Holiday in Czech Republic

We have just returned from our holiday in the Czech Republic, staying with Jana’s family.

We had lovely (mostly very hot!) weather. The kids had a great time playing in and around the house, with their cousins.

We visited Jana’s gran in her lovely cottage in Pstruží.

We also explored the woodland around Sanatoria Klimkovice, which had lots of things for the kids to play on.

For Ben, one of the highlights of the trip was having his first ever ice-cream (he’s turned his nose up in the past).

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For Ellie, the highlight was definitely the two kittens that appeared in the garden one day and never left. We never did find out where they came from.

We also managed the rare feat of getting a picture of all four of the kids in one frame (well, just about).

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National Mining Museum

I’ve been pleading to go to Scotland’s National Mining Museum for a while now, and last week I finally persuaded the rest of the family.

The TripAdvisor reviews are good, and I have to say it lived up to our expectations – exceeded them in fact.

It’s really well designed around kids – lots of interactive stuff in the exhibitions, lots of space to run around in, a free bouncy castle, and a great soft play (additional fee for this) and playground next to the cafe.  Apparently the guided tours of the colliery are excellent too but that’s maybe something for when the kids are older.

Ben most enjoyed operating the machinery and pressing buttons.

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Ellie most enjoyed the bouncy castle and looking for cats.

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And all of us enjoyed dressing up!

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Summer 2014

Here are some of the things we’ve been up to over the summer.

We’ve enjoyed the local parks and gardens.

We’ve explored Almond Valley (a great destination for young kids!).

We had our cousins come and stay with us.

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And we (sometimes!) played nicely together 🙂

Abbotsford

On Saturday we visited Abbotsford, the historic home of Sir Walter Scott. It’s recently been restored and a new visitor centre built, so we’ve been meaning to go for a while.

First we walked around the garden and grounds.

The place looked great, and the house itself was very impressive from the outside (we didn’t go in). We were told at the visitor centre that the way round the grounds was “obvious” and there was no need for a map, but we still got lost! Not to worry – we had great fun exploring inside this giant rhododendron instead:

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Then we found the best part of all – the adventure playground! The kids almost enjoyed it as much as me.

Finally, we went into the visitor centre for lunch. Unfortunately the food was overpriced and mediocre in quality. Ben entertained himself while we were waiting for food by running in circles around the Walter Scott exhibition wielding his children’s table knife at the other visitors!

All in all I think Abbotsford is a good local destination and I’m sure we’ll be back.

A Weekend at the Grandparents

This weekend we traveled down to stay at my Dad’s house for a few days. The kids love seeing their grandparents. Ellie spent most of the weekend playing with Noreen! We also got fantastic weather while we were there.

On Saturday we went to Quarry Bank Mill. It’s a National Trust property centred around an impressive eighteenth-century cotton mill.

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We walked around the estate and then the playground.

On Sunday we visited Dane Meadow, which has recently been given a face-lift with some new paths, signage and disabled access. Oh, and some tree stumps which have handily been turned into seats.

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Later that day we went to the Holmes Chapel fete, just in time to see a Hurricane fly-past. Ellie won a toy truck for her brother on hook-a-duck.

And then “auntie Charlie” came to visit with her dog, Henry. Ellie and Henry were best pals pretty much immediately!

On Monday we went to visit “Granny Carol”, “Granddad Clive” and “Uncle Tom”. We all went to Goostrey Home and Leisure in the morning, which has a lovely little play area.

Then I took Ben back for his nap, while Ellie and Jana went to my Mum’s house. Tom taught Ellie how to kayak…

… before they cleaned out the pond, and (to my great excitement!) discovered some newts.

We all had a lovely time. But when it was time to come home, we felt like this!

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Oh we do like to be beside the seaside!

Had a fantastic day out today on the beaches of North Berwick. I’ve only been once before and it was a grey and miserable day, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover what a fantastic seaside town it is in the sunshine.

We walked along the beach, collected shells and played in rockpools.

It’s such a beautiful place.

We had lunch at The Grange

… then followed it up with ice cream!

Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day out!

Deep Sea World

Yesterday we went to Deep Sea World in North Queensferry.

It’s not a huge place and is quite pricey but we’ve always found it great when the kids are very small (like Ben is now) because they find the fishes so interesting and can get so close to them.

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Ben was very excited and kept showing us that the tanks were full of fish.

They also have a small pool with seals. This one was enjoying the warm weather…

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… as did we!

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