To end, no grannies were harmed during this day out.

Ttfn

Pete

 

 

Wild Berry Kids Photography Photo Shoot

Wild Berry Kids Photography Photo Shoot

Those of you that follow Papa Pete on Facebook may have seen that we managed to bag a free photo shoot with Wild Berry Kids Photography. It’s a common thing that people who win cool stuff say “oh we never win anything” but it’s true – we don’t really win stuff (perhaps that’s because we don’t enter competitions but hey ho, got to be in it to win it right?). All we’d done was add our details to a mailing list at a fayre where Wild Berry had a stall and hey presto, winner winner chicken dinner.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with the people at Wild Berry we finally found a date to suit both sides and got the shoot booked in. We knew that it would only be about an hour (in fact the actual shoot turned out to be about half that time, as we all know kids have the attention span of, well, a small child).

We’d had an introduction from the fine-art photographer, Stephanie (who is absolutely lovely) over the phone so we knew who we were going to meet. She has a well established business around London and moved to Yorkshire a year or so ago and has been getting her name out there ever since. With PG being 8 months old, it’s a while since we’ve had a proper photographer take any snaps (apparently I can’t call professional photos snaps, I hope it’s not too derogatory, just some blogger/Yorkshireman slang!!) so this was a perfect opportunity to stock up the home photo gallery, and as we are moving house we’ll be in need of some extra prints to hang on the walls!

On a sunny Sunday morning we drove to the studio, not really knowing what to expect. We’d had some info on what to dress PG in, nothing with patterns – just simple clothes – so we picked out a white dress with limited detailing. It worked perfectly. Stephanie is properly brilliant and PG was so comfortable with her she even gave her some cuddles in between “being papped.”

IMG_3977

She’s a bit of a diva too, and was loving being in front of the lens! There were a few different sets so the background on the photos wouldn’t be all the same, all of which were really nice. Phoebe even managed not to fall off the massive bean bag despite her new rolling around skills that she’s constantly “practising.” Stephanie works quickly and knows how to keep kids attention. Obviously I’ve only got our own experience to go off, but judging by some of the other work she’s done, she knows her sh!t (sorry Mum). Me and Wifey could have left them to it without any problem – Phoebe G probably wouldn’t have realised if we walked off for a bit.

After around half an hour the little miss hit her limit and started to whinge (which made for some interesting photos (or mean, depending how you look at it)), which brought the shoot to an end. We got ready and headed home, knowing we’d be back in a week or so to look at the pictures.

Fast forward exactly a week and we went to meet with Stephanie again to look at the photos and endure the painstaking task of which ones we wanted. In half an hour we ended up with 44 truly stunning photographs.  Here’s a sneak preview, and we’ve carefully selected which prints we want, ready for the new house!!

Wild Berry Kids Photography
Wild Berry Kids Photography

I’m obviously biased, but PG is a stunner, and very photogenic too! Anyone need a baby model?!

Steph gets a 10 out of 5 (yes, really) and we’re already talking about booking a cake smash shoot for Phoebe’s 1st birthday.

Thanks Steph. Can’t wait to get our prints up which will really complement the huge newborn print we’ve already got on the wall from our newborn shoot. To contact Wild Berry you can check out there website at www.wildberrykidsphotography.com or on Facebook

Ttfn

Pete

Disclaimer: Remarks made for blog humour. Steph is a professional and definitely not the paparazzi, nor is Phoebe G a celebrity, although the way she’s going she will be soon!

MAM Baby’s First Bowl & Plate Review

MAM Baby’s First Bowl & Plate Review

The lovely people at MAM sent us a MAM Baby’s First Bowl & Plate set, designed for babies 6 months and up who are just venturing out into the world of real food (nom!). Available in a small range of different bright colours, you can pick a colour that suits your child (or more likely, suits you!)

The main selling point of this item is that it is a two stage product. The first stage is a sturdy bowl attached to the non-slip plate to provide a stable eating environment for your baby. A nice deep bowl makes scooping food much easier. Stage two sees the two items used separately, once baby is more confident with getting food from either the plate or bowl, using a spoon or eating with fingers to strengthen that all important pincer grip (PG is a dab hand at this already, but finger food let’s her practice those skills daily).

The bowl and plate are packaged nicely in a cardboard sleeve, they are a decent size and fit more than enough food to satisfy an infant portion size. Busy parents will be happy to know that both the bowl and plate are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe, and as with a lot of MAM products they are also BPA free so let your little ones chew it as much as they want.

MAM Baby's First Bowl & Plate is tidily packaged
MAM Baby’s First Bowl & Plate is tidily packaged

The unique design allows for the bowl to be physically attached to the plate to make tipping the contents all over your nice clean kitchen floor a lot more difficult for your baby.

Stage 1 - Clip the two together to create a sturdy eating platform for your baby
Stage 1 – Clip the two together to create a sturdy eating platform for your baby

The plate has a non-slip bottom so when the bowl is attached it really is quite sturdy, on all surfaces I’ve tried (the high chair being the obvious one!). The bowl doesn’t have a non-slip bottom though, so watch out for this when separating the two items. If you position the bowl and plate in the right place you might just be lucky enough that they catch any food being ejected from baby’s mouth after they decide that they suddenly don’t want it in there anymore, or they decide that blowing raspberries with a gob full of soup or similar is a good idea (I won’t post the picture of the missus covered in yogurt, but it was rather amusing)

Stage 2 - Separate the product to give two eating platforms
Stage 2 – Separate the product to give two eating platforms

I’ve got no pictures of PG using this yet, but will update the post soon. We’re usually making sure she doesn’t twirl her pasta all over the kitchen, and I’m also trying to stay off my phone at the dinner table so she doesn’t insist on being glued to tech at the table when she’s older.

All in all a great product which will get a lot of use in our house. It’s a good aid to introduce babies to food and feeding, and complements weaning wonderfully.

Thanks MAM – we continue to be avid fans of your products (can we get #MAMaholic trending?), which are well designed, well made, and easy to use.

Ttfn

Pete

MAM Night-time Glow Dummy Review

MAM Night-time Glow Dummy Review

I’ve been wondering what to write a review about for a while now (if any manufacturers want to sent me free stuff that’s fine by me, might spur me on a bit) and then the other night at about 3am it hit me, right in the toe as I booted the bleeding rocking horse whilst fumbling around to try and find Phoebe’s dummy after she realised she had ejected it from her gob five hours earlier and suddenly the world was ending. All hell broke lose, the horse ran off (ha), Phoebe cried because I’m useless and couldn’t find the non glow dummy in the dark, obviously need more carrots, and I nearly broke my toe. Oh and Phoebe almost lost an eye because finding a small human’s mouth in the dark is surprisingly difficult, especially when she’s writhing around like a python in a reptile handlers headlock. If this seems all too familiar and you’re looking for an answer to your problems please read on.

Following this incident, we have ditched all non glowing dummies. We are trying to not give PG it during the day anyway, and glow in the dark dummies from MAM are so good they’re worth a special mention here.

To be completely honest there isn’t a massive amount to say. From a leading and trusted manufacturer, there are various different packs you can get and they come in a microwave sterilising box that keeps the dummies sterile for 48 hours. As with most plastic baby sucking devices these days, they’re BPA free and have a silk teat for optimum comfort. The big deal here is that they GLOW (and the glow lasts the night usually too). That’s right folks, you can go into the nursery and in the dark, go straight to it, no matter where it is (in the cot, under the cot, or as we usually find, launched across the room somewhere) and quickly get it back to it’s owner before they have a meltdown and wake all the neighbours. 

There’ll be no incidents with Harry the flaming rocking Horse who gets in the way even though he can’t actually move, no lost eyeballs, no stubbed toes, and the serenity of the night will continue.

You’ll be back in bed in a jiffy and in the land of nod before it either happens again or you have to get up at the crack of dawn because the birds are singing so it must of course be play time.  For the sake of a few quid, these are well worth it and are off the 5 out of 5 scale, mainly because I keep all my toes.
When MAM come up with dummies that start flashing like a disco when hearing a parent whisper “oh dummy, where the chuff are you this time?”, we’ve really nailed it.

Ttfn

Pete

Ashgate Crafts Review

Ashgate Crafts Review

Anyone that knows Wifey will know that she has quite a crafty side. From making Phoebe’s clothes to knocking together a fancy display where she works, she can quite easily turn a pile of felt and googly eyes into something spectacular. Some say she’s a black belt in origami, all we know is she’s called mummy.

Anyway, I’m not here to review Wife. She’s already 10/10. She’s made a stonkingly good discovery of Ashgate Crafts, a lovely outfit in Ireland who make everything from bags to bunting to bibs. They’d no doubt make a cute teapot cosy too, if that’s what you wanted. We’ve spent a small fortune with them, and every single thing we’ve had is fabulous quality.

As this is a dad blog I’ll try and keep the product list to those related to Phoebe.

When we decorated her room bunting was needed! Not just any bunting. Bunting with Phoebe’s name on! Check it out!

Bunting by Ashgate Crafts
Bunting by Ashgate Crafts

Phoebe’s trips to nursery wouldn’t be complete without personalised bags either (and the staff at nursery love them!). More incredibly well made stuff from Ashgate!

Personalised Nursery Bag
Personalised Nursery Bag

A mention should be made for the taggy blanket we had made for Phoebe when she was younger. She loved playing with this and I’d recommend them to anyone with a small baby. The tags all feel different so it’s a great sensory toy.

Taggy Blanket by Ashgate Crafts
Taggy Blanket by Ashgate Crafts

In addition to the bits and bobs we’ve had made for PG, we’ve got Christmas decorations, had some knitting bags and cross stitch bags made for gifts, and Wifey keeps all her make-up brushes in a custom brush roll up bag, all from Ashgate.

 

If you’re looking for a friendly service and reasonably priced, well made crafty things, give Ashgate Crafts a try! We’ll definitely keep using them! Wifey just totted up how much she’s spent… over £400 (this includes things for work, gifts, and Phoebe G). Perhaps it’s time to start up a loyalty card scheme 😉

Ttfn

Pete

Cannon Hall Farm

Cannon Hall Farm

Since the little beauty that is Phoebe was born, weekends have become even more precious than they were before. Weekends are for family time, to forget about the stresses of Monday to Friday and enjoy ourselves in the family bubble. On Sunday we took a trip to Cannon Hall Farm in Barnsley and had a wail of a time! Here’s how we got on.

First things first, it’s dead easy to get to, only a few minutes off the M1, so travel is stress free unless you’ve got a screamer in the back. Phoebe loves being in the car so no issues there. Off to a good start!

I’ve apparently been here before as a child myself, but couldn’t remember a thing about it so it was as much a new experience for me as it was for anyone else. The first green tick goes to the staff on the car park. This was incredibly organised and despite being pretty busy, parking was a breeze thanks to the stewards directing traffic, even if I did nearly mow one of them down. Parking is £3 which is fine, but you can also redeem your parking fee back in the restaurant if you spend £10 or more, which is even better.

The entrance is a short walk from the parking areas, along safe walkways. Before you get to the farm itself you’ll pass a lovely restaurant which is great for a bite to eat or a drink out in the sun. If you time your visit right you can eat either before or after you’ve visited the park. The Farm Shop is round here too, selling produce made on the farm.

As you go in and buy your tickets (a bargain at £7.95, if you ask me, more-so if you’ve enough people to get a family ticket which saves a few quid), be sure to get an events list. There’s loads going on at various times during the day. We managed to check out the ferret racing, sheep racing (yes, really) and cow milking sessions. None of the sessions clash so be sure to have a team talk before you get stuck in then you’ve got at least half a plan.

Getting ready for the ferret race
Getting ready for the ferret race

In among the various activities that are going on, you’ll want to make sure you see the animals, after all you’ve come to a farm. The farm is really well laid out and flows nicely. You start out at the petting area where there’s rabbits and guinea pigs to look at, stroke etc. The majority will be in their appropriate pens but the friendly staff swap them over so they’re not all subjected to poky kiddy fingers all day every day. Phoebe LOVED the rabbit. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after touching animals!

Phoebe loved the rabbit at Cannon Hall Farm
Phoebe LOVED the rabbit!

Once you’ve had a good look here you move onto various barns following the tidy pathway between each barn. Here you’ll see pigs and piglets in the farrowing houses, rare breed animals such as Llamas and Alpacas (the latter looking really quite amusing following a shave, but still looking like they were wearing Ugg boots!!), you’ll see cows in the milking parlour (be sure to check out the milking demonstration, it’s really fun to watch!), goats and other farmyard cattle. If your child is old enough, they can feed the animals through a series of feeding chutes (50p a bag, and there’s various places throughout the park you can pick up food, including the entrance when you buy your tickets). Once you’re through the barns, there’s a bit of an uphill stroll back to the top of the park where you can visit the Roundhouse, full of sheep, which Phoebe enjoyed copying. “Baaaa” said the sheep, “Maaaaa” said Phoebe (for quite some time actually, you get the picture). There’s also some reindeer up there too, recuperating in time for their duties at Christmastime. Whilst up at the Roundhouse be sure to take a tractor ride round the perimiter of the farm.

The first thing we heard as we walked into one of the farrowing houses wasn’t “Oink oink”, as you might expect, but a child behind us telling their parents that they’d found the sausages!! Kids say the funniest things, and I’m sure Phoebe G will be no different once she starts talking. Wifey was in her element as we went through into the milking parlour. For some bizarre reason she’s always wanted a pet cow, and spent a few minutes picking out which one she wanted. The answer is always the same, we don’t have room for a pet cow, and can you imagine the mess? Mean husband or what?

I can’t comment too much on the play areas as Phoebe isn’t old enough for that sort of thing but it’s a pretty epic setup just looking in from the outside. Some seriously cool looking slides etc and I’m sure when PG grows up we’ll be able to spend happy hours there. There’s also a tube maze, which I wanted to go in, but again, need a slightly older child!!

The loos by the play gym and Hungry Llama restaurant also deserve a special mention. These loos were better than our bathroom at home! Really tidy, clean and well looked after.

I’ve read some really quite unfair reviews of Cannon Hall Farm on Tripadvisor, and I think most people had the wrong expectation when they visited. One reviewer was very arrogant when commenting about the fact you can’t feed animals out of your hands. Whilst this is obviously good fun, do bear in mind this is a farm, and with the recent E-Coli outbreaks I think Cannon Hall Farm’s attitude to hygiene is spot on, so don’t take any of the negative reviews too seriously. Various people also complained about the parking charges. As I mention above, you can get this back when eating in the restaurant which most families will do, so this should be disregarded too.

A big well done to everyone at Cannon Hall Farm. Thanks for a super day out. We’ll definitely visit again!

Ttfn

Pete