Finding Adventure Close To Home

singing reindeer display

Our weekends really do go from one extreme to the other in this house.  One week we might be off on a super exciting weekend away or another we might be in the house juggling looking after the kids with a long list of household chores to catch up on.  It’s probably not to far off how things happen in your house, is it?

This weekend, we stayed close to home, but I was not going to let cleaning and laundry take over our lives.  Sundays are always off to an early start as my daughter has swimming lessons at the local leisure centre.  She has to be in the pool for 10.30am so Sunday lie ins are completely out of the question.

singing reindeer display

Brook doesn’t go in the pool at the moment because of her grommets and because we are having trouble getting her to go into a swimming lesson without her sister.  This is something we are keen to tackle, but more on that in another post.

Seeing as we are already up and out of the house, I wanted to catch the momentum and make sure we had some quality family time together.  We didn’t want to travel for miles, so after swimming we headed to the local garden centre.  Brook and I had recently discovered feeding the fish there and wanted to show Daddy and Indie how much fun it was.  For £1 you get a tub of fish food and you can feed the koi carp in this huge tank.  When they are really hungry they are literally jumping out at you to get to the food!

koi carp

This particular day, they weren’t quite as frantic as I think they had already had some visitors, but it was still a fun thing for us all to do.  I even caught Daddy smiling as the girls threw in the fish food trying to get it in the open mouth’s of the fish.  We explored the rest of the fish tanks at the aquatic centre as they have quite a collection of fish and the kids love looking at the different varieties and picking out their favourites.

girl with singing reindeer

The Christmas display at the garden centre is also in full swing.  Walking through the sparkly displays and picking out our favourite singing Santa’s makes me feel so happy that Christmas is just around the corner. The girls set off as many dancing reindeer as they could and we tried to avert the dropping of snow globes before we were having to pay for some damaged items in store.  It was all good fun, well for us anyway, maybe not the other shoppers in the store!

girl with christmas decorations

Fortunately, the promise of a kids lunch box with jelly and a play on the pirate ship helped us to avert disaster and we picked up some food in the lovely cafe.  I noticed that they were doing Breakfast with Santa and I made a note to book a slot when we got home.  Fortunately there was still good availability.

Before we left we popped by the pets section and the girls managed to get a few words out of Rusty the Parrot before making a beeline towards the toy section.  There was some debate over buying an oversized unicorn at this point but we managed to leave without obtaining another furry friend to add to our already ridiculously large soft toy collection.

girls talking to parrot

For an October day, we were experiencing bright blue skies, sunshine and relative warmth for the time of year.  We decided to visit another of our favourite local places, Highfields Park, to go for a little walk.  We popped into Lakeside Arts on the off chance there was some family friendly theatre showing, and we were convinced by the Box Office staff that The Three Muskateers by The Three Half Pints would be worth seeing.  At £8 per ticket, it’s difficult to say no, especially when you can have front row seats as well.

We wondered off to look at the dinosaur and art exhibitions and have a play on the park before the show got started.  We didn’t have any trouble filling the hour and a half window before the show as there is always plenty to do at Lakeside.

Lakeside arts

When we announced it was time to go to the theatre, the girls charged towards the building, super keen not to miss a thing.  We took to our seats, and it soon became apparent we were sat under the main speaker.  Brook found this very loud as she is still trying to adjust to a world with full hearing, but fortunately it didn’t put her off the show.

The Three Muskateers was hilarious from beginning to end, and we all laughed pretty much all the way through at the slapstick humour and double entendre that were coming thick and fast.  When they put a wet mop on Daddy’s head we literally couldn’t contain ourselves.  It was a brilliant show, and I’m so glad that we decided to go and see it.  It was the perfect end to an impromptu family day full of fun.

Zena Goldman

Zena Goldman is a UK based travel, family & lifestyle blogger who left her 9-5 job behind in the not-for-profit sector to follow her creative dreams and enjoy a more flexible family life. She began writing Zena’s Suitcase in 2011 and shares the holidays and adventures she goes on with (and without) her 2 young daughters. She wishes her son would join them more often but he’s carving out his own dreams now and enjoying university life. Since beginning Zena’s Suitcase she has worked with a number of brands and also has a regular monthly feature in the ASDA Good Living Magazine feature, ‘Ask The Expert’ where she shares helpful parenting tips. In 2018 she was also a finalist in the prestigious BIBs Awards for Social Media.

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23 Discussion to this post

  1. Amy Wright says:

    I love the Christmas displays at garden centres, there’s one near us in Horndean and it’s just magical, the kids love it!

  2. Margaret Gallagher says:

    I think I’d be as excited as the children

    Never actually seen it although I know the story well

  3. Sidrah Ahmed says:

    This is wonderful and look like a lot of fun for the family

  4. Looks like you had a lovely family day out!

  5. Kayleigh Watkins says:

    We are the same we either have really busy or really quiet weekends, like today the wind and rain are horrendous so qere hiding at home, Aww its a shame shes missing out and she can’t do swimming lessons because of her grommets, have you been given a date yet to sort them, looks like they enjoyed the garden centre, they will love breakfast with Santa, my Megan didn’t like Santa lastvyear but loved seeing him the year before, she’s the same with fair rides fireworks etc, she will like them one year then not the next xXx

  6. Jeanette Leighton says:

    It’s nice to find somewhere close by , there’s not a lot to do where I live but sometimes their are events on at the castle

  7. Charlotte Pashley-Foy says:

    Wow, looks like great fun and brilliant that it’s so close by! Enjoy breakfast with Santa when the time comes 🙂

  8. The Christmas displays look great, I want to go and get into the festive spirit x
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  9. Jo says:

    You’re lucky you’ve got so many cool places near to you. We have some – plenty of soft places. Taking our kids to a theatre is on my list of things to do this year, I think they will enjoy it as did when I was a child

  10. Shannon Williams says:

    I love these great ideas my son loves the Christmas season 🙂

  11. Paula Gwynne says:

    What a fa family day

  12. amelia avossa says:

    it looks super fun! dont you just love this time of year!! x

  13. Ren Taylor says:

    The displays look great….lovely review and photos

  14. Lorna Ledger says:

    I live in this area too! And I know the Garden Center! It is a lovely place to go, my OH works on the Campus for NU oh Highfields x 🙂 If you get the chance have a nosey round campus, particularly ‘Nightingale’ a Student Halls with beautiful Art Deco features and rated #2 in the Times best Student Halls!

  15. linda curtis says:

    it looks lovely and really christmassy
    we have some lovely garden centers in crews hill
    the whole street is decked out at chrisymas
    its a overly place to go and buy our tree

  16. Keri Brooks says:

    Looks amazing lovely family day out to get you in the mods for Christmas

  17. Yolanda Davis says:

    when i was little my parents took my sister and I xmas shopping in Oxford Street so we could see the xmas lights. we would also go to Selfridge’s xmas grotto. It was brilliant, but I’ve no idea if they still do it.

  18. Sidrah Ahmed says:

    A great day out it sounds like a lot of fun

  19. caroline tokes says:

    I love thins like that sounds like a fab day out

  20. Sarah-Dawn Pope says:

    I never think about visiting Garden Centres at Christmas time. I only seem to use them in the summer.

  21. Leila Benhamida says:

    I love Nottcuts. We do have one in Peterborough.

  22. Louise Reeks says:

    Fantastic blog, i cant stop looking at the picture of the fish,Makes me chuckle.Looks like you all had a great time

  23. Sandra Bald says:

    It looks like you had a great day out. I love days like that when things aren’t really planned & you just have the opportunity to go with the flow

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