Kids go racing with Musselburgh Racecourse

I’ve never been horse racing before and to be honest it’s not something that would have crossed my mind to do, especially as a family day out. So when the lovely team at Musselburgh Racecourse invited us all along to their Family Fun Day we were a lil excited to try something new.

And what a great day out we had. We arrived in time for the doors opening and took the handy little shuttle bus from the car park to the door. (Great start when you have a 2 year-old who doesn’t want to walk anywhere.)

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Once inside we were shown to our own picnic table, which just happened to be right beside the racecourse. The views were amazing!

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We were gifted a beautiful picnic lunch each which contained so many treats we had to bring half of it home with us. After our lunch we set off to explore the grounds.

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The team at Musselburgh Racecourse had gone out of their way to make sure that the children were well entertained with a whole host of great kids rides, face painting and Luca’s ice cream, all provided FREE of charge. And FYI all kids entry tickets were FREE too with a paying adult so it really is fantastic value. The kids can go on the rides as many times as they like so are easily entertained for the entire afternoon. The only slight disappointment for us was that the queue for face painting was so long that the kids didn’t manage to get theirs done. Face painting is always going to be super popular though and we probably should have gone straight there on arrival before it got too busy. And they were easily distracted by the free ice cream and the other rides that it didn’t matter too much.

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If all that wasn’t enough entertainment, there was of course the reason we were all there….the races themselves. We popped a little flutter on the first race and actually won (I never win anything so this was most exciting to me)! The kids were so excited to see the horses so close up, as were us grown ups to be honest.

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photo credit: Laura from The Breasest News

As I said, horse racing isn’t something I had really considered as a day out, but we had such a fab time we know we’ll definitely be returning next year. Thanks to all the team at Musselburgh Racecourse for inviting us and putting on such a great day out for the whole family.

Cx

*This was a collaborative post but all views and opinions are entirely my own.

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Fringe for Bairns Returns for 2018

It’s almost Fringe time again guys. I cannot wait. The kids love a wee Edinburgh adventure and it’s great to show them the city when it’s buzzing with creativeness.

Before you even think about putting your hand in your pocket though did you know that The Three Sisters Bar have their very own dedicated children’s programme and it’s absolutely FREE.

Fringe for Bairns launches this Sunday (29th July) until Wednesday 1st August and has a fabulous programme of events which you can check out below.

 

Sunday 29th July

9am-12am– Frozen Sing-a-Long with Anna & Elsa

12am-2pm– Fairy-tale Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

Monday 30th July

10am-12am– Lego Games, Lego Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

12am-2pm Bricks 4 Kidz – Glasgow, Scotland

Tuesday 31st July

10am-2pm– Animal Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

10am-2pm– Petting Zoo

Wednesday 1st Aug

10am-2pm– Superhero Animal Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Paint

In addition, Fringe for Bairns will also running a kids cinema every Sunday of the Fringe at 9am in partnership with Scottish Autism  to help raise both funds and awareness.

All the events will be super relaxed, inclusive and all about the kids being able to have maximum fun. We’ll be heading along to sing out hearts out with Anna and Elsa on Sunday so do come say hi if you pop along too 🙂

You can find more information on the Fringe for Bairns programme here.

Cx

 

Unleashing our Wild at Wildhood

Wildhood oh Wildhood.

How we fell in love with your laid back ethos and nature loving vibes. We explored, we got lost, we found ourselves, we laughed, we reconnected – we did everything you said we would on the posters and more. You were our first family festival and you gave us the bug.

Wildhood was billed as a ‘weekend of escapism, excitement and adventure’ where you were encouraged to step away from technology and enjoy quality family time in fairytale surroundings and the team rose to the challenge.

My Fife for Kids partner in crime Jess (aka That Crafty Mother) and I were just a lil over-excited to be invited along with our families to experience the magic for ourselves, and oh how magical it was.

The sun shone, the castle moat sparkled and the smiles said it all.

Jess: ‘I’ll be honest, it did take us an hour or so to find our rhythm and work out our day plan. We really wanted the dudes to lead the way and being social introverts this wasn’t an easy task! However animals masks made, a forest trail hiked, a maze lost in, a free banana, a good nosey about plus a picnic later and they were ready.

Fuelled with excitement, cake and an itinerary of adventure, we set foot into the real world of Wildhood serenaded by the Ukulele Orchestra of Sunny Leith.

The dudes discovered sticklebacks and tadpoles in the pond, crafted hedgehogs and built micro stick rafts. Carved stones, played hide and seek, attempted slacklining, ran through long grass fields, graffitied in the woods and made up stories of a magical rainbow kitty. They even had a poem composed especially for them, a perfect souvenir.

Sun kissed, giggling and exhausted we fell back in to the car and headed home to reality. Magic was had that day and it won’t be forgotten in a long time.’

Claire: ‘We arrived on site just as Circus Alba were setting up some equipment for the kids to try out and that was it, the kids were hooked! We spent the rest of the morning learning how to hula-hoop and spin plates and it took A LOT of persuasion to move from the tent to see what else was on offer.

Our exploration took us as far as the beautiful storytelling tree where we found ourselves with two entranced littles who again had to be coaxed on to another area. After a picnic lunch we did manage to have some fun pond-dipping, slacklining, playing drums in the woods, exploring the maze and trying out Rugby Tots (which little L adored) before it was back to Circus Alba for one last go at learning new skills before enjoying a hot dog in the last of the sunshine as the day came to an end.

The kids had an absolute blast and though we missed so much of what was programmed, it was perfect to have a day out led (mainly) by what they wanted to do and not once were they bored. We could certainly see that camping and coming for the entire weekend was the ideal way to be able to experience all of what Wildhood had to offer. Here’s hoping that the weekend was such a success that the team are already busy planning year 2.’

*This review was a collaboration between myself and Jess of That Crafty Mother/Fife for Kids. We were gifted free tickets in return for a fair and honest review of our experience. You can follow Fife for Kids on Facebook here.

Seaside fish and chips with Anstruther Fish Bar

Nothing beats fish, chips and ice-cream on a sunny day am I right?

Well actually one thing does…fish, chips and ice-cream in Scotland’s most famous award-winning chippie (AND *whispers* getting to skip the infamous queue)!

As one half of the Fife for Kids team, I was invited, along with the family, to Anstruther Fish Bar to see what they’re all about on a unseasonably hot Scottish afternoon and we were not disappointed.

We decided to pop up to Anstruther early as it’s a fair drive for us and it would be silly to go all that way and not have a play at Anster beach. The East Neuk of Fife is so beautiful,  seaside houses and independent shops so a little wander was in order too.

Being by the seaside just makes you smile doesn’t it.

 

Now if you haven’t heard of Anstruther Fish Bar, let me tell you if it’s good enough for the Duchess of Cornwall AND Wills and Kate, it’s good enough for me. Yes, that is how well thought of this place is. So it should come as no surprise that you can expect to queue to get a seat or to take out. But it’s very very worth it and the nautical decor will keep you entertained while you wait. Better yet, leave the other half queueing while you and the kids pop to the beach.

We were met by Alison, who co-owns the Fish Bar with her husband Robert. Alison talked us through the menu….all locally sourced, sustainable produce, with the Scottish seafood coming from boats that adopt sustainable fishing practices through the Seafish Responsible Fishing Scheme, and everything from the rolls, eggs, milk and even wine, yes WINE, coming from Scottish companies.

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We don’t eat out for dinner very often as we worry about how the kids will behave and if they will wait patiently for their food. I had my bag packed with various little toys to keep them amused but I needn’t have worried. The kids were provided with their own little activity packs which they loved and that kept them entertained the entire time.

Anyway, down to the food. As we were reviewing we opted to sit in and experience the table service, which was super friendly and fast (major plus when you have kids in tow!).

The grown-ups opted for the Pittenweem prawns in breadcrumbs (Scampi to us commoners) and the classic fish and chips, alongside some mushy peas whilst T had a kids fish and chips and little L of course ate a bit of everyone’s. If you opt to sit in the restaurant your meal includes some bread and butter and a hot drink, and the kids’ includes water, milk or a soft drink so it all works out at great value for money.

 

There wasn’t a whole lot of talking during dinner and it’s fair to say that we ate every last scrap. It really is tip-top fish and chips, cooked perfectly and served quickly.

To wash it down I tried the Scottish wine. I had to….I mean it’s wine…from SCOTLAND! It’s odd. Except it’s not really, it was a really light, fruity and tasty red wine believe it or not. But if I’m being really honest, as much as I love wine, and I really, really do, for me fish and chips has to be consumed with a can of Irn Bru and I missed my wee bru on this occasion.

After our mains the kids of course wanted ice-cream (which is almost as famous as the fish and again made using Scottish ingredients) and this came served in little plastic boats which they could take home afterwards. We stuck to coffee, though it transpired that Alan only decided not to have ice-cream because he didn’t want to seem greedy after I had opted not to have any (insert eye-roll emoji here!) Thankfully little L gave up halfway through hers so he got a wee try.

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For me Anstruther Fish Bar richly deserves its reputation as the best chippy in Scotland..nae Britain. A family business dedicated to sustainability offering great value for money and tasty, locally caught fish, in a fast and friendly manner. What more could you want?

PS – It’s fair to say that everyone’s top button was out for the drive home. Success!

You can read more about Anstruther Fish Bar on their Fife for Kids listing, which includes contact details and links to their website and social media accounts.

Cx

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*The Fife for Kids team were paid for this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely honest.

 

 

 

Becoming Robin Hood for the day with East Neuk Outdoors

I’m delighted to share with you the review that my Fife for Kids business partner, Jess (aka That Crafty Mother) has written about her family’s experience of East Neuk Outdoors. I’m not going to lie, there was much jealousy that she was the one to embark upon this adventure and not me. And what a day they had too… Cx

Archery, a sport I’d last tried at a country fair aged approximately 12. When it transpired that I was off to visit East Neuk Outdoors for an archery experience I must admit I had some pretty mixed reactions:

  1. The dudes would probably love this experience
  2. I would probably hate this experience.
  3. That-not-so-crafty-Father would be competitive.

I was out of my comfort zone. I am not at all sporty, have zero self confidence in sports and actively avoid participating in these types of activities 98% of the time! I always feel ridiculously self-conscious and can guarantee I’ll be the one making silly mistakes. So, whilst the dudes were busy debating whether Robin Hood or Merida was the better archer, I sat silently on the journey there pondering if it was too late to opt out and whether they would be ‘on form’ or opting for their gremlin personas today. (Please kids not today, just listen and keep the tantrums at bay!).

Having never been to an outdoor activity class I was, however, intrigued to find out what East Neuk Outdoors would be like since they don’t do regular classes and we were all total novices. Also, a family lesson? Adults and children together? This was a whole new, somewhat daunting, concept to me.

I’m pleased to report that, all my petty hang-ups vanished the moment we arrived. The sun was beaming down and Cellardyke was looking particularly stunning as the sea glistened. We were a little early so took a stroll along the sea front, enjoying the view. There was also a great wee park right across from the activity centre. Soon it was time for our lesson and the dudes, often social introverts, (terrified of strangers and prone to not-speaking to anyone), ran straight up to the welcome desk and chatted away confidently to our tutor, Hugo, as if they’d known him for years! He was fun, friendly and welcoming from the offset and before I knew it we were all being taken to get kitted out.

Wrist guards on, arrows selected and bows handed out and we were set to start. Hugo patiently set out the ground rules for the archery range, showing were to stand and how to carry the arrows for safety. Then we got to the nitty gritty bit and he showed us step by step how to shoot an arrow, giving loads of hints and tips along the way, treating adults and kids equally.

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Taking turns to fire sets of arrows it was adults versus children. We all became ridiculously competitive, not just That-not-so-crafty-Father! Hugo is clearly really experienced with children, stepping in to help, guiding them and watching every shot they took making you feel safe whilst learning under his supervision too. He explained scoring, (and kept score too) and constantly gave helpful pointers to improve our aim; we all went from hitting the worms to hitting the target just 15 minutes in!

The 45 minutes flew by and we had a truly amazing afternoon and left absolutely buzzing. The dudes grinned from ear to ear the whole time and the big dude can’t wait to return to try out something else, ‘This is the best day ever!’ he declared. Now if that’s not praise I’m not sure what is – he didn’t get a bullseye (That-not-so-crafty-Father did though in case you’re wondering), he didn’t ‘win’ and there was no ice cream bribery needed for this declaration either! He was, for the first time in a long time, full of confidence and glowing with it. We’ll be visiting again soon for sure, and encouraging lots more folk to discover East Neuk Outdoors too.

East Neuk Outdoors offer a variety of outdoor activity lessons from archery to sea kayaking. Do check out their Fife for Kids listing for more details on what’s available, costs and to contact the team.

Jess xox

*The Fife for Kids team were paid for this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely honest. Images taken by Jess Leech.
You can check out the Fife for Kids Facebook page and follow us here

Fall In Love With Northumberland

It’s been an intense few months what with the house project getting into full flow and various other bits and bobs going on. So to say we were ready for our annual catch up with some very good friends is a bit of an understatement. I was champing at the bit to get going on Friday and finally, after popping up to the house to take receipt of our new kitchen (exciting) and waiting for the car to be serviced and being told it needed extra repairs (sob), we managed to get on our way.

This is our fourth trip away with these friends and our families have expanded somewhat since the first one, so we’ve leaned more towards booking more spacious cottages so there’s plenty of room for the kids to run about. They are inevitably more expensive but I do think it’s worth it. Especially since we do spend our nights in after being out and about during the day. Also because we go away with another family we do have a bit of freedom to book something a bit nicer than the norm.

So we booked East Bickerton, right in the heart of the Northumbrian countryside.

The cottage is absolutely stunning and Lizzie, the owner, lives right next door which is really handy if there is anything you specifically need. Not that we did need to contact her as she had thought of everything. Apart from on our final morning Alan woke up with a bug and wasn’t able to travel. Lizzie was so gracious in allowing us to stay past the 10am check out, telling us we could stay as long as we wanted. Thank you Lizzie! When we arrived there was milk, biscuits, tea and coffee awaiting us (I love little touches like that). As well as being a stunning home in a stunning location, it was also really family friendly. We were provided with two travel cots and two high chairs, a stair gate and boxes of toys for the kids to play with. One piece of feedback I would give Lizzie is to advertise this as it’s a huge draw for families and saves us packing our own. As if all that wasn’t enough we were able to order a supermarket delivery which she kindly took receipt of for us. All in all East Bickerton gets a massive thumbs up from us.

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Best Parks in Fife

Hey Fifers,

Anyone else sick to death of the sight of their local park? I am! But the kids love a park visit and it keeps them entertained for so long (unless your park is a little sad and tired like our current one!)

Days out with the kids can be an expensive business, by the time you’ve paid for wherever you’re going, travel, lunch and whatever crap treat you buy them while you’re there. This is where the park comes in. It’s expense free. And if you get a good one you can get a good part of the day out of it. So let’s get excited by the park again!

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THE GREAT PARKS OF FIFE:

1. Culross

As you will have noticed from the Hidden Gems in Fife post, I LOVE Culross. I grew up here and never appreciated its beauty but really do now. The park here is new and has something for all ages. The slide is a lighthouse. It has a tunnel, it has sand, it has balance beams and it has picnic benches, a small beach right next to it and of course, the rest of the beautiful village if the kids do happen to get bored.

2. Pittencrief Public Park

Dunfermline’s public park, or ‘The Glen’ as we like to call it, is huge and has 3 playparks, lots of space to walk and explore, an old steam train, a cafe with small soft play, public toilets, squirrels galore and even the odd peacock. Definitely take a walk through the woodland areas and check out the glasshouse and Japanese gardens too.

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Learning Spanish with Kidslingo

I was over the moon recently when a post I wrote ‘Hidden Gems in Fife for Kids’  was so well received and so many of you not only liked and shared the post but commented about some of the activities as things you were going to try. It seemed clear to me that while I will continue to enjoy rambling about whatever comes into my mind, it would be nice to help inspire parents in the central belt with new ideas of places to go and things to do with your kids. So I was delighted when Kitty from Kidslingo got in touch to invite me to review her Spanish classes for little ones.

I’ve always been keen for my children to learn a language and as research shows that the earlier children start to learn a new language the easier it will be for them to improve their linguistic skills in later life. Preschool and school age classes are both available in the Dunfermline and Kirkcaldy area so you really can start them early. That being said, since Tom has just started school, which is challenging him every day, I was worried about sending him to a class that would feel too much like work for him, and would the preschool class hold my two year-old’s attention?

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Best Lunch Spots in Fife with Kids

After the massive response to my recent post ’10 Hidden Gems in Fife for Kids’ I realised that lots of parents, like me, are looking for something new to do with the kids and it’s often hard to think of somewhere to go or something to do. I know from doing research for that post and for this how hard it is to find information like this in one place. So I’ve decided I’ll do a little series focusing on the Central Belt of Scotland and hopefully some of you will find some new ideas, or, you can share with me some of yours like you did last time.

As you may have noticed last time. I do have a penchant for an afternoon out which involves food! I’m not sure about you but we don’t eat out nearly as often as we’d like (though, it’s often enough that I’m working on my recommendations for those rare date nights….watch this space), and as kids can often be little monkeys in the evenings, we tend to focus our family meals out on lunch. It just works better for us.

When we eat out with the kids it’s important to us to be in an environment that is child friendly so we don’t feel anxious if the kids are a little loud. The food also needs to be good. I know that seems obvious but there are a lot of places that might have one of the above and not the other. It costs a lot to eat out and so I just aint willing to eat bad food. So there! And on the topic of cost, I know how expensive it can be to do ANYTHING with children so all of the below places are very reasonably priced.

With all of this in mind, I have put together my top lunch spots in Fife with kids. So, in no particular order feast (get it?!) your eyes on this lovely lot.

  1. The Peppermill Bothy

I know, I know, this made it on to my list last time. However, it really does tick all the boxes when you want to eat a nice lunch with the kids. There’s a great selection of food for both the adults and children, including soups, sandwiches, Quiche and hot rolls. And the children’s menu is spot on. They can choose from soup, toast with jam or peanut butter, a wee platter, milkshakes and even ice cream floats. And the cakes! Seriously! They are to die for. The family who run the café are really friendly and the kids can get down to some serious fun in the play corner while they’re waiting on their food. There’s also a lovely, fully enclosed courtyard for those sunny days and you can rest assured they are safe while you’re tucking in to the afore-mentioned cake.

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