Wednesday, 13 May 2015

New review blog

I've decided to keep the reviews separate from this blog as i dont want any product reviews distracting people from what this blog is actually meant to be about - Wheelchair friendly days out! 

Obviously if I review any products that i think relates to this blog then i will post the review on here too! :) 

So please follow my new product review blog - Happy Little Products!

Thank You!


Saturday, 2 May 2015

Longleat Safari Park

As you all know, the two disabled adults i support love animals so what better place to visit, than Longleat Safari Park in Wiltshire - its only about an hour 1/4 away from us in Poole so perfect for a day out.


We've been to Longleat before so we knew it is very wheelchair friendly which made our planning alot easier!
When you arrive you drive up to the ticket booth so you dont have to get out of your vehicle which is very handy. Disabled tickets were about £15 and carers were also about £15 rather than about £30 each. For the amount of things to do at Longleat, this is well worth the money!

After paying, you get the choice of either driving round the safari bit first or doing the actual adventure park bit. We was recommended to do the safari first as the animals are more lively in the morning. So this is exactly what we did! You get given a cd to listen to as you drive round which tells you about all the animals but we didn't really pay much attention to what it was saying - whoops!

The first part of the safari is the giraffes, wallabies, lemurs and zebras - you can park up and get out at this bit but this is the only part that is a bit of a struggle for wheelchairs as its a bit hilly so we didnt stop at this bit.
But as we drove round we saw animals such as vultures, flamingos and pelicans and then we headed towards the monkeys....oh oh!! You get the choice of driving through or skipping that part as the monkeys can be very cheeky and steal parts of your vehicle!! As we drove in,the monkeys spotted our mini bus and ambushed us!! They were everywhere! We found the whole thing hysterical but they did cause quite a bit of damage to the bus....stripping the rubber of the roof rack bit and biting through the brake light cable!!!


After this experience we headed to the deer park where you can pay £1 for a cup of food so you can feed them from your car window. We was surrounded at one point! When feeding the deer, you have to put the food in your hand for the deer to get rather than just throw it on the floor! We then headed past the rhinos and camels and headed for the big cat zone where we saw Lions, Tigers and Cheetahs and then lastly we saw the wolves.

Then it was time for lunch (for us!!) There are several cafes and food huts located all round but we choose the Tropical Storm Cafe where they have thunder and rain storms inside whilst you eat - very unique and very cool!



As it was quiet on the day we went, we didnt have to queue for the river cruise boat which we decided to do next. The boat can hold 3 wheelchairs and has 2 different ramps you can use - one is steeper than the other but staff are very helpful and give you loads of time to get settled on the boat before moving off. The boat lets you see the gorilla and hippos and for £1 you can feel the sea lions swimming round the boat!

Once off we walked round to the penguins where the lady i support overcame her fear and got up close and personal with the penguins - they were obsessed with her wheelchair which she loved! Thought we was going to end up taking a penguin home with us!! We also saw the rays swimming round in this bit.

We then watched a parrot show which was very funny! Then the man i support did something VERY brave....he held a tarantula! I had to hold his at hand at this point and i was terrified!!!! I felt physically sick with fear! Such a wimp.....! He got given a certificate for being so brave!


We didnt managed to look round Longleat house the day we went as we ran out of time so i cant give a honest review on how wheelchair friendly it is.

We had a brilliant day and had no issues with accessibility and all the staff were very helpful! I highly recommend going! If you wanted to stay for longer, there is a centre parcs next door. http://www.centerparcs.co.uk/longleat

For more information on accessibility, click here or tweet them with any questions at @Longleat.
What's Your Weekend?

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Wookey Hole Caves

This is going to be one of those rare blogs where unfortunately its not going to be praising the attraction.....far from it!

We decided one day that we would like to take the 2 disabled adults i support to Wookey Hole Caves - obviously we knew we wouldnt be able to go into the actual caves which isnt accessible but after a bit of research on their website we found out that the rest of the attraction was ok for wheelchairs......this turned out to be far from the truth sadly.

We arrived on the day after a long drive and got shown to the disabled parking spots - there are two parts to the car park. One bit up by the entrance with a couple of disabled spots and then a bit a couple of minutes walk away which is where we got directed, only we discovered on parking up that to gain access to the entrance we would have to go up a very steep hill - we asked for help from the staff who said no so in the end two random blokes came over to help us. Not a good start to the day.

We queued up to pay and got told where we could go with the wheelchairs and then made our way in - once again up another steep hill! Once in we headed to the gift shop where you cut through to the old style arcade but this was extremely difficult to get round as the floors seems quite uneven and nothing was sign posted so we got lost a couple of times and walked round in circles. Staff said they would show us around but this never happened.

After wandering round lost for ages we started to get hungry so headed to the courtyard area where they had a 'restaurant' but before we could enter that area we had to go across a rough and uneven road which was very difficult. Once inside we ordered our food which can only be described as school canteen food....I had jumbo sausage and chips and it was cold and rather tasteless. The people i support picked at their food and said they wasnt enjoying it so we gave up.

The bit we did enjoy though was the Wookey Hole Circus -  they made sure we had good seats right at the front and it was very entertaining! They got loads of people in the audience involved and at the end there was a chance to have your photo taken with the Wookey Hole Witch.

After we saw the circus we headed to the gift shop and then realized there wasnt much else we could see. By this point everyone was fed up and we felt like we hadnt got our moneys worth so we asked to speak to the manager to ask for a refund. The manager was reluctant at first - it was only when a older couple came over and said they had over heard our conversation and said they had had difficulty too and the website wasnt correct that we eventually got our refund.

We all went home that day feeling very deflated and the people i support were upset about their experience. 
I wrote to the manager after our visit to ask them to change the website and to tell them how disappointed we were but we just got the usual generic response. Ive checked the website since and i cant see any accessibility information on there anymore apart from about a bit blue badge holders paying less. If we hadnt of asked for a refund we would have spent quite a lot of money to see a circus and to go in the gift shop.....

**If you are thinking about visiting Wookey Hole and use a wheelchair or have difficulty walking i really recommend you to think carefully about your trip there in order to avoid disappointment. **


Photo credits: tripadvisor / heart / fiveringcircus


Mummascribbles

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Cat treats petshop.co.uk review

As a cat lover and a owner of 2 cats, i am always looking for new treats and food to give them so when petshop.co.uk offered me the chance to review some products i took up the offer straight away!

They sent me 3 different items: 

Dreamies biscuit treats - Duck flavour
Almo Nature sachet packets x2 - Chicken flavour
Hills Science Plan Optimal Biscuits - Chicken flavour



Both my cats can be quite fussy but as soon as i opened the box the cats were hanging around me begging for treats! As you can see, Harley managed to knock some biscuits out of my hands and couldnt wait to get stuck in! Think its safe to say she enjoyed them. Davey woofed down a load of treats too so these are definitely are hit in my house.

They've had Dreamies before but had never tried the two other products but as you can see, both cats happily sat in the kitchen and ate a massive bowl full each. Anyone would think they hadnt been fed for a month! Greedy cats...



We are definitely going to be purchasing these again.

The links to the treats can be found here:

http://www.petshop.co.uk/brands/Hills.html
http://www.petshop.co.uk/brands/Almo-Nature.html
http://www.petshop.co.uk/brands/Dreamies.html

So if you want to treat your cat soon or want to try out a new cat food then i highly recommend visiting petshop.co.uk and purchasing some of these items! 


**Disclaimer: I received these products for the purpose of this honest review. All views are my own


Super Busy Mum

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Sailing

Im very lucky to live on the south coast near the water and near loads of gorgeous lakes. A couple of years ago we discovered a place in Fordinbridge near Ringwood who does sailing classes for people with disabilities. This would be perfect for the disabled man I support.

The sailing club is run by a group of of volunteers with sailing taking place from April right up until later in the year. We went for our first time of the year this morning and registered again for the year. To register it costs £22.50 plus £2.50 each time you visit. Well worth the money!

All the volunteers are incredibly helpful and its a really good place to meet new people whilst having a cup of tea in the sunshine.

People have the choice to go out in a boat on their own (training is needed) or you can go out in a little boat with one of the volunteers which the man i support does. Its a good chance for him to have a bit of time away from staff and have a bit of male company as all his staff are female.

The pontoon has two hoists attached to get everyone in the boats and there are some boats have high backed seats to help some people sit up better and be more comfy. Most people go out in the boats for about 30 mins but if its quiet you probably could have longer but 30 mins is a perfect time for the man i support.

The only downside about where the sailing takes place is the gravel car park which can be difficult to get wheelchairs over but theres always people on hand to help and also to get to and from the pontoon is a very steep concrete slope but again there is always people around!

We had a brilliant time today and the gorgeous weather certainly helped!




The Twinkle Diaries

Monday, 20 April 2015

50 Things that make me happy!


My sister Elaine has nominated me to do my 50 things that make me happy. I've had a good think about what i want on my list and i think ive FINALLY got my list ready! My list will probably change alot as i think of new things but at the moment this is my 50 things! enjoy :)

  1. Spending time with my family which thankfully I do alot!
  2. Playing with my nephew Elliot - playing hide and seek with a 2 1/2 year old is very interesting!
  3. Singing loudly whilst driving
  4. Having an ice cold drink on a hot sunny day
  5. Pay Day!!!
  6. BBQ's.....mainly the smell! *drools*
  7. Getting into my pjs after a long day at work
  8. Singing along to a song and getting the lyrics right first time like a pro!
  9. Seeing a musical at the theatre
  10. Christmas Day!
  11. The Eurovision song contest 
  12. Seeing Mcfly live and having a good singalong with friends
  13. Spontaneous days out with friends
  14. Going for long drives on a sunny day with the window wound down
  15. Having freshly washed hair
  16. Fresh clean bedding
  17. Eating Ben and Jerrys straight out of the tub
  18. Beating my dad to a top answer when watching Pointless (!)
  19. Sitting in front of the fire on a cold winters day
  20. Having the house to myself
  21. Cooking a meal from scratch and enjoying the taste once its cooked!
  22. Treating myself to a take away
  23. Watching tv with the cat curled up next to me
  24. Turning off my alarm clock so i can have a nice long lie in
  25. Getting stuck into a good book
  26. Getting tweets of celebs
  27. Meeting celebs!
  28. Buying my nephew presents and seeing him run off with it all happy!
  29. Getting cuddles off my nephew (even if i have to force him to hug me ha!)
  30. Getting tickets for a concert when it sells out quickly
  31. Eating so much food that you feel satisfyingly stuffed
  32. Seeing the 2 disabled adults i care for healthy and happy
  33. Getting a good bargain when out shopping
  34. Looking through old family photos and having a giggle at our clothes we wore!
  35. Wrapping myself up in the duvet on a cold night
  36. Being at a concert when they shower you with confetti at the end
  37. Going for days out with the 2 adults i support
  38. Finding a pair of jeans that fit my midget legs perfectly!
  39. Having a disney dvd marathon day
  40. Going out with my 2 sisters
  41. Booking a holiday!
  42. Watching my nephew watch videos of himself and giggling like a loon!
  43. Going on a road trip with friends to see bands live
  44. Eating a magnum ice cream without dropping any of the chocolate!
  45. Driving whilst the sun is setting....lovely!
  46. Having lazy days doing nothing
  47. Watching/listening to thunder and lightning
  48. Having a good old gossip
  49. Hot chocolate fudge cake with custard
  50. Watching the film Hocus Pocus on Halloween - family tradition!!
Ta dah! Thats my list of 50 things to make me happy but no doubt that will change at some point!
Thanks elaine for nominating me - you can find her blog here

Friday, 17 April 2015

Marwell Zoo!

As a support worker im always trying to find exciting days out for the people we support so this week we've been to Marwell Zoo to make the most of the glorious sunshine we are having on the south coast at the moment!

Marwell zoo is only about an hour away from us so its a perfect day out!

When we arrived we got directed to the disabled parking spots which are located nice and close to the entrance and there is alot of disabled parking spots which is always good!
We made our way to the entrance which was located about 2 mins away and paid for entry which was about £16.50 with carer going for free. We also purchased a guide book for £2.99 which tells you about all the different animals and has a handy map at the back. After studying the map we discovered there is two routes you can take - a large one which takes you right round the zoo or a shorter one which takes you round most of the animals and cuts through by the house. We opted for the smaller route which was perfect for us.


The zoo is very big so you will need a good 4 hours to get round which is the time we spent wandering round nice and slowly and admiring all the animals and taking loads of photos. Everywhere was wheelchair friendly but quite hilly - we felt like we had been to the gym after walking round all day!! There was one slope by the lemurs that was incredibly steep! We had to get a couple of random people to help us down it to make sure we were safe but we had a giggle about it and the two men were very helpful!

The people I support loved looking round and really enjoyed waving at the people on the little train everytime it went past us. There is also a larger land train but its currently not working but this didn't really bother us.

Located all round the zoo are a number of different cafes and places selling ice creams but we decided to take our own picnic and found a nice spot next to the zebras to to have a sit down and eat our lunch. There was also plenty of toilets located in various parts of the zoo which all seemed accessible and nice and clean.

But i think the highlight for the two people i support was.....the gift shop!!! It was HUGE! They loved being about to look around without worrying about knocking things over and everything was responsibly priced too. For a giant cuddly snake (about a metre long!) , a badge, a magnet and a inflatable flamingo it cost us £19 - very much worth it! 

The only bit we really struggled with was the walk back to the car park. When we entered the zoo we didnt realise how steep the hill was until we headed through the exit - i thought i was going to pass out when we finally reached the car park!!!

But we had a really good day with loads of photos - and two happy people!

https://www.marwell.org.uk/zoo/


ANIMALTALES
What's Your Weekend?

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Product reviews

This page will be for product reviews - some may be related to my job and some wont but I love reviewing things so I thought i may as well combine it with this blog! So look out for some reviews hopefully coming soon!

**If anyone wants me to review their products then please get in touch with me by emailing me at happydaysoutuk@yahoo.co.uk or tweeting me at @happy_days_out**

Thanks!

MCBUSTED!

Last night i went to see Mcbusted in Bournemouth and it was amazing!

On the Mcbusted tour they have a section at the front called the OMFG zone which people can buy tickets for to be extremely close to the stage. These tickets normally cost £110 but last night something amazing happened......I WON OMFG TICKETS! This meant i got to upgrade my tickets so instead of being crushed at the back, I got taken down to the front bit ahhh!!! We were so close to the stage that we could interact with the band - although i embarrassed myself by dancing my heart out only to look up to see James Bourne stood on stage just watching me haha! Awkward!!! I clearly won him over with my amazing dad dancing....


They opened up the night with their single Air Guitar and immediately got the crowd bouncing up and down - i soon discovered how unfit i am! The concert was full with a mixture of Mcfly and Busted songs and then a few Mcbusted songs.There was many entertaining moments such as them all dressing up with wedding dresses for the song 'crashed the wedding', wearing ice hockey tops in a sort of tribute to the retro film Mighty Ducks and then of course the arcade machine - The stage set was a giant working arcade machine in which half way through the concert they had a game of street fighter! Mcbusted have actually broken the world record for the largest working arcade machine.


After alot of dancing, singing, jumping and sweating (from us and mcbusted!) they got to the final songs and ended with Year 3000 and a explosion of streamers falling onto the crowd. This has to be one of the best nights! 
If you get the chance to see mcbusted/mcfly at some point...go!!

**If you want to use any of my photos please ask me and credit me - thanks!**

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Eurovision Anniversary Concert

I have a very sad confession - i LOVE Eurovision! Yes im one of those sad people who sit and watch the entire show whilst waving my flags and then vote and hope and pray that we get more than 2 points.....If we get over 10 points then i'm practically screaming with excitement!

So you can imagine how excited I was when they announced there was going to be a special one of concert in Hammersmith, London to mark the 60th anniversary of Eurovision....60 years!!!!!

Tickets sold out within minutes as they went on sale all over Europe at the same time - after much panicking I managed to secure 3 tickets for me,my sister and my friend. We waited weeks for the concert but then the morning off it disaster stuck...i woke up with a swollen face resembling the elephant man and nearly ended up at A&E but thankfully after having a ton of antibiotics given to me i started to look normal again so we finally got to head off to London -phew!!

When we got there we instantly spotted people from all over Europe carrying their countries flags and wearing some very funky suits made out of flags (!) We felt very under dressed! We went in and found our seats and got our flags ready and then it began.....ahhhhh!! Graham Norton presented the concert with Petra Mede.

They had loads of different singers from all over Europe - Some of the artists performed in the contest at the very beginning of Eurovision and some from the more recent years but everyone got the same brilliant reaction! There was cheesy singing and dancing and flag waving for over two hours!

Half way through the concert we got treated to a routine by Riverdance who first performed on tv during the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994! I have never seen them live before so this was a nice added bonus!

The concert ended with all the artists coming on to sing Abbas Waterloo which was hilarious watching the zombie rocker group Lorde trying to look cool singing along to this!

My highlight (and everyone elses!) was singing along to the current winner Conchita Wurst who has an incredible voice! Who knew a woman with a beard could sing so well?!

The only downside was the horrendous drive home.What would normally take 2 1/2 hours ended up taking 5 hours due to all the motorways being shut for road works argghhh!!

But it was worth it as we had a brilliant night and its the closest we will ever get to going to the actual Eurovision Song Contest!


Photo credits: BBCOne

The main Eurovision Song Contest is on BBC One 23rd May at 8pm

The Quay Wetherspoons Pub

Wetherspoons have pubs located all over the UK and we have two in poole - both accessible but this review will be focused on The Quay pub (located on Poole Quay funnily enough!)

The Quay is a large pub located over 2 floors but the 2nd floor isnt accessible for wheelchairs but this has never been an issue as there is plenty of room downstairs. There is also plenty of seats outside for the sunnier days. The front of the pub tends to be smaller tables but if you go further back you can find the larger tables more suited for wheelchairs and if there is a large group of people.

Because of the pubs location,it can get extremely busy but we have never had to wait long for food or drinks even at its busiest time. The bar can get a bit crowded but not unbearable - just need a bit of patience! 

The food served obviously isnt gourmet but for the price you're paying its pretty decent and theres always deals on such as two meals for £7 or a burger/hot dog and a drink for £4.50 - cant go wrong with these prices!

There is also a disabled toilet located to the back of the pub.

The staff in this pub are always really friendly and willing to help with any special requests (for example they always add extra milk or water to the hot drinks for us as the lady i support likes her drinks luke warm)

Photo credit: Tripadvisor

I give The Quay 4 stars!

Poole Quay

As some people know, I live on the south coast in Poole, Dorset and about 5 minutes away from Poole Quay so I thought it was about time I did a review on it!

Poole Quay is a real tourist hot spot and gets very busy especially when they have the special events such a fireworks on the quay or bike night where thousands of bikers descend onto the quay! I used to live on Poole Quay and my flat would shake with the amount of bikes revving their engines outside!


Poole Quay on a quiet day
(the building with the pointed roof was actually my old flat!)

Poole Quay is very wheelchair friendly - all the pavements are smooth and even with plenty of dropped kerbs to cross roads. There is disabled parking located on the water front outside the thistle hotel - these spots do fill up quickly though especially if you have a large vehicle that wont fit in the multistorey car park. If you do drive a normal mobility car, there is plenty of parking spots in the multistorey which is 30 seconds walk from the waterfront. There is also a couple of disabled parking spots the other end of the quay located next to a large blue sculpture but please be aware that there is also a parking spot next to them but this is actually a loading bay so if you park in this spot you will get a parking ticket!


Located on the quay there is plenty of accessible places to go to eat such as the pubs The Jolly Sailor,The Lord Nelson and The Quay (a wetherspoons - review can be found here) but if you dont want a pub meal there is a kiosk area which is wheelchair friendly which has a range of take aways such as fish and chips or jellied eels and of course candy floss and ice cream! There is also several gift shops located on the quay selling postcards and souvenirs etc but the only one accessible is the one located in the kiosk area. The gift shop is very small but the staff have always been extremely helpful! There is also a small tesco's with one of the only cash machines located on the quay! You can also find several resturants such as Banana Wharf and Rancho Steak House - these are accessible by lift which is located behind the deli's near tescos. The lift can be a bit temperamental so be prepared to find somewhere else to eat if its not working. 
Poole Quay also has the famous Poole Pottery which has a cafe, a large shop selling poole pottery (this shop really scares me because im convinced im going to knock everything over!!) and it also has a area where you can decorate your very own pottery - all this is fully accessible.

Photo credits: daltonbusiness / pooleview - bike night
tripadvisor / poolequay - poole pottery

Poole Quay is home to the world famous Sunseeker boats and there is always plenty of them moored up for people to admire as well as fishing boats and sailing boats.You can also get a boat which takes you over the Brownsea Island but unfortunately these are unavailable for people who are unable to transfer out of their wheelchair. 

The only major downside we have found is the severe lack of toilets - there are some right down the end by the lifting bridge but I really wouldnt recommend these as they are not very pleasant! All the pubs have toilets so i would recommend you go into these as they are alot cleaner!

There are always plenty of events happening on the quay such as bike night, mini steam on the quay, folk on the quay.....for a full list of events visit http://www.pooletourism.com/

So come and visit one day and treat yourself to a Mr Whippy and a pint of cider! 


Mummascribbles

Friday, 10 April 2015

Harvester - Poole

We quite often visit our local Harvester for our lunch as the food is tasty and reasonably price. We normally go for the £9.99 deal...salad bowl, unlimited drink, a main meal and pudding - total bargain! 


Our local Harvester
photo credit: poole view

Our local Harvester is The Seahorse in Poole. There is a large car park with 4/5 disabled spots..some large and some normal size but we've never had any issues getting a spot. (Top tip....if there are no disabled spots, Sainsburys next door has loads - so you can park there and walk across the road to the pub. There is a small slope next to a set of stairs so everyone can get in - there is a bit of a lip on the doors but its doable - staff normally come over to help hold doors open too.

Inside the harvester there is plenty of different height /sized tables to pick from and the staff are happy to help move tables round to accommodate you and the floors are all even. 

The only issue we have had was with a certain staff member who was rude to us on several occasions but we spoke to the manager about this and got it resolved and we've been back since and it all seems to be fine now! Maybe we just caught them on a bad day?!

I give our local Harvester 3 stars! 



A day out to...IKEA!

The weather in Dorset has been gorgeous this week so we made the most of it by visiting IKEA...! (The obvious place for sunny weather...a giant building with hardly any windows!)

The two disabled adults I support love mooching round IKEA whilst hunting for bargains and i'm currently in the middle of buying my first flat so we combined the two and made our way to Southampton!


photo credits: archiexpo.com / thelapine.ca/
pixshark.com


We quite often go to IKEA and have never had any accessibility issues. As you arrive the ground floor car park has loads of large parking spots which is perfect if you drive a mini bus like us. If you cant park in the disabled spots there is always loads of normal spots near the lifts so you dont have to go far to get to the entrance. The entrance is located on the 4th floor so if you cant use the escalator you can use the lifts. At the Southampton IKEA there are 4 lifts which are all huge! There is plenty of room for anyone using a wheelchair and customers using the large trolleys.

Once at the entrance you have to enter through the revolving doors which i found terrifying...im convinced they move faster as soon as you step in lol!

Inside the building there is plenty of room to move round in wheelchairs without feeling like you're in the way or you need to rush. The restaurant is well set out with a variety of different tables and chairs which is good as we often struggle to find tables that are high enough to get a wheelchair under but at IKEA we've never had this problem.The staff are normally very willing to help too and will carry your food over to your table if required. Located in the restaurant and on several other floors are clean and spacious toilets including large disabled toilets.

The only downside we found in IKEA is that once in, there is only one small lift covering all floors so there is often a bit of a wait and can be a bit of a squeeze - this may be different for all stores though.

When you do eventually get to the bottom floor where all the flat packed furniture is located there is always staff to willing to help you lift heavy stock and take them to the tills for you where again the till staff are always willing to help!

Staff will also help take your shopping back to your vehicle for you if needed....but if you're stubborn like me you'll insist on doing it yourself! This ended with me pushing a trolley loaded up with furniture and pushing a wheelchair at the same time - i ended up crashing into the lift with the lady i support in hysterics laughing at me ha!

But we had a brilliant day filled with shopping for some bright cushions and kitchen stuff we didnt know we needed and eating my body weight in Swedish meatballs!


What's Your Weekend?

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Dinosaur Zoo LIVE!

Today I took the disabled man I support to go and see Dinosaur Zoo live at Bournemouth pavilion (click here for my review on the pavilion!) and we LOVED it!

Dinosaur Zoo is by a company called Erth and is a show aimed at children (and adults!) who love dinosaurs. The dinosaur keepers take us through the story of how dinosaurs became extinct and introduces us to several dinosaurs starting with the baby ones and gradually building up to the giant ones!

The keepers welcome children up on stage to meet the dinosaurs and to interact with them which the kids loved! (apart from one poor girl who ran off stage terrified!) and at one point they had giant insects flying round and landing on the audience - we had one land of our head! 

The dinosaur puppets used in the show are incredible - you completely forget they aren't actually real even though you can clearly see the blokes legs sticking out of the costume!

We met up with my sister Elaine and my nephew Elliot who is 2 1/2 and both loved it although elliot did get a bit scared when the big dinosaur ran towards him - but to be fair I was petrified too and i'm 27 years old!!!! 


Elliot being brave and meeting the baby dinosaurs and a couple of
photos of the dinosaurs on stage!

After the show had ended, everyone who wanted to meet the big dinosaur could come up to the front of the stage for photos - we waited until all the kids had finished having their photos taken and then got up close to the dinosaur. The staff were lovely and made sure we could get as close as we could in the wheelchair without feeling rushed. We then headed out to the main foyer where we could meet the baby dinosaur puppets which were a lot less scary! We had loads of opportunities to have photos taken and once the crowds had vanished the staff bought a baby puppet over to us to get a better look and to have a chat which was lovely!

The show is approx 50 mins long and there was loads of merchandise to purchase. We bought a programme and a keyring for £6.50 and got a free sticker but there was loads of things to buy like mugs, door hangers, diy models and games. These can also be purchased online here.

Dinosaur Zoo is currently on tour round the UK so make sure you go and check it out. All prices and tour dates are on their website: http://dinosaurzoolive.com/

We had such a good day that will be remembered for a long time!

You can also check out my sisters blog about Elliots adventures at Entertaining Elliot!


Mummascribbles

Monday, 6 April 2015

Show reviews

I see quite a few shows/concerts- some through work and some with friends or family. Even though this blog is mainly about accessible places and days out, I'm going to have a separate section dedicated to shows/concerts and do some reviews on them as this is a massive interest of mine!

The latest concert I went to see was The Eurovision Anniversary Concert at the Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith London - very embarrassing to admit but I love Eurovision! I'll do a separate review on this concert as there's alot to write about!


Photo credits: wikipedia / open air theatre
love belfast / eventim 



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Thanks!
Laura

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre

Recently we went to see The Bootleg Beatles at The Pavilion located near Bournemouth seafront. The pavilion is quite an old building but the disabled access they have is brilliant. There is 8 wide space parking spots out the front but if these are not available, most of the car park is flat so parking is never really issue but if you drive a mini bus like I do, i would recommend getting to the Pavilion slightly early in order to get a wide parking spot. The only issue we have with parking is that when everyone leaves the car park most have to drive past the disabled spots making it very difficult to get out the spots due to the amount of traffic. Its even more difficult with a electric ramp as there isn't enough room to lower the ramp with all the cars going past and taxis pulling up right outside the venue.

Once parked up The Pavilion has a ramp next to the main steps making it very accessible to enter the building. Inside there is a large foyer waiting area with a accessible toilet but the only downside is the little coffee shop they have in the foyer has a step down into it making it unaccessible for anyone in a wheelchair but there is a bar located at the the back of the pavilion which is accessible for wheelchairs but please note that there is a large slope you have to go up/down to get to and from the bar which can be a bit of a struggle as its quite steep and has a thick carpet which makes getting a wheelchair across a bit harder but it is doable- again you need a bit of upper arm strength!

What we like about the pavilion is the location of the disabled seating, There is room for about 8 wheelchairs (split over both sides) and room for a carer/a friend etc and these spaces are very roomy which is really good but the best bit is....they are about 6 rows from the front! The views from these seats are really good! We've been to some venues where the disabled seating is up on the balcony with a safety rail blocking our view so its really refreshing to have decent seats!

We had such a good night out and really enjoyed The Bootleg Beatles - I highly recommend seeing them if they play near you! http://www.bootlegbeatles.com/ @BootlegBeatles


photo credits: http://www.durleygrange.com/ &
http://www.eventim.co.uk/
The Pavilion always have loads of events on so check out their website to see if there is anything you fancy! http://www.bournemouthpavilion.co.uk/

We see quite a few shows at the pavilion so every now and again I will review these!

Saturday, 28 March 2015

A Trip To London!

At work we have been to London for the weekend a few times now - each time the weekend has got easier with experience! (although the first weekend away was a complete failure due to every road being shut because of a marathon taking place as part of the Olympics!)

When we go to london we take the mini bus as we have special equipment such a hoists to take with us so public transport is a big no go! Not many hotels in london have parking suitable for our type of vehicle as most car parks are under ground but we discovered Travelodge in Southwark has a private parking bit next door for disabled vehicles. Its a very tight squeeze but it is doable and the car park is locked so the vehicles will be secure - you have to pop up to reception to get the key. The rooms in the hotel are not the biggest but with a bit of rearrangement of the furniture theres enough room to move around. the address for southwark travelodge is:

Travelodge London Central Southwark Hotel

202 - 206 Union Street
Southwark
London
SE1 0LX

We was a bit worried when heading to london as the tubes are not suitable for people in wheelchairs but we discovered that all black cabs can actually be altered to fit wheelchairs in the back and they have all the clips and seatbelts to make sure you are in safe. All the taxi drivers we had were so helpful and made sure the ramp into the taxi was safe and secure and they all double checked the wheelchair was strapped in safely before driving off.

photo credit: www.londonblacktaxis.net

One of our favourite things to do in London is to see a musical! So far we have seen Mamma Mia and Dirty Dancing. Both theatres were accessible for wheelchairs with seprate entrances round the side. When we saw Mamma Mia we got taken round to the side entrance by a very helpful staff member where we used a private lift to get to where was sat but once the show was over we discovered the lift had broke! The staff were extremely helpful and quickly got a makeshift ramp sorted out - whilst all this drama was happening, the staff distracted the lady I was supporting so she didn't panic - at one point about 10 staff members were all singing Abba songs with her! (i was gutted when they sorted the ramp as we were having so much fun haha!) The seats we had for Mamma Mia were really good and the carers got free tickets.
When we saw Dirty Dancing we were taken round the side door again and into one of the boxes facing the side of the stage - at first we thought we had a really good view but once it started we realised we couldnt see half the stage. At this point we couldn't find a staff member to help us so I wrote a tweet about the show and not being able to see and randomly the bloke playing the lead in Dirty Dancing that night saw the tweet during the interval and got staff to move us! Hurrah! Once again the carers got free tickets for the show.
photo credits: http://www.eventim.co.uk/
 https://www.londontheatredirect.com
Another couple of fun attractions in London is the London Eye and the London Eye river cruise. Both of these attractions are suitable for wheelchair users with the chance for one carer to go on for free. When arriving to go on the London Eye, staff will slow down the pods or if required they will even stop it to make boarding easier. The pods on the London Eye are huge so plenty of room once on there to move round freely to take in all the stunning views. The river cruise is also incredibly easy for wheelchair users to get on and off and there is always plenty of staff on hand to help.Once on board the board there is adequate room to move around but the boats can get very busy!
The London Eye website has a very helpful page with all the information and prices for both attractions for visitors who need assistant: London Eye disabled guide
photo credits: My own / www.londoneye.com 

We have also visited Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park but I will write a separate blog for that as there is alot to tell!

Friday, 27 March 2015

The Tank Museum - Bovington Dorset

The Tank Museum located in Bovington Army Base in Dorset is the perfect day out when the weather has turned a bit rubbish!



The Tank Museum is perfect for all ages and for a family day out which is not only fun but is also very educational. The quietest time to visit is during the week which gives you more opportunity to wander round at your own pace and read all the facts relating to the tanks. At certain times of the year The Tank Museum holds special events so its best to keep checking the website to see what they have on.The last time we visited they had people doing talks on the different sorts of camouflage used in wars. To check whats on click here: http://www.tankmuseum.org/whats-on

The Tank Museum is set over a couple of floors taking you through a journey of the different wars starting from 1915 right through to the present day with a large exhibition on life in Afghanistan - there is even a chance to try on some of the uniforms!
Their latest exhibition is all about the feature film 'Fury' starring Brad Pitt. For the film several of the tanks were used on set - the exhibition has loads of photos of the film being shot and even some of the set on display. Brad Pitt recently visited the Tank Museum for a look round (we missed him by a couple of days...i was gutted!!!)


Photo credit: www.heart.co.uk

The Tank Museum also have a exhibition on War Horse with tales from the horses used in the wars.

The Tank Museum is very accommodating for people who require wheelchairs - The floors are all very even and plenty of room in all the exhibitions with lifts to all floors and the restaurant and cafe is very spacious with plenty of room to move around. The only part we struggled a bit for room was the gift shop which has quite small aisles but we still managed to squeeze around to purchase some souvenirs. The Tank Museum also has a very good car park very close to the entrance with loads of wide disabled spots - we've never not been able to park in one of these spots!

The admission fee to get into The Tank Museum is very reasonable too as its a whole days worth of exhibitions to look at so you definitely get your moneys worth. For information on prices please click here: http://www.tankmuseum.org/visit-us. Carers get a discounted rate.

I highly recommend visiting!


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Abbotsbury Swannery

Last year I decided to take the disabled man I support to Abbotsbury Swannery near Weymouth, Dorset and it was one of the best days we've had! I did alot of research online first to make sure the place would be suitable for a wheelchair and the website was very helpful with loads of information (http://abbotsbury-tourism.co.uk/swannery/about/disabled-access/) so on a lovely sunny morning we headed out on the hour drive.

Once you arrive at the Swannery there's a car park near the gift shop but if you have a blue badge you can get a key from the gift shop to open to gate the drive right up to the entrance of the swannery which is very helpful!

Once in you can walk down a little path next to a small river which is very relaxing! The ground can be a little bumpy at times but I managed fine with the wheelchair -just need a bit of upper arm strength!! As you follow the path you start to notice swans everywhere! At first we were petrified as they are huge but if you stay away from them, they are absolutely fine! It was quite quiet when we went as it was midweek - this seems to be the best time to visit. As it was quiet we were able to take our time strolling round and watching the swans build their nests which was really interesting to watch and then came the really fun bit.....feeding the swans! The workers there asked anyone who wanted to feed the swans to come forward and pick up a bucket of food and go off and feed them in a special section of the swannery which was really good to watch.We didnt actually feed the swans as the person i supported was quite happy just watching but even in his wheelchair he would have been able to go out and feed them with everyone else. As the swans were being fed, the worker there told us the history of the swannery and loads of interesting facts about the swans and about how they build their nests which we really enjoyed.

Once we fed the swans we headed off for some lunch. Next to the gift shop is a lovely little cafe where they sell loads of nice comfort food with seating inside and out and plenty of room for wheelchairs and the staff were incredibly helpful bringing our food over for us and making sure we had everything we needed. After lunch we headed to the gift shop to buy a souvenir of our day out - we ended up buying a huge cuddly swan which got hugged all the way home!

I highly recommend the Abbotsbury Swannery as its a brilliant day out and the prices to get in are very reasonable too.

Individual tickets

Adult: £11.50 (carers get in free)
Child (5-15 years): £8.50
Super Saver Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £39 - Includes entry to the Swannery, Children’s Farm and Subtropical Gardens
Passport Tickets (one visit to each of the three attractions – a real holiday treat!)
Adult – £16.00
Child (5-15 years) – £13.00
Family (group up to 5 with a maximum of 2 adults) – £39.00
20% OFF WHEN BOOKED AT LEAST 2 DAYS BEFORE THE DAY OF YOUR VISIT.




Hello everyone!

Hi everyone! Thank you for taking the time to check out my blog! Im new to this so will be learning as i go!

But to start with here's a little bit about me and why im doing this blog.


I work as a Support Worker for a charity based in Dorset which supports children and adults with disabilities. The charity own a special education school which can support up to 28 children and are supported by qualified teachers and a team of occupational therapists, a speech therapist, physio therapists, orthopaedics and nurses. Once they leave school we help them go into Supported Living where they get their own home with a team of staff and gain experience in independent living where they are supported to pay bills, go food shopping and have control over their own money etc.

As part of supported living, they get to pick what they do every day which means alot of fun days out and even holidays! Holidays can range from a weekend away in a caravan to holidays to Florida - wherever they wish really! 
But a problem we have found is that alot of places are not very accessible or the websites claim to be but are sadly not, so ive decided to write a blog to review places we go and to do hints and tips such as good parking spots, places to eat etc!

Enjoy!

*Due to privacy rights, I will not be posting photos of the people I support and that the blog is all my own views and not connected to the charity I work for.