Young Driver Experience – A day to Remember

Could you imagine learning to drive before the age of 17?

At Young Driver, a center that gives children from the age of 10 an opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience driving with a qualified instructor. Children can learn to drive at one of the 60 UK centers where they are taught in a specially designed training area. The training area includes; sharp bends, mini round-about, parking spaces, traffic lights, and junctions.

Young Driver follow the Driving Standards Agency curriculum, which means that what 10 – 17s learn at YOUNG DRIVER is exactly the same as they will learn on the road at 17. The children are given a Drive Diary to record their progress and this is one of the most important parts of the programme – moving forward is the aim!

Their personalised Drive Diary charts individual progress and current level of driving and is completed by the instructor after each driving session. The instructor talks them through it and explains where they could do with some more help or whether they can progress to the next step. The Drive Diary can be given over to their driving instructor when they begin their official lessons at the age of 17 and the instructor will then know what their experience level is.

 

My son, who is 14 years old, was lucky enough to be invited along to the Bluewater Center to experience for himself what it is like to drive a car. The center itself, is situated within the blue car park at Bluewater shopping center. There is a section of car park outside that is specifically designed for a  beginners’ zone, that has a full road system with traffic signs, road markings, junctions and parking zones. In this way it encourages responsible driving.

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As soon as we had arrived, he was called up by his instructor and taken along to the car that he would be driving. Before he could turn the key he underwent a safety check and was taught how to use the mirrors, signal and when to manoeuvre. He had full control over the steering wheel and pedals, however the instructor had pedals that would over power his if an accident were to happen. He started off slowly, to get used to the feel of the steering and clutch. Not long on the road and he was soon snaking in-between cones and maneuvering the car into a figure of eight in the parking lot. Whilst, he was driving he was continuously given advise and constructive criticism from the instructor. He spent 60 minutes out on the road, building up his confidence and learning some important skills of control and responsibility. He now knows how to drive safely and properly, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of other 17 year olds.

His instructor was fantastic, professional and made him feel safe at all times.

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Since his experience, he has become more road aware and is definitely more confident and prepared for when he can hit the road.

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We made a video of his experience

My son certainly left with a big smile on his face and is now eager to get behind the wheel.

I would highly recommend the experience for any young child who wants to get ahead of their peers and become a much safer driver. A very valuable and worthwhile experience.

30 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £34.95

60 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £64.95

To find out more about the experience or to make a booking, head on over to their website www.youngdriver.com

We was given this experience for the purpose of this review.

Raving with the young ones at Rave-A-Roo

Ever fancied cutting some moves in an iconic nightclub with your children?

Back in February I did something that I didn’t think I would be doing any time soon. I went raving with my boys at Ministry of Sound. Ok not quite raving but there was a DJ and there were lots of flashing neon lights along with extremely loud music.

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Rave-A-Roo is a clubbing mash-up of festival fun for the whole family. It’s the ultimate party with a festival-style program of big names, top DJs, the disco ball games, LIVE stage performances, confetti mayhem, neon craft, Glow Chill Room, PlayGlow toys, UV tattoo station and the chance for mini-clubbers and their adults to take on the dance floor with Rave-A-Roo resident artists Go! Go! Go! (Dance Set) as seen on Nick Jr.

I couldn’t believe I was inside such an iconic place of my younger years with my young children, dancing away to the tunes whilst my boys were kicking a football about and playing with play dough. It was quite unreal.

As we arrived to the Ministry of Sound we was greeted by a queue that went around the corner, nothing new there. As we joined the back of the line, we was entertained the whole time by Rave A Roo entertainers, telling jokes, blowing bubbles at us and getting the children really excited prior to entering. After queueing for about 15 minutes we were eventually inside.

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We had a quick look around, checking out each area. The main room had live entertainment on stage with a DJ playing tunes to boogie along to in between sets. The bar area had a UV Tattoo station, a UV playdough table and an inflatable ball machine. There was a soft play area for the little ones to go mad in and music playing throughout the rooms.

Playing with his glow stick
Playing with his glow stick

The toilet areas were well equipped for the little ones too, steps were placed in the cubicles and around the sink areas and changing mats was placed on a low down table along with a few items to use.

The atmosphere was very chilled and quite surreal. Children were running around, laughing and dancing, enjoying themselves whilst parents looked on and watched them have fun. I felt safe to allow my 8-year-old to roam between rooms, whilst I kept an eye on the 4-year-old.

We spent some time in the main room, cutting some moves but the music was a little too loud for my middle boy, who is quite sensitive to noise. The room was quickly becoming packed out with little ravers enjoying the music. Big balls were being thrown throughout the crowd and everyone was having a ball 😉

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My boys enjoyed the bar area where they played with playdough and the ball machine.

Along with all the entertainment to keep the little ones busy, there was a licensed bar.

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I am happy to announce that I did relax a little and enjoy a glass of bubbles, well it was a launch after all.

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The eldest and the youngest one found a blow up ball to kick about, I can’t take them anywhere without them finding a ball to play football with. Even a couple of adults joined in with their little game of footy, they had tucked themselves into the corner of the room so that they wouldn’t bother anyone. The middle boy spent most of his time playing with the neon playdough, creating little animals.

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We had a wonderful time at Rave-A-Roo and would definitely recommend it to any family. There is something to keep all ages entertained. As you can see from the video, even the teenager managed to put a smile on his face.

 

Nationwide dates will be released soon for 2016. Take a look here for more information

We was invited along for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received.

A Hen do with a difference: Rolling in Mud

Tft! Tft! Tft! Tft! Pop! Pop! Pop!

The noise is deafening. I crouch down, shielding myself behind the wooden log wall. I can hear people shouting out orders but I can’t see them! Green smoke is all around, I cough as it hits the back of my throat. My mask is filling up and I am struggling to breath, the goggles are getting steamed up and I am struggling to see what is in front of me. The smell is strong. I can hear footsteps nearby, rustling of the leaves, they are getting closer. I am ankle-deep in thick mud, my hands are shaking,  my heart is beating faster and faster, they are getting close. I go to make a run for it, I slip in the mud Tft! Tft! Ouch! something has hit me! I look to my arm, Nothing. No sign. Tft! Pop! Again. This time something has hit my head, lucky I have my helmet on. I roll on the floor, rolling in mud, rolling to cover. Too late! Not only am I covered in mud but I now have a green slime all over my leg. I’ve been hit!

Saturday was my future sister in-laws Hen do and she had arranged a half day for us all at Extreme Paintballing.

We all met in the car park and was taken to a big shed to sign our lives over and get kitted out with some overalls and a padded ambush hood. It was a mild day but I heard that when you get hit it stings so I had layered myself up with my clothing. Even though I had 4 layers of tops on and 2 pairs of trousers, the overalls that was given to me were HUGE. The crotch came down to my knee!

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We was all given a lift down to the main arena field in a trailer led by a 4×4.

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We was taken to a waiting area where we was served tea and coffee whilst we waited for the first half of the days paintballers to finish their game. Our games were to start at 12:30 as we was only booked in for half a day (I’m not sure we could have managed a full day!) As the first half of the day people exited the battle area, we looked on, wondering who we would be up against. After a quick bite to eat we was ready to battle.

We was given our safety talk on how to use the gun, given our helmets, belts, coloured arm band, paint pellets and ammo hopper. There were extras that we could have bought like smoke grenades and baseball grenades but we decided on waiting to see what it was like out there first before we bought any.

Goggles on. We was taken through to the gun area, we attached our hopper that was filled with the pellets to the gun and off we was led to our part of the battle field. The aim of the game was for us to protect our coloured flag. We didn’t stand a chance! We was talking to the Marshall so we didn’t hear the count down. We was told to run so I did, I took shelter behind a tree. Someone was shooting at me so I shot back. I had no idea if my pellets were going in the right direction but i was shooting towards the other team. As i peered from behind the tree, a pellet hit my gun. I was out! Actually our whole team were out! Heads hanging in shame was led back to the waiting area to de-gun and wait for the next game.

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We had 5 games in total and lost all bar the last one as we got help from the marshalls 😉

It was a fun day, with lots of laughter, giggles, chat and bonding. I rolled in mud, ran through water, crouched down behind barriers, got scratched by brambles, fell face first into thick oozy mud and got shot lots.

It was the first time that I had fallen over, not under the influence of drink on a Hen do.

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LolliBop’s all star line up revealed

LolliBop, the UK’s biggest kids festival, has announced it’s most exciting line-up to date with CBeebies Superstar Justin Fletcher headlining on Saturday and Sunday and Mister Maker taking over the main stage on Friday.

Mr Maker

This year LolliBop sounds like it’s going to be a big hit with the children.

LolliBop is an all round family day out, with it’s programme and contents aimed at children up to the age of 10, although I would like to add that my son is 11 years old and is really looking forward to attending this festival this year just as much as he has attended it the last two times that we have been. There are so many exciting things to do this year, that we are thinking of going for two days just so that we will not miss out on anything. Oliver absolutely adores Thomas and Friends and I know that he will be so excited to be able to play in the interactive play area, My other two children like Sam and Mark and always a big favourite of their’s is the Science Museum tent but they are very happy to see that this year their is a creative kids area.

The event, which this year takes place at Hatfield House, August 15-17, also welcomes stars of CBBC’s Big Friday Wind Up Sam & Mark to LolliBop for the first time. Other LolliBop ‘newbies’ include Thomas & Friends with a bespoke interactive play experience created especially for LolliBop, Chris & Pui with their Mini Roadshow, Scooby-Doo! The Mystery of the Pyramid, Cook and Line from Swashbuckle (Fri & Sat only) and Michaela Strachan’s Really Wild Adventures Show.

Sam and MarkLolliBop is also delighted to announce it’s first ever Disney experience with the Disney on Ice: 100 Years of Magic present a Silent Disco!

Creative kids are invited to Join In with Southbank Centre, in a brand new space for Lollibop 2014. Whether you love, drawing, playing, singing, dancing or creating there is something for all under 10s and their families to enjoy. Southbank Centre is a world-famous arts centre on the South Bank of the Thames, with art and activities inside and out that encourage everyone to become involved in the arts in new and creative ways. At Lollibop there will be music, dancing, fashion shows, DJs, Pirate school, den making and plenty of takeaway crafts

The ever-popular Skylanders returns to LolliBop to launch the fourth installment of its award winning franchise – Skylanders Trap Team™. Kids can expect the opportunity to play the brand new game before it’s released later in the year.

Other big names for pint sized festival goers; include Mr. BloomAndy Day’s Live ShowPostman Pat® Mini ShowThe Roald Dahl Museum & Story Centre and Science Museum.

Making the most of the fantastic gardens and woodlands at Hatfield House, National Geographic Kids have planned a Woodlands Takeover, with engaging activities including games, prizes and exploring natural habitats!

Other activities confirmed, includes Beano Events, cookery workshops in the Lolli Kitchen, LolliBop’s first Inflatable Village, a Good Old Fashioned Sports Day, dancing session with Itsy Bitsy Strictly, Ready Sheddy Disco and Baby Ballet, Footballing Skills, Beat boxing, face painting and balloon modeling classes.

Situated in Hertfordshire, just off the A1 with plenty of parking or a short 22 minute train journey from London Kings Cross, the stunning country house and gardens of Hatfield House offer an incredible array of spaces to host LolliBop’s vast activity and entertainment programme. With good motorways links, extensive on site parking and just a five minute walk from Hatfield train station, LolliBop 2014 is more accessible than ever before.

Festival Director Gareth Cooper said: “For a family destination, Hatfield House can’t be beaten.  The setting is breathtaking  – with stunning gardens, lush green areas and a woodlands just waiting to be explored – it’s allowed us to open our imaginations and programme an event like never before.

“The 2014 lineup is jam packed with big names for the main stage, alongside an unprecedented number of live theatre performances; sporting activities; creative workshops; nature talks and brand new areas and acts, never before seen at LolliBop.”

With more acts and activities still to be announced, LolliBop truly is the biggest day out for kids this summer!

Tickets are on sale now priced £17.50pp www.lollibopfestival.co.uk facebook.com/lollibopfestival

 

 

 

Our day at Lollibop, The big bash for little people

Friday just gone saw the boys and I travelling on the overground to Stratford, The home of the Olympics last year and this year Lollibop, the BIG bash for little people. This would be our second year of attending Lollibop, last year it was held in Regents Park, the boys have been looking forward to this day all year and couldn’t wait to see Dick and Dom again and Skylanders. We live not far away so we was very lucky that the event was pretty much on our doorstep, it took us half hour to travel on the train but it was a good 10 minutes walk away from Westfield Shopping Centre. We arrived in good time so we popped into the shopping centre to grab ourselves a spot of breakfast, M&S is right next to the exit of the train station and may i add to lovely selection of pastries. On leaving the train station we followed the signs to the EVENTS for the Queen Elizabeth Park, it was quite a walk but the volunteers who were dressed in pink, who were also games makers last year, were very friendly and pointed with big foam hands the way to Lollibop, stopping the traffic and helping us cross the roads and also talking to the children. The walk took you past the old site of the Olympics

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Upon arrival at the Lollibop Event there was a queue which we stood in for 15 minutes, i did hear other guests moaning about the queue but to be honest it was moving slowly and alot of people was arriving at the same time so there was obviously going to be some sort of queue, Lolli came out to the crowd to say hello which was nice for the children and got them all excited about what they were going to see once through the gates and inside.

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Once inside we made our way to the back of the festival which is where the main Lolli stage was and suddenly realised that it was a very long way especially when you have three children to keep an on and they run off in different directions to the many tents, areas and zones that were there, we found a spot under a huge tent and sat down on a bench to look at the programme, this is something i wish i had done before arriving and have no idea why i didn’t!

The boys wanted to go and see the Skylanders Swap Force Team which was in the Lolli Arena, we thought that going there first would be ideal as it would get busy later on in the day

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The boys enjoyed playing the new games and got all excited when they saw the swap tops and bottoms skylander figures, as they were playing the game Eruptot came out to greet everyone and pose for some photos

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It wasn’t long before we heard the music tune to the Rastamouse and Da Easy Crew coming from the Lolli Main Stage so we headed over to see them.

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The crowds were getting busy so we tried to edge a little closer to see a bit better but Oliver couldn’t see so Jak picked him up and put him on his shoulders, this really is the only way for the kiddies to watch the shows unless they are down the front.

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Next up we went over to see Tickety Toc in the Lollipalladium in the Big Top, Oliver absolutely loves Tommy and Talulah but was really upset to see them in person, bless him! I think it was the fact that they were huge, he wouldn’t go anywhere near the Characters. It didn’t stop us from bopping away with them while they were singing and dancing on stage

20130818-083739.jpgJoseph found it easy to make his way down to the front, so he got a really good view.

As we walked around the venue we saw lots of the characters walking around stopping for photo opportunities with the littlies, we met Peppa Pig, Postman Pat, Eruptot (Skylanders), Top Trumps, Tickety Toc’s Tommy and Talulah, Mr Men and Little Miss, Lalaloopsy and a favourite of all of ours was Titan The Robot

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Jak’s favourite part of the day was going to the Tween Town’s tent where he attended the Beat Boxing Workshops, he got picked to go up on the stage with the Beat Boxers from the Urban Arts Experience, in this area you could also book a place to have a go on the Graffiti wall, which were doing workshops all day long and the Media bus wehere there was open Mic workshops. Jak loved it here and he spent quite a while making the most of the beat boxing workshop, that much so that he went 3 times! He was awarded a certificate at the end of the day and they got him up on stage to present it to him

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Whilst in the National Geographic Tent Jak was also called up to show everyone what he learnt in the Urban Arts Tent and he did some Beat Boxing for them

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My boys love having an audience lol.

Whilst in the tent we also got to meet the Gorillas

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Joseph loved the Wow Tent, he played with the toys and was given his very own little figure to take him with him, we guessed how many Figures that were in the bowl for a chance to win some Wow Toys. Oliver and Joseph really enjoyed playing with the toys, so much so that we went back a couple of times during the day, toys without batteries are brilliant!

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We had a very busy day which was jam packed full of activities to do, the boys really did have a brilliant day!

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Dick and Dom’s show was very funny with some adult humour added in, so not only the children were the children giggling away but also the adults were sniggering away too! they got the crowd joining in with the games and had people up on stage, Jak obviously had to shout out the obligatory BOGIES out really loud but not loud enough as they didn’t hear him lol

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We met Andy Day, the CBeebies presenter and he happily posed for a picture with the boys, he was very polite and had a little chat with them

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Or top tips for future Lollibop goers would be

  • Avoid the crowds at lunch time, the queues to the food tents were horrendous around 1pm. Take a light lunch with you as there are plenty of quiet areas in The Meadows where you can sit down and enjoy your food, if you are going to buy food there I would advice trying to eat before 11 and after 2.
  • Plan ahead! Print off the free programmes before hand and mark down what you want to see. I found myself running from one place to another as i was on my own with three children all wanting to see something different at the same times. Lollibop do sell Lanyard programmes on the day for £3
  • Hang around near the stages as they do Meet and Greet with Characters prior to the shows
  • If you want to take part in an activity that needs a booking do it early as the places fill up really quickly
  • Make the most of the Discovery Zone, the Science Museum tent and National Geographic Tents are really good for the children of all ages.
  • Make sure that you put the Lost Child Wristbands on the children as it does get very busy
  • Where comfortable shoes, the site is big and you will be doing lots of walking

There are plenty of places to eat but i found that this area was very busy because of the Main Stage, it would have been nice to have the Main stage in the middle somewhere or maybe near the Big Top as then it would have been easier to watch the shows that were coinciding with each other, i had the eldest wanting to see one thing and the youngest wanting to watch another.

There were so many more things that we missed out on as it was very busy, the best time of the day was early on or at about 4ish when the crowds began to disperse, this is when we went to see the Transformers and the Disco shed.

The boys had a pillow fight against each other, Joseph won!

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I found that there were so many things to do and not enough time, it would have been easier if i had another adult to help out as sometimes i felt quite overwhelmed with the crowds and just needed a break from the walking, lucky enough i had the buggy and Oliver had a little nap and i had the eldest helping me out too.

I was slightly disappointed with the venue this year as last year in Regents Park it was lovely and Green, maybe it was because seeing queen Elizabeth Park last year to this year, it is so different, quite like a building site still but it isn’t fully open until next summer 2014. The boys on the other hand had a blast and can not wait til next year!

I was given tickets to Lollibop as an Ambassador, views are all honest and my own!

 

A fun day out at Promenade Park

The boys love to play in a park and the moment I say to them that we are going out for a play they get really excited.

Last week we spent a few days at Nanny’s house which is near to Maldons promenade park, the park is set aside the River Blackwater and has many things to keep the children entertained, a wooden ship play area, boats, crabbing, splash park, play areas and sand pits.

We packed up a picnic and off we set ready for a day of fun!

As soon as we arrived at the park were our way to the splash park, we bought our wristbands which cost £2 per person for half hour, the boys stripped down to their swimming trunks and as soon as they opened the gates off they ran to get a soaking.

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Oliver normally loves to play in water but he had just woken up and just wanted to run along in the water that was at the side, he still enjoyed splashing around with his hands and feet but saint pluck up enough courage to run through the jet sprays of water or stand under the waterfall.

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After 30 minutes of wet play the whistle blew and it was time to dry off and make our way out of the splash area.

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Joseph wanted to go play on the big wooden ship, the boys hd so much fun chasing each other around pretending to be pirates, I on the other hand just chased Oliver around, he’s like Usain Bolt when it comes to play areas! He loved climbing up the stairs and running around the ship and going down the many slides that were there, his favourite was the curly slide.
We found a wheel on the ship that was a clock with all the numbers on it, Oliver pointed out the numbers to me and spent a while turning the wheel and doing his numbers.

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It was nearly time for some food so we went to a quieter area in the park where there is a little sand pit, a water wheel and some grass to sit on, it’s right next to a little cafe so we got to sit and relax while the boys played in the sand. Joseph spent his time gathering water from the tap and moving it the sand to make a moat.
Oliver found a little friend who he had running races with, they ran down a hill together, saying 1,2,3 GO! Off they went racing away

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We all had a really fun day, the splash park is an ideal place for the children to cool down on a hot summers day and the play areas are brilliant for the children to spend hours playing away and using their imaginations.

Before leaving for home we found a nice little spot to take a picture of Nanny with her boys

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I’m linking up with Coombemill head on over by clicking on the widget below to see what other families have been up to in the great outdoors
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Day 7 Where was I Today? #FMSphotoaday #365

This weekend has been a scorcher, yesterday we put up the pool but it takes days to fill so today we got up early and headed down to Dover.
After driving for 75 minutes we had arrived at our destination, Dover Castle!

The castle is beautiful and on weekends they have actors dressed up in characters, the views over to Dover Port were fantastic and everyone that worked there was so friendly.

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Joseph met a real knight, a real King, a real Princess and real castle workers! You should have seen his face when the King arrived, my little boy got down on his knees and bowed away at him and when he told Joseph that he could fight for him as he had come prepared with a shield and a sword, I have never seen such and excited face before.

After a few hours of walking around and taking in the history of the castle we drove over to Folkestone to check out the town and to hopefully have a little splash in the sea.