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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Win Tickets to Edinburgh Foodies Festival

FOODIES FESTIVAL RETURNS TO EDINBURGH AND YOU CAN WIN TWO TICKETS!

 

I LOVE the Foodies Festival in Edinburgh. Gastronomy at it’s absolute best and with the best food and music line ups. We have been known to return home with bagfulls of delights that we just couldn’t stop ourselves buying.

This year, Edinburgh’s favourite celebration of food and drink returns to Inverleith Park on 3rd, 4th and 5th August 2018, with Masterchef 2018 champion Kenny Tutt, renowned chefs Nico Simeone, Paul Wedgewood and Graeme Cheevers. The weekend’s music will be provided by the likes of Toploader and The Hoosiers as well as a ton of fabulous as yet unsigned bands, all raising funds for homelessness charity Crisis

There’s also an expanded Kid Zone and Kids Cookery Theatre, pre-loaded super soakers and giant games ensuring that Foodies Festival is a fun day out for the whole family.

You can enter here to be in with a chance of winning two tickets to this years Foodies Festival (competition closes on Wednesday 1st August).

And guess what, if you don’t happen to be successful on this occasion you can claim 30% off all tickets  by heading to FoodiesFestival.com and entering FOODIES30 at the checkout, so that’s not too shabby at all.

Good luck and hopefully see some of you lovelies there.

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.

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.
You can check out the Fife for Kids Facebook page and follow us here

A weekend in Inverness-shire

The Highlands have been on my list of places in Scotland to visit for a while now. I always feel slightly ashamed when I speak to friends from other countries and am asked about the north of Scotland and I have to confess I haven’t seen a whole lot of it. So, I may have put on my persuasive voice when we were deciding on the annual weekend getaway with Alan’s side of the family. The last couple of years we have been to Perthshire, which is so beautiful that we were thinking about visiting again this year. However, it can be difficult to find accommodation for our huge family so we looked farther afield.

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We opted for the Highland Holiday Home and weren’t disappointed. Located in Errogie, on the North East end of Loch Mhòr and just a couple of miles to the East of Loch Ness it’s perfectly rural (whilst being near enough to Inverness for a wee visit).

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