Glamping in the Lake District Yurts and All

Our Weekend away ‘Glamping’

I love the outdoors, and spending time roaming around my uncles farm was a huge part of my upbringing. We would spend the summer holidays there feeding the animals, roaming around the surrounding fields and hills. I loved this as kid and i wanted my boys to experience as much of this as possible.

We started off by spending a few night in Grandads caravan on a campsite with all the facilities you would ever need and we decided that we needed to ease them in to full on camping so that they weren’t put off at such a young age.

Nigella found a campsite in the Eden Valley, Cumbria on a working farm, a magical place called Drybeck Farm ( Reading through their website we found out that they have 2 Traditional Mongolian Yurts, a Gypsy caravan and a 1970’s vintage caravan and on the farm it’s self they have Pigs, Horses, Sheep, a Goat and Chickens that we found out later are all very friendly.  So we booked it and got ourselves prepared for our stay.

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We got to the farm at around 8 pm and by this point it was already dark, we were shown to our Yurt and i’ll be honest i was amazed! As you can see from my photos above the Yurt its self is fantastic and the cookhouse that is across the bridge is more than equipped to create culinary masterpieces with the fantastic produce from the farm, the cookhouse comes complete with gas hob, log burning oven and fridge.

The whole place is geared around the environment, with solar panels and composting toilets (which aren’t that bad at all), recycling facilities for all the waste and wood burning stoves. It is really refreshing to stay somewhere so comfortable and cosy that is also environmentally aware.

All four of us slept comfortably in the yurt, with a Double bed and 2 single fold out beds for the boys, it was quite a cold October night but the Yurt stayed nice and warm thanks to the wood burning stove that was pilled high with logs when we went to sleep, the farm also provide plenty of warm bedding and there is also electricity in the Yurts so you could bring your own heater too,

The site also has a shower block with electric power showers that rival the best hotels and all toiletries are provided as the waste water is used on the farm so they have to be kind to the environment.

We had a fantastic time exploring the farm, meeting all the animals, including a beautiful 1 eyed huski called Jack, the village of Armathwaite is a short drive away and there is also a horse and carriage taxi service provided by the farm.

We will be heading back up in the summer and would recommend it to anyone who is looking to take their family away on a UK break.

Network Rail Steam Ban

Complete ban on steam operations across the LNE & East Midlands Route of Network Rail

We’ve just received a Press Release from our friends over at West Coast Railways advising that the Scarborough Spa Express steam train trip has been changed to a diesel service called the “Seaside Flyer”, this is down to a complete steam ban on the line.

West coast advise that – “We will continue to run a service on the same route with the same traditional carriages, it will be hauled by a Diesel Engine called “Seaside Flyer”. Other than steam the service remains unchanged, and we trust all passengers will thoroughly enjoy this unique experience.”

Details of the press release are shown here on their site.

It’s not the first time there has been a ban on steam on this line, in fact when we traveled on it there was a partial steam ban, which meant there could be a steam engine on the front and diesel on the back, we still had a great time and I might even go on the Seaside Flyer with the boys in the next week or so.

Sad News

The news of the sad deaths of our childhood hero’s is something that we have all gone through as we grow up, but the passing of one of my all time favourite funny men Robin Williams has been a real shock and a real wake up call, not just for me, but for countless people I’ve seen on social media over the last few hours.

The overwhelming and common theme I’ve read is that apparently the legendary comedien tragically took his own life as the only way to deal with his demons.

I hope that out of the tragic loss of someone who brought endless joy to millions of people over decades of his life it will help people to see that depression can take hold of anyone, it can pull down your entire life and no matter how happy or funny or confident you appear to the world, inside and in private when you are with the closest people to you it just takes hold, there might seem like there is no reason for it, like you’ve “nothing to be depressed about” or you should “snap out of it”. The only way that you can deal with it is to share it, even then it’s tough, remember there are people out there to help you and your loved ones deal with it and recover.

There is a huge stigma around mental illness that needs to be addressed, not only to help the suffers but also their confidants, the only person they trust with the details of their “embarrassing” illness that many people percive as a weakness or attention seeking. I know from first hand experience of this that we as a society need to change the way we see mental illness.

Depression and anxiety seem to go hand in hand so why we allow people to feel anxious about speaking out and asking for a little bit of help is beyond me.

Someone confided in me about their own demons and is a tough thing to deal with, I hope anyone reading this that is going through a tough time will get some inspiration to get help knowing that IT DOES GET EASIER, it not your fault, you are never completely alone, so speak up and seek professional help too.

If you are not ready to tell people close to you the best person to speak to is either your GP or the samaritans on 08457 90 90 90

“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.” – Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams

Rowley Poleys Childrens Soft Play

Rowley Poleys Childrens Soft Play Brighouse

We were luck enough to be invited to a preview event of the only childrens soft play area and café in Brighouse! A close friend of ours told us that she was opening a Childrens Soft Play center in Brighouse with her sister in law and invited us for a sneak preview of the place last weekend, the same day as the annual Brighouse Charity Gala, and we had a great time!

In a prime location next to Welholme Park and above the ever present Brighouse car dealership J.C Bates & sons, I have no doubt that Rowley Poleys will be a huge success. The two people responsible for the incarnation of this fantastic venture are sister-in-laws Rebecca and Michelle, both mums and between them have great experience in Child Care and business management.

We took the boys down to have a sneaky look at what everyone else could expect from Today and the were both amazed, in the weeks since we went they have both been pestering to go back again almost daily and whenever we pass the building they both start shouting “Rowley Poleys!!”.

Its a really deceptive space that they have used to its full potential with sections for different ages and tastes with two safe playing areas for babies from birth through to toddling with sensory stimulation and plenty of soft toys. There are a further two areas for toddlers with plenty of ride on toys, a trampoline and climbing frame with slide and a swing, and also role playing toys to really get their imagination developing. For the older children there is the Activity Room which contains all kinds of dressing up equipment, arts and crafts equipment and a chalk board wall for plenty of funny messages and creativity!

Each of the sections have been decorated in its own individual theme, with the ride on toy area having a road theme, there is also a circus and outdoors themed areas too.

And now for the parents!

The cafe is great with the best Rocky Road I’ve ever tasted ever, Flapjacks to die for and a great selection of hot and cold drinks and snacks (all available to view on their website

There will also be a seasonal menu and a picnic builder for the kids with daily specials advertised on the boards. The Cafe seats 28 and can be booked for parties, it has the facilities for warming baby food and bottles free of charge and the huge bonus for me is that there is a changing facility in the gents as well as the ladies, you’d be surprised at how many places don’t have a changing facility in the gents.

And any parents that aren’t a big fan of doing the weekly shop can send the other half to Tesco via the gate in the car park, and enjoy a cuppa in the cafe at Rowley Poleys while the little ones enjoy the childrens soft play areas.

The boys absolutely love visiting it and i am making a video of them telling me what they like best about Rowley Poleys which will appear here soon. We love it at Rowley Poleys and i’m sure you will too!

I’m Back! – growing up and getting married

It’s been a while since i last posted on here and lots has gone on, the boys are growing up fast, T is now 4 and starts school in September and R is 2 and hitting the terrible twos but neither are babies anymore :(

Not to worry though my friends are kindly providing an army of testers as each of them seem to be popping out offspring constantly. And i know I’ve always got my fantastic readers to call upon if i need someone to lend a hand with a review or a write up.

So whats been going on in my life, well i finally made an honest women out of N we married on 10th May in a lovely ceremony with our nearest and dearest there it was an amazing day and i’m glad i was given two pieces of great advice “take it all in, it goes so fast”, it really does! and the second was from my step-dad who offered the pearl of wisdom in the church “Don’t worry, its a piece of piss. I’ve done it loads of times!” (my mum is his second wife).

The highlight of the ceremony was T who wanted to be part of the ceremony, and we were fine with that, but someone said he had to sit down and he decidedsulk to stand on the end of a pew and sulk….for the whole ceremony lol.

And then the two of us left the boys with Nana and headed off on our Honeymoon to the stunning Marrakesh for 7 nights, and what a time we had, I would recommend it to anyone as somewhere to visit at least once in your lifetime, the city is such a lively place, so colourful, fast paced and busy but it has some wonderful things to see too, the Gardens of Jacques Majorelle are a stunning tranquil place to visit in such a bustling surroundings.

Pure bliss!

Whats next for well we’ve got a few items to write reviews for and some great things to support, we’ve been invited to a sneak preview of Rowley Poleys Childrens indoor soft play centre in Brighouse this weekend so i’ll be letting you all know what we think.

As always we are still looking at the fun, inventive, useful and unique gadgets, so if you know of any that you think we’d like get in touch.

It’s great to be back, I hope you are looking forward to our future posts.


Car Park hide and seek

I’m sure we’ve all been in this situation. You drive load the whole family in to the car and set off to the supermarket, by the time you arrive at the supermarket the kids are asleep and it’s the first piece of quiet time you’ve had all day.

Now you are faced with two options:
1. Wake the children up and risk two moody angry little people shouting and crying their way around the supermarket.

2. Persuade the other half it would be easier and less hassle if you stayed in the car with the children and they went in and did the shopping.

I always opt for option 2 the only down side to it is the boredom, so today I decided to make things a little more interesting. As soon as Nigella was in the supermarket I started the engine and moved the car to the other side of the car park and sent a simple text “I’ve moved the car…….x”

And so car park hide and seek was born, it’s still new so I might need to practice a bit more to get better………

Next time I might drive home, I’m sure I’d win with that tactic but I might need to make a bed up in the shed.

Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Children 2013

Top Christmas Toys for Children 2013

Christmas is getting closer and parents all over the world are sitting down with their children to write letters to Father Christmas (Pere Noel in Belgium and France, Viejo Pascuero (“Old Man Christmas”) in Chile, Ded Moroz (“Grandfather Frost”) in Russia, to name a few). It’s a magical time of year for children and parents but as we all know that Christmas comes with plenty of costs attached. And with £3 billion(1) is spent in Britain on toys every single year, it’s important that mums and dads are getting good value for money.

My Favourite Voucher Codes has picked out the Top 5 Christmas Gifts for Children.

There are some familiar names on the list, such as the Furby, which has actually been voted UK Toy of the Year by the Toy Retailers Association.

1. Furby
The Furby has been one of the top toys on the list many times over the years. This year it’s the pink Furby Boom with black stripes model that you should be looking out for. What makes this toy really unique is the fact it has a mind of its own. The way that it behaves is controlled by the way your child treats it, so in this respect it’s just like a proper pet. The Furby can be quite expensive, but if you want to treat your little one, see if you can save money with Smyths Toys voucher codes and save £6 off when you spend £50 and over.

2. Big Hugs Elmo
Elmo is one of the most lovable children’s characters on TV, so it’s no surprise he’s topping the Christmas gift list this year. He’s super cute and is the perfect companion for your little one. Not only does he give out amazing hugs, he also sings to your child at bedtimes. The lullaby should help them drift off to a world of deep sleep. You can find Elmo in all top toy stores, as well as catalogues stores, such as Argos.

3. Teksta Puppy
This is another familiar addition to the list, but still as popular as ever before, the Teksta puppy is a fantastic top of the range gift. It’s the next best thing to buying a real puppy for your children. They can train him to do back flips, sit and stop. You can use lights, your voice, physical gestures and sounds to interact with the puppy. It may not be the most affordable gift on the list, but you can save money by shopping online with voucher codes for Amazon.

4. Ubooly
Another high tech toy on the list is the Ubooly. This lovable creature is designed to interact with iPad, iPhone and Android devices. It relies upon an app to work properly and when installed it will read to your child, answer questions and chat to them. You’re able to customise the app so that the Ubooly knows more about your child’s interests and their abilities. It’s a great companion for your child and they are bound to fall in love with it.

5. LeapPad Ultra
If you have the money, the LeapPad Ultra is a fantastic gift that will really help your child to learn new skills. It features a 7 inch screen, Wi-Fi and its own camera. There’s even an app store designed especially for this LeapPad where you can download new apps for your child to play on. Even though it is quite pricey, you can get £33 off this great Christmas gift with our Argos discount code.

Julian House, founder of My Favourite Voucher Codes, said: “These are the top 5 gifts you can buy your children this Christmas and taking advantage of voucher codes will help to make the cost more affordable.”


t: 01225 313647


Children’s TV Educating footballers?

According to one National Newspaper, Manchester City’s new foreign signings are turning to CBeebies to learn the basics of English as quick as possible and settle in to the team.

Alongside their new teammates, some of the more established Premier League stars are also using Children’s TV to polish their vocab, with Sergio Aguero’s recent TV interviews in English being attributed in some part to the programs.

Do your children use TV as a main learning tool? Do you believe it has a place in the Education system for children as well as educating footballers?

I’m sure everyone over a certain age remembers wheeling the TV in to class and the excitement of getting to sit on the carpet and watch a grainy VHS video. I’m sure modern classrooms now have TV’s as standard, but is the standard of program as good?

I personally believe that new children’s TV is great, the structure is brilliant for children to aid their learning, along with fun play, activities and getting out exploring the real world with mum and dad.

If its good enough to be used for Educating Footballers then it must have some educational benefits.

Home Safety

Keep your home safe!

Well this week has been an interesting one so far, one that has left us a little on edge and with a lot of changes to make.

The main event was Monday night, we’d settled down in bed to watch TV as usual, Nigella started to nod about 11:30, i decided to get up for a drink and as i wasn’t really settling in bed I jumped on the sofa to watch a bit of TV around 1:30am i heard a few noises, and thinking it was one of the kids or the boiler got up to investigate.

I realised the noise was coming from the kitchen so i flicked on the light. I was shocked (to say the least), to see a figure through the frosted window on the door. As soon as he appeared, he disappeared again! I foolishly rushed to the door unlocked it and rushed out after the unknown figure but he was nowhere to be seen. Reality took over from the adrenaline, how stupid i was stood here in the back yard, with the back door wide open and an unknown would be burglar around somewhere?

After locking up the door I noticed there was a stick on the floor that wasn’t there before. then it clicked, i’d left the keys in the door when i went to bed and Nigellas handbag was still hung on the pushchair handles just inside the door.

This opportunist had obviously been peeping through letterboxes looking for easy targets, the strange thing is however, why would you try it on a house where the lights and TV are clearly on?

I called the police and they came out quickly, had an unmarked car patrolling the area and were stopping anyone out and about at that time of the morning.  unfortunately no one was found, and when the Scene Of Crime Officer had dusted and found nothing it was a bit of a disappointment. So we’re here waiting for the police to find someone wondering if they’ll be back to try again or if i did enough to keep them away for good.

Prevention is better than the cure

The police advised me of a few things to do to keep the house a little more secure, all common sense really but complacency does play a big part when you are a busy parent rushing around at a thousand miles an hour.

  • Do not leave keys in the lock or on view
  • Keep valuables out of site
  • Close Blinds and Curtains when you go to bed
  • make sure you have good locks on doors and windows

All really simple but you’ll be amazed how often you forget to do one of these, and these are the reason that i am writing this, to prevent anyone else going through what i did or worse!

It doesn’t bear thinking about what might have happened if i hadn’t got up when i did.

Please don’t be as daft as i was, follow the guidelines above and if you see someone trying to get in DO NOT go outside, secure your property and call the police. 

How do we stop it?

How do we prevent another Hamzah Khan case?

Now i know this is a very sensitive subject to write about on here but the whole situation angers and concerns me!

As a parent i am appalled that this could happen to anyone without someone outside of the family knowing, and with my IT head on I wonder why systems aren’t in place to highlight this issue and help the people on the front line who are bearing the brunt of the media backlash.

There appear to have been some huge failures in the system… again….. and i am left wondering in the age of “Big Data” and “system integration” why oh why has this been allowed to happen again?

Is it the increased media exposure? or is it the fact that it is happening more often? either way, something has to be done about it, and i don’t mean making people accountable, i mean making real and public changes to the systems, without fleecing the tax payer.

My brain has been working over drive since i first read about this and in my line of work as a IT Manager I know that i could create a solution, or implement existing solutions and make them more effective.

This isn’t about selling myself or looking for personal gain from tragedy, its about stopping another poor, defenseless little life being lost.

I will be writing to local NHS Trusts, councils, MPs and civil servants, offering a consultation and to discuss ways to improve their systems and training.

There are so many areas that could be improved.

We have had first hand experience of the failings and the triumphs of the NHS and the whole child care system.

When Tommy 5 days old we asked for help from our health visitor as we believed Tommy wasn’t feeding properly and we were told that everything was ok, Then at day 8 a midwife friend of ours called round to visit in a personal capacity and do Tommy’s week 1 checkup and immediately told us to get him to hospital as he was severely dehydrated and hadn’t been feeding, It’s a difficult situation to find yourself in, knowing that someones failures have almost lost you the most precious thing in the entire world, but also knowing that people make mistakes, and have to try and appreciate the work load etc.

What the over all issue is that the staff within the entire structure appear to be over worked, the systems dated or not fit for purpose and the training is not up to scratch.

Thankfully in Tommys case the outcome was fine, but it begs the question if a family that ask for help and have concerns are being seen but not getting the help they want how easy is it for someone to hide away? how long does that person get remembered as a person not just a drain on resources.

On a positive note, the service we received from the same NHS trust when my other half went in with Advanced Pre-Cancerous Cells was second to non, the reassurance, the confidence the staff had in their ability and the level of care should be used as an example to all patient facing roles.

And at the end of it all there is one thing we need to keep with us is that this little life cannot have been cut short in vain! A lasting legacy needs to come out of this and changes have to be made, and made in the right way.