Wednesday 22 June 2011

Abbey Meadows Outdoor Swimming Pool, Abingdon

For a non-car driver our local leisure centre is badly located on the edge of town with no buses that serve it. This makes swimming trips a no go area when daddy isn't around with the car. Abingdon has had an outdoor swimming pool though conveniently located quite close to the centre of Abingdon for many years.
I think this may have been my first visit to the pool, certainly Charlotte's first, I'm sure my mum will correct me if I went when I was a little girl.
Being outdoors there is always the fear that it will be freezing cold, aren't most pools. Weren't we in for a surprise. Coming out of the changing rooms to find no lockers are provided we dumped our stuff on a bench and dipped a big toe into the toddler pool, freezing is not the word for it (I'm sure the lifeguards watching gave a little giggle). so out came the toe very quickly with me thinking this is a very bad idea, and decided to attempt the big pool. It was warm. I was shocked. Charlotte almost jumped straight in with not a care in the world.
I was pleased to find that the big pool (big is misleading but compared to the toddler pool its big) was very shallow at one end, so 3 year old Charlotte could stand up no problem. Makes things easier.
We had the whole place to ourselves, no other swimmers, so plenty of space to splash and kick, to dump our rubber ring/float/armbands on the side and not have to watch them. Think we were there about half hour before the cold started getting to Charlotte so de-camped to a hot shower, getting dressed and a short walk home.
The next morning Charlotte woke to tell me she had dreamt about swimming with leaves as it was so much fun.

The pool is open every day until September, and is free for under 16's. Take along a passport sized photo of the child and fill out a form on arrival to qualify. There are inflatable sessions for older kids after school and at weekends (daily during summer holidays), sunbeds to hire (when the sun comes out). Currently the ice-cream snack hut is open at weekends but during the summer holidays this will be daily.
For those less brave people currently the water feature (jets etc) is running every weekend and during the summer holiday will be open every day. Free to enter. There is a pay and display car park for those beyond walking distance.

Monday 20 June 2011

Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford

We have visited the Ashmolean on a few occasions since its re-opening in 2009, but they have only been very quick visits so decided to dedicate a few hours to going round and seeing everything. Or should that be everything at 3 year old standards which involved very fast walking round the museum twice, and every time we stopped for a whats that, just as I would read the blurb out she would speed onto the next thing.
The Ashmolean isn't much of a hands-on museum, there are a few areas for children to have a go though, but its  more a look at and study so not good for those children who need to touch everything. Would be very good for linking with school projects for older children.

I think Charlotte enjoyed it, she went round enough times and didn't show any sign of slowing down. we do seem to get a little lost each time we go, and seem to find rooms we haven't seen before, makes it all the more interesting. We stopped for a long time at the statues, she loves statues. There is quite a bit of open space and lifts to all floors so suitable for pushchairs, the open spaces created in the central areas make it much less of a stuffy museum, but in great contrast other areas are designed like state rooms which shows off the art work. A lot of thought has been put into how objects should be displayed to great effect.

There is a very popular cafe downstairs and rooftop restaurant. All in all a great place to go to get away from the British weather, its free and right in the centre of oxford so close to all the shops/restaurants/cafes. There are regular family friendly events and also activity sheets to keep children amused, so even those need to touch everything kids can do something.

Wednesday 8 June 2011

Open Farm Sunday

This Sunday, 12 June 2011, a lot of farms across the country are having an open day for you to discover what goes on. Each farm is doing something different so your local could have tractor rides, farm tours, food, tractor displays, meet the animals, see inside a dairy, and watch the cows being milk.
To find your nearest farm visit