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  1. Back in January Charlie made a list of 10 things he wanted to do in 2016. Top of the list was “Blue Peter Badge”, he decided to go for the Green Badge which is looking at how eco friendly you are. Charlie wrote about his bird feeders and Megan her fairy garden. They both received their badges and luckily just before the summer both kids had their cards meaning we could start using them to get into attractions for FREE! Yipeee!

    blue peter badge

    The first thing you need to be aware is the children only get in free with a full paying adult, sometimes one adult can be used with two Blue Peter badge holders but you will need to check the website. I fully admit on a few occassions I've paid for Olive as an adult as it's worked out far cheaper.

    new forest wildlife park

    New Forest Wildlife Park

    Both Charlie and Megan have been here for school trips and Beaver day outs and have been keen to take me. All my children love animals and there are so many gorgeous creatures here to see. There are a few parks dotted about too, we had a picnic (and ice-cream) in the large park. Megan was keen to take home a otter, Olive disliked the heat in the butterfly house and Charlie was chief guide who adored showing us around. I love how interested he is in the keep talks, relaying back information to me. We spent the whole day there, with the talks, feeding time, park and it was a gorgoeus sunny day weather wise too. I'd definitely go again.

    Stonehenge

    Charlie has been asking for years to go to Stonehenge. Fearing his pleas fell on deaf ears he added this as a destination on his 2016 goals! From the visitors centre which is full of artefacts, information and some round houses outside you can either get a bus or walk to the stones. We decided as it was such a beautiful day to walk, it was quite magical running over the hilltop and seeing the stones in front of us. The actual stones are fenced off by a piece of rope so you cannot touch or climb them. However there is plenty of area to sit, enjoy the stones and eat a picnic, which of course we did!

    stonehenge

     

    The stones are beustiful and Charlie really enjoyed seeing them. Olive being 5 got bored quickly, I persuaded her to stay a while longer with the bribe of the bus ride home! M&M loved the round houses again unlike Olive who moaned about the smell! Inside the round houses are made to look like they would in neoletic times, including people inside making things. We chatted with a lady who was weaving reeds to make a sheef for a knife. Stonehenge was great, it's not a full day out and is quite pricey so I was very glad to use the badges! I'm not sure it's somewhere we'd go again but glad to have ticked it off the list.

     

    Monkey World

    We've only been to Monkey World once and Olive was only 3, she had a winge about the smell (she really does have a sensitive nose) and the monkeys plus it was a really busy day so we haven't yet ventured back. However now we have the badges I'm sure we will!

     monkey world2

    Photo Credit | Max and Mummy 

    Laura and Max (part monkey) enjoyed a lovely day out at Monkey World learning about the concervation and rescue efforts. I love that Monkey World is all about the monkeys and each one has their own individual story of how they arrived in sleepy Dorset.

    Oceanarium

    The Oceanarium has been somewhere we have visited since Charlie was a baby, over the passed 9 years things have changed and developed. Last year penguins and an indoor play area for the little ones were added, Charlie and I were lucky enough to get a preview. The great thing about the Oceanarium is once you have your day pass you can come in and out as you like. It's also situated on the beach making it a great place to head indoors on a hot sunny day.

    How ace is Dani the penguin keeper! Excellent time with Moo at @oceanariumuk tonight @lizleanpr

    A photo posted by Joanne Dewberry (@charliemoos) on

    Dinosaur Museum

    What child doesn't love dinosaurs and living on the Jurrasic coast I think Dorset children are designed that way! We had great fun this summer collecting fossils at Kimmeridge Bay and after reading about Elliot's adventure at the Dinosaur Museum it looks like the perfect autumnal afternoon escape.

     entertaining elliot dinosaur

    Photo Credit | Entertaining Elliot

    Totally love this image of the 3 of them (eeek and soon they will be a family of 4!)

    Beaulieu

    We might not have finished 2016 yet but Charlie is working on his days out for 2017 and Beaulieu is top of his list. There is such a different level of interest between a 8&9 year old and a 5 year old so I always worry whether I can keep all the children happy. There's a great review over on Chelseamamma who successfully managed to entertain 4 children from baby through to teenager. If that's not a glowing endorsement I don't know what is!

    chelseamamma beulieu

    Photo Credit | Chelseamamma

    I cannot wait to use our Blue Peter badges this Half Term and getting one is so easy. Just head over to the website decide which colour you want and get to work : www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/joinin/about-blue-peter-badges

  2. We were invited to try out Shrek Adventures in London over the summer. With the great offer on trains and the kids Blue Peter badges, Nanny Moo and I decided to make a day of it with the older two. M&M were keen to visit The Tower of London and I knew it wasn't something Olive would be interested in.

    tower of london

    The Tower of London is such a beautiful place. I just love that you step into a place steeped in history but as you look across the skyline iconic modern structures wave to you. When I told the children I'd be visiting The Shard for Sage Business they were not impressed they weren't coming.

    I actually purchased a Tower of London Poppy a few years back which I'm ashamed to say is still in it's box! It was great to see the outside and talk about the poppies and see where ours had come from.

    Being 9&8 everything is so amazing. Charlie couldn't believe that they used to have animals running around and not just any old animals, Lions, baboons and even elephants. Charlie is keen to visit London Zoo but even more so now he knows there maybe relations from the Tower of London there.

     tower of london animals

    I just loved how everything captured their imagination so. Megan asked me so many, many questions about the lost princes. She was so sad that their wicked uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester had locked them in the tower and that nobody knew what happened to them. As the story goes on in 1674 during some building work a box was discovered containing the bones of two boys, it is believed to be those of Edward and Richard. It was such a sweet moment and one really hard to share in writing but Megan's exact words were “Let me get this straight ….” the fact that they had been found made her really happy. “I wouldn't want anyone to be lost forever”.

     london tower

    The children got in for free with their Blue Peter badges, but it's still pricey £45 for Nanny Moo and I. However there are lots of deals about and it's cheaper to book online. There is also so much to see and do that you could be there all day.

    Of course we saw the crown jewels, riding the conveyor belt a highlight for Megan! Had our photo taken with a Beefeater and watched the guards. We ate ice cream in the sun and probably could have spent far longer there however we had tickets booked for Shrek.

    How does Shrek Adventures work?

    Shrek adventures is kind of one of those places you have probably seen but not heard that much about. It's very mysterious and magical. The adventure begins when you board a magical 4D ‘DreamWorks Tours’ bus. OK so lets clarify this a little. You are given a time slot. You arrive at that time slot and are ushered into a small holding area. Then moved to another holding area and so on for about 30 minutes. Along the way loads of photos are taken only they are on green screen so you can't see anything but feel a bit silly!

    With Donkey as your mischievous tour guide, calamity, chaos and endless fun are the name of the game. The bus ride is one of the best bits but it is literally minutes long. Be part of the 10 live fairy-tale themed shows where you can visit Shrek’s swamp, find your fortune in the crystal ball, get lost in the Mirror maze (OMG! The mirror maze! There were 20 odd people running a round like loons!) and show your inner Ogre when needed!

    shrek adventures

    These photos are from the Dreamworks section not the Shrek Adventure. 

    We weren't allowed to take any photos anywhere which kind of adds to the mystery as you didn't quite know what was going to happen as you haven't been pre-warned or influenced by others. The actual adventure is really good. There is a great mix of real people, audience participation (the game show with Pinocchio so good!) and computer generated action from Shrek, Donkey and Rumpelstiltskin.

    shrek

    Although the look on their faces probably says Mummy is a moaning so and so!

    Apparently this OGRE SIZED experience lasts for approximately 75 minutes. 75 minutes? If you include all the waiting beforehand and maybe spending longer than 30 seconds in the Dreamworks section which again was actually really good. I didn't realise so many of my favouirte characters were from the creators of Shrek. Loved, seeing Toothless and Hiccup flying over. Megan was desperate for a baby orge teddy but sadly this mummy wasn't parting with £16 cash for it!

    There are so many great parts to Shrek Adventures but it just feels like they don't quite have it right yet. Have you been? I'd love to hear what you think.

     dreamworks shrek

    I'm glad we made the trip to London we had a really great day. Charlie and Megan loved it and it was great to do something without Olive. It can be hard to mix the levels of interest between them all the time. The train ride took ages to get home as some clever spark pulled the emergency cord just outside Southampton. I did wonder if Megan did whilst going unsupervised to the toilet! Ekk!