A Magical Woodland

When I heard about this magical woodland event I was excited to attend with my family, including my 4-year-old niece and baby nephew too.  I hoped it would live up to expectations and we weren’t disappointed.

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Some of the girls in my family

The lighting was breathtaking with different themes in various areas of the woodland. Special LED effects, changing colours, laser lights and hanging orbs made the park a sensory experience.  The musical choice made it feel as though you were entering a Harry Potter-esque world so felt truly magical as we entered the wood.

Several paths wound their way through different sensory experiences to a central campfire area where you could purchase marshmallows on sticks to toast around the fire and there were a few food stalls there too selling hotdogs, mulled wine and sweets.  The gooey toasted marshmallows certainly went down well with my niece Evelyn.

One of the highlights in the woodland was the Aqua Rhythm water fountain.   Jets of water danced to along to music and a laser light show accompanied it.  Evelyn and other children stood transfixed in front of it for quite some time.  My baby nephew, 8 months old, watched it from his pram wide eyed so this proved a sensory hit for babies too.

Just beyond the “Heart of the Woodland” there was an owl marquee so children can find out about and see owls up close, including a Little Owl that proved a hit with Evelyn who wanted to take it home.

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It was also a fun educational experience as there were some great interactive puzzles and games for children and adults alike interspersed around the woodland.   The favourite for Evelyn was a game that distorted your voice and she spent quite some time making various bodily sounds through it finding it hilarious when it returned the noise with added depth!

There was a flamboyant chap in a flashing top hat that my niece described as “clearly a magician”, who introduced himself as a physicist so she was close!  He demonstrated to us the concept of a sonic boom using a giant sized Newton’s Cradle style pendulum, that was lit up so as the balls swung they lit up the sky around them.  The sonic boom you could hear rumble throughout the woodland.  It was an amazingly fun way to introduce children to scientific concepts, it made me think they need to invest in one of these giant Newton’s cradles at the Concorde visitors centre to explain more clearly this concept to children.

The rainforest area had dry ice that emulated mist and bird/insect sound effects to accompany the lighting that transitioned into different colours.  I found this area to be the most relaxing in the woodland, whereas my niece said she found it spooky and when there was a load rumble from the sonic boom she jumped out of her skin, proving this is also a great experience to bring your kids to for Halloween!

We were fortunate to have really beautiful autumn weather, it was pretty mild and dry which was good as we had two prams with us that if it had been wet we would have struggled to push round the site, so if you go when it is wet or after heavy rain I’d suggest taking a baby carrier instead as there are a few hills to maneuver too.

We had planned to spend an hour there but ended up spending just over two hours, as there really was so much to experience we lost all track of time.  It proved a great way to tire out little and big ones, as it was excellent exercise walking them up and down hills. Evelyn also ran off to climb on tree trunks and play with the interactive games too.

We had a wonderful time in the woodland it really was magical and my niece didn’t want to leave. We would highly recommend visiting before the experience finishes.

For more information and tickets which start from £12.50 click here

 

 

 

 

 

Anniversaries of loss

Anniversaries after loss are always really hard for all those family & friends who were close to the loved one.

Talking from experience it really does help when others remember our cherished one on this day and when they commemorate their memory in some way, it reassures us that their legacy will live on.

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Our worst fear is that our much loved child, brother, sister, mum, dad, family member or friend is forgotten so today take the time, observe the silence at 2.30pm today, light a candle, say a prayer or just give a thought to all those who lost their lives in the Manchester bomb last year and know by doing that you are fulfilling the wish of their families and friends in that they are not forgotten.

We will not forget them. Bee strong everyone. 💜🐝

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Music and emotion

Music really does stir the soul and it can also retrieve memories you forgot you had made.

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The other day I was driving in the car and a Whitney Houston song came on the radio “I have nothing”. The lyrics are pretty emotional anyway if you listen to them.

“Don’t make me close one more door
I don’t want to hurt anymore
Stay in my arms if you dare
Or must I imagine you there
Don’t walk away from me
I have nothing, nothing, nothing
If I don’t have you, you, you, you, you”

When I heard it start I remembered how much my daughter Violet had liked listening to the great divas sing. Then I remembered that this was also the first Whitney song she ever heard and the entire memory of that came flooding back.

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Violet almost 12 weeks old listening to music with her elephant

I remember that she was about six months old at the time and already had her own playlist on my i-tunes, a playlist that already contained Katherine Jenkin’s 50 romantic arias, all the Adele albums and a few Jennifer Hudson tunes too. She had very particular musical tastes and disliked nursery rhymes. I would play different tunes to her and from a young age she’d let me know if she liked them or not and if she did then they’d be added to her play list. She enjoyed listening to her chosen songs while she read, played or relaxed.

Anyway as she was chilling out with a book that day I suddenly thought ohhh what about a bit of Whitney, I bet she’d like Whitney Houston and the first song I played for her was “I have nothing”.

Whenever a new song came on for the first time Violet adopted a look of concentration  and would stop whatever she was doing to listen, making her mind up as to whether to continue focussing or not quite quickly. Violet continued concentrating on the Whitney song and then when she heard her hit the first big note a wide beaming smile appeared on her face. She continued to listen in silence, simply smiling after she hit all the big notes and then at the end of the song Violet was so delighted she actually clapped!

I rapidly downloaded all of Whitney’s Greatest hits onto her playlist for her. She had one of the most particular musical tastes of a baby ever.  I often wonder whether she would have had a musical future either as a musician or behind the scenes.

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The retrieval of this memory reduced me to tears in the car and luckily I wasn’t far from home but I gave the hubby a fright when I pulled onto the driveway in floods of tears!

Are there songs that have brought back happy or painful memories for you?  Feel free to share them

Love Sarah xx