Be Curious

I never thought that I would be taking my daughter to University so soon. However,  I took Heidi to the University of Leeds “Be Curious” event, celebrating British Science Week.

Heidi is extremely fond of all things to do with the human body. She has particular obsessions with X-rays and pretending to be a doctor (with proper stethoscope!). As such, this event seemed like an interesting one for us, especially with parts being marketed for families (although not 2 year olds particularly!)

Part of the attraction of the event was to show Heidi what a campus looked like. I also wanted to tell her the story of my graduation through the University of Leeds (2005 – Accounting and Finance, in case you were wondering!) and actually reminisce myself!

Look, I’ve made it to Uni!

First impressions was that the campus had changed/modernised quite a bit. The new, funky multi-story car park was the first port of call (with free parking for the event – such a bonus!). We headed into the Parkinson Building to be greeted with about 10 stands in the main hall, as well as a couple of breakout rooms upstairs. It was busier than what I thought, but not manic. There were lots of fresh faced volunteers willing to help out.

We picked our stands carefully, trying to make sure that there was going to be something relevant for Heidi. We picked up a snakes and ladders game (to be opened on a rainy day), played a matching game with odd socks and then a mock up of a spine was explained to Heidi by a very understanding member of staff.

Lollies always help!

We then went upstairs to the family room, where there was the colouring competition (I won’t hold out much hope!) and the medical equipment, which really excited Heidi. There was a real-life one-to-one demonstration of an ultrasound probe being used on a heart. This really fascinated Heidi given her obsession with all heart related things and seeing the movements of the heart was amazing to her.  She also saw MRI images of the skull and the heart and this was equally amazing for her (and me). The fact that she could make out certain aspects of the image was heart warming (forgive the pun!)

All of the staff were really friendly (and obviously knowledgeable!) and didn’t seem to feel uncomfortable explaining things to a 2 year old. However. I imagine that it was quite strange for them!

We then made our way downstairs to see the rest of the stands. This included tasting food made with Medieval recipes (wasn’t the best!) and look at kinetic energy powering lights.


The main attraction was the 15 seater planetarium which was showing a video about cells. Unfortunately, Heidi freaked out about being in an enclosed space (and was probably tired). As such, we escaped about 2 minutes to allow everyone else to enjoy the film in peace and quiet!

There were bits that we didn’t do because Heidi was too young. This included looking at cells through microscopes, looking at insects using microscopes and having a 3D camera take a picture of your face. However, these looked really quite cool. I hope that they will be there in a couple of years when Heidi is a bit older!

Obviously, with the event being in a University, there isn’t the changing facilities on hand. Maybe some temporary arrangements could have been made, certainly if younger children are attending with older siblings etc.

All in all, it was a lovely couple of hours stretching Heidi’s imagination and knowledge, whilst also going down memory lane! Hope the event is on again next year!

Continue reading Be Curious


We have long since been a huge fan of Baby Rave North (see one of my very early posts here). For the first time after the rebrand, we went to a Boomchikkaboom class. This time for a Preschool Workshop, called “Around the World”.

Hosted at the wonderful Mumspace at Mothercare, Crown Point in Leeds, we made our way in the lift to the private room. For once, we got our timings right so I wasn’t emotionally blackmailed to buy the entire stock of the Early Learning Centre upstairs!

As everyone made their way in, the toddlers ran about. They turned a perfectly set out room into a complete mess! However, they tidied up well (why don’t they do that at home!) and soon we were underway.

I have to be honest, I didn’t know what to expect before it started. The “traditional” Baby Raves are brilliant but they are clearly for the younger end. However, knowing the guys behind Baby Rave/Boomchikkaboom, it was always going to be good. And it was.

The children are encouraged to act their way through a story. In our case, it was going on an adventure to a number of different countries. They were encouraged to do some of the things associated with each country. This included pretending to pack a suitcase, going on an aeroplane and eating some local foods. My particular favourite was the “baby massage”. This meant that I could actually keep Heidi in one place and feel like I was getting involved!!

Using the parachute as a tent

Having always been really hands-on helping Heidi through her activities, this is a perfect opportunity to let go a little bit and so she can be more independent. However, I do feel like a bit of a spare part at times, and a little sad that I am not needed quite as much!! I can’t imagine what I’ll be like when she goes to school!

It is certainly more “grown-up” than a Baby Rave. Whilst the shakers and pom-poms are still used, there weren’t any nursery rhymes and the music was used less as the children acted out the scenes.

To get the most out of it, your child needs to be good on their feet as there is a lot of running/movement and want to be creative with their mind. I think that anything from 2 to 5 years of age would be ideal to be honest.  As a result, make sure whichever event you book is age appropriate for your child.

All in all, the Boomchikkaboom class lasted 45 minutes and included the famous parachute and foam! It was really good fun and now I’m trying to work out the next time I can go to a Boomchikkaboom class.

If you have never been to one before, just give it a try. They are completely different to everything else that is out there, from new borns upwards, and really uplifting and energising.  You will be hooked on them, like we are!

Is this the largest parachute in Leeds?!

PS You may wonder why all the photos are of foam and parachutes, it was because I was either having too much fun watching/taking part or Heidi was moving around too quickly for a decent picture!

You WILL have this foam blown in your face!

Continue reading Boomchikkaboom

Rainbow Factory – 4/3/2016

We were invited to attend the “launch” of the new Rainbow Factory theme – Space. With Tim Peake currently on the ISS, this seemed like a perfect time to do it, and of course, RF did it expertly well. Some would say that it was “Out of this world”, but I would never go down the route of a pun filled review…!!

Having said that, the staff are absolute stars (ok, I will stop now!) and as always, they make the day there oh so enjoyable. They are always willing to help the little ones and seem to know what they can and can’t do, whilst stretching them a little bit. They seem to be masters of all things creative, which is somewhat disheartening, seeing how easy they make it!

Anyway, I have done a number of reviews here (Valentines Day event) here (Christmas show) and here (“regular” visit) and so feel free to read my thoughts there. As a result, I thought that I would try my hand and be a little creative, getting inspired from RF…

So we arrived
for a tour about space,
I was so sure
that it would be really ace.

Jordan took us round.
A small group of 5.
The children were so happy,
enthusiastic and alive!

Start of the tour

We learnt about the planets,
the moons and the stars.
We learnt that to space travel
we needed rockets, not cars!

More learning…

After reading the book,
we finished the tour
We headed to the creative kitchen
after knocking on the door.

Now a bit creative…

There we were given sticking
and colouring to do
With plenty of colours
including yellow, pink and blue.


Kirsty helped us make
a beautiful, colourful rocket.
It was far too big
to put in our pocket!


Bryony and Claire helped
to put on a show.
Even the excited little ones
had a very good go


Games and dressing up carried on
throughout the afternoon.
We didn’t want to go home
at all very soon.


As the clock approached 4
we knew we had to depart.
Happy for the emotions
we had in our heart.

More action on stage

For now Heidi is asleep,
dreaming all about her day.
She would be back tomorrow
if I let her have her way!

Until next time….!!

Rainbow Factory – Romeo Romeo


Is the Rainbow Factory the coolest place in Leeds to go with young children?!

It must be pretty close, given that they can be creative, learn and be independent whilst having excellent “teaching” by staff, with not a soft play area in sight!

On Valentines’ Day, we headed over to the Rainbow Factory for their Romeo Romeo event, not quite sure what exactly to expect. Rainbow Factory are doing more and more “events” now and this was the first one we had been to (apart from the Christmas Show review here).

We got there in good time as the cafe area filled up with about 30 children and parents before being let into the stage area for the introduction show. The show was short and sweet which meant that the children stayed still and watched before the audience was divided into 4 groups – with each group doing a different activity for 20 minutes or so before rotating round.

Getting on stage

A quick look round showed that there was 8 or 9 in our group, and Heidi (aged 2 ½) was the youngest, probably by a couple of years. This coupled with the fact that she didn’t have a morning nap sent a shiver down my spine……would MY child be the one to ruin it for the others?!

Fortunately, that wasn’t the case, because of the excellent way that the afternoon was planned out. Each group spent just the right time on the different activities, all of which were completely different, testing and stretching all of the children, be they 2 or 10. The activities included arts, drama, singing/songwriting and the good old fashioned Rainbow Factory tour (with a slight twist).

Part of the action..

Obviously there were things that Heidi couldn’t do and was a bit shy of doing, but the staff were great at involving her at the right level, without (hopefully!) distracting the older children. To say that the session lasted 2 full/intense hours, all of the children seemed to cope really well, although I think some of the parents were flagging towards the end!

Crafts with a 2 year old is always a challenge and Heidi loved the drama and games, even though she didn’t quite understand the concept of a few of the games!! To my surprise, the songwriting was a bit of a success and seeing her reaction to having her song played on stage was a sight to see. The tour is always excellent, in part because the leader is always enthusiastic and keeps it going at the right pace, even if little hands want to touch the displays!

Singing on stage…

One of the good things, which might sound like a little thing is that there was a box for the arts/crafts that were made during the day to keep them safe and so you didn’t have to carry them all afternoon. However, as we had just (unexpectedly) started potty training that weekend, there isn’t a potty in the baby changing toilets – and I have never looked for a potty in a toilet previously (I can feel another blog post coming on…!)

Every visit to the Rainbow Factory is different, which is why I feel as though I have to write up every visit (another visit here!)  With a toddler, you know that somewhere is good when they get excited to go and they don’t want to leave. This is the case with us and the Rainbow Factory and I can’t wait for Heidi to be older and be able to appreciate it at a different level and learn more and different things. I just need to find some time off during the week to take her when it it quieter!


#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots

Breakfast with Santa – 13/12/2015

With Heidi about 2 1/2 years old, this has been the first year where we have tried to get her “into” Christmas. Previous years, it has gone over her head completely, but this year has been different.

Heidi has been taken to many Santas this year just to build her up and to make her feel comfortable with the Big Man! This has meant that she has started to understand that Santa is and in fact, it is a special occasion at a special time of year.

The Santas who we have seen have been your traditional grottos in the usual places (garden centres etc) and there is nothing wrong with that at all – you know what to expect!

However, Baby Rave/The Grotto, Leeds have done something a little different – Breakfast with Santa! Hosted in the ground floor of the Corn Exchange in Leeds, we headed down on a Sunday morning for our pre-booked session (pre-booking is highly recommended!)

If you have never been into Leeds City Centre, sometimes it isn’t the best for parking, particularly down that end and so we got the train (aka Polar Express/Northern Rail!) and did a 10 minute walk. (There are loads of bus stops nearby as well!)


Upon finding where breakfast was being served, there was a really simple but clever thing – a mini bouncy castle, just so that the little ones could burn off some energy and kill a few minutes without stressing out their parents!

Anyway, the breakfast was a very intimate session, as there was only 10 children and so it was nice for the children to get close but not being put on the spot with a one-to-one conversation but the kids could strike up a chat if they wanted to. The looks on the children’s faces was priceless when they saw Santa coming into the room!

As there was only 10 children in the room, it really did feel special and heart-warming and nothing felt rushed, nothing felt forced and it just flowed right (and no child had a tantrum!)

After 15-20 minutes of being sat with Santa during story time, there was an opportunity for photos with Santa and any combination of parents/children you want! Photos were uploaded onto Facebook and they were brilliant quality! (as always!)

I should actually mention the breakfast itself…the breakfast is only for the children! Also, we found that food was the last thing on Heidi’s mind – after all, she was a yard away from Santa!!! It might be an idea for the little ones not to arrive on an empty stomach as they might not feel like eating!

As Santa was finishing off his hundreds of individual photos, a side room was opened for the kids to run and play with toys etc with the usual Baby Rave vibes/music!

Once everyone had done their photos, Santa came back into the room for some dancing, bubbles and “snow”!! This worked absolutely perfectly for Heidi and will do for similar aged children as if they had to spend longer eating with Santa, they would have got bored and the edge would have been taken off it, but by having the opportunity to run, play and dance, it broke it up nicely.


A couple of things:
1) in the break out rooms, the lights are dark and changing, therefore difficult to take a good photo (I have never taken a good photo at a Baby Rave event!) As a result, the best photos are in the breakfast room!

2) there is no gift. For some this might be an issue, but the gift is a child who has just had a wonderful experience! (as well as a breakfast!)

3) all in all, it lasted about 45 minutes, just about right!

It was such a wonderful experience and in future years, this will probably be the only Santa that she gets to see, as it was so good and so special – next year it will be quality as opposed to quantity and this was of the highest quality!

It would be wrong of me to fail to mention that there is a whole host of other Christmas activities going on at the Corn Exchange, from traditional grottos, to Elsa/Spiderman workshops – which sound really cool and will be explored next year (I am probably too old for the Spiderman one!) Probably the best place to find out is to Facebook “The Grotto, Leeds”

Merry Christmas!

The Shoemakers Christmas Wish – 9/12/2015



Full Disclosure – The entry for me and Heidi was free and part of a preview performance

Full Disclosure 2 – I have no idea about performing arts, the stage, or anything vaguely creative! I am a bloke! Therefore, if you’re expecting a detailed account of the stage management and posture of the performers, you will be sadly disappointed…

I watched the show through the eyes of a child, in part, because I am one myself…

xmas shoemaker and elf. Copyright C Johnston Photography

So having been to the Rainbow Factory a couple of times (see here for a previous review) we were invited to a performance of the Shoemakers Christmas Wish.  While the review won’t give a detailed account of the story or how the story is acted out (because that would spoil things!) it will hopefully give you the warm fuzzy feeling that the Rainbow Factory is still producing magical memories and will hopefully do so for a long time to come.


So, there was an audience of around 20 children, aged from 2 to 9-ish and the famous Rainbow Factory beanbags were at the front for the kids to sit on, with the adults having grown-up seats at the back. Some kind of magical spell must have been put over the children as they were all seated quietly and still for the start of the show…

…and they stayed that way…

The show was so entertaining and captivating that the children were transfixed on the performers and the story that they were communicating – through song, music, actions and Elf-speak! I was laid at the front as I knew Heidi was only 2 seconds away from joining in on stage, and the look of happiness, concentration and joy on the children’s faces was such a sight. It must have given the performers such a thrill to see the audience transfixed on their every movement and action.

Don’t forget, children are not good fibbers  – they will tell you if something was boring, or if they didn’t like something.

But none of them did.

At this point I must apologise of Heidi’s over-enthusiasm to those who were there… She was into the performance so much, she wanted to join in on stage, and didn’t want me anywhere near her to act as crowd control! Mild embarrassment followed, but it was fine – it was simply the fact that she was stimulated, perhaps overstimulated (!) by the magical performance.

By the looks of it Heidi was the youngest there (aged 2 ½) and so if you are to see the show (or any show) with a child of a similar age, perhaps a little toy in the nappy bag could come in useful to aid concentration! However, the magic of the Rainbow Factory meant that a new friend was there for Heidi to share a rubber duck and a shaker between the pair of them for the last 10 minutes of the show!

I realise that I have not mentioned the actual play, as I don’t want to spoil anything, but the 2 performers were amazing. To carry a 40 minute play involving songs, costume changes, musical instruments and comedy with just 2 people and no pre-recorded action/music was amazing. I have so much respect for stage performers anyway, as it is something that I could never do due to a) a lack of skill and b) a lack of confidence, but they had both in abundance.

The quality of the show was that it would not look out of place at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, but then again, it would not have been as intimate and certainly would not have given the audience both young and not so young, a warm, fuzzy feeling of happiness.  The Playhouse certainly doesn’t have a tree in its seating area, which turned out to be a brilliant prop!!

As with most children’s shows, it does work at two levels and this certainly did and the uncontrollable laughing by the children (again, which cannot be faked!!) shows that the children appreciated the jokes aimed for them!

The huge round of applause at the end of the show was well deserved and the fact that so many of the Rainbow Factory team were there to watch was so wonderful to see as well. The stimulating effect of the show meant that afterwards, most of the children were running around and playing and generally being like children should be, even though it was past 7pm! Also, we took the opportunity to look at the decorative scenes again, which are truly amazing!

In true Rainbow Factory fashion, the show has 2 big thumbs up from us (fine motor skills allowing!) but now the main problem is how does the Rainbow Factory top this for next year……?!

xmas funny. Copyright C Johnston Photography

xmas stocking. Copyright C Johnston Photography

Xmas show. Copyright C Johnston Photography.

xmas secret. Copyright C Johnston Photography

The performers were Emily Goldie (the Elf) @EmilyGoldie1 and Jennifer Carss (the Shoemaker) @JenniferCarss   who also devised the original performance (amazing!)

The pictures were courtesy of C Johnson Photography @cjohnstonphoty  (apart from the amateur one of the stage because that was my effort!)

The good people at the Rainbow Factory can be found at:

as well as in Farsley!


Gravity – Xscape

A Thursday in Daddy-Daughter week (aka Daddy as a week off work!) brought us to Gravity at the Xscape Shopping Centre in Glasshoughton. It is a bit more of a shopping centre as there are the usual out of town shops, but also a leisure section with a cinema, indoor crazy golf (going to that next time!) a ski slope, as well as Gravity, which is a trampolining centre.

We went on a Thursday morning to the Toddler session. There was about 12-15 pre-school children there, but it didn’t feel squashed at all. However, you you need quite a bit of space! They advise you to arrive 20 minutes before the start of the session. This is really good advice as you have to fill out a waiver form on a terminal (not easy with a toddler!). You then go and pay (or register if you have purchased online) and then get your funky orange socks on in the changing rooms!


The changing rooms are basic, because they don’t need to be anything else really. If you want to get changed, there are small cubicles. However, I am not sure if you could cope with a toddler in there.  There are lockers (free to use) with a digilock which means you don’t have to worry about losing the key!

One word of warning, it does get hot and it is energetic. As such, dress you and your child appropriately! Dress as if you are going to the gym and you won’t go far wrong. Also,  take lots of juice for after for the big and little ones!

So, having got ready, what else is there to say….?! The session is an hour long (which is just right!) and it is basically free-play on the trampolines. There are a few props including dressing up clothes, a parachute and balls which varied it up a bit. All in all, it was a good way to get everyone some exercise without going to a playgym.

You might be reading this and thinking how can an hour jumping on a trampoline be fun. However, if you like your exercise and want to go back to your youth a little, then it is a perfect (and different) way to spend an hour. The atmosphere is good as it is dark with neon lights and loud, upbeat music (think Baby Rave North) and the time just flies. We had a drink break half way through (Heidi is 2 ½ years old). This gave us both a chance to get our breath before starting again!

There are separate under 5 trampolines for during normal times but if you can get to a toddler session, do it as the small trampolines are probably not big enough for active legs. They do say they during non-toddler sessions, under 5’s can go in the main area and “mix” with the adults. However, I’m not entirely sure that would be a good idea but then again, I haven’t been to a “normal” session.

There aren’t mainly places where you take your toddler and you actually want to go without them next time. However, Gravity is one of those places and we will be coming back again soon!

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

“Like” me on Facebook (it will make me happy!!)

“Follow” me on Twitter @leedsdad

Email me at: [email protected]

Go onto my website:

Rainbow Factory (7/10/2015)



The brilliant attitude and enthusiasm of the staff at the Rainbow Factory make this a brilliant venue and one that we will be sure to visit again in the near future.

We attended on a wet October Wednesday, when it was quite quiet (only 5 children were in) but we were made to feel so special by the staff and it made the day so much more enjoyable.

I booked tickets online, which turned out to be a mistake as you don’t need to on a weekday and as I hadn’t printed the receipt out, I was left relying on a dodgy 3G signal to get the email! (Inside, there is free WiFi). The venue is in a commercial park in Farsley and while the park is easy to find using Sat Nav, you can be wondering round a little to find the actual “Factory”, even though it is well signed when you get to the correct side of the park (the park isn’t too big anyway – and there is enough free parking.

Upon entry, you get a “tour guide” who gives and introductory chat and story and then takes you through the factory, which is about 8 small pieces of artwork/sculptures which has a story behind them, which the tour guide will explain to the little ones. It seems to be dependent on the volume of visitors as to how many is in your group, but we had 2 others at the same age to H, which was perfect.

The stories behind the artwork are based on a theme, which comes from a story which was read to the group before we entered the factory, but all relate to children’s stories (Pinocchio, 3 Billy Goats etc). The tour guide specifically talks to the children and this gets the children’s attention and enthusiasm and allows the parents to make sure that their child is listening and not destroying the sets!!! This lasts about 40 minutes, which is just about perfect and I guess that if the children are a bit older and can concentrate a bit longer, the theme can be developed further.

After the tour, the group is left to do some led artwork before being let free to the stage, dressing up clothes, books and beanbags! The children had a lovely time playing dress-up, using their imagination and making new friends. Overlooking this area is the cafe, which is reasonably priced (kids lunchbox, adult sandwich and bottle of pop was £8) and tasted nice!. Toilets are nearby, and these were clean and well suited for nappy changing etc.

However, once everyone who was in the factory had completed the tour, the staff put on a little 5 minute show of Little Red Riding Hood which was lovely, but even better was when they got a couple of the children to act it out! As it was pre-schoolers/toddlers, the staff had to help a fair bit, but they were brilliant in knowing what the kids could and couldn’t do!

After a while, there was another activity about colours, which was interactive and made sure the children learnt as well as being entertained. However, the lovely part was when a staff member offered to read a story to a couple of the children, seemingly out of the blue. It might sound like a small thing, but by doing that, it made the children feel important and special, and allowed them to learn a little bit more, not only about the book, but also about learning to sit and listen to a “teacher”, which is a difficult skill at this age!!! Also, they actually spoke about to me about H and how old she was, whether she went to nursery etc, (and it seemed like genuine interest!) which is quite rare in most places!. Also, as we said our goodbyes, we were made to feel special by the members of staff who personally said bye, and had a chat with us!

(I just wish that I had remembered the names of the staff to personally thank them!!)

All in all, we spent 3 and a bit hours there and it was well worth the £4 each admission fee (£8 for 3+ aged children). The themes change each month and so there is probably little point going back more than once a month, but it is a wonderful little place which we will be returning to on a regular basis!

Post write-up note: There is also a Secret Garden which is only accessible if you bring good weather with you, but as it was raining, it was closed off so there is something else to explore next time!

#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots

Stockeld Park

Stockeld Park has been a favourite of ours, ever since we had our first visit in 2015, when Heidi was just 2. Whilst we go about twice a year, and very little changes, it is always a highlight of the school holiday when we go.  The sad fact is before having a child, I had never even heard about it. However, it is possibly the most famous thing about Wetherby, passing the Whaler and the racecourse!


Finding Stockeld Park is quite easy although if using Sat Nav, make sure the correct postcode is used. Using the wrong one takes you to a field! There is plenty of free parking and most of the park is flat and easy to walk around (there is a lot of walking!)

When you get into Stockeld Park, it is easy to be a bit underwhelmed. Panic not! There are lots of things hidden away and that is the beauty of this place. You could probably go 5 times and still notice different things.

The Maze

We usually start off in the maze and the idea is to find 6 little attractions/toys and then find the main attraction which leads you to an exit/freedom!

Find this and you’ve almost escaped!

I am not sure if it is cheating but it is an idea to take a photo of the map on your phone to help. If you have a younger child, you might want to make sure you don’t spend too much time in there. The 2-year-old Heidi  loved the little ornaments and toys, whereas the 6 year old Heidi loves to explore the maze.

The maze takes about 30 minutes and after we usually have a picnic lunch on the main lawn. The lawn is huge and would never get full. On here, there are a few footballs and toys for the older ones to burn a bit of energy. This is actually a really nice touch and the fact that you can bring picnics in helps to manage costs a little.

Playground and other activities

Next to the maze is the farm themed playground, which was just the right size for kids up to about 8. The rides are really well made out of wood and was something a little bit different to the ones you normally see. The slides are a bit quick, although not massive, so be careful!

Also on the main lawn is an air cushion, bouncy castle slide and go kart bikes. This was the only place we encountered queues, even in the middle of the school holidays.  The air cushion is ideal if you have a toddler and it might be an idea for a grown-up to go on as well, especially if the rest of the kids are a bit older. A word of “warning” you can feel as though you are still on there hours after leaving the park!!!

Full of smiles!

The bouncy slide is a bit imposing for me and Heidi and is definitely not one for grown-ups!! The go karts tend to have a queue but it is good fun, especially as there are a few “double” bikes to go on. 


When we were doing nappy changing, the facilities were excellent and clean. I did only see 2 changing rooms, but I think there was another in the ladies toilet. Also inside, is a cafe and some indoor softplay activities including a smaller air cushion and a playhouse. This is the only part of Stockeld Park that is indoor and so in wet weather, it will be very busy!

Enchanted Forest

At this point, you probably think that you have seen everything and going into the Enchanted Forest is a bit of a throw-in.  However, this is the star attraction, hidden away within the trees (obviously!). It is about a 2 mile walk with numerous small, quirky attractions. Some are operated by button, others by sensor! There is an influence of music/songs in the attractions, so much so that on the last one, Heidi wanted a “song please” after pressing the button!

Enjoying the spider themed playground

Along the walk are about 6 playgrounds, just in the off chance that the kids have any more energy to burn!! A couple were a bit too big for Heidi when she was 2, but the rest were perfect. The the 6 year old Heidi is suitable for all of them and loves the spider-themed playground towards the end. There is more than enough space for everyone and we spend a good hour and a half going through the forest and it is always was the highlight of the day.

On the original blog post back in 2015, I said that we didn’t do the roller skating (ice skating is on in the winter). Well, roller skating is a main attraction for us now. Heidi struggles massively with it, but gives it a good go! The equipment is free to borrow and non skaters are encouraged to go on in order to help those skating!

Loving the roller skating!!

We still haven’t done the segway scooters, which take you round the inside edge of the Enchanted Forest. For the scooters, the little ones had to be at least 4 to go on with an adult. However, Heidi isn’t really interested in this still. There is a charge for this activity.

Hints and Tips

All in all a brilliant, yet tiring day out. A few tips to help you if you’re planning on going to Stockeld Park:

  • pick a good day weather wise. While there are indoor activities, most of it is outdoor and you want to be able to enjoy it.
  • drink plenty and wear good shoes. There is a lot of walking and while it is flat, you need to be comfortable.
  • avoid the school holiday weekends if possible. While it didn’t feel crowded at all, obviously it is best to go when it is quieter.

All in all, Stockeld Park is a fab day out and one that Heidi requests virtually every school holiday. Stockeld Park do themed Halloween and Christmas events and so it will be good to see what they look like (weather dependant!)

Continue reading Stockeld Park

Baby Rave North

The usual weekend preview is to follow, but tomorrow is an event that I wish that I could go to with H and that is “Rave in the Park” in Charlie Cake, Armley, Leeds, LS12 3RP, held by Baby Rave North ( – Facebook/Twitter as well) at 10.30am and 1pm. The event is free and the weather looks to be set fair so there is no excuse not to go…

As my colleagues at work can attest, I am a fully fledged Baby Raver with H.  We have been to about 6 events in various locations and while it sounds a bit strange, the concept really works.

If you have never been, it is an upbeat baby/toddler session to upbeat songs and adults and toddlers are encouraged to dance and sing along. While some of the songs are classic nursery rhymes, some are call and response which is good fun, and the best part of it (for the kids at least) is the environment in which is is held. The room is dark with bright disco lights and this creates sensory overload for the youngsters (clearly not applicable for the outdoor event!) One problem with the dark room and bright lights is that is is a nightmare for taking decent photos!!


You are best advised to book ahead and the session lasts for just under an hour, which is a good length of time for the little ones. When I took H for the first time, she was so exhausted afterwards, she slept for 3 hours straight in the middle of the day, which shows how it stimulates the kids.

As I said, we have been to about 6 events, a few have been held in Mothercare at the Crown Point Shopping Centre, which is an ideal location, but the best one was a free Hip Hop event held in November time at Leeds City Museum. As it was a Saturday afternoon, we took the grandparents down as well to see the event and they loved it too, and by doing that, it gave them the confidence to go to these types of things if H wanted to go at a time when I couldn’t go. Also, by Leeds City Museum opening their doors at the event, we have found it to be a hidden gem in the city (more on a future blog post!). There are numerous different events from the mini-baby raves to the Christmas raves and the themes of the raves seem to change quite often, which keeps things fresh.

Sometimes when you go to these events, you wonder if the little ones actually enjoy it and for Baby Rave, I certainly know that H loves it. I know this because whenever she sees her disco ball, she tries to put it on (NOT advisable for kids to play with plugs!) and wants the lights turning off so we can have a DIY baby rave while she dances around. Granted, it is nowhere near as good as the real thing, but what can you do?!

Anyway, put Baby Rave North on your to-do list, regardless if you have a 3 month old or a 3 year old – you won’t regret it!!

I say Boom-chic-a-boom…..