The Garden House, Marple

The Garden House, Lakes Road, Marple, SK6 7DH

A few Sundays ago me and the twins went with Becky and their cousins to The Garden House.

Steven had been on my brother’s stag do in Vegas for the past few days, so I had been trying to keep myself very busy. This place had been on my list for a while so seemed like the perfect time to give it a go. Not quite Vegas but much cheaper  with fewer gamblers and slightly less lunatics.

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It’s free, but run on donations and there are lots of boxes dotted about for you to make a donation, they also have a café which sells tea, cakes and snacks.

My first tip would be to wear wellies, and puddlesuits and that’s just the adults! Also take your pushchair, we walked from the car park down to the farm which meant walking down a very muddy sloped pathway. Walking down was fine, but trying to get two toddlers to walk up hill and not jump in every single muddy puddle proved a little more difficult! When will I learn..

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The farm itself is great, they have a large play area with a slide and swings and a load of free standing plastic stuff, and some bikes. There are a fair few picnic tables dotted about which is good if you bring your own food.

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We spent most of the time in the playarea, licking muddy rain water and jumping in puddles! Of course there are farm animals too, which I are very smelly. I know farms are smelly but this one particularly so, maybe because the pigs are right next to the play stuff.

They have a small enclosed area near the café which has bunny rabbits and you can have a pony ride for a few pounds.

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One ‘highlight’ was a guy dressed up as Peppa pig who came out to say hello and walk around the farm with a helper, sounds ideal, but unfortunately for us this was where it all went wrong. My almost three year old niece and Luke were both petrified, Luke just got hysterical whenever he/she walked by. Martha was devastated and kept shouting that it wasn’t Peppa, why is Peppa so long!! I mean it was hilarious but the worry was they would be put off Peppa for life, which is not good! Luckily this is not the case, but the scary man dressed as Peppa was definitely an imposter we named Ben. Obvs.

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Unfortunately, we had to leave shortly after as the prospect of long imposter Peppa walking passed us again was too much to deal with..this meant we didn’t manage to look at all of the animals and take the woodland walk which is supposed to be worth a butchers.

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All in all, the place is a winner complete with animals, large play area and a café. Peppa wasn’t a hit with us but I am sure there were lots of kids that weren’t so scared. It’s muddy and dirty and very, very smelly but if that dosen’t put you off make the trip. It wasn’t too busy and kept us all entertained.

Play Factore

Trafford Way, Trafford Quays Leisure Village, Manchester, M41 7JA

 

Yep, a soft play review. I think there may be a fair few of these up my sleeve to write about. My best friend, I seriously wouldn’t have survived the past 15 months or so without the help of soft play centres. Play Factore is one we have always meant to visit, but for whatever reason never got around to. We took the plunge last week, Steven joined us which makes life so much easier!!

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Nestled underneath the Chill Factore, (are we supposed to pronounce it ‘Factory’ or ‘Factorr’?!) this place is bloody huge. And expensive. Especially with two 1 year olds and 2 adults, anyway, it really is impressive when you first walk in. Funnily enough it is based on a factory, who would’ve thought it? So it’s all grey and mechanical themed. Reminded me of that zone in Sonic The Hedgehog. You know, the grey, mechanical themed one. Oh and it was really cold in there, I know it is underneath a ski slope, but it’s not a real Alp, though have just been told it is real snow. Not that it matterered really, with all the running after two toddlers we soon warmed up.

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The baby bit was pretty empty and the area was a decent size. It boasted slides and spinny things, and lots of bricks. There was also an area with tricycles which would be good when they are a little older. It had a sensory tent, which wasn’t working when we visited, however, the twins seemed to enjoy running around inside the tent. Some little girls joined in and it was quite the party!! I sat down while Steven ran about with them 🙂

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The older kids bit did look amazing to be fair, it has a huge red slide, there was a zip wire and go carts. We went up to the football pitch which the twins loved. I was a tad nervous as it was so high up but no, they can’t fall down.

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The cafe had a large selection, again, not cheap. Steven had a pizza which he said was really good and I opted for the soup (am trying to lose weight, the soup was nice but the pizza look way better, obviously!) we ordered the boys a baby pizza but it didn’t arrive, which is fine as they shared our meals which saved money.

There are plenty of tables and chairs, and there was a dance floor next to the cafe which I think is a good idea and makes for something a bit different.

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All in all, we had a lovely time, but if i’m honest wouldn’t rush back in a hurry. The cost puts me off and with so many soft play centres around now, there are many who I feel are better value for money. Saying that, it does look fab for older kids. If you can afford it.

PEAK TIMES INCLUDE

Weekends, Bank Holidays and all School Holidays.

Facilities available: State of The Art Giant Play Frame, Interactive Toddler Play Area, Laser Tag Arena and Electric Go Karts. Zip Wire £3.95 per go (subject to availability)

PEAK PRICES

* Under 6 months  FREE
* 6 – 11 months  £1.95
* 1 – 4 years old  £7.95
5 – 16 years old  £11.95
Adults  £3.95
OAPS  £1.95

OFF PEAK TIMES INCLUDE

Term time Monday to Friday.
Facilities available: State of The Art Giant Play Frame, Interactive Toddler Play Area, Electric Go Karts.

OFF PEAK PRICES

* Under 6 months  FREE
* 6 – 11 months  £1.95
* 1– 4 years old  £5.95
5 – 16 years old  £8.95
Adults  £2.95
OAPS  £1.95

 

 

Our Kids Social 1st Birthday bash

Having read about http://ourkids.social/on social media, I have been tempted to go to a few of their events, and when this one came up on my facebook feed, I bit the bullet and got us some tickets. Their events are held at various different venues, this particular one was at Sale Masonic Hall.

The twins are at that slightly annoying inbetweeny stage, not quite toddling but definitely not babies anymore. We used to take them for walks of a weekend, but they get bored in the buggy and WHINGE!!! Soft play is a nightmare on Saturdays and Sundays and swimming, well, id need to shave my legs etc for that and I can’t be arsed. They aren’t walking just yet, though Luke has taken a few steps, so until then I feel a little stuck. Also, it’s winter and freezing cold so we cant roll about on the grass quite yet.

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This was a life saver, and just what we all needed. It kicked off at 2pm and there was a disco in the main room, complete with blow up instruments, bubbles and DJ’s playing pretty decent music to be fair. There were lots of disco lights and the boys were mesmerised and quickly crawled about full pelt. Trying to keep up with them is proving tricky, so apologies if you tripped over two little boys in puffin leggings!

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There was also a bar, yep a licensed one. I only had one beer, but the idea of getting a little tipsy and dancing like a loony with your little ones actually sounds quite fun. In the bar area was facepainting, dress up and cupcakes for sale. (am guessing for the kids, but putting it in the bar area might be more for the grown ups!)

Upstairs was probably best for the boys, there was a sensory room and Jo Jingles sessions all afternoon. If you haven’t been to a Jo Jingles before, expect over the top singing, instruments and clapping. Thomas got a bit scared of the parachute bit so I had to take him for some quiet time, daft bugger, but Luke was in his element.

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For the older kids, https://twobytwohurrah.co.uk/ were getting messy and making hats. It looked a lot of fun. Nice to see my old next door neighbour Zoe manning the stall. It’s her company and having had a mooch on the website will definitely be checking out their other events.

The whole event was brill for kids, and we had fun too. The venue was reminiscent of those days in dirty nightclubs, waiting to climb stairs to other rooms. Though with children in tow, and maybe not quite so much booze.

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We had a fab time (especially Luke!!) and will 100% be back.

Dovestone Reservoir

Dovestone Reservoir, Greenfield,Saddleworth, Oldham OL3 7NE

I’m writing this hiding in my bedroom tucked up under my duvet with the boiler man doing his thing downstairs! We have had a bit of a crazy Christmas with a broken boiler so have spent our time between both of our parents. It’s actually been quite nice being looked after and having help with the twins (who are currently with my mum and dad while the new boiler gets put in)

Coldness in mind, I have decided to write about Dovestone Reservoir in Saddleworth. We visited in the summer on a gorgeous warm sunny day and I have to say it was just stunning. I had never heard of it, but again, was recommended to me by a friend and makes for a brilliant walk.

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We took what looked like the most straight forward route around the reservoir and it was fairly easy, there were a few little inclines but nothing we couldn’t manage with the buggy. There were also a few stones and lumps and bumps but again, the buggy was fine. I wasn’t, as I had stupidly worn flimsy flip flops..flip flops, I can’t remember a time when it didn’t feel like I had icicles on my toes! Thick socks and boots, nevermind flip flops! Anyway, yep wear sensible shoes.

I would also advise taking a picnic, there was a pretty spot with rocks and streams which would have been perfect for a spot of lunch. (or a flask of hot tea, if you were to go at this time of year!)

Worth noting, there isn’t a café and the parking was pay and display so make sure you have change.

We had a lovely time, Steven enjoyed skimming stones while I spent time shaking stones out of my stupid flip flops. The scenery was stunning, all trees and hills and shimmering water.  I really felt like I was in France, not Oldham. Oh and we lost our gorgeous Lala & Bea picnic blanket while walking around. I have a tendency to load the buggy up with stuff and most of it falls off. If you found it, enjoy it’s lovely.

(Apologies for crap pictures, this was all before i decided to start this blog. Any recent ones the pictures will be amazing, naturally 😉

We didn’t take a picnic with us, instead we went to nearby Uppermill where there are a handful of really nice pubs and a quaint little park where we had ice creams and rolled about on the grass. Definitely worth visiting too.

We are looking forward to visiting again, cannot recommend highly enough. In fact I think I might go over the weekend and see what it looks like all frosty and pretty. I will 100% wear boots.

Jellybugs & Cafe Nest @ Mothercare

Mothercare, Manchester Fort Shopping Park, Cheetham Hill Road, M8 8EP

I have to admit I am pretty sad and love Manchester Fort. Having recently moved to Salford from South Manchester I stumbled across this gem of a shopping park. It is fab for babies, as in shopping for babies, especially the Mothercare there. It’s all shiny and new and I like things that are shiny and new, probably because at the moment I feel the complete opposite of these things. I feel dull and old.

Cafe Nest is situated upstairs next to the Early Learning Centre, as is Jellybugs, but I will come on to that later. The cafe is bright and airy and the high chairs are something else. It is quite pathetic how excited I now get over bloody high chairs, but really these are something else, apparantly they are made by Stokke, nice if you can afford it. We’ll stick to our standard white Ikea ones thanks.

The Menu is small but decent, note that the tea is shit. Coffee is good though. I like taking the boys to lunch there, a) because its bright and there are lots of lights and a few toys to play with, and b) you can be as messy and loud as you want and no one bats an eye lid. Same goes for the twins too.

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They have kids meal deals, the usual sandwich, juice, pomme bears etc. The far end has a blackboard and chalk and some craft tables for older kids. They also provide microwave, bottle warmer etc. (Picture above was taken in Summer, note the bare legs. I am not a mean mum who freezes her babies during winter months. Also note the ever present breadstick. I would say breadsticks but as usual the majority ended up on the floor waiting for me to stand on)

Next to the cafe, is Jellybugs soft play. It’s small but perfectly formed. We have been twice, we went today. The baby bit is tiny, the sign says it fits a maximum of 13 children. I’m not entirely sure what size of childthey are referring to. Maybe a few Borrowers chucked in for good measure. Today, at one time there were 5 kids including my two and that was more than enough. There is a small ball pool, which my two hogged. Sorry everyone else, can’t be helped. They are obsessed with ball pools, they find them hilarious, as in piss funny. Each to their own I suppose. There are a few toys and some soft play favourites but that is that.

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It’s not cheap, time is limited to an hour and costs £3 per child. There is a sibling discount of £1. So it cost me £5 for an hours play. Not great value considering there isn’t enough room to swing a cat. However, the twins enjoyed it and the ambiance is fab there. The equipment is new and clean and the lady who worked there was lovely. The space for older children looked better and you can get a decent cup of coffee and watch them play.

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Also worth noting there is one toilet with baby change upstairs. If you go back down stairs there are a few toilets at the back of the store near the shoes.

In a nutshell, I have this strange love for Mothercare in Manchester Fort. Please tell me it’s not just me?!

 

 

 

Head over Heels, Chorlton

Head Over Heels, Unit 1A, Albany Trading Estate, Albany Road, M21 0AZ

We probably head to Head over Heels,Chorlton more than any other soft play centre, and that’s saying alot. Mainly due to it’s location and being the only one in that immediate area. It’s located just next to Chorlton tram stop. The car park can get full but there is always Morrison’s next door.

It’s a decent enough soft play centre, again verging on the more expensive due to having to pay for adults and the food is on the pricey side too. It can be a tight squeeze and I tend to leave the buggy in the cafe bit outside for fear of blocking the aisles. It’s also not the easiest in the way of carrying both babies into the toddler area. It’s become alot better now the boys can sit up. I just plonk one down while i open the gate, failing that there is always someone on hand to help out. Biggest downside for me is the sensory room. I have seen pictures and heard that it’s great but to get there you have to climb up the soft play equipment to get into the room which is impossible, and a tad dangerous with two babies/rugby balls under your armpits so we haven’t actually made the ascent.

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I sound really negative don’t I? It does have many positives too. The toddler section is big but not too big where i can’t keep an eye on the boys. They have some really good equipment and a ball pool and the staff are really nice too. The twins seem to like it there too, which I suppose is the main thing 😉

As mentioned before, the food is pricey but tasty and the menu is extensive. Lots to choose from for adults and children. Be warned though the inside cafe can be tight for double buggys during busy periods.

We went, totally by accident, one morning to the Kwirky Club toddler morning which is on weekdays between 9.30 and 11.30am. There were crafts laid out and we had a dance and a sing song with Big Blue Buddy. He was kind of scary, but the children bloody loved him. It was busy during this time but soon quietened down afterwards.

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Price per 90 min session
0-5 Months FREE
6 – 11 Months £2.55
1 – 2 Years £4.65
3+ (must be under 4ft 9 (1.45m) £5.60
Non Players £1.60
Discounted Extra Time £0.50 per complete 15 minutes
Discounts and Deals
Monday to Friday on School Days only
3 amazing offers in 1
1. No Time Limit
2. Discounted entry for childminders, twin groups, NHS workers, seniors, mums, dads, relatives….everyone, just £4.40 for children ages one and over. Non players only £1.50
3. Complimentary Kwirky Club toddler morning from 9.30 until 11.30 including crafts, toys and sing along with our big, blue buddy Hairy at 11.00

Chorlton Head over Heels isn’t the most twin friendly soft play centre, but don’t be put off. We do fit, but maybe avoid at weekends. The staff are more than happy to help. As are the other parents.

Cholmondeley Castle

Cholmondeley Castle, Malpas, Cheshire, SY14 8AH

Ahhh Cholmondeley Castle I bloody love you. This place was my favourite day out when I was a little girl so it was beyond lovely to take the twins there on Father’s Day this year (with their Dad of course!)

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The gardens are so magical and pretty and you really feel as though you can go off the beaten track a little and explore to your hearts content. This was quite a selfish visit really, was all for nostalgia purposes but it really is a super day out. The twins will probably appreciate it a bit more when they are older.

Aswell as numerous gardens, my personal favourite being the Temple Garden, there is a playground, little chapel and a farm you can visit.

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They also have a little cafe which has the most amazing home made cakes, but remember to take cash as they don’t accept card payments.

It is quite a drive from Manchester, but well worth the journey. In my opinion it is a hidden gem, but that may be because not many people I know have been. More fool them.

Definitely twin friendly, wide path ways and a changing room big enough for the buggy. We didn’t use high chairs when we went because the boys were too little.

The Gardens are now closed until April 2017 but please visit when they are. You won’t regret it. (I hope!) but note it only opens on Thursdays and Sundays.

Adults £7.00
Children £4.00 (under 5’s free)
Reduction for groups of 25 people or over to £6.00 per person.

Oh and they hold Tough Mudder there, if you’re tough and you like mud.

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

A little introduction…

Please bear with me, I am new to blogging as I am sure you will be able to tell. I did purchase “blogging for dummies” so you can see how serious I am about all this. Shame I have lost said blogging guide in my shit heap of a house. Oh well, I shall learn as I go along.

Anyway, I am a mum to twin boys who have just turned one. I am due to return to work next week and after an eventful 13 months off work I have decided it’s time to actually start what I have been meaning to write.

Having twins was a complete surprise (as was the pregnancy to be fair!) along with all the usual fears of pregnancy and the reality of bringing up not one but two little people, I was really worried about what I was going to do with my days. Maybe I made a rod for my own back but we started venturing out straight away. As a result the little buggers expected this daily, and I had to rack my brains and come up with places to take them. I was really concerned about the buggy not fitting in doorways, that I would drop one of them opening doors or that everywhere would be mega expensive.

I made the decision to start this blog/review site to help out other twin mums who are in the same predicament as me. It will also help mums with one baby too, because if my buggy fits through doors, yours will too and i’m sure we have all dropped our babies once haven’t we?!

I will give my opinions for what they are worth, and will be as open and honest as possible. All views are my own. Please feel free to comment, or contact me if there is anywhere you would like me to try out for you. If you have a business you would like us to visit, please get in touch also.

I really do hope you find this helpful, apologies for my lack of blogging skills (and my many grammatical errors) I hope this will improve with time.

Jenny xxcover