Category Archives: Days Out

Promises and Paignton Zoo


The last promise I couldn’t keep was in October. Toby knew I was unwell that morning and I promised him I would not go into hospital again – of course I ended up having a two weeks stay at Torbay Hospital due to another disabling relapse; but in Toby’s eyes, his mummy had lied and he struggled so much in those weeks. I told myself to never promise like that again…

Mothers Day 2016 and I have done it again, I promised the boys I would take them to the zoo and we would have a lovely picnic, we would stop at every play place for a few minutes and they could choose an ice cream as a treat. Two days ago my left arm became all but useless, my speech is horrible and I seemed to be slipping once more into another relapse. The difference is, I bloody well will not let them down and I will get to the zoo and buy my boys an ice cream.

We have been members at Paignton Zoo for over 6 years now, and we love going, it has something for everyone, I love the Gibbons and the Ape House, the boys however bypass most animals in seconds, they may take a fact or two on board, but really they just want to whizz down the curly slide (they are very excited about the Swiss Family Robinson style tree top park that should be open for the Easter Holidays).   So when our new normal began on 1st September, I remember crying about never being able to go to the Giraffes house or maybe never the zoo after so many years of pushing buggies up hills to see gentle giants or being able to find the infamous red pandas. It is amusing now I guess that I was so focused on this when there were so many other more pressing problems, like being able to move my arms!!

This morning, I was woken up by my two chimps who covered the bed in a host of colourful homemade love filled cards for Mothers Day. We ate chocolate in bed followed by breakfast on the sofa whilst watching Match of the Day.. then we headed for the zoo.  I can barely use my left arm today, my left leg feels like the weight of a fallen oak tree and my speech makes me sound like I added far too much brandy to my coffee, but, I had to get to our promised place.

We arrived at the zoo and due to the wonderful service they provide, those first thoughts all those months ago were put to rest and for a small fee I hired one of their many sturdy mobility scooters. There are very few places you cannot access using a scooter and I do giggle when the wibbly wobbly bridge in the lemur enclosure is mentioned as an out of bounds area. But you have full access to pretty much everything, the paths are all in good condition, there are a number of accessible toilets and the staff are second to none.

Today, I got to choose where we started (Giraffes via the bats snakes red river hogs and camels to name but a few)   and worked our way around. All the giraffes were out, the black rhinos were strolling around their enclosure and the silverback put on a great show. The tigers prowled and the lions roared. It felt like today they were putting on a show just for us and at my favourite spot over looking the elephant and giraffe enclosure, we all ate ice creams.

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Devon Guild of Craftsmen

With a fabulous friend and her side kick (Little Miss) we headed out with my wheels to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen.  This is a beautiful contemporary craft centre which supports local business and local craftsmen, the set up is beautiful and even though many items are beyond my budget I could still appreciate the quality and beauty – I really loved the glass tiles and some gorgeous cushions and throws.  But what was also great was that they had a large selections of very affordable items that were beautiful, well sourced and within a pocket money budget (as little as £2).  There were some beautiful Christmas decorations and my friend brought me a gorgeous teal papier mache bird that my Son has named Rose (these were a very reasonable £3)!

I will back track slightly and talk about the accessibility which was, for an old building rather good.  There was a disabled access and a spacious court yard the second door opened easily and a very kind chap helped me in.  Apart from one stand everything was easy to manoeuvre around and after my friend purchasing some of the beautiful decorations we headed for the lift.  It was a tight squeeze but more than adequate and the tea rooms were spacious and again there was easily enough space for me to just wheel in and sit at the table.  The coffee was great quality and the cakes whilst I declined on this occasion looked AMAZING, Little Miss (side kick) had a rather scrummy looking hot chocolate.  There is a kids corner stocked with some toys and colouring, enough to easily amuse whilst you finish your hot drinks.

It was a really lovely visit, no catastrophes where I couldn’t get around and even with the tearoom upstairs it was very accessible.  I loved the items for sale, the staff were lovely and it was a lovely relaxed environment.  We all had a lovely lovely time.


devon guild of craft

A day out in Bovey Tracey

DSC_3959 DSC_3943 DSC_3939On my quest to not become bankrupt by the end of the Summer hols, I am taking the boys on free days out. Roughly a £20 per week budget to include parking and hopefully an ice cream!

We headed to Bovey Park , I had crammed the boys bikes into the boot of our rather tiny car and persuaded my friend that this was going to be a lovely day out.

The boys were off… cycling around the grounds and then headed for the very well equipped park, it was busy but it was great to see all the other children enjoying their summer.

A refuel (picnic) and a bit of tree climbing then we decided to check out the skate park, now this was great for all ages and the older kids really helped the younger ones and were aware that they had no awareness. This is a concrete skate park, very smooth and very safe with curved corners and a selection of ramps to suit everyone. When the boys had tired of their bikes they joined some other children to just run and slide down the ramps, they had a ball!

Now from here you can carry on walking through the park past the outdoor gym and you will arrive at Parke, the National Trust site where there are walks for every visitor. One walk reminds me of where Victoria Plum lived and where fairies still might…. Fallen trees make great ‘dinosaur bones’ and there are often places along the river that give you a little river bank ‘beach’ to play on too.

We didn’t do this! But instead walked around the corner to Bovey Tracey Heritage Trust, this may not suit some people but for my railway children this was “cool” in the words of my 5 year old. There is a train carriage that you can go in and in the actual centre the railway memorabilia was looked at in awe along with the model railway and they loved the craft area. The volunteers were lovely and really helpful. It was a free attraction though I would suggest adding a pound or two to the pot. We left with the promise to return another day and headed around the corner to the Jolly Roger. This is a super shop that sells life size models to mainly businesses but anyone can purchase their stock. There is a huge Christmas selection, all the movie stars and a great selection of dinosaurs. The owners freely allow the public to walk through and the boys love visiting.

So by this point it is nearly 2.30pm and we head back to my friends for dinner and the children wear themselves out even more in the garden. Another perfect day x

Cost: £2 and this was the donation to the Heritage Centre. We even managed free parking.


Bellever Day 25th July 2015 – Is it as beautiful as Heaven??


After the usual Saturday morning swimming lessons and a quick trip to the barbers we loaded up the car for a day and headed to the most beautiful place, Bellever Forest.

During Chicken Pox week in May, I rediscovered my love for the Moors and spent our week in isolation finding beautiful spots (excuse the pun) away from humans… On our 5th pox day things were getting a little scabbier and we decided to stop at Postbridge, the boys had never been there and I am so embarrassed to say that after 15 years living in Devon, neither had I.

We had an amazing day; the Post Office stores served gorgeous Langage local ice cream and also sold very reasonably priced coffee and fishing nets!! The boys spent the day in the river, playing in the long grass and crossing the troll bridge… I had spotted in their window a flyer for Bellever Day and added the date to my diary.

We left deciding to take a quick peep at the Bellever Forest *red faced embarrassment as I had never been here before either* and the boys response was adorable, a big WOW from Skinny legs and Big Foot asked whether this was as beautiful as heaven which was met with the biggest bear hug from his Mummy!

I digress (I usually do..) Saturday morning the Sun was shining and as we arrived we drove past the marvellous stalls at Postbridge and started our day with a picnic at the forest. It was glorious, we all got a tad soggy, swung on a rope swing, made friends with other families as our children played in the water together.

We then ventured down to Postbridge and the boys had a great time creating bronze age weaving, Sam loved this and for a 3 year old did a pretty good job (over, under, over, under), Tobes watched how to make Bronze though was convinced it was gold and also became a member of the Dartmoor National Park Ranger Ralph club. There was so much to do for children of all ages but also the adults had a fun filled day too.

It really was very special, a fantastic day and would recommend that as soon as I get next year’s date, you put this in your diary – awesome!DSC_3826DSC_3797


Bellever Day – 25th July 2015 11am-4pm


Discover more about Dartmoor’s past at this annual event to celebrate the Festival of British Archaeology. A range of free activities during the day to include: • Flint knapping • Prehistoric corn grinding • Clay pot and clay bead making • Tin stud making • Basketry and weaving workshops • Wood turning and craft skills • Bronze casting and Bronze Age weapon handing • Forging and wild asprin tea party • Music of Ancient Dartmoor • Guided walk to see reconstructed hut circle • Guided archaeological walks • Mini hut circle building • Games, dressing up and History Hunter quiz • Life, Death and Landscape Exhibition including Whitehorse Hill Discovery (replica objects) Parking is available in the Forestry Commission car park and by the visitor centre.
Location National Park Visitor centre, Postbridge Booking: No Charge: Free
Contact details for further information: or tel:01822 890414

Hexworthy Bridge, Dartmoor

We went with the boys and there is a nice pool deep enough to swim but with shallower areas for small children to paddle in. There were also fish to watch (boys tried to catch with a bucket!) and a little shingle island.  Lovely on a summers day.

hexworthy bridge