Review: Sacrewell Farm, Christmas Experience

“A truly magical experience for little ones.”

We haven’t visited Sacrewell for a while despite its close proximity to us; I think as its being undergoing a bit of a revamp. When L was born, I had an annual pass and spent a good chunk of my maternity leave lugging L through the play barn chasing after H!

So when we were invited to come along and try their new ‘Christmas Experience’, we jumped at the chance.  On arrival, we received a lovely welcome and were given our Father Christmas tickets and tractor ride wrist bands.  First stop was the big man himself.  A short walk past the goats, new improved outdoor play area, we came to the drive up to the old farmhouse.

The walk up was pretty, with stars hanging from the trees and there was a real Christmassy feel. The Farmhouse is adorned with sparkly lights and surrounded by Christmas trees, but the main attraction is Father Christmas’ amazing sleigh. If you pose on the sleigh and use the hashtag ‘Sacrewell Christmas’ you are entered into a prize draw to win a family annual pass!

The entrance hall to the farmhouse is lined with twinkling lights, christmas trees and gorgeous animals (reindeers, penguins, polar bears).  Mrs Claus greeted us as we entered and talks to all the children ensuring the excitement builds. She then helps each child make a bag of reindeer food, and explains how you put it out on Christmas Eve.

Its then time to enter into Father Christmas’ room.  The open fire is lit, there is a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and homemade mince pies for adults, creating a homely feel.  Father Christmas is sat next to the fire with a stool either side for children. He was such a genuine man, and made such an effort to engage with each child; asking their names and what they would like for Christmas, etc. Each child/family then has the opportunity to have their photo taken with Father Christmas (which are purchasable for an extra cost). After each child has sat with Father Christmas, he then holds out a bag which holds the ‘magic key’.  

H and L both got a key, and after leaving Father Christmas they discovered it opened a very special door indeed.  The key opened the Elves Workshop! H and L thought this was just fantastic, and even better that they were then able to choose their own toy (from a good selection). H chose a bug excavation kit and L, a puppet elephant now named ‘Ellie’.

         

Upon leaving the Elves Workshop, there is a table set out for writing letters to Father Christmas with beautiful headed paper and an array of coloured envelopes.  We chose to bring ours home to do as H and L are still a bit young and need quite a lot of help. Next up was our tractor ride. This was a nice little amble through the grounds of the farm and into neighbouring Riverford. H and L both enjoyed looking at the scenery and were quite chatty about what they were seeing.

One of the main attractions of the farm, particularly in the winter is the ‘Playbarn’. It can turn what could be a wet, cold trip out to somewhere were you can warm up and have a cup of tea. H and L have been to the play barn quite a few times and wasted no time in running straight in. After lunch we came out for a walk and found a new obstacle course which they both loved (as well as Mummy and Daddy!), we then took a walk to the outdoor play area and to see some of the animals. Despite their pleads to stay a bit longer, we were all farmed out and headed home for a rest.

All in all, a truly magical Christmas experience for H and L and I would recommend it to other parents. The play barn is fantastic, however, my only criticism would be that there were fewer animals to pet/feed than on previous visits and I think children enjoy this aspect of the farm. BUT, that said, Sacrewell are doing a great job of bringing the farm up to speed!

Price: Adult £7.00, Child £12.50, Under 2 £5. This is for the peak periods (weekends and the week before Christmas) and includes the Christmas experience.

Disclaimer: We were fortunate to have been gifted a Christmas Experience at Sacrewell; however, I have carried out the review independently, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thank you

AWOOE x

Review: The Playtown Role Play Centre, Essendine

“Absolutely amazing! The new place to go with children!”

Wow, I just don’t know where to start!! Today was the opening of ‘The Playtown Role Play Centre‘ in Essendine and it was just fantastic. We arrived eager to go in at 0930 on the dot. We were ushered in quickly and straight into the play area. L and I decided to go into the Theatre area first as it was empty and she selected a ‘Moana’ costume to wear and then found a guitar to strum. She really was in her element.Next stop was the Cafe. L enjoyed chopping the cake, vegetables and pizza and using the kitchen area too. What was so lovely to see, was the children happily sharing and enjoying themselves together even though they were complete strangers. We moved onto the Shop area next door and L was drawn to the shopping trolleys and swiftly began filling it with her shopping. Another little girl was using the till, so she kindly rung up L’s shopping for her which was just lovely.

The Fire Station was our next stop and L immediately put on the fire fighter costume  complete with water hose back pack. She decided to man the phones in the fire station before moving onto the fire engine, complete with working siren (amazing!).

Now you’d think that after all of these rooms, we’d be done, but we were barely even half way!! L decided we would go to the Doctors after this and naturally I was ‘poorly’ and needed the doctor to help me. There were plenty of Doctors dress up outfits and a reception area with telephone. I think at this point I was still in awe at how fantastic everything is. It’s like a real town but in miniature form! (although I guess thats the point!)

Next on our high street tour was the Vets followed by the Construction SiteIce Cream Van and Picnic Spot. L enjoyed bathing the animals and checking their temperatures (in the ear!), but she really loved the construction site. We set out the cones to cordon off the area, used the hammer and built a brick wall which clearly needed a drill, such fun. My favourite piece, however, was definitely the ice cream van and picnic area in the middle of the centre, such a lovely centre piece. There was even a beautiful wooden barbecue with kebabs and picnic basket. We then discovered the Postbox complete with felt letters and parcels (lovingly handmade), L enjoyed driving round on the ladybug and then dropping them in the postbox.

The Playtown Centre truly is amazing, and I’m not sure I’ve done it justice with this write up. It must have been sensory overload for L as there is just so much to see and do and it is all so beautifully laid out. Charlene has clearly put her heart and soul into this build and it is clear to see around every corner. The attention to detail is second to none; from the quality of the furniture to the gorgeous wooden toys! I can confirm we now have the Melissa & Doug Ice Cream set on our Christmas list now!

The café on site sells a delicious range of homemade cakes, biscuits and child friendly snacks as well as an array of hot and cold drinks. I had a cup of tea and L a fairy cake, a total of £2.70 for both. We were in the 0930-1100 slot and my only criticism (if you can call it that) is that we couldn’t stay longer as we were having so much fun, it really is THAT good! Well done Charlene and the team for creating a much needed place to play in our area. If you have a spare morning or afternoon, do make sure you book a visit here, you wont be disappointed!

Price: £6 per child, 1 x adult FREE.  An absolute bargain.

Disclaimer: I have carried out the review independently, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thank you

AWOOE x

Going Plastic Free….

Reducing our plastic consumption is something I’ve been considering for a little while now, and when a friend at ‘Peterborough Environment City Trust’ (PECT) mentioned that BBC Look East were looking for a family to try being plastic free for a week, I jumped at the chance.  Sadly for me, I didn’t realise that this meant being filmed LIVE on tv! Needless to say, I won’t be pursuing an acting career as a result of my tv appearance! Having watched the BBC documentary ‘Drowning in Plastic‘ a few weeks, I was absolutely horrified at the sheer scale of devastation plastic is having on our planet. Something needs to be done, and I for one am going to try my utmost to reduce our plastic contribution to landfill….

Having attempted a plastic free week, I’d say that time, I don’t think our family could manage being totally plastic free just yet.  It is astonishing just how many things we buy are wrapped in plastic: vegetables, pasta, fruit, confectionary and many many more, To become totally plastic free, the supermarket chains need to stop wrapping everything in plastic just for the ease of adding a barcode. Something else I have found strange during our plastic free week was how much recycling centres vary across the country. My parents can’t recycle half of what we can. For the UK to cut down on its plastic consumption, what can and can’t be recycled needs to be standardised across the country and the information needs to be readily available QUICKLY.

So, what can you do to reduce your plastic consumption and help our planet?

Cling film: I’m not sure how I didn’t know this, but tin foil is a recyclable provided it is mostly clean.  Next on my purchase list are some beeswax wraps.  These do come across as a little pricey, but they have longevity in them and ultimately better for the environment.  Places I am currently looking to purchase from are the ‘Beeswax Wrap Co‘ and ‘Low Tox Box‘.

Plastic bottles: whilst most of these are recyclable, a significant portion of them end up in landfill.  We love our water bottles in this house.  My current bottle has been on the go for over a year, as have the children’s’. My children love their Sistema water bottles, but they can start to get smelly despite constant washing, so once the time has come to get rid of your water bottle, these plastic ones are recyclable!

Straws: single use plastic straws are terrible.  We have reusable plastic straws in our house that we have had for over a year, which get washed in the dishwasher.  But if you are considering upgrading, there are some excellent metal ones on the market.

Takeaway coffee: whilst these cups may look recyclable, the inner coating is actually plastic! A simple solution is a reusable coffee/tea cup. I LOVE my Bodum one as it keeps my tea hot for hours! However, it can be irritating to carry around for the day. I have since found these ones which are great for travelling as they collapse!

Carrier bags: most stores now have a 5p charge for a single use carrier bag.  I am usually carrying a backpack which I use as my bag, or when supermarket shopping I use reusable bags. Try to keep a reusable bag in your handbag or car for those emergencies.

Wipes: these aren’t very environmentally friendly and should never be flushed down the toilet.  I no longer use wipes within my household, I have an army of microfibre cloths for washing dishes and cleaning with. But should I have my time again with my babies (or perhaps there will be a Raitt £3), I would love to get my hands on some reusable wipes. ‘Cheeky Wipes‘ seem to offer the best ones, and there are often some good deals to be had on second hand ones.  As we still use some wipes, I am going to stop buying them and use a face cloth which I have cut into four pieces.

Sanitary products: Whilst I realise that this may not be everyones cup of tea (no pun intended!), but I have switched from the usual tampons and towels to a ‘menstrual cup‘ and I love it.  After a bit of trial and error in the beginning, it really is great and it Is pleasing to know that I’m not contributing so much waster to landfill each month.

Moving forward as a family, I am altering the way I think about waste.  Things I would like to do:

  • Use the greengrocers and butchers more.
  • Limit the number of packaged goods we buy such as biscuits, cheese, and yoghurts.
  • Ditch cling film.
  • Halve the amount of waste that goes into my refuse bin.

For those of you who were fortunate enough to miss our tv debut, here are some awkward screenshots!

Cat

xxx