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.

FFK for ENO5

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.
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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!

Say hello to

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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