So the summer holidays are over.
Reuben started back at school last Wednesday and now we are all back in the busy routine of school runs, working days, clubs and play.
I have to say I have genuinely enjoyed the last 6 weeks. Although a struggle at times to manage childcare while working in marketing part-time and running an online vintage shop, the more laid-back vibe and opportunities to do new things together has been wonderful.
I, like many, dont have tons of spare cash to throw around so the summer holidays are always a mix of days out and either free activities or time at home. So in todays blog I thought I’d share some of the things we got up to big and small… hopefully making memories that will last for years to come.
This hidden gem on the outskirts of Milton Keynes is a great place to really experience the lives of the WW2 codebreakers (led by Alan Turing – who you may of seen immortalised in the Benedict Cumberbatch film The Imitation Game). Theres lots of information, exhibits and a replica of the Bombe, one of the first computers as well as an original German Enigma machine. The grounds and house are lovely with plenty of spots for picnics and fun, plus theres a cafe and restaurant too. A great historical visit that has something to interest everyone.
The National Museum of Computing
Next to Bletchley Park is the museum of computing and with two computer/gaming crazed 9 years olds we couldnt not visit! The museum holds all types of computing devices and the boys marvelled at the huge old computers from the 1960s as well as interacting with robots, retro consoles and even some virtual reality. There were lots of passionate helpers on hand to explain things and were very patient with our children helping them program, play and generally interact with the exhibits.
OK, its kinda a no-brainer but the cinema was a great day out for all of us and we made sure to fit in some ice cream afterwards! Finding Dory was a great film that all our children enjoyed (with the age difference this can be hard) and had a beautiful message.
What a delight this place is. Small but perfectly formed, it is located in Buckinghamshire where Dahl lived and shares his childhood, all his wonderful work, insights on his process (he ate 3/4 bars of chocolate a day, wrote during strict working sessions and never cleaned his writing hut) and his ongoing legacy. Theres lots of interactive displays, memorabilia, storytelling and talks and a lovely little tea room if you fancy a slice of cake. It is great for school aged children as they are already familar with much of his writing and all visitors are given a cute pad and pencil to write down their ideas just as Dahl did.
The Science Museum
I’d not been to the Science Museum since I was a child and I was pleasantly surprised to see it had changed alot since then. Its free to get in, theres lots to see and do and kids eat free in the restaurant when you order and adult meal. However for all the REALLY cool stuff you do have to pay – the IMAX cinema, 4D experiences and flight simulators add up £ wise, but make for a cool techy day out…and if you travel by train you can get 2for1 vouchers which bought the cost down a lot. Great for inquisitive minds, young and old, and don’t get me started on the amazing gift shop…
We are a thrill-seeking family so summer wouldnt be summer without a trip to a theme park. We visited both Alton Towers and Thorpe Park this summer and had a blast! Look for 2for1 vouchers and online codes to make it more affordable and think about bringing a picnic lunch. We usually purchase the refillable drinks bottles too and refill throughout the day via the Hydration Stations. Now our 9yr old’s are taller we have a lot more rides to go on so keeping hydrated is important!
The pool, the garden, who cares?!? If its hot get wet! Our local pool does lots of kid friendly swim sessions and we bought a bigger paddling pool last year and I was determined we would get good use out of it! Again quick and easy, but very fun.
This was a new experience for us as a family and boy it was fun! Be warned though it is EXHAUSTING! Our local trampoline park has a ‘Total Wipeout’ machine, dodgeball and basketball areas and lots of high points to jump off of! We will definitely be visiting again.
A simple quick thing to do but it feels special. I love having a Starbucks ‘date’ with my 9 year old and it makes him feel very grown up. He knows its a treat (those drinks are yummy but calorific) and we get some sweet one on one time.
Living in Kent we have quite the pick of the seaside towns. Margate, Whitstable, Broadstairs and Herne Bay are all great to visit and filled with everything you would expect. We walked the pier, played in the amusements (2p machines a speciality), ate chips and swam in the sea. Just perfect.
And of course there were plenty of quieter days at home. This year I made sure our boys didn’t expect to do something everyday and they made use of the many toys and books they have as well as visiting our local play park and spending time with other family members. All in all I think we found a good balance.
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