All the fun of the fair – Harbour Park review


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Last weekend, we were invited to Harbour Park for the day. Situated right by the sea in Littlehampton, and a ten minute walk from the station, there is plenty to do in and around the park. We were given two Go Unlimited wristbands (one for each child) and let loose amongst the rides, golf and soft play.

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As the children are both under 1.2 metres, James and I were given an “Accompanying Adult” stamp on our wrists, which meant that we could Go Unlimited with the children at no extra cost. We certainly made the most of it!

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The children had an absolute whale of a time all day; Miss J was fearless and went on every single ride available. Well, almost – she refused the log flume as I had forgotten to bring a puddle suit and she detests getting wet.

The boy was slightly more reticent at times but even he tried things he had never been on before, including the giant bumpy slide, log flume and bumper cars.

Included in the cost of the wristbands (which are £18 per person) were powered boats, golf and soft play. The children loved all three! The boats were utilised at least three times during the day. Miss J said that they reminded her of the bumper cars; I think she preferred the boats though because she was in control! The two of them drove around the large inflatable paddling pool with big smiles on their faces.

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The 9 holes of Sharksville Adventure golf went down a treat, despite the children never really grasping the correct way to hold their clubs. Their style was more reminiscent of hockey at times, but they enjoyed themselves, which is the main thing.

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The soft play was a lovely way for us parents to have a rest whilst the children let off steam (where they find their boundless energy is beyond me!). It is situated within the Harbour Kitchen where you can enjoy big breakfasts, hearty lunches and light snacks, or just grab a tea or coffee whilst you take advantage of the free WiFi or leaf through a paper. The soft play itself is spread over three levels, with a separate area for under 2s. The children had a great time climbing and jumping, running and generally being energetic. They were there for over half an hour before deciding that it was time to head back outdoors.

James and the boy braved the log flume shortly after our pit stop; look at the boy’s little face!

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Suffice to say, he didn’t go back on! He spent the next half an hour or so wrapped up in a blanket:

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Meanwhile, Miss J took on the giant slide; again and again and again…

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Afterwards, we headed to the trampolines, which both children adored. They spent a happy few minutes bouncing and twirling and falling on to their bottoms!

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They also had a go in the bouncy castle; we all braved the flying animals and the children spun themselves silly in the barrels before heading back to one of their all-time favourites – the formula circuit.

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The carousel was also popular, with both Miss J and the boy insisting upon riding three times in succession.

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Alongside the bumper cars, I think our family favourite was the Crazy Caterpillar – a great introductory coaster for younger children. I lost count of the number of times we rode all together. The boy loved it, but not quite as much as Miss J who spent the last 15 minutes of our day riding it alone (with the biggest of smiles on her face)!

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Harbour Park is a brilliant way to spend a day. We arrived just after they opened at 11:30 and left as they began to close and still the children were keen for more. They would have happily stayed all evening too! The Go Unlimited wristbands are an absolute steal, particularly when it is not too busy and queues are pretty much non-existent. There are two lovely places to eat at the park as well as many, many picnic benches, one of which we fully utilised during our day. As well as the heaps of rides on offer, there are amusements and coin-operated attractions to help kill the time too. Also, in warmer weather, it is possible to head off to the beach during (or indeed after) your visit and return afterwards as the park is not closed off so re-entry is possible.

Overall, the four of us had an absolute blast and highly recommend Harbour Park as a perfect day-trip destination whether you live in Sussex or are just visiting.

Thank you for a wonderful day, Harbour Park. See you again soon!

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We received two Go Unlimited wristbands worth a total of £36 for the purposes of this review; all views are our own.

 

Growing Wild – a little bit of the Jelly Maxo plan.

When Miss J was two or three, she went through a phase of being unable to pass a stag beetle without scooping it up and keeping it with her for as long as possible. She called these beetles Jelly Maxo – we have never known why but we have also never forgotten.  Jelly Maxo now means much more to us, as a family, than the brief name of a few stag beetles a couple of summers ago. Jelly Maxo has come to mean all things outdoors; sunshine; family times; getting muddy; building something from nothing; appreciating what we have; getting back to nature, and bringing the outside in, wherever possible.

We live in a ground floor flat so outdoor opportunities are not as easy for us as they are for some. We have a communal garden but we cannot dig it up, we cannot plant flowers or vegetables and we cannot allow the children to build fires or climb trees. However, we make the best of it and have, so far, raised butterflies from caterpillars, sewn seeds in pots to go on the windowsill and used our Tuff spot for sand and even compost messy play.

One of the ways in which we hope to spread a little Jelly Maxo love is by sewing wild flowers. We have collected a few packets of seeds and will be distributing their contents next time we are at the park or climbing a hill. Flowers are such an important part of life that it makes sense to let them grow wherever there is soil.

Below, I have a video for you to watch, which is all about the importance of wild flowers and how you can get involved in supporting their continued existence:

It is fascinating to think that as many as one in three mouthfuls of food relies upon pollinating insects; it is also sad to see such concrete jungles destroying their habitats.

Let’s put this right!

Let’s Grow Wild!

Painting and Printing

On Thursday, Miss J was out all day – at school and then on to a friend’s house. I took this opportunity to spend some time with the boy, painting with trains (amongst other things).

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I set out various paints on plates, which made it easy for the boy to roll his trains through the colours. I also added some cookie cutters for printing and some shells and polystyrene eggs to paint. The boy was, of course, immediately drawn to the trains. I offered him paper but he said he wanted to print directly onto the Tuff spot, which I was happy with – it makes the whole session so much easier to clear up after!

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The boy has a habit of mixing colours whenever he is painting. We invariably start off with five or six vibrant choices and inevitably end up with a huge mass of sludgy brown after about five minutes. However, this is easy to do with a paintbrush but not so easy with trains! He rolled various engines through each colour but the mixing was far more contained and added an almost marbled effect to the dishes of paint.

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The boy showed little interest in using a brush during this session – he was more than content to simply wheel his beloved engines through the colours and then on to the Tuff spot, chatting away to himself as he went. He briefly experimented with the Tom and Jerry cookie cutters but quickly returned to his trains.

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Finally, with some encouragement, he made me a lovely hand-print picture. I love child-sized hand-prints!

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We had a lovely afternoon on Thursday and the session was easy to clean up after; the Tuff spot was clean after a quick rinse in the shower and the rest of the stuff went into the sink where the boy washed the paint away.

As you may have gathered, the boy is very keen on playing with his engines – if you have any tips on how we can further incorporate them into our messy play, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thank you.

Remembering magical moments