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!

Levels

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.

Clothing

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!

Safety

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!

Toilets

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!

Staff

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!

Continue reading Go Ape Temple Newsam

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.

Continue reading Jackrabbits Pottery

Escape Hunt – Leeds

As we had our first child free weekend since April, we did something a little different and went to the Escape Hunt in Leeds. We didn’t know what to expect when we booked, but we had such an amazing time!!

The Set Up

Escape Hunt is located in The Light entertainment complex on the third floor where the cinemas are. It is a little bit hidden away but this means the waiting area is very calm and relaxing. As you enter, you’re greeted by a member of staff who will take your details and check you in. Then you are free to relax until your game begins.

Here, there is a mini-bar (which only takes cards) but also in the welcome room are mini games such as Jenga, Connect 4 and Draughts. We found this really relaxing and got us nice and chilled out for was about to come!

Concentrating hard!

The Game

We played “Our Finest Hour” which was set in 1942 Germany. One of the key things with escape rooms is that you shouldn’t give away any secrets. As such, trying to write a blog post is rather difficult! However, I think it’s safe to say that you have to solve all the clues within an hour, to save Britain. As a result, there’s absolutely no pressure at all!!!

Apparently, this is the most difficult game room that Escape Hunt has to offer. Given that there was only 2 of us, this made it even more difficult! I would think that it is best with 3 or 4 people in the room, as any more than this and you’ll probably end up falling out and tripping over each other.

As mentioned, this was our first Escape Hunt room and so we did find it very difficult, especially with just two of us.  However, we did learn how the game works as we went along. The Game Master (Mary) was excellent in providing us proper instructions before we started and so we had a good chance of succeeding.

Part of the game…

Escape Hunt Top Tips!

One issue we did have was that my partner is hard of hearing. As such, I had to use the telephone at all times to receive clues from the Game Master. However, once Mary knew about this, she quickly stopped using a telephone and used the speaker system instead and this really helped. It would be best to let the staff know of any disabilities that your team has, so that they can make necessary arrangements.

The Game Master phones through on this

Also, if you’re thinking about inviting older relatives to a game (hint: Christmas presents!), the game isn’t particularly physically strenuous. As a result, if you can stand for an hour you should be able to play the game relatively easily. Once you are enclosed in the room, it didn’t feel that you were trapped at any time. This is especially true as you were in regular contact with the Game Master.

Child Appropriate?

Escape Hunt is targeted for groups of adults as well as for children over the age of 10. This feels just about right. Children younger than 10 would probably lack the concentration and would probably get frustrated at the number of clues that need to be solved.

If you have to take a child in to Escape Hunt, you need to have enough people in the group to interact and involve for child whilst trying to complete the puzzle. As such, I wouldn’t recommend taking a child under the age of 10. However, the fabulous Noel did say that they had younger children in for a birthday party. They also make a really big effort to open the game up to younger children.

The Outcome

So, how did we get on?! Seeing as though we were playing the hardest game, there’s just two of us and one of those was hard of hearing, I feel so he did remarkably well!!

We managed to do with puzzle in 59 minutes and 30 seconds!! One of the great things about Escape Hunt is that they give you a really good debrief afterwards. They tell you what you did well and what you had difficulties with and so you can feel better about things afterwards.

Success!!

One thing to be aware of is that at the end of the game you are probably emotionally drained.  As a result, reserve judgement until the morning after because you’ll either be on a real high, a real low, or mentally exhausted!

The Verdict

Going to Escape Hunt is a real challenge, both in terms of the game but also for relationships of the people you play with! It is quite eye opening as to how you interact with other people and how you learn. It would be a great team building exercise at work and probably something I will talk to my manager at work about!

For a child free evening, Escape Hunt provides something really, really different to anything else out there. Another good thing is the fact it is in Leeds City Centre so you can carry on your evening afterwards. I really hope that we could go back again at some point to play the other games!

Escape Hunt

IMPORTANT! We played the Escape Hunt room free of charge for the purposes of this blog post. However, no attempts have been made to influence this post.

Continue reading Escape Hunt – Leeds

Leeds Golf Centre

I was invited to Leeds Golf Centre in North Leeds to check out their facilities, especially their signature course, Wike Ridge. This was one time when I was “Matthew” and not “dad” and as weird as it sounds, it was a nice change. Anyway, less about me and more about Leeds Golf Centre!

Wike Ridge

The signature course is a fully-fledged championship standard course, ranging from 5472 yards to 6535 yards, depending on tee choice. As a result, it isn’t for complete novices!!

The course is of very high quality, with smooth quick greens and well presented fairways. As you can see, the bunkers are of decent condition (including rake!) which makes you feel as though you’re a professional!

This certainly isn’t a “standard” course with the water hazards and amazing views over North Leeds and the views and walk was almost as good as the course itself!

My personal favourite hole was the 9th. Mainly because it was the hole I got a par on!! Although it is a par 4, you can almost drive the green. I landed the tee shot into the greenside bunker before getting out and two-putting. I felt like I won a title!

What a view!

This was the first time I had played since being a dad (5+ years!) and so the length of the course does take it out of you. As a result, don’t be afraid to call it a day early before it stops being fun!!

One note is that it can be difficult to find the next tee, but the best way is to follow the gravel track following the fairway round. However, after the 1st green, you need to double back on you to the right to get to the 2nd tee!

The facilities

When you enter the Leeds Golf Centre complex, there is a decent sized free car park, and you walk round the back to check-in at the golf shop. Here you can rent a set of clubs, trolley or even a buggy (maybe next time!).

You can buy golf balls and tees too!

Within the clubhouse are changing rooms, a restaurant serving snacks, drinks and meals, as well as toilets. Yes, I am that person who takes pictures of the toilets!

There is also a cafe and toilet at the end of the 9th hole of the Wike Ridge course. Please note that this is the only toilet on the course.

The dress code

This is one thing that can cause issues, especially for newbies to golf courses. There is a specific page on the Leeds Golf Centre website about the dress code and the fact that they are relaxed about things. This is such a good thing! For the Wike Ridge course, they only ask that you don’t wear jeans or tracksuit bottoms, as well as a polo collared shirt.

For the rest of the facilities, there is no dress code at all. Result!

The other activities

As well as the Wike Ridge course, there are other facilities at Leeds Golf Centre to entertain. If a full course isn’t for you and/or you want to bring your child along, the 12 hole, par 3 “The Oaks” course would be ideal for you. There is also the increasingly popular Footgolf, where there are 6 specially designed holes from 39 to 90 yards long. This would be ideal to bring a teenage son who had little interest in golf!

All in all, Leeds Golf Centre has loads on offer, even if you’re not a proficient golfer. The course was busy on a Sunday morning, so make sure you pre-book online. If you’re a solo player, it can be slow at times, but the other players were very good in allowing me to play through.

Will I be back? Absolutely! I had forgotten how good the game was and I felt like my own person as opposed to being “dad” for a few hours. I just need to find my golf balls in all the trees!!

Full disclosure: I received a free round for the purposes of this blog post. This was provided by www.onlinegolf.co.uk who also send me some merchandise, including some golf balls. They had no editing influence on this post.

Look at my balls!
From onlinegolf.co.uk

Continue reading Leeds Golf Centre

Wallace and Gromit Trail

When can you go to a shopping centre, have a great time and not go in any shops or spend any money?! Well, the White Rose Shopping Centre has you covered this summer with a Wallace and Gromit sculpture trail throughout the centre.

UPDATE: This event has finished!

20180722_151016.jpg

For only £2, you can buy a map from Customer Services and the map shows you exactly where the Wallace and Gromit characters are. Also, Customer Services have a limited range of merchandise. The merchandise is hidden away a bit on the counter so the little ones don’t realise that they are there!!

20180722_151108.jpg

All the proceeds from the sales of the maps and merchandise go to the Wallace and Gromit Grand Appeal charity.

20180722_150937.jpg

There is nothing majorly complex about the trail, but you will need a map for 2 of the sculptures. This is because they aren’t in the main of the shopping centre, but I’m not going to give any clues!!

20180722_151138.jpg

The Wallace and Gromit trail is a nice bit of light hearted entertainment as you walk around the shopping centre. I’m sure that it will make the kids walk quicker, knowing that there is something to find just ahead.

20180722_151209.jpg

If you were to do the trail without looking in any of the shops it will probably take you about half an hour. However, I guess that it depends on how quickly you walk. Also, it depends on how easily you find the 2 which are hidden away a little.

20180722_151358.jpg

I know how much effort goes into these events, given that I helped put together the Herd of Sheffield sculpture trail. As such, please remember that it is for charity and support it as much as you can! You can read about the Herd of Sheffield event here.

20180722_151304.jpg

If you feel a little hungry after all the Wallace and Gromit hunting, there are loads of places to eat. One of the restaurants is Wagamamas and you can read about how child friendly it is here.

Continue reading Wallace and Gromit Trail

Junior Kitchen – Morley, Leeds

A last minute Heidi Sunday with snow in the air took us to Junior Kitchen in Morley for an impromptu cupcake session. I had been tipped off about Junior Kitchen from a school mum and with the weather looking dodgy, I booked on early in the morning for an afternoon session.

Junior Kitchen

The one thing that struck me as we were in was how fresh, modern and clean the facilities looked. It was bright and funky and just a nice atmosphere to spend time with your child.

Junior Kitchen

Whilst Junior Kitchen do lots of different classes for all sorts of age ranges, we did the cupcake decorating session. The session was £15 (per child!) and lasted around 75 minutes.

20180304_151225.jpg

To start with, we were given set designs to follow, but as we all started to get used to the icing and get a bit more confident, we were given free play to design cupcakes and towards the end, we got butter cream icing to design a few more cupcakes!

20180304_144527.jpg

All in all, we got to decorate 14 cupcakes and so you can see, it was tremendous value for money! (Just make sure you have space for the food you bring home!)

Junior KitchenJunior Kitchen

Talking to one of the teachers afterwards, they do tailor the session for the age range of the children. However, with parental support, you could take a 3 year old to this with no problem. I would say that there is no upper age range as the adults were having just as much fun as the children! The staff are super friendly so if you’re unsure, just ask before you book on.

20180304_144451.jpg
The box was completely filled at the end!!

As you can see, we had a brilliant time and as the session also included complimentary tea/coffee/juice, they have really thought of everything.

There is bound to be something for everyone at some point, given the number of different sessions on offer.  I’m sure we will be back to experience more!


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

“Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/leedsdad (it will make me happy!!)

“Follow” me on Twitter @leedsdad

Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com

Wagamama – White Rose Shopping Centre

We were invited along to Wagamama at the White Rose Shopping Centre, Leeds, to taste some of their new menu and write about my experience in eating there with a 4 year old!!

The restaurant is open plan and so there are lots of things for the little ones to watch before the food arrives. This, coupled with the free (and fast) Wi-fi throughout the White Rose Centre and the children’s placemat and crayons mean that it shouldn’t be difficult to keep the children entertained before or after eating, which is always a problem!!

 

In terms of the children’s menu, there are no starters on the menu. However, from the adult menu, the pork ribs went down quite well, as they are tangy rather than spicy.

20171215_171518.jpg
Pork Ribs in Korean barbecue sauce

We also went for the wok friend greens starter and these were very juicy and refreshing. However, there are a couple of parts which have a soy sauce taste and so you might need to be careful.

20171215_171236.jpg
Wok Fried Greens (broccoli and bok choi)

However, the children don’t really need a starter as their main course is HUGE!!! We shared a chicken noodles meal and a cod balls meal between us and we struggled to finish them!

20171215_173321.jpg
soba noodles with grilled chicken with carrots, sweetcorn, cucumber and amai sauce

There were no overpowering flavours, which is ideal for a young palette. However, the fish cod meal came with a side of curry sauce, which meant that you could spice it up if you wanted. Also, you could experiment, which is the perfect thing about going to somewhere a bit more adventurous for the little ones.

20171215_173917.jpg
Cod cubes in crispy panko breadcrumbs with sticky white rice, sweetcorn, carrots and cucumber

Both meals came with large portions of vegetables and they were fresh, crisp and juicy. However, sweetcorn is very difficult to eat with chopsticks!! The rice was surprisingly a bit easier to eat.

However, the little ones have an advantage as Wagamama’s provide child-friendly chopsticks which can be customised into characters. There are additional points if you find a more creative name than my lame attempts of “Snappy” and “Choppy”!! There is traditional cutlery available as well, both for adults and children!

20171215_165403.jpg
Practising with traditional chopsticks!

Somehow we found room for dessert, and I couldn’t get near the children’s ice cream, so it must have been very good! The chocolate layer cake was wonderful – I just wish I had a little bit more room for it!

In terms of other facilities, there are high chairs available and the toilets are individual cubicles. The toilets are decently sized so parent and child can go in together comfortably (major plus for single parents!). We went at 5pm on a Friday and about half of the groups had a child aged under 8. As such, it is somewhere where you can happily take your child and they will have a freshly cooked, healthy meal.

I have to admit that my eyes were opened at how a restaurant famed for its spices could adapt for the younger taste buds. Wagamama did it very well and I’m sure that we would visit again. This is mainly because of the excellent way the staff treat the little ones.


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

“Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/leedsdad (it will make me happy!!)

“Follow” me on Twitter @leedsdad

Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com

Scrooge’s Christmas Carol – Rainbow Factory

“Scrooge’s Christmas Carol” is the Rainbow Factory’s third Christmas Show. We have been privileged enough to see all three and the performances have been outstanding each and every year.

Without giving too much away of the story (after all, adults are meant to enjoy it as well as the kids!) why should you choose to see this show over any of the others in the area?

The performance is accessible to all.

The children sit on cushions on the floor and can move and wiggle as much as they like. No need for binoculars or climb a mountain of stairs to get to your seat. You are so close you can touch the actors and have photos taken afterwards.

It is made for children.

The show is “only” 40 minutes long which means younger children can enjoy it wouldn’t being bribed to stay still/quiet and there is childish humour involved.

It is also for adults.

This performance has more quick witted puns than the previous shows and so you will enjoy it as a show in it’s own right.

It is cheap!

Tickets are only £6 each. With money tight at Christmas, it is so much better value than some of the bigger theatres in the region who seem to charge a small fortune for the Christmas pantomime. (parking is free as well!)

The staff and performers are wonderful, genuine people.

Rainbow Factory is almost our second home and without them, Heidi would not have developed as she has done. The Rainbow Factory is a small, local business and they put so much in so it is only right to support them in whatever way possible.

So what about the actual show – Scrooge’s Christmas Carol? Well, as you would expect, it is fast paced, but probably unlike any version of the story you have seen enacted before, with the use of puppets, songs and various other effects (not wanting to spoil the surprise at the end!)

20171205_181512.jpg

There is a slightly scary part 10 minutes in with a ghost. However, this quickly forgotten about but something just to bear in mind.

However, the most upsetting part was with about 10 minutes to go, Heidi asked if it was nearly the end, because she didn’t want it to end at all!! Only bribery stopped a minor meltdown!!

20171205_184105.jpg

This blog post could best to summarised by Scrooge himself when he said “Christmas is about grabbing as much joy as you possibly can” – and he is correct. As such, one of the best ways of doing that this Christmas is to go and see Scrooge’s Christmas Carol!!

And because you’ve made it so far, here is a sneak peek of the show…

DISCLOSURE: We received 2 tickets for this show, although there was no influence on this post.


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

“Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/leedsdad (it will make me happy!!)

“Follow” me on Twitter @leedsdad

Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com

Odeon Luxe Leeds-Bradford

I was invited to the official opening of the Odeon Luxe Leeds-Bradford to watch “Murder on the Orient Express” in absolute luxury. I did keep more than half an eye as to how the venue would be suitable for a family evening out.

20171108_184856.jpg
View from the back row

The cinema itself is the first Odeon in England to have the “Luxe” treatment, with reclining seats, extending footrests and tables for each seat. One of the benefits of this is the extra legroom meaning that if little ones (or big ones!) have drunk too much, they can get out without the entire row having to stand up to let them out!

One thing we didn’t realise until the end of the film is that the seat arms move up. As such. it is possible to have a family hug in the spacious seats and still get all cosy!

20171108_181221.jpg
Yummy nachos!

The venue is quite isolated in terms of other attractions (there is only a curry house next door). However, there is an excellent snack bar/restaurant on site serving traditional snacks such as nachos, pizzas and hot dogs. Above and below are a few pictures of the food that we were given to sample!

Of course, there are other snacks available including child-focused slushy machines and the cinema favourite, popcorn! I can confirm that it is a challenge to eat a box of popcorn during a film. However. they do taste just as nice the following day!!

20171108_185215.jpg

The facilities are top notch, including the toilets, as the venue has been rebuilt. If you’re still at the stage of taking your children to the toilet, there is plenty of space and more importantly, very clean.

All in all, it is really good to see a national brand invest in the region. The venue really raises the bar in terms of what is expected of the cinema experience and is perfect for an evening night out for all the family.

For more information about what’s on and special offers at the Odeon Luxe, go to: http://www.odeon.co.uk/cinemas/leeds_bradford/103/

Full disclosure: I received 2 tickets to the film/event for the purposes of this review. However, no influence has been made as to the content.


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

“Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/leedsdad (it will make me happy!!)

“Follow” me on Twitter @leedsdad

Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com

Hotel Chocolat – Children’s Workshop

We were invited to attend the Hotel Chocolat “School of Chocolate”. This is a children’s workshop to show them all about how chocolate is made, why it tastes and looks a certain way, as well as have a lot of fun at the same time!

20171014_101846.jpg

Hosted by the fabulously child-friendly Dan and Sam, we were guided upstairs. After a hand-wash (good start!) the children were sat around a table and the adults had their drink orders taken and let Dan and Sam take over!!

20171014_104111.jpg
You HAVE to have a hot chocolate at Hotel Chocolat!

The Chocolate

The children were asked about how chocolate was made. I think it’s safe to say that the adults learnt just as much as the children! Then the taste testing began, with buttons of various kinds of chocolate being passed around. With Hotel Chocolat being Hotel Chocolat, all of the chocolate was amazing (adults were jealously looking on at this point!)

After half an hour, the sugar was really kicking in and the children were led downstairs to look at the conch (who knew!) and how the beans were cooked and then the chocolate made. Then, they were up close watching how the tempering process took place. However,the children were genuinely scared that the mix was about to be thrown onto a marble table top!!

The tempering process can be seen below.

It is best if you follow your child down for this bit because, well, would you leave a child in a sweet shop?!?! Seriously, they are looked after well but the adults get as much out of it as the children!

Going back upstairs, the really hands-on part came, with decorating a slab of chocolate and a chocolate lolly. This is the part where adults get involved a bit, depending on the age of the child, but remember the chocolate is for the children and not the adults!!

20171014_111041.jpg

After that, the decorations are put in the fridge and the children get to have a warm drink of salted caramel. The drink wasn’t to my taste, but it went down well with the children! They also got to decorate a box for their chocolate slab.

20171014_112104.jpg

After that, it was time to go with our goody bag and into the shop. You get an in-store discount and so it would be rude if you didn’t buy a little something extra!!

Price

As of October 2017, it costs £20 for a place at each workshop. It feels a little steep, you probably get £5 of chocolate to take home, plus a drink and a discount in store. As a result, the course might pay for itself if you are buying Christmas/Easter presents there in bulk!!

Age Range

In terms of age range, they suggest ages 5-12 and that feels about right. The child has to be confident enough in conversation on their own as it is effectively a learning experience. The class size is limited, so it is a special occasion for all concerned.

Talking to Dan and Sam afterwards, they do suggest that it is better to come as a group. This gets a better atmosphere in the session, but if you have a confident child, they will be fine on their own. It did make me think that it could be an ideal birthday party venue. This is especially so if you don’t want to invite too many kids!!

We are extremely lucky to have this in Leeds, as the only other location where Hotel Chocolat is doing this workshop is in London. Fingers crossed it will be a success, and it deserves to be because it is a wonderful one-off experience.

 


To read more of my blog, please feel free to:

“Like” me on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/leedsdad (it will make me happy!!)

“Follow” me on Twitter @leedsdad

Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website: http://www.leedsdad.com