Saturday, 16 September 2017

Redwings Horse Sanctuary Caldecott

Redwings Horse Sanctuary is situated in Caldecott, Norfolk. It is one of 5 horse sanctuarys ran by Redwings and it is their largest. Easy to find on the A143 opposite Fritton Lake. With ample free parking and free entry Redwings is a great place to pay a visit.

Opening times
Redwings Caldecott is open all year round, every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 10am to 4pm (closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays). 

I must admit, we hadn't visited Redwings for years but a couple of friends of mine were planning to go and invited the girls and I to join them. As we pulled into the car park we had to make our way carefully across to park as the ground was very bumpy and had lots of large dips, just make your way carefully and you will be fine.

To the left as you enter there is a large wooden play area for young children.

After checking in at the Visitors Centre, where we found the staff friendly and helpful, we went through to to take a look at the gift shop and information centre. 
Just outside the girls spotted a food donation box which they are now planning on filling!

We then enjoyed a relaxing hour wandering around the fields and stables. The animals all looked well looked after and had large enclosures and comfortable stables. 

The animals are calm and seemingly very used to human interaction, as we approached each enclosure we found that there would be several horses or donkeys that would come trotting over to be fussed, much to Em's delight!

Redwings also offer an adoption package, priced at just £12.50 and we are now looking into this for Emily. She is busy saving her pocket money and doing extra chores to earn money. Once she has saved enough we will take her back to visit and talk to the staff about adopting a horse or donkey.

After we had walked round the enclosures we decided to pay the cafe a visit. This is cutely called "Nosebag Cafe" and has a reasonably priced menu.

The girls choose ice creams whilst I opted for a Mocha Latte, I have to say it was a good coffee! Proper coffee, Yum!

Whilst us adults enjoyed a sit down, the children all had a run around the play area again and enjoyed hanging out on the fresh air and chatting.

Dotted around the centre were information boards which gave details of the animals in the enclosures and explanations about things we had noticed such as the horses wearing face masks and the empty "overgrown" enclosures.

We finished off with a walk along the stables and a quick goodbye to the horses. 

It was a lovely few hours visit, it's not often that you can get free entry to places these days and when we left we popped a donation in the visitors centre. We'll definitely be back for a return visit in the near future.
To find out more visit their website or find them on Facebook.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Great Yarmouth Treasure Trail

As a family we are huge fans of Treasure Trails. We have shared our experiences of these with you in the past and we were thrilled to be asked to review their brand new Great Yarmouth Trail! The trail was set to cover 2.5 miles and estimated to take 2,5 hours to complete, we find that the estimated times are usually pretty accurate.
It's also fully wheelchair and pushchair accessible, with plenty of opportunities for stopping for refreshments and sight seeing on the way.
You could do this trail quite easily as part of a day at the seaside, taking in the local attractions - Joyland, Pleasure Beach, Merrivale Model Village and so much more!

If you've never heard of them before then make sure you pay them a visit on their website or Facebook to find out more. Also give their promotional video a watch which explains them perfectly!

We arranged to meet our friends to help us with this trail, a treasure hunt themed trail. They completed a trail in Cardiff with us last year and got the trail bug!

This trail commences at Britannia Pier which is easily located at the end of Regent Road, which leads straight up from the bus station in the town. It also signifies the start of the Golden Mile, a hugely popular tourist attraction.

We then followed the clues along the seafront which took in various landmarks and points of significant interest. 

Emily and our friends little girl had great fun running ahead to find the next clue, as the seafront has lovely wide pathways they were able to venture off a little with us knowing they were safe.

Although we are local, lived here all our lives, the trail made us take notice of things that we have over looked in the past. Who would have known some of the hidden marvels we have on our doorstep!

Although we found that a little bit of local knowledge helped us along but the clues were all there to find without too much searching, we did have a little problem with one clue, I think this is where our local knowledge probably hindered us as we tried to over think the clue ARGH!!! 

So we decided to make use of the free text help service.  
This is nice and simple to use, just send the trails unique ref code and the clue number you are stuck on to the number printed on the trail and within seconds we had the answer and an explanation why this was the answer sent back to us.
You can use the text service up to three times in one trail, we've done several trails in the past and this is the first time we have had to use it.

A quick stop en route for an ice-cream break (well when you're beside the seaside!) 

 Then we were back on track.
The trail took us as far as the Pleasure Beach before sending us back along the adjacent side of the parade, this included a little detour from the main promenade to take in a clue at the famous Hippodrome Circus (always a favourite place of ours.)

Then it was straight back onto the front to find the remaining clues.
We continued along finding Blue Plaques and architecture which has long been covered over and turned off the front onto Regent Road. 

We presumed that this was the last few clues as we were leaving the seafront.
We had fun spotting the next couple of clues in this area and then we were surprised to find we were being sent back towards the seafront again!

We found the final clue back near the start and entered our final answer online to enter the monthly £100 giveaway competition and we were delighted to find that we had correctly located the "treasure!"

The trails are great fun for all the family, they are simple for kids to read and navigate and we love discovering more about the areas we are in by using these trails.

Trails cost just £6.99 and will provide you with a good few hours worth of fun for all the family, why not take your friends along too! The trials are printed as high quality card booklets and well packaged to protect them. Postage and packaging costs from £1.49 for up to 3 trails or you can download your order and print at home, this is great for last minute trailing! (Postage typically takes 2-3 days.)

I also think the Trails make great gifts, the girls have given these to their teachers as end of year presents before and I have gifted them to friends, they have always been gratefully received and enjoyed.

Check out the Treasure Trails website to find a trail in your area or perhaps holiday destination, they have over 1000 UK locations!!!!
One of the best things about Treasure Trails - apart from the low price, great fun, fresh air, family quality time, sight seeing and so much more, is you can do them whenever you want to; any time, any day, any month of the year.

I'm now off to look for the next Treasure Trail we fancy completing, make sure you order yours today and get the trailing bug!

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Welsh Cakes

My Father-in-law comes from Wales and Chris is rather proud of his Welsh roots. 
One of his favourite things that I home bake is Welsh Cakes.

These are similar to a dropped scone and the recipe I use generally makes 35-40 cakes.


500g of self-raising flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
75g caster sugar (plus a little extra to serve)
1 heaped teaspoon of mixed spice
250g cold butter
a pinch of sea salt
150g mixed raisins, sultanas and orange peel
1 large free range egg
a couple of splashes of milk 

You will also need scales, a large mixing bowl, wooden spoon, rolling pin, round pastry cutter and a large non-stick pan or griddle pan.

Step 1:

Sieve the flour into the bowl and add the sugar and mixed spice. Give them a good mix to combine.

Step 2:

Cut the butter into knobs and add to the dry mixture. Rub this in thoroughly until it resembles breadcrumbs (the girls usually enjoy this part, a good excuse to get messy hands!)

Step 3:

Mix in the dried fruit, then making a well in the centre of the mixture and crack the egg into this.
Adding splashes of milk to this as you go (you'll get a feel as to how much milk you need.)
Beat this together.

Step 4:

Once you have a dough mixture, remove from the bowl and place it on a gently floured surface - don't overwork it! 

Step 5:

You then need to roll out the mixture until it is approx 1cm thick. The using your pastry cutter cut as many rounds as you can. Gather the leftovers, you will re roll and repeat this step until you have cut as many rounds from your mixture as possible.

Step 6:

Over a medium heat, lay a batch of Welsh cakes in the pan,
I find 6 at a time is enough in my large pan.
Cook for 2-3 minutes and then flip over and repeat on the other side. You're looking for a golden colour, adjust the temperature setting if you find they are too pale or too dark.
Repeat in batches until they are all cooked.

Step 7: 

Leave them on a cooling rack and give them a dusting of caster sugar. 
Then serve.

The girls often like to make these for Daddy's birthday or Father's Day so presenting them in a nice gift box always makes them look more special.

Hope that you enjoy these tasty Welsh cakes.
Let us know if you've made them and what you thought. Perhaps swap the dried fruit for chocolate chunks or nuts! 


Friday, 25 August 2017

History Mystery Game - The Queenmaker at Blickling Church

We were invited along on the launch day of a brand new mystery game at Blickling Church, Norfolk. Run by the crew at History Mystery Games who specialise in escape games which are linked to real historical events, this particular game called "The Queenmaker" is based on Anne Boleyn and is based in the church where she worshipped as a child, situated next door to the family home Blickling Hall.

The church was easy to find, just follow the directions to Blickling Hall and you can't miss it! There is limited roadside parking but you are able to use the paid parking at Blickling Hall which costs just £5.
You are just a few minutes walk from the church which is visible from the main road.

This is a world's first as its the only escape game that is held in a working church, it continues to be open to visitors during your game so bare this in mind, we didn't have anyone come into the church whilst we were there.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the "Verger" he would act as our guide during the game and gave us information when we crossed his palm with gold! Mollie took hold of the purse (uh oh! Daddy watch out she'll be after your wallet soon!)

 A quick briefing when we first arrived informed us that we needed to solve the clues to ensure that Anne would meet her groom - Henry VIII at the alter and save the Church of England!

We have never played one of these games before, neither had our friends who we took with us, but we are keen on Treasure Trails and Geocaching so we thought we would have a good problem solving basis. 

Without giving away too much information, the game involved solving cryptic clues, finding codes and keys to open locked boxes and following instructions, with each success Anne or Henry moved forward towards the alter.  Locks included traditional key padlocks, number/letter codes and a couple of "directional" padlocks, there was one of these to lock the cabinet where you can keep your personal possessions whilst your play.
(Just make sure you remember the instructions to get your things back at the end!) 

To be honest we started off a little erratic! All of us rushing about in different directions and randomly trying different things, but Chris and Juan decided to take control and pull us back into team and things run a lot smoother! Team work is definitely beneficial when playing one of these types of games.

At various points in the game we came across letters for the Verger which when handed to him he would read and give us further information or tell us we had successfully solved a clue and Anne or Henry could move closer to the alter. Sometimes these instructed us to pay the Verger some of our gold and silver coins.

Emily kept her eye on the clock, we only had 1 hour to complete the game and the time ticked by rapidly!

The setting of the game added to its intrigue and we heard that some of the profits from the games goes towards the upkeep of the church, which is a great way to raise money.

So did Anne and Henry marry at the alter?

Sadly not with us playing, we reached our time limit and hadn't quite completed the tasks. We were so close, just another 10 minutes and I think we would have had success. 
We could have paid the Verger some more of our coins to buy time but in our panic to get done all logic of this went out the window.

The "Queenmaker" History Mystery Game was great fun, having never done one of these before it was a new experience for all of us and we are keen to look into similar games in the future, these guys run two games in the Guildhall Norwich which look great fun too.

The "Queenmaker" runs on weekends only and you can book online
Prices start from £55 for 3 people and you can have a maximum of 10 players.
Recommended for ages 10yrs+ but Emily and our friends little boy were younger than this and understood the game well.

We thought that this was a great game, fun for the family and friends and would work great for Stag/Hen parties, team building activities for work colleagues, or perhaps a birthday party for older children.

After we had finished we took the short walk over to the local pub where we enjoyed lunch outside in the sun filled gardens.

To find out more about the History Mystery Games then checkout their website or find them on Facebook.