A Behind the Scenes Peek at Deep Sea World

A few week ago I was invited, along with a group of other bloggers, to a behind the scenes evening at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry, beautifully situated underneath the Forth Rail Bridge.  As it’s relatively close to where we live and the type of place I’d visit with the family I was keen to go along and find out a little bit more about how they work.

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We were greeted by the lovely team who were armed with some great information packs and bags of knowledge and enthusiasm. They guided us round the tanks and told us all about the Seahorses, the Octopus (and it’s amazing power to squeeze through the tiniest of holes) and some of the creatures that they have rescued.

We then moved on to the underwater safari where we were able to see so many of the fish up close, including their sharks. ‘At 112 metres long the Underwater Safari at Deep Sea World has the longest moving walkway in Europe. The exhibit holds a million gallons of sea water, making it the largest temperate marine exhibit in the UK and one of the longest underwater safaris in the world’. And it really is fascinating. Especially with the lovely guides telling you all about the creatures as you move round.

We were then invited along to learn more about the seals and to watch them being fed. It was fascinating to learn about them and their individual personalities.

We were also lucky enough to pop ‘backstage’ to the quarantine area where many of the creatures are housed until they are ready to move into the main tank. From here we were able to see the main tank from above and to see for our own eyes how the acrylic glass makes the fish look much smaller than they are in real life. Those sharks be BIG, take my word for it!

Finally, before our evening came to an end we checked out their summer exhibition, bare bones, a fascinating look at what the skeletons of various animals actually look like.

It was a really great night out and a chance to ask all the burning questions I had about all their marine creatures. It was reassuring to see how hard the team work to ensure that their creatures are kept in conditions as close to their natural habitat as possible and to see how much they all care. Deep Sea World houses an amazing array of sea life, many of which have been rescued or are endangered (which was a surprise to me).

I’m really looking forward to taking the whole family back and being able to share some of my newly acquired knowledge with them.

For opening time, prices and any other information check out their website or visit their Facebook page

*I was invited along with some other bloggers to this behind the scenes evening. I have not been paid for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. Some photographs used are official Deep Sea World photographs, used with their permission.

 

 

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Wiggle, Dance & Laugh with Zumbini Fife

Little L has been asking about going dancing for some time. She’s suddenly aware that her brother goes to classes and is thinking ‘what about me?’ Truth. Yes she’s not even reached the ripe old age of 3 yet, but this girl is super switched on. L

I’ve been umming and ahhing about what to do as L is really shy with new people and situations and I didn’t want to waste money on classes that she wouldn’t like. I was delighted then when Katie from Zumbini Fife got in touch to tell us about her demo class and about the fact that parents stay and join in.

The Zumbini™ program is where the science of child development meets the magic of Zumba®! Designed for children 0 to 4 years old and their caregivers, together you sing, dance and wiggle your way through 45 wonderful minutes.

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Before the class began the kids were able to explore the instrument basket so it was clear that there were no noise rules here. Big tick for our two (T had been invited along as a ‘helper’ for the little uns and very much enjoyed the importance of being the only big one there). Then Katie explained a little about what the class involved…which went along the lines of ‘join in, let your children explore and do what they want, there are NO RULES (within reason of course. If your child is attempting to catapult him/herself out a window that would be a good time to intervene), let them be free to learn, play and interact as they see fit’. For me this is perfect as I still feel L is a bit young for a really structured dance class and I don’t want her to spend 45 minutes being told not to do this or that.

So this is precisely how it went. We had around 3.5 minutes of shyness before L was off, leaving me to sing and dance alone (pretending I was totally cool and not at all embarrassed) while she followed Katie around for the duration of the class. We sang, we danced, we banged drums, we played with scarves, we explored instruments and there wasn’t a moment for boredom to set in.

This is Scotland’s only Zumbini™ programme at the moment and I can see it being a massive success. The demo class we attended was full, every single adult and child seemed to have a ball, and most of the places in the first block of classes are already gone. We’re hoping to book in soon ourselves!

For more information about the classes and how to book check out their listing on the Fife for Kids website.

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

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.
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Learning to Swim with Merbabies

I’m going to be honest, swimming is my least favourite activity to do with the kids. I know they love it, but I always find the pools cold and because I’m usually the one holding L while she bobs about, I’m even colder. So in general, I don’t love it.

But, it’s a life skill and I’ve been planning on looking at lessons for L for a while. T’s lessons are the traditional arm-bands ones so I was intrigued to find out what Merbabies would be like since they don’t do arm bands.

Firstly, I was delighted to find that the pool in Inverkeithing High was lovely and warm. Honestly, an actual warm pool. What a treat! First hurdle down.

L is a shy little one. She’s unsure of new people and clings to me like a Koala each time we go swimming (even though she says she likes it) so I was a little worried about how she would be.

I’d love to say that she loved every single second but that would be a lie. She cried as soon as Emma-Lou, the teacher looked at her, but thankfully this didn’t last. Emma-Lou is just so lovely and warm, she engages with the little ones, but not too much so they still feel safe with their parents. She is clearly really experienced with little ones and set out fun games throughout the lesson. She made it clear that if anyone did not want to do something this was ok. No pressure to just dunk your baby right under the water…phew! It would be hard not to like her.

About 8 minutes into the lesson L was holding on to the side of the pool unaided and grinning from ear to ear. She blew bubbles in the water AND she let me partially submerge her. This from a girl who cries if her brother splashes her in the bath, is MASSIVE. I was honestly shocked at her confidence in the lesson within just a few minutes.

We had a really fun 30 minutes and L then asked me for the rest of the day if she could go back. It’s fair to say the classes get a big thumbs up from us. So much so that I will keeping an eye out for the expansion into week day classes in our area.

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Merbabies offer accredited small group lessons for babies right up to pre-school with a complete emphasis on learning through play. Do check out their Fife for Kids listing for more details on the timetable, costs and to contact the team.

Cx

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

 

*Review* Aladdin at the Adam Smith Theatre

We were excited to be invited by OnFife Theatres to review their 2017 Panto, Aladdin at the Adam Smith Theatre. As the show was in the evening we didn’t think it was a good idea to take L so I opted to make it a mum and son night and me and T went along ourselves.

Normally I take T to see the smaller family shows that Carnegie Hall (also part of the OnFife family) puts on but the time was right to introduce him to his first panto. I did carry on the tradition by taking Lo to see Shhh…The Elves are Shy at Carnegie Hall though and although this run is now complete I would recommend to anyone with little ones under 5 that you check out Little Ulla, which runs from Thursday 21st-Saturday 23rd with tickets only £5.

Anyway, back to Saturday. As this was T’s first panto experience, it took some persuading that it was actually ok to shout out during the performance. Once he realised I wasn’t having him on he was beyond excited and couldn’t sit still. It was great to see the genuine glee on his face.

It’s been a while since I went to a panto myself and I wasn’t sure if it would all be like it used to. I was relieved to find that it was a classic, old school, traditional pantomime, with all the usual hilarity, breaking out of character and audience interaction that you would expect.

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