Grass Hoppers at Tong Garden Centre – indoor play

We love Grass Hoppers and have been looking forward to the opening of their new soft play. As such, we were really excited to be invited along to the pre-launch event, to check out the facilities, which are now open.

Grass Hoppers in Tong Garden Centre is an amazing place to take the kids, and we have visited their outdoor area on many occasions. It is a safe play space for families and you’ll find a huge outdoor adventure playground and a large indoor play area, where children up to 10 years old can enjoy proper playtime! You can read about the outdoor area in this blog post.

Keep reading for details of their great grub and award winning (and allergy conscious!) ice cream being served in the new Woody’s Kitchen.

What’s New at Grass Hoppers?

Well, first off there is a brand new entrance. It is accessed through the covered area where you will find the outdoor plants. It’s really easy to find but the staff at Tong Garden Centre are always willing to help if you find yourself a bit lost.

This guy is happy to help!!

As you walk in there is a brightly painted wall and a wooden desk with a locked gate which you find at all soft play areas. This gives you you real confidence it’s a safe place for your child to run around and explore.

Grass Hoppers entrance

There is ample seating for you to sit down. However, if it is very busy, you’ll likely not be able to see your child if you’re near the back or sat near the ice creams. As such, get there early if they are young and need closer watching.

The Soft Play Area

We love soft play, it’s a brilliant opportunity for the kids to burn off energy and for the parents/carers to have a few minutes peace with a hot cuppa!

The soft play itself was very impressive, as you find they all tend to be the same. However, Grass Hoppers have set the bar high. For the younger kids, there is a brilliant interactive area. This includes a piano to record and play sounds with your feet. They even have nursery rhyme suggestions and tell you which keys to press to play the tune. However, it was still popular with the older kids and parents testing it out.

There is a talking tree and an infinity mirror panel with lights as well. This is an excellent sensory activity for any children on the spectrum. A big “wow” was a screen hiding under the smallest slides. It loops a video of different bugs and animals like ants and snails so you can see the detail of their anatomy and how they move.

What about older children?

For older children, they have a great sports court with cut outs for goal scoring, just like you see at fairgrounds. This was really popular with some of the older children. We also enjoyed some the games throughout the Soft Play frame such as spot the difference.

I also counted at least 5 slides throughout the play frame which was a big hit with us.

Something I’ve never seen in a soft play before but I was very impressed with was the 3 real life play areas including a Shop, Garage and a Coffee Shop. They’re not very big but this stops it getting clogged with too many kids trying to play with the same thing. In the garage, there was a racing car the kids can take apart and re-build as much as they want or just use their imagination to pretend they’re the next Lewis Hamilton!!


In the garage and also in the toddler play area, were wall jigsaws to place soft play shapes/tools. This was a great spin on traditional jigsaws.

What does entry into Grass Hoppers give you?

Your entry gives access to both indoor and outdoor play. If you want to access the outside area, there is a new doorway at the back easily spotted from entering Grasshoppers.

Grass Hoppers outdoor play

You will find that with the new building the outside feels a little smaller. However,  nothing has changed in respect to the facilities or the equipment for children to play on. There is a new area for ride on cars, seesaws and play houses for younger kids. There is so much space both inside and out that it shouldn’t be a problem.

Woody’s Kitchen

There is a brand new kitchen and ice cream parlour known as Woody’s Kitchen. They offer a great selection for breakfast and lunch such as sandwiches, panini’s and pizzas.

We ordered sausage, chips and beans for the little ons. They were fresh butcher sausages and were ‘yummy’ – which is the official seal of approval from the 3 year old! From the adults menu, we tried the fish finger butty and a bacon roll. Both were delicious and very filling. However, we did manage to save room for cake!

Healthy (ish) meals!

There is so much to choose from such as brownies, flapjacks, scones and cakes. You  can eat in or take away. The menu itself highlights suitability from a Vegetarian and Vegan perspective too.

Let me tell you about the ice creams!! I was so impressed at how switched on they are from an allergy perspective. There were 8 sorbets and ice creams to choose from that were dairy free (Vegan friendly) and individually wrapped gluten free cones. This is to prevent any risk of cross contamination or picking the wrong cone. Whilst not ideal from an environment perspective, from a health & safety perspective, it really makes you relax that allergies can be catered for.

Ice cream!

There was a microwave not far from the toilets you can use to heat up any baby food etc.

Toilets and Baby Change Facilities

The toilets haven’t changed from before. But what you may not notice is that where you once accessed them outside by the ticket office, they are now just easily accessed from the play area. There are baby change facilities in both the men’s and women’s toilets. There is also a toilet and baby change facility for unisex use. The disabled bathroom does not offer changing facilities.

I did really like that in the main toilets there was 1 much smaller ‘toddler’ toilet which you don’t find in many places.


In a nutshell, we loved it! We will definitely be back though the summer and beyond now that Tong Garden Cebtre is an all-weather spot to take the kids.

For full disclosure, whilst we received free entry for the purposes of this post, no influence has been made to the information or contents.

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The Best Place in Leeds…

Even though I have written about loads of different places in Leeds, I have not done a “Best Place in Leeds” blog post before. As a result, here are a few things which are some age appropriate selections for you!

Best Place in Leeds - splash image

Best Place in Leeds for Crawlers

Boomchikkaboom hosts one-off events all over West Yorkshire, but quite a few are held in Leeds, with most being in Mothercare at the Crown Point Shopping Centre. You have to pre-book (and make sure you do well in advance) but their Mini Raves are a mix of upbeat music, dancing and songs which brilliant for smaller children who love sensory overload!

Boomchikkaboom take some brilliant pictures and share on Facebook

Boomchikkaboom also do messy play sessions for the younger kids, but during school holidays, they do sessions specifically for school aged children as well.

Loving a Boomchikkaboom rave!

You can read a full blog post on Boomchikkaboom here.

Best Place in Leeds for Pre-Schoolers

If your child is into creative play and imagination, the Rainbow Factory based in Farsley will be absolutely perfect. Keep your eye out for their special events during certain weekends and school holidays.  However, during term-time, they have specific sessions for pre-schoolers.

Best Place in Leeds - Rainbow Factory

We are HUGE fans of the Rainbow Factory and whilst it can seem a bit strange concept, the work that they do really does bring children out of their shell and boost their imagination. If your child is a bit shy, it does help to join in the sessions, but you’ll enjoy it just as much as your little one.

Kids are free to be as creative as possible at the Rainbow Factory

You can read Rainbow Factory posts here and here.

Best Place in Leeds for Primary School Children

Opened in 2017, the Leeds Urban Bike Park is a really safe space for children (and grown-ups) to ride their bike. Set on the old council golf course in Middleton, it is a free venue where there are trails for cyclists of all ages to explore. The site is completely vehicle free which means that riders are so much safer than on the roads and your child can ride, and develop accordingly.

Best Place in Leeds - Leeds Urban Bike Park
One of the trails at the Leeds Urban Bike Park

There are even bumpy trails for young and old to experience proper BMX-ing, which I am reliably told is a “pump track” (who knew?!)

Best Place in Leeds for Older Children

The Royal Armouries is a free attraction at the south east of the City Centre which gives an insight into the history of battles through the ages. Some of the artefacts are a reminder as to how deadly war can be, but it can act as a thought provoking visit for the older children. It would work really well if your child was into history and/or was learning about a relevant topic in school.

Royal Armouries
Exhibit at Royal Armouries

To make the trip more of an experience, get the free water taxi from Granary Wharf (near the train station) to the Armouries.  You get to see parts of Leeds which you would never see before although the queues can be big on hot summer weekends.  If you have not done it before, it is worth the wait.

You can read a full blog post on the Royal Armouries here.

Best Place in Leeds for Adults

Why should the children get all the fun?! Hotel Chocolat, just off Boar Lane, do chocolate making sessions for children and adults. Whilst there is some learning about the science behind chocolate, there is also the opportunity to decorate chocolate. You also get a decent discount in the shop at the end of the session, which is ideal if you’re going to do a bulk buy purchase at Easter or Christmas!!

Hotel Chocolat
Welcome to the Hotel Chocolat!

You do have to book well in advance for this. However, if you know you’re going to be child free, you’re probably counting down the days already!!

You can read a full blog post on Hotel Chocolat here.


All in all, there are loads of things to do in this brilliant city. I’d love to hear what your recommendations are, which will probably lead to a follow-up blog post!!

Continue reading The Best Place in Leeds…

Royal Armouries

Opened in 1996, the Royal Armouries is one of the jewels in the crown of Leeds. I remember when it was opened, how it was such a big thing for Leeds to have such a national treasure. However, being from Leeds, perhaps it is taken for granted somewhat.

We have visited the Royal Armouries a couple of times now and felt that it needed a blog post doing!!

Royal Armouries splash image

What is at the Royal Armouries?

The Royal Armouries is the home of arms and armour from all over the world, both historical and modern day, held over 5 floors.

I am in no way an expert in any of these areas, and so I’ll let the pictures to the talking, but as you can see, there are lots of artefacts to view.

Royal Armouries armour

The most visual displays, particularly for younger children, are the animal exhibits, showing how animals were used in battles. Depending on the age of your child, they may just see them as dressed up animals, which isn’t a bad thing at all!!

Horse and soldier

There are talks and demonstrations as well throughout the day, and on the top floor, there is a paid-for activity, using a cross-bow to shoot balls. We didn’t have chance to give it a go, but it did look fun and decent value for money (2019 price: £3 for 8 balls)

The Royal Armouries also do special events as well, particularly in the summer and bank holidays, so keep an eye out for upcoming events, especially as they tend to get quite busy!

Is Royal Armouries child friendly?

It depends on how old your child is. If your child understands war and has a historical understanding of certain events, then the Royal Armouries will be very, very educational.  However, if your child is more hands-on or doesn’t understand the concept of war, then the attraction may not be for them.

Elephant going into battle

However, there is lots of space for children to explore and as such, they can find what appeals to them.

There are really good baby changing facilities, with separate toilet facilities, was well as changing facilities in the men’s toilets.

Is the Royal Armouries just about War?

Pretty much. However, there is a small “Peace” section hidden away on one of the upper floors. Whilst it is important to know about the past, it would have been good to see how we can avoid wars going forward.

It's not all about war at the Royal Armouries
It’s not all about war

How can I get to the Royal Armouries?

Probably the best way to get to the Royal Armouries is via the free water taxi service from Granary Wharf. It gives a view of Leeds that you wouldn’t normally see and is very interesting. There can often be a large queue in summer, but if you can take the trip, do so.

There is a large multi-story car park about 300 yards away, which charges city centre prices (understandably), but is very convenient.

Perhaps the best way would be to get a bus/coach into the bus station and do the 10 minute walk down. This is especially true if you have older children.

To read about our experience of getting a National Express coach, check out this blog post.

How much is admission to the Royal Armouries?

Entry into the Royal Armouries is free. There are places to make a donation throughout, as it is a registered charity.


The Royal Armouries may not be ideal for your child, depending on their age and level of understanding. However, it is a national treasure and its quality is amazing. With everything undercover and free entry, it is well worth a trip and see for yourself!

Continue reading Royal Armouries

Abbey House Museum

A cold, wet late January weekend took us to Abbey House Museum in Leeds. Heidi had been with school a couple of weeks before and so was enthusiastic to go back and show what she enjoyed!

Abbey House Museum

What is at Abbey House Museum?

Abbey House Museum has 2 floors full of historic exhibits. The ground floor has a Victorian street/village with houses, shops, and a school to look in. Think of it as an indoor, smaller version of Beamish. There is nothing to “do” in the village except look around, but it is very interesting to look around.

Upstairs are more modern exhibits, which change over time. In late January 2019, there was an historical toy exhibit, which the child loved to look around. There was also the “Danger Zone” exhibit, which highlighted household items through the last 200 years which were dangerouss. There were also exhibits as how those dangers were managed and how we prevent danger in the house.

What did the children enjoy?

The children loved the space to run out in the Victorian street and I would like to think that they learned a little too!!  They also liked the dressing up section as part of the “Danger Zone” section.  They also enjoyed the toy section, especially with the chance to play with a couple of the toys.

It might sound daft, but because Abbey House Museum isn’t too big, it meant that they were able to enjoy it all, rather than be too tired from walking!

There is also the chance to dress up!

The free playground next to the car park was also a chance for the children to get some fresh air and tire themselves out a little bit more!

What did the children not enjoy?

The fact that a lot of the toys were on display, but not able to be played with, didn’t go down well! Also, a lot of the displays are perhaps for older children/adults, so they didn’t get as much out of it as other visitors would do.

What are the facilities like?

The toilets are really good and roomy, which is perfect for talking a child. Abbey House Museum also has a cafe, but it’s safe to say that the children were far too excited to go in there. However, the food looked good!

There are lifts to all floors, so if you want to take a pushchair, you can. However, as the Vicotrian street is cobbled, then it is a bit tricky. Abbey House Museum isn’t took big, therefore you might be able to get away with not taking one.

How do I get to Abbey House Museum?

Abbey House Museum is located opposite Kirkstall Abbey and there is a free car park just over the road. As Kirstall Abbey is popular in the summer, then car parking could be a problem. However, in late January, it was fine!

The postcode to find Abbey House Museum is LS5 3EH.

Is Abbey House Museum good value for money?

We paid £11 for a family ticket (as at January 2019) which covers 2 adults and 2 children. We spent about an hour and a half running about and trying to do our best to get the children to learn. As a result, it is one of the better value for money places in the region.


All in all, Abbey House Museum is a lovely hidden gem in Leeds. It doesn’t get the publicity of the other Leeds museums, but if youre wanting to go somewhere for a couple of hours, and want your child to learn, then this could be a place for you to go.

Continue reading Abbey House Museum

Anything Could Happen

Over the last couple of months, we have discovered another hidden gem of the amazing creative scene in Leeds – Anything Could Happen. Before Heidi came along, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t into creative arts, but after going to the Rainbow Factory for the past few years, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world!!

Anything Could Happen

What happens?

Well, anything (obviously!!)

On a serious note, there are two adult (I was going to say grown-up, but they have to be a bit childish!) performers on stage, loosely controlled by the fabulous stage director, Carla. They start off with an idea, and then get ideas from the children in the audience. The children then develop the story as it goes, with random ideas being thrown in from all the children.  After the story has reached a somewhat natural conclusion, which often resulted from mild chaos, the stage is reset and a new idea kicks off more carnage!!

As Anything Could Happen takes place in a real-life, intimate theatre, the children get experience of a professional environment and as they sit on the floor of the stage, they feel part of the action.

Every child is asked to input into the performance over the hour and a bit it is on, and whilst Heidi can feel a bit lost in the number of children and ideas, it does help her understand sharing (does that count as a swear word?!) and being patient.

There is very few opportunities for the children to be on stage themselves, so if you’re looking for a stage school this isn’t for you. However, think of it as giving your child the chance for a front row seat to a brilliant comedy show that they can help create.

However, if your child does go up on stage, get your cameras out, as it is a brilliant memory to have. In January, Heidi was “interviewed” on stage and pretended to explain why crocodiles were coming into houses through toilets. Yes, you did read that right! The best thing was that the atmosphere was so supportive that she was able to go out of her comfort zone and do it!

What age is appropriate?

This is a difficult one, but I wouldn’t expect a child younger than 5 would be able to concentrate for the whole show. It is quite fast paced, but so is the humour and so younger children might not get the jokes.

Also, as the children tend to sit at the front amongst themselves (but not every child does) younger children might feel a little overwhelmed by it all.

How do you prepare?

It might sound a really daft thing to say, but don’t wear too many clothes!! Anything Could Happen takes place in a real theatre, and as such, all the stage lights are on. This means that it does get warm quickly and whilst it never gets uncomfortable, you won’t need a thick jumper on!!

Apart from that, you can encourage your child to be creative in play, but generally, they will become immersed in the experience and develop as they take part.

What Do Adults do?

It sounds strange, but there is very little to do for the adults! You sit back in the audience and enjoy the show.  It is that simple!!!

I do think that the adults enjoy the show just as much as the children, and because the humour is so quick and well put together, there is a layer of comedy that is just for adults!

What about First Timers?

This is a note of caution. Regardless of how confident or old your child is, they are likely to be unsure about Anything Could Happen during the first visit. This is because it is quite intense on their sensors – lights, visual and oral comedy, a different environment etc. My advice would be to go with how they feel and perhaps take some sweets with you to relax them.

However, after the first visit, you’ll have made up your mind whether it is right for your child and so don’t let their first impression put you off coming back. Heidi was restless during her first visit, but I knew she would enjoy it, and on the morning of the second show, she woke up with a huge smile, realising that it was Anything Could Happen Day!!

Heidi being interviewed on stage about crocodiles


Finding Anything Could Happen has been amazing and has sparked Heidi’s creativity at home even more. However, with these kinds of activities, it is the people running it that make it so special. Without their creativity, passion and a little bit of silliness, the children would not benefit and enjoy the shows. I really hope that Heidi will enjoy the shows for a long time, as I know she will learn so much from them!

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Forgotten Forest

So, on a Heidi-free weekend (sob, sob) we took Oscar (aged 2) to the Forgotten Forest for the first time. As it was the middle of January, we wrapped up warm and went to the forest school to learn all about the story of Zog, and generally have an outdoorsy couple of hours!

Forgotten Forest

What Happens at the Forgotten Forest?

Once everyone makes their way to the Forgotten Forest from the roadside, there is a group “hello” activity and then the story begins. The story is read and after every page or so, there is a little activity in a different part of the woods. For example, the children might have to find chocolate coins, or roar like a dragon.  This breaks up the story nicely for the little ones and keeps them moving and engaged.

After the story, there are numerous activities set up, including painting, a mud kitchen, crafts and a tightrope. Also, the children have the chance to toast a marshmallow over a fire, which is very closely supervised!! Adults and children are provided with some hot chocolate (vegan!) and finally, there are some games at the end. All in all, it lasts about an hour and a half, but you can leave whenever you want.

Painting activity

How do I prepare for the Forgotten Forest?

Obviously depending on the time of year, wrap up warm!! The children didn’t seem to mind the cold so much, but the adults were struggling a little!! Definitely prepare with additional pairs of socks and good footwear, as well as gloves, hats etc.

Zog breathing fire!!

Also, as the Forgotten Forest is an outdoor event in the middle of the woods, it might be an idea not to wear the nicest clothes as they are only going to get muddy and wet! With this in mind, a towel and additional wet wipes would be really good to take along.

What is at the Forgotten Forest?

Not much, but then, that’s the point! There is a parachute tent to provide cover, a camping toilet, as well as the activities. You’re out in the forest and as such, the facilities are basic. However, the Forgotten Forest team have all the safety kit, bins etc that you need, so you’re looked after even though you’re in the forest!

Camping toilet!!!

Is it right for everyone?

No! I know for sure that Heidi would not like it! If your child loves the outdoors and doesn’t mind the mud, then the Forgotten Forest is for them. However, if your child is the more indoorsy type of person, then this won’t be for them as they will start complaining as soon as you get there!!

Toasting marshmallows

To get the most out of the Forgotten Forest, your child needs to be a confident walker, and so I would say from age 2 to about 7 would be appropriate.


We did have a lovely morning at the Forgotten Forest, even if I took some time to warm up afterwards! It won’t be for everyone, but if you have a child that likes to get dirty and be outdoors, then this is something that you should look at doing!

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Sheffield Christmas Trail

Let’s be honest, we all love a free trail! Sheffield had one in 2016 with the Herd of Sheffield event, which you can read about here. However, the Sheffield Christmas Trail is a new event for the 2018 festive period.

What is the Sheffield Christmas Trail?

Not wanting to state the obvious, but it is a trail that starts on the Moor and finishes on Barkers Pool. However, the trail goes through Sheffield City Centre as you follow the clues to find “presents” for Santa. You need to download the “Sheffield Christmas Trail” app and follow the clues.

Sheffield Christmas Trail
The app

The clues aren’t difficult and you can get even more help via the app if you really need it. The presents are in various shops and so you might feel a little weird going into a shop and taking a scan of a QR code. However, you’ll get used to it after a while!

All of the clues are to be found by foot and for some of them, you need to follow a little trail, as found below.

Sheffield Christmas Trail
Look for these within some of the shops

How much does the Sheffield Christmas Trail cost?

Nothing – it’s free!!

What do I need for the Sheffield Christmas Trail?

You need to make sure you have your phone charged as you need to use the app and camera. Also, there is a fair bit of walking so good shoes would be useful. If you’re still using a pushchair for your child, it would be a good idea to bring it along!

Sheffield Christmas Trail
The first clue

How long does it take?

A lot depends on how quickly you and your group walk. However, I think that you could do it in a couple of hours, so long as you don’t fall out in the process!!

You can do the trail over a number of sessions, so long as you use the same app.

What do I win?

Eternal pride and glory. Oh, and a small prize from Santa’s Post Office for completing the trail.

Sheffield Christmas Trail
If you find me, you win!

Anything else I need to know?

As you need to go inside shops/cafes, then you need to be doing the trail whilst the shops are open. Also, you need to do the clues in order and so whilst you know where the finish is, you aren’t allowed to break the order!! Believe me, I tried to cheat!!

Continue reading Sheffield Christmas Trail

Go Ape Temple Newsam

We were invited by Go Ape Temple Newsam to swing by and test out their relatively new attraction and we had a fantastic time monkey-ing around!! Ok, that’s enough of the puns, I promise!

Loop 1 on the bottom, loop 3 on the top

How did we get on?

From the outside, Go Ape Temple Newsam looks imposing and fun at the same time! However, once we saw a friendly face behind the reception desk, it all seemed a lot more manageable! The pre-climb safety talk really helped and we were on our way upwards after about 10 minutes of checking-in.

You get wristbands as well!

Hopefully the pictures and videos throughout will show how much we enjoyed the session. We lasted 75 minutes before we got tired and we left with massive smiles on our faces, as well as a certificate!

The best part for Heidi was the zip wire as you can clearly see. Although for me, getting us both along the second loop was good as it involved a fair bit of courage for both of us!


Go Ape Temple Newsam has 3 different levels which cost different amounts.  For younger children, you’ll have plenty of fun on Level 1. However, if you’re more adventurous, Levels 2 and 3 look amazing!

You have to be over 1m tall for any of the levels, over 1.2m for Level 2 and 1.4m for Level 3 so bear that in mind.  However, there is a height chart at the venue to help!

We did Level 1, which covered 3 “loops” and that was scary enough for both of us! Even at this level, you go quite high in the trees with no safety netting between you and the ground! It was high enough that I dare not take my phone out to take a picture!

Building trust

One of the good things about going to Go Ape Temple Newsam is that it builds additional trust between you and your child. They will be naturally scared of the height and probably the zip-wire, and you will be as well probably!! However, by helping and coaching, they can manage the situation and learn for themselves that they can do it.

As you can go on the obstacles together, if they are really struggling, you can hold their hand and take control. Also, the staff are really good and will help as much as possible.


It is an outdoor activity and as such, wear appropriate clothing! It does get cool high up in the trees, but the activity is strenuous and so you need to match them both up. One tip is that on Level 1, there is a tunnel to crawl through, and so I wouldn’t recommend shorts!

This tunnel isn’t the best for grown-ups!

You tend to use your hands a fair bit and so you might want a pair of gloves, just in case. Also, decent trainers/outdoor shoes are a must. The last thing you want is to lose a shoe 30 feet in the air!


Let’s just put this out there – Go Ape Temple Newsam is safe. Yes, it is unnatural to be so high up. However, you wear a harness and are connected to a safety wire. As a result, it you fall off, you will just dangle in mid air and be able to get back onto the course.

You’re given safety cards to read and listen to a safety talk before you are put into harnesses which are very “snug”! If at any time you feel as though the harness is slack, or you feel unsafe, please ask a member of staff. However, safety is their highest priority!


This is the one downside of Go Ape Temple Newsam – the toilets are a 5 minute walk away, near the Walled Garden. The toilets are not particularly pleasant either to be honest! Also, please make sure that you don’t need to go to the toilet whilst you are on the course. The staff will have to take your harness off and you’ll lose time on the course!


The Go Ape Temple Newsam staff are brilliantly friendly and helpful. You’ll come across 4 or 5 different staff during your session and each one was happy and supportive throughout. They clearly know their stuff and make sure that you’re safe.

Go Ape Temple Newsam Parking

Parking at Go Ape Temple Newsam is free and plentiful. The venue is near the playground and well sign-posted. Even on a Saturday morning, we found a spot just outside the venue. You might be lucky and have an ice cream afterwards (the certificate apparently gets you a small discount!)

Happy with her certificate!

All in all, we had a fantastic time and help Heidi and I bond even more. We will certainly be back, probably when we are both brave enough to take on the higher loops!

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Jackrabbits Pottery

We were invited to Jackrabbits Pottery in Leeds to do a Christmas bauble print, but there are things to do all year round, either with or without the children!

Bauble Print

Memories of your child in their early years should last a lifetime, and making a Christmas bauble is one of those memories! The experience will be different depending on the age of the child, but the fun will be there and the end result will be just as magical.

Making a Christmas print does rely on the help and guidance of a member of staff and so it is best to book ahead. As of Christmas 2018, they only do such a service during the week.

So, what happens…? You get to choose a bauble and then the staff will paint your child’s hand (or foot if you prefer) and gently guide the hand onto the bauble, to make the print. Sounds simple doesn’t it! However, because the staff are experts, they know what adjustments need to be made to make sure the print comes out right.

Then, the fun part! The Jackrabbits Pottery staff will help you design the rest of the bauble. You might want the child’s age, name and/or a festive message on there. As Heidi is 5, then this was left to her and in fact, it made it more personal to her. Obviously, if you’re taking a baby, the pressure is on you to make all the decisions. However, taking a slightly older child means that they can join in, and get even more out of the experience.

Once you have designed the rest of the bauble, the jackrabbits Pottery team will do all the clever artistic touches. Then they will give you a text and/or a time from which you can collect it from the shop.

Once you pick it up, it is yours forever, and you can do an unboxing video if your child is old enough!!


It’s not just baubles!

Jackrabbits Pottery is not just about the Christmas baubles. On a child free Sunday, we went here for date day before doing the bauble. It is such a relaxing place to visit!

The shop is full of items for you to paint, from egg cups, to clocks, to Christmas plates. At the start, you are given a little instructional talk by a member of staff. This is quite important as there is a certain knack to painting pottery!! Then, you let your creativity run wild!

At any point, ask a member of staff for guidance, because they are the experts! There is a colour chart on the wall that will help guide you and loads of tools to help you. You don’t need to bring anything with you!

After painting…

You can do this with the children as well, but it really does depend on how much you trust your child! To start with, it might be best if you let your child paint one, whilst you help, rather than both of you paint one. Heidi wants to do this sometime and so I am sure we will be down again to paint a unicorn!

The final result!

Most pottery pieces take a week to be completed, and again, you can pick them up from the shop.

You’re best to phone ahead to book a time as availability is limited!

Jackrabbits Pottery staff

The Jackrabbits Pottery staff are amazingly friendly and helpful. They want your piece of work to be as good as possible and so they will help and advise throughout.

As the bauble process is on a one-to-one basis, they really look after both you and your child, to make sure the visit is a success. Talking to Sarah, who owns Jackrabbits Pottery, you can tell how much the place means to her and her team. This shows in the friendly, open atmosphere of the shop.

Adding a little bit of magic…

Even though I was way out of my comfort zone, I felt so relaxed at the end of the visit!

Top Tips!

A few of top tips to help you with your visit:

  • If doing a bauble print, dress your child in short sleeves/short trousers. It helps get a better print and stops paint going on the clothes!
  • The paint is fully washable, so you don’t need to worry too much about splashes going on there
  • The milkshakes are amazing! They do all sorts of amazing cakes as well, but we were trying to be a little healthy-ish!
  • Give yourself enough time to do the painting and for it to come back to you in about a week’s time.

Please Note: We were given the opportunity to do a Christmas bauble for the purposes of this post. However, no influence was made on its contents.

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Sea Creatures

The “Sea Creatures” Tour is at the Harrogate Convention Centre between 27th October to 25th November 2018. The exhibition shows over 50 full body specimens and 150 body parts and organs, all of which have been preserved using a plasination process.  As such, it is something that should be seen, given how unique it is!

The Sea Creatures Exhibition

The “Sea Creatures” exhibition is an exhibition hall full of marine animals which have been preserved. Beside each exhibit, there is a narrative about the creature/body part, which helps aid understanding.

Some of the exhibits are full sized marine life, whereas some are organs of the animals. Pretty much everywhere you turn there is a different exhibit and, most importantly, you can learn about every single exhibit on show.

Whilst there is a zig-zag path around the exhibit, you can swim against the tide and go back, in case it is too busy at certain points. I went on the opening day, and it wasn’t massively busy, so you should be fine.

Is “Sea Creatures” Child Appropriate?

The short answer is that it depends! If your child is somewhat squeamish and doesn’t like looking at body parts etc, then is won’t be for them. However, if they are mature and are interested in marine biology, then this is for them.

There is very little for children to touch at “Sea Creatures” and so that could be a problem to some. I did notice some stressed parents having to constantly tell their children not to touch things!

However, at the end, there is a small softplay ballpool and facepainter (£5) so there is that. It might be that one adult watches the children in the play area whilst the other looks at the exhibition, and then you swap. There is also a small cafe and shop, should the need arise.

How long will it take?

I took around 30 minutes to go all the way round. However, I was child-free, so I wasn’t having to explain it to anyone! However, a friend of mine went and spent 2 hours going round. As such, you can make it last as long or as short as you want.

Is it value for money?

If you pay full price, then “Sea Creatures” is unlikely to be good value for money, unless you have a particular interest in the field. However, on the “Sea Creatures” website/social media, there are a offers being promoted, and so you should be able to get a good deal.

Top Tip!

The “Sea Creatures” exhibition is at the Harrogate Convention Centre exhibition hall furthest away from the town centre. Therefore, you might want to look at parking at that side of town, rather than in the town. It is a flat walk, but a good 10 minute walk.

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