Reading has always been something I have loved to do. bESS TOO!

Ever since I was a small child I have enjoyed the escape offered by a good read.

Bess has thankfully inherited this love and is rarely seen without her nose stuck in a book. Her most favourite author is and has been for some time. Jacqueline Wilson. She has read everything Dame Wilson has written but has a special fondness for a character called Hetty Feather.

You can imagine how excited we were to receive an invitation to travel to the Foundling Museum and have the opportunity to meet Bess’s aforementioned idol!

Getting There

As we don’t often get to spend one-to-one time together I decided we should make a day of it. My brother kindly did his Uncle duty and agreed to look after Moose overnight so that Bess and I could catch an early train.

We hopped on the 7am train to Kings Cross and we were off! It was nice and quiet for most of the journey so we spent time chatting about how excited she was to meet Dame Wilson.

The Foundling Museum

The Museum is found on Brunswick square – the nearest tube station being Russell Square. It is set inside the Foundling hospital which was established in 1739 to offer care to babies at risk of abandonment. The founder, Thomas Coram was helped in his endeavour by the artist William Hogarth and the composer George Frideric Handel. Over the years many artists have become fellows which allows them to use their talent to create a project to inspire and involve young people and contribute to the work of the museum.

In 2008 Jacqueline Wilson became part of this fellowship and she created the character of Hetty Feather.

Picturing Hetty Feather

The exhibition is situated in the basement of the museum. At first glance it isn’t that big but to a Hetty fan I can assure you that it is a trove of delights! As well as costumes and props from the television series you will find other items such as a meal planner for the hospital and a set of rules for Matron.

watching Hetty Feather

I call this look; “sweaty, frizzy tube hair”

As well as things to see, the children could also dress up in some of the costumes from the series. Sadly I couldn’t persuade Bess to do so this time.

It was really interesting to explore the museum and try to imagine the lives of the foundlings and as a Mother I found some of it quite emotional. To have reached the point where signing your child over seemed like the best choice for them must have been so desperately sad.

Meeting Jacqueline Wilson

So, as we walked through the exhibition I saw a small set woman with white hair sitting quietly next to a desk and it took me a minute for my brain to catch up and realise that it was Dame Wilson.

Bess took her place in line (and grumbled a bit about deciding to leave her copy of Hetty feather at home) and soon it was her turn. To say Bess was starstruck was a bit of an understatement. She very politely asked Dame Wilson if she could please take a photo with her and told her that she was a massive fan. Dame Wilson was really lovely and thanked her for her kind words.

After that Bess didn’t stop grinning. We stood and listened to Jacqueline Wilson speak about Hetty Feather and her new book ‘Hetty Feather at Christmas’ as well as a book she is working on about a character called Rose Rivers which will be one to watch out for next year!

Admission

£8.25* Adults
£5.50* Concessions
FREE for children, Foundling Friends & National Art Pass holders

An additional £3 applies for Picturing Hetty Feather (FREE for children & Foundling Friends)

*Ticket prices include a voluntary Gift Aid donation

Open

Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 – 17:00
Sunday, 11:00 – 17:00
Monday closed

Joanne Whelan (Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) is one of the impressive cast from the CBBC series

She just cannot walk past one without having a go (we didn’t get chucked out this time)

We really enjoyed our experience at The Foundling Museum and I would visit again. There are plenty of activities for families over the summer and into September. You can find more information here

 Bess hasn’t stopped talking about meeting Dame Wilson and I hope it’s something she will remember for a long time.

Love 

Mummy & Moose

During half term we were invited by Wicksteed park to come and try out their theme park and playground for the day in exchange for an honest review. We were only too happy to oblige!

Wicksteed

Our day began calmly enough.

I had a quick check of the weather and made a picnic lunch. We were in the car and away by 10am. We only live a 40 minute drive from the park and since the rides don’t open until 10:30 it made sense not to rush.

Family in car

This plan would have been foolproof had it not been for a major road closure resulting in us making a very bumpy detour around some very pretty local villages. Col played navigator and thankfully I happened to have a map handy so it wasn’t long before we were back on course.

Wicksteed entrance

The first big difference you will notice between Wicksteed and other theme parks.

Instead of a big entrance fee, Wicksteed Park charge for the rides. This can be paid for either by purchasing a wristband granting unlimited access (aside from a few things – I will touch on those later) or with ride tokens.

I used to come to Wicksteed Park as a child and it has been the same charging model for as long as I can remember. That is a good sign that it works well! (Moose decided that he could just take his wristband off halfway through the day and although he did have a good go, it weathered quite well I thought)

The wristbands appear to be highly priced at first at £19 per child and £16 per adult but actually it turns out that they offer very good value indeed. A sheet of ride tickets costs £22 for 20 tickets or £37 for 40. They can also be purchased singularly for £1.25.

I counted 22 goes on the rides (and I am sure I missed a couple) and as each ride cost 2/3 tickets it is clear that the wristbands do represent better value for money. It was so lovely to be able to answer with a resounding YES when asked if they could go on something!

Parking at Wicksteed is not free.

With 137 acres of parkland to maintain and a wonderful free playground for the children to enjoy I can understand why. The charge for parking is £6 for the day which I don’t think is unreasonable.

group photo

Everybody loved the train!

Our first stop of the day was the train. This was 3 tickets per person and took passengers around the park. It was a lovely way to explore and to plan what we wanted to do next!

Moose watched the others on the drop tower ride.

Lex doesn’t look particularly impressed but I can assure you, they absolutely loved the teacups! I think Bess and Col were in an unspoken competition to see who could spin the fastest. Bess won.

The Astro Slide was a big hit with all. The children loved that they could have more than one go and certainly made the most of it! Children under 1m have to be accompanied by someone over 14 so Col rode with Moose.

I think the dodgems might have been Bess’ favourite. We aren’t allowed to talk about how many times she crashed into the sides…

I really liked the little train station and the train. Moose said it was “a proper train”. High praise from a 2 year old.

kids lunch

Moose scoffed his lunch early so he had another one! This was the childrens meal – good sized portion.

Col, Bess and Lex all wanted to have a go at the driving. Much to the girls dismay and Cols amusement, he was the only one tall enough to drive so the girls were resigned to being his passengers and he got 2 goes!

Wicksteed is more than just rides. Although the rides are brilliant. There was so much to see and do that even though we were there for over 6 hours we were nowhere near having seen it all!

There is the opportunity to camp at Wicksteed Park and I think it would be a lovely way to spend a weekend.

We Loved Our Time At Wicksteed Park

Moose’s favourite ride was also the oldest! The Waterchute. Wicksteed Park opened in 1926 and the Waterchute has been there from the start. It was invented by Charles Wicksteed and was the forerunner to many of the theme park rides now popular all over the UK. In 2016 it was added to Historic England’s list of protected heritage sites. Moose just loved the SPLASH! and rode it 5 times!

waterchute

We will most definitely be returning. It is difficult to find days out to suit all ages but Wicksteed absolutely gets it right!

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Love 

Mummy & Moose

things to do in cambridgeshire
Here are my top picks of what’s on this February including the half term in Cambridgeshire

There are loads of things to do both indoors and outdoors this February in Cambridgeshire and I have trawled the internet so you don’t have to! You’re welcome!

18th to 26th daily – Half term adventure. Visit Sacrewell Farm where you could build a den, toast a marshmallow or travel back in time in the old mill and learn how to make a bread roll, Victorian style! Usual entry fees apply, check the website for details

19th – WOW! Said the Owl is an acclaimed children’s book by award winning author Tim Hopgood and is brought to life through a blend of beautiful story-telling, puppetry and music. Catch it at Key Theatre this February

20th – Make a bird box at Ferry Meadows. You can take even take it home with you so you will have a nice home for the birds in your Garden.

Open daily – Hamerton Zoo. A massive outdoor play area and loads of animals including Tigers and Giant Tortoises! 

18th and 19th – Come and explore the gardens in winter at Peckover House in Wisbech. 

Have we missed something going on near you? Feel free to contact me to add your event! tasha@mummyandmoose.co.uk