Bletchley park manor house

During half term we took a trip to Bletchley Park. It was a special treat for Graham on his birthday as he’s always wanted to visit.

We arrived on a wet and grey day, but we were lucky that it didn’t rain while we were  in-between buildings.

Bletchley Park is huge and as well as a mansion there is a visitor centre and several huts to visit. Our visit started as you may expect, with the visitor centre. We paid to get in and the prices are very reasonable. You don’t have to pay for children under 12 years and 12-17 yrs you pay £10.75. It’s £18.50 for an adult or you can pay £48.25 for a family ticket if your children are over 12. As I am in a wheelchair I have to pay but Graham doesn’t as he is classed as my carer.  After paying your ticket lets you go back and visit again as many times as you like for the next year!


As a wheelchair user I have to check whether a place is okay for me to visit and I’m happy to say that Bletchley Park is very accessible. Every building has a ramp and there are no stairs to contend with. There is an upstairs at the mansion but it was closed on the day we visited anyway. I felt truly comfortable during my visit. The only place I was separated from my family was when they decided to go around the lake. I could have got around there but it was a shingle path and I use an electric wheelchair. I like to avoid places that may cause damage to my motor and as my wheelchair is mainly for indoor use I have to be careful outside.  I also avoid muddy or sandy areas but I didn’t have a problem with these at Bletchley Park. There are also four accessible toilets on site.

The Visitor Centre

Boo learning morse code

Boo learning morse code

The visitor centre is also a museum. It starts with a movie which tells you the story of the codebreakers and how they helped to win the Second World War. The movie is short enough, and interesting enough to keep children watching, but you don’t have to watch, and the children can run around while it’s on.

After the movie you move around into an interactive centre where the children can have a go at cracking codes and learning how coding works and what machines they used. It’s very entertaining and when we went the kids didn’t have to wait long to take a turn.

Also in the Visitor Centre was a restaurant and a shop. We saved visiting the shop until we were leaving.


The Huts

Each of the huts has a story to tell and this is usually done with photographs, information points and sometimes movies. You can get a tour guide video and audio gadget from the visitor centre to use on your visit. These are free to borrow and can be set up for children or adults. You wear them around your neck on a lanyard and listen through headphones. The kids loved them, but I need to concentrate more on my wheelchair navigation so I found mine a little cumbersome. Maybe it was just me. While waiting for lunch I did watch some movie clips and listen to the narration.

Not all of the huts are open to visitors yet, and some of them no longer exist. Hut 4 is now a restaurant and this is where we decided to stop for lunch. The food was nice but there was not a lot of choice for children. I think the restaurant in the visitor centre probably has more choice. Graham had a nice stew and Star had a baked potato, the rest of us had sandwiches.

The Mansion

The mansion was grand although it wasn’t quite like the houses we’ve visited on National Trust properties. This mansion had purpose, it was a place of work for the codebreakers during the war. They were gradually moved out into huts. The library is set up exactly how it was back then and so is the office. There is a large room where you can learn about the people who worked there. There are many recordings of interviews with them made after the war. It seems that a lot of them never really knew what their work was about as everything had to be secret. The hours were long and the work monotonous. But I still felt a thrill at how exciting it must have been to play such an important part of the war.

At the front of the mansion is a big lake with it’s regal swan residents.

We also got the chance to try on some war time head wear.


The Garage

Behind the mansion was garage that is home to a 40s ambulance and a couple of old cars. One of the cars was used in the film Enigma and belonged to Mick Jagger. He donated the car, a Talbot Sunbeam, to Bletchley Park.

Next to the garage is the courtyard and cottages. The cottages are not open to visitors. There is also a Polish Memorial.

The National Museum of Computing.

We also wanted to visit the National Museum of computing, although this is on the same site as Bletchley Park, it’s not actually part of it and there is a separate entrance fee. There is an optional tour of the museum which we decided to take.  When we visited, only the Colossus Gallery was open. The Colossus was the world’s first electronic computer and it’s purpose was to de-cypher codes from the Lorenz, which sent messages between Hitler and his generals during WWII.

The tour and chance to see Colossus was really interesting. I’m so glad that computers these days are a little bit smaller though 🙂

Would We Go Again?

We will definitely be making use of our free return visits. There is a lot to see and it’s a lot to get around on one visit alone. We will go back in the summer and visit places we’ve yet to see. I’m also really excited at the thought of taking the kids to see Father Christmas there. I love looking for new ways of making Christmas special and a 40’s Christmas sounds intriguing.

Country Kids

The Little Man loves structured activities and he loves receiving a Weekend Box in the post. This Weekend Box was dinosaur themed and he really couldn’t wait to get started on it.

If you are unfamiliar with The Weekend Box it is a subscription service where you can receive a box addressed to your child every other weekend, or once a month if you wish. In each box you can choose to have either two or four activities and each one comes with everything you need. (You may need  scissors though.) Having the things supplied means no rummaging around to find stuff.

I do have a huge box of craft bits and pieces at home but nothing excites The Little Man more than a box in the post and he’s much keener to get on with it.


The box we reviewed had four activities and was dinosaur themed. The activities come in coloured wallets, generally blue, green, red and yellow.  Also provided is a booklet with all the instructions, a sheet of stickers to put in the booklet when each activity is finished, a certificate for your child when the activities are completed, a little cartoon to finish and a colouring page.

Let’s start with a joke;

Q. What do you call a sleeping dinosaur

A. A dino-snore!

The Blue Bag

The blue bag contained everything you needed to make a dinosaur claw. This involved cutting out a template, drawing around the template and cutting that out. Adding little finger nails which were provided as stickers then threading a ribbon through it so you can tie it onto your own hand to look like a dinosaur claw.

a little boy with a green dinosaur claw made of card tied to cover his hand.

The Little Man with his dinosaur claw

The Little Man really enjoyed this activity and loved his claw.

The Green Bag

This activity was making an egg hatching to reveal a baby dinosaur. Boo was keen to have a go at this and set about drawing an egg and adding a baby dinosaur.

First the cracked egg was drawn on white card and then she cut it out. I pushed the paper fastener through the card so that the two halve of the egg would open and close. Then Boo drew a dinosaur head onto a piece of green paper. The egg and dinosaur were decorated and Boo was really pleased with her work which, apart from the paper fastener,  she had done all by herself.

a decorated egg with a little baby dinosaur inside

Baby Dinosaur hatching from it’s egg.

Yellow Bag

In the yellow bag was a Clothes Peg Dinosaur and this was rated as the most difficult activity. First The Little Man coloured in the clothes peg with the black felt tip provided. While he was busy doing this I cut out two rows of dinosaur teeth on the white sticker paper provided. Then we used the template to cut out a dinosaur head on red paper. I stuck the teeth onto the peg and The Little Man stuck the head pieces on. The end result was a cool looking dinosaur which actually roars.

The Little Man holding his dinosaur peg head

A Dinosaur that roars!

The Red Bag

This bag contained everything you needed to make Dino Egg Nests. We were provided with a little amount of chocolate, a small bag of Rice Crispies, four mini eggs, a sachet of honey and two cupcake cases.

The instructions said to melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water, but we put ours in the microwave for speed and ease. Then we stirred the Rice Crispies into the chocolate and when they were all coated we added the honey.

They were then put in the fridge until set.


The Little Man and Boo couldn’t wait to tuck in!

We had great fun with our weekend box and now you can try a mini box ( 2 activities) for free or a bumper box (4 activities) for just £1. Just follow this link where the discount will be already applied

Here is a little video we made;

We have been fans of the Weekend Box for four years now, you can see our first review themed St Patrick’s Day here, our Chinese New Year box review here,

Our Mini Weekend Box review here,

And a special Face Paint Box review here.



Studying hard certainly prepares you to be a good preschool educator, but there are a number of inherent characteristics that will ensure you are a sensational teacher. For instance, you can certainly learn how to create a warm classroom or teach the preschool program, but exuding enthusiasm for the education of your students is something that can only come from the heart.
With that in mind, here are more important qualities that make a great educator for pre-schoolers.

1. Passion

Do you have an intense desire to really make a different in young children’s lives? Passion is arguably one of the most important qualities for any teacher. There will be those days when teaching preschool will be difficult, whether it’s because your salary isn’t what you thought it would be, the parents seem ungrateful, or the kids are acting up, getting through those low points can be overwhelming. But, when you have a burning passion for education, it is your drive and determination that will get you through.

2. Patience

Besides your passion for education, you need lots of patience. Each class, such as those in Guardian child care centres in Sydney, has children with a variety of developmental skills. When it comes to pre-schoolers, constant reminders about protocol, manners, and hygiene are all part of a normal school day. From behaviour difficulties to learning difficulties, it takes a great deal of patience to keep your classroom in order. What’s more, working with difficult parents, teachers, and administrators means you need to be patient outside the classroom, too. A great teacher knows how to keep his or her cool under varying degrees of pressure.

3. Creativity

Being creative in the classroom involves more than making projects. You may have to work in a restricted environment with limited resources, and your classroom may be a melee of children from different backgrounds and cultures. So, you need to be able to draw from your creativity to make decisions in the best interest of your class.

4. Flexibility

Even when you have every detail of each lesson planned, unexpected turns can arise. A great educator is one that is flexible in dealing with change. Whether it’s as straight forward as having a back up plan for rainy days or amending the entire plan to accommodate for budget cuts, your fine-tuning skills and flexibility will help you tackle challenges with grace.

5. Dedication

Finally, excellent preschool teachers are those who are dedicated to their career and their learners. They stand up for their beliefs and educational values, and for their student’s needs. What’s more, these educators are dedicated to education and continue to inspire students to continue learning. At preschool level, creating a fun learning environment can resonate with children for the rest of their life.
Along with these 5 important qualities, a great educator will also form part of a supportive teaching community. Many teachers find even more inspiration by aligning themselves with professional associations.
Above all, exceptional preschool educators are those teachers that continue to work on their craft and personal development to continue growing.

Disclosure: Collaborative Post

We’ve been reviewing the game Shhh! Don’t Wake Dad and I’m sure it will be a great Christmas present. We do love our board games in this house and this one is a great addition. If you’d like to win a game yourself then why don’t you enter my give away at the end of this post?

Now, who snores? I know I do, but the winner in our house has to be Dad! In this game you have to get the treats without waking the snoring Dad. So just like real life then.

In the game, Dad is sleeping in the middle of the board, snoring away as usual. The hungry kids have to make their way from their beds along the hazardous route to the fridge to get to the chocolate cake, all without waking Dad.


Players are all dealt the same number of cards and take it in turns to spin the spinner.  Then, against the constant cacophony of Dad’s electronic snoring sounds (which give everyone the giggles!), they travel around the board.  Most of the spaces on which they land feature a picture, and if the player already holds the card that matches the image, they are safe.  But if not, they must take a deep breath and press Dad’s alarm clock down the number of times indicated on the space…

C:Langshot CommunicationsDRUMOND PARK 2015QUARTER 2Kids Shoot Andy LR picsA5Don't Wake Dad (awake) Callum&3 LR.jpg

If Dad stays asleep, it’s “Phew” – and the game continues.  But if he wakes up, the player is sent back to their slippers, to begin the journey again.  But he or she does at least get to keep that hazard card, which will protect them should they confront that hazard again later in the game.

Dad is then settled back down to sleep…  Play continues, with plenty more twists and turns for everyone to negotiate along the way. Finally, one of them arrives in the kitchen. Here, the perils of Dad’s alarm clock have to be faced one last time…

The player presses the clock down…  Everyone holds their breath…
IF DAD DOESN’T WAKE, the player has reached that delicious
 slice of cake – AND WON THE GAME!

This game is bound to be played over and over and would be a fantastic Christmas Present. If you would like to win a copy then please enter via the widget at the end of this post.

Information and stockists 

for more information and stockists please visit
The social media team at Drumond Park Games would love to hear about what your children get up to when they’re playing this fab game – send pictures, too!  Just get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and catch up on all the news on their crazy blog

SSHH! Don’t Wake Dad! (rrp £24.99, for 2 to 4 players, age 5+). 

Terms and Conditions

1. UK only (sorry)

2. Giveaway closes  9th December 2017

3. Entries will be validated according to the rules of entry
4. There is 1 prize of a Shh! Don’t Wake Dad game
5. The data of anyone that enters won’t be passed on to any third parties or used for any unsolicited marketing communications.
6. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook or any other social media.
7. The winner will be randomly chosen, and will be shown on this post, with further notifications may be shared on social media.
8. The winner will be notified via email, and will need to respond within 4 weeks otherwise a further winner will be drawn.
9. Prize will be sent out after receiving e-mail details via the supplier.
10.If the prize is not available an alternative may be sent of the same value.

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Last Saturday we were thrilled to be invited to Hatton to visit their Enchanted Christmas Kingdom.
The day was bright but cold and when we first arrived Hatton Village was in full swing with singers. It certainly felt like Christmas had arrived.

We had some to time to spare before visiting Santa in his grotto so we started by feeding the animals in the barn. The sheep were particularly hungry.

Then, we just had to go and cuddle the guinea pigs. Each Christmas the enormous guinea pig village is decorated in Christmas splendour and the kids love it. It’s so lovely to get to hold a guinea pig too and we all had a turn.

We had a little more time to look around the other animals and play on the tractors. The Little Man always makes a bee line for the tractors. They also had a turn on the fairground rides. There is so much to do at Hatton Adventure World, in the summer we spend all day, but this time we were here to see the Enchanted Christmas Kingdom and it was finally our time slot. There is also a big marquee where you can write your letter to Father Christmas and make Christmas decorations. (It’s also a chance to warm up a little)

The kids loved the grotto, there is so much to see. I made a little visit of our journey, being in a wheelchair I guess I have a child height view.

Here are a few photos from the grotto.

When the children finally get to see Father Christmas it’s like visiting an old relative, he’s a chatty, friendly man that made the children feel at ease as they told him what they wanted for Christmas. Thankfully this year they didn’t come out with gifts that gave me palpitations.

After a chat, good old Father Christmas opens his book to see if they are on the good or the naughty list. Then he presents them with gold keys to take to the toy shop where they can pick a toy from the many on display. We had at least five minutes with old fella, which was really enjoyable for the kids. Then Father Christmas pulled out a magic button to take a photo of himself with the kids. The Little Man was most interested in the photo machine! The photos can then be purchased on the way out. I bought two for £12 (one for Grandma.)

The kids were excited to reach the toy shop and the selection of toys is really good. Boo picked a nail varnish parlour, The Little Man chose a ball air blaster (Think Nerf type gun that fires soft balls) and Star was thrilled with her bath bomb and soap making set.

Before we left there was time to play in the park and the sand pit with diggers. I was shivering by now so I made my way to get a hot coffee and a sit by the open log burner to warm up a little. Then we had a little walk around the Christmas Market in the village where the kids had even more gifts, but useful ones as I bought Star and the Little Man woolly hats and Boo a new purse for school.

We had a magical day out but if there was one thing I would change it would be the steep entrance to the Enchanted Kingdom grotto, it was so difficult for me to climb in my wheelchair and terrifying coming back down again.

I’d advise you to wrap up warm and don’t forget your gloves like I did!

The Enchanted Christmas Kingdom is open every weekend from November 25th to December 24th, plus Friday 8th December evening and weekdays from 18th to 22nd December. It’s advisable to book your tickets to the grotto in advance and you are given a time slot so the queues are smaller.

Also at Hatton you can see Zoobee’s Christmas Cracker Magic Show, Zoobee’s Festive Friends Puppet Show, Cool Colin’s Show, Reindeer Quest, Festive Scales and Tales and indoor soft play. There are also plenty of places to eat and drink.

Hatton Adventure World can be found in Hatton, Warwick, literally minutes away from the M40.

Disclosure: We were given free entry into Hatton and tickets for the Enchanted Christmas Kingdom in return for our honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Family Fever
Cuddle Fairy

Country Kids