Thursday, 21 June 2018

Taking time out for a play

In June, Little Hiccups visited Kidzone. a soft play area in Garforth which provides kids the chance to play, learn, explore and party in a safe and stimulating environment. 
Working hard

Kidzone has recently swapped hands and the new owners Carl & Claire Barron are incredibly welcoming. They really couldn't do enough for Little Hiccups and paid extra attention to the food requirements. We had gluten free and lactose/egg/nut free options amongst others and anything that could been deemed as an allergic risk was clearly highlighted. The food was particularly enjoyed by children and adults. Children were treated to party food of sandwiches, pizza, crisps, fruit, buns and ice cream. Parents were treated to panini and chips. There was certainly plenty to go around. 

The new sensory room

Earlier that week, Carl and Claire had managed to open their brand new Sensory Room and this was particularly enjoyed by several of the children. There was different textures, sequin cushions (which I took a fondness to!) bubble tubes and fibre optics. The room was calming and captivating with a space theme and star light adding to the atmosphere. 


Plotting something...
We did unfortunately book our event on the same days as the AJ Bell World Triathalon which caused several families to be unable to attend due to road closures. I'm lamenting the fact that there is no one website that has planned road closures on. Leeds City Council - take note! I do think that Little Hiccups will become regulars here however so next time we won't book it on the same day as a major event (hopefully!) 

Kid Zone do also offer an dedicated session for children with additional needs once a month. It is an event where families can relax and play without prejudice. We will be closed to the general public for this event. There will be no music playing during this session.  Admission is £2 for all children (including siblings) and 10% off all meals. 

http://www.kidzoneplaycentre.co.uk
"1st time in forever we went to a soft play and it didn't end in disaster my boys had an awesome time xx thank you"

"Our first visit to a little hiccups Robbie enjoyed himself and really likes the sensory room here. Looking forward to coming to another afternoon out x"

"Thanks for todays session ive never been to a relaxed and fun play gym experience before always ended in tears but he had a great time and was very proud of himself telling me he made a friend too"

"Thanks for a lovely afternoon. Harvey had a brilliant time. Very relaxed and meant a relaxed mummy as well ! Hope to see u soon. Xx"

"Thankyou little hiccups for a really relaxed soft play session loved the sensory room n food was lovely xxx"

""Thank you" Little Hiccups for such a great event.  And for the lovely array of food, you never seem to disappoint! 😀 Kid Zone, "thank you" very much for having us all, and putting the spread on. I think that children as well as adults had a good time! xx"

"Thank you so much for the soft play session this afternoon and the fab food and drinks! We had a lovely time xx"

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Our visit to Ponderosa




We visited Ponderosa on a very hot day in May to visit the animals and playgrounds. The last time we visited Ponderosa several years ago back when the Hiccups Family Fun Days were just starting out. It was nice to go back and see the improvements that have been made and to bring a number of new families there. 

The Ponderosa Rural Therapeutic Centre was established by a group of people who wanted to help bridge the gap between disabled and able bodied people.


Ponderosa has a wide range of different animals from all over the world, ranging from the Tropical Jungles of Brazil to the Sandy Plains of Australia. There are also zip wires, play areas, a reptile room, a bunny barn and lots more to visit!





For us, the size of Ponderosa was just right. It meant that you didn't feel like you were missing anything out. You got to see everything and the children still got a lovely play in the playgrounds (the boat and sand area was a firm favourite with my children. We spend a fair amount of our day there digging holes and burying legs. The 18 month old managed to find a sandy puddle and proceeded to play there for a very long time, delighting in sitting down and splashing in this puddle. She was down to her nappy by the end of the day. To me - always a sign of a good day out with the kids!  For a hot weekend day you never felt that it was overly crowded either. It was certainly busy as you would expect for such a fantastic venue but, for someone who is not keen on crowds, it was never uncomfortable. 

We missed the ponies as it had been decided that the day was too hot for them to be doing pony rides. It was a little disappointing but refreshing to see a place taking the animal's welfare into consideration in this way and to be honest, we wouldn't want it any other way. 

So that there was always a space available for the families should they need it, Little Hiccups hired out the Lakeside Restaurant which could hold 50 people. It was available for lunch or for a quiet space if needed. It just meant that families could relax a little bit more at lunchtime and I took the opportunity to catch up with a few families and grab a few photos. Which is always nice as sometimes on events like this you can sometimes not bump into many. Having this meeting spot was certainly helpful.  

"Thank you for a lovely day out! Was great to see everyone. Had a fab day xxx"


"Thanks for a lovely day. We all enjoyed it. Sadly no photos! ! But great to catch up with our lovely friends xxx"


"An amazing day Thankyou"


"Thank you Little Hiccups for organising a wonderful trip to Ponderosa.

"Thank you Little hiccups for a lovely day out to Ponderosa the pace was slow going in this glorious weather. But lovely to catch up with so many of you"



"Thanks so much for today. My boy made a friend in the play barn, watching him really play with a real person gave me all the feels. thank you so much for giving us so many opportunities to get out there!"


"Awesome day today can't thank you enough xxx"


"Thank you for today. Loads of fun had by all."


"Thank you Ponderosa and Little Hiccups. We had a lovely time."

"Thank you Ponderosa and little hiccups. We had an amazing time and even managed to pick up a few animals. Thanks again for a brilliant day."




x


Thursday, 3 May 2018

Little Hiccups are soaring to new heights

Little Hiccups has been back to iFly in Manchester to once again take to the skies. iFly is where those dreams of flight become a reality. Our families were suspended in a column of air which totally reproduces the feeling of freefall. It was super safe, super fun, super cool and anyone over the age of 4 was able to have a go if they wanted.


It isn't for everyone. Indoor Skydiving is an incredible sensory experience but for some it may be too much. Consequently on the day we had some children back out which is absolutely fine. We're just proud of them for giving it a go! And who knows - next time might be better and they might get a little bit further. We like to think that this is partly what Little Hiccups is about. #NoLimits sometimes means going out of your comfort zone but its absolutely fine if you want to go straight back into it! Our job is to provide the opportunities. We think every child deserves the right to have that at least.


The instructors on the day were fantastic. They were patient, understanding and incredibly helpful. We'd asked parents and carers beforehand if they thought that their child might have required a little bit extra support in the air tunnel and if two instructors were needed. Whenever this was the case they were always pleasant and willing to help out. Flyers were taught hand signals to better help them fly but the all important one was thumbs down. If the instructor saw you do this one they took you straight out with no hesitation. I know of one child with sensory issues who was very nervous about flying who used this his first time in the tunnel and that was a big step in earning his trust so that he felt able to give it another go. Super proud of his willingness to keep going! And I've got to admit - I also used this hand signal the first time I was in. I found the wind in my face a bit
overpowering and struggled to catch my breath. I did the thumbs down and was out in seconds. Couldn't fault them at all! And just in case you are wondering - I also went back in and loved it the second time now I knew what to expect. I even successfully achieved the High-Fly where you go to the top of the wind tunnel. I've not looked at the photo of me in the tunnel though - not sure I'm brave enough for that! And for those of you that are like me and not a fan of wind in your face, I did notice that they can provide a full face helmet instead of just goggles for a small extra cost. I think I'll be going down that route next time!


We'd also like to thank the on site Italian cafe for providing all the food on the day. It was, I think, definitely the cherry on the cake for a fantastic day. 

Till next time! 

Websitewww.airkix.com/plan/manchester.aspx


"What a day."

"We had the best time. Thank you so much, still on a high now."

"Feeling very proud of my little man for doing it. Exhausted though."

"Had a brilliant time!!"

"We are all on an adrenaline come down"

"Omg it was awesome xx"

"Still buzzingxxx"


"Thanks for arranging a lovely event, sadly Harvey hated it lol. Too much going on and although we managed to wear the suit the goggles were a step too far. Luckily I brought the ipad so he was ok then. Ryan loved it though ! And I enjoyed the eating haha roll on next trip xx"

"Thank you so much for a fabulous day, we had an awesome time Skydiving, Max and Christabel have not stopped talking about it, you made my Max fly like a super hero and he loved it, thanks again for an incredible day out xx"

"Thank you Little Hiccups for a fabulous day what fun we all had.

"Thanks so much for today!"

"Brilliant day!! Thank you again!! Xx"



Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Relaxed Family Photoshoot



We've used Dean the last couple of years for our Family Photoshoot as he is just so welcoming and experienced with all the families. Dean has a lot of experience with children with additional needs and is prepared to spend that extra time putting them at their ease to get the perfect shot. His shots also always capture the true nature of the child and I've seen shot after shot of the child laughing and enjoying the photoshoot!

Included in the package was a 30 minute photoshoot and then all images were available to download and either print off elsewhere or via Dean.

This year we split it over 2 weekends and were cursed slightly with horrendous weather (not once but twice!) for one of the groups causing us to cancel and rearrange. I'd just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to that group and to Dean for their patience and understanding.


Website: www.deansanderson.co.uk

"Photoshoot was brilliant both my kids loved it and posed so well for Dean. It was more them having fun rather than having a photoshoot. They both were free to do what they wanted rather than told to pose a certain way. Dean has a way with kids and made them laugh so much. He let my son on his computer to show us all the pics and even take a few of his sister. Really grateful for the extra mile he went for us to make the kids feel at ease. Pictures came out brilliant and natural. Can’t wait for the next one!!" 

"Dean was absolutely brilliant. Laughing and joking putting the kids at ease. Nothing is to much trouble for him and he makes you feel so at ease that you forget your sat in front of a camera. So yes we've captured some special family magic to go on canvas for all to share that enter our home. Many thanks to Dean Sanderson Photography. And to little hiccups for providing families for the chance to capture our special families xxxx"

"Dean always makes us feel at ease. My boy truly gets into model mode once he's with Dean. So many gorgeous shots." 








Wednesday, 7 March 2018

There's something fishy going on...








The Deep was named Runner Up in the Visit England Inclusive Tourism Award 2017. It has also been awarded Gold in the National Enjoy England Awards - Access for All category 2011, and Silver in the Enjoy England Award in the Access for All Category, 2009. And you can see why. They have truly done their best to make the visit accessible to all. Its often just the simple things that have the most impact. Like the way that The Deep has a separate entrance for accessibility and groups and the queue tends to be shorter here - always a good thing for our children.

Our trip unfortunately missed the grand opening of the new Changing Place which was a shame and would have been very useful but we were welcome to use the First Aid room on the day. We've since seen the photos of the Changing Place and with its wall of a coral reef image its got to be oneof the prettiest! It contains an adjustable bed, hoist, adjustable basin and mirror, a centrally placed toilet and a portable privacy screen. The Changing Places facilities is also open to any who need it - not just visitors at The Deep.


I've not even mentioned the exhibits at The Deep yet. It takes about 2-3 hours to get around and in this time you pass large glass tanks full of fish, jellyfish, sharks, giant serene looking turtles (my favourite) dangerous looking Swordfish (my son's favourite) and of course, the penguins - who were all in doze mode when we passed them. Can't say I blame them though. Looked peaceful! You pass through the history of giant marine animals of times past and onto our present. You get a glimpse into the Midnight Zone and the animals that reside in the darkness. The learn of the dangers that humankind are presenting to this world and ways in which we can help (Spoiler - reduce plastic use!) and near the end you are shown a variety of non-marine animals such as the Leafcutter Ants that snaked their way from leaf source to their ant nest on ropes above our heads. All in all, it was a very educational and fun day. It is definitely worth a visit if you have never been.

Some of the feedback that we received on the day was that it was too busy which some of the children didn't cope too well with. Unfortunately in this instance it couldn't be helped. We decided to visit The Deep in the winter months as it was cosy and warm indoors and it seems that a lot of other people also had the same idea! However, when I spoke to The Deep after the event to thank them I mentioned the feedback. I was informed that they are now doing Tranquil Tuesday after 3pm where the lights will be brighter and the audio turned down, creating a tranquil environment for visitors. This event is perfect for those who prefer to visit during a quieter and more peaceful environment. I was also informed that there will be a 'Quiet Day' on September 12th - keep an eye on their website here for more information on this!




Website: www.thedeep.co.uk

"Thanks for today Little Hiccups was a lovely day."

"Thank you for organizing such a lovely trip to the Deep"

"Great afternoon - Billy didn’t just tolerate the crowds (best result ever in a public place)- he had a brilliant time interacting with all the lights and displays and ice wall! Thanks guys x"

"Thank you little hiccups had a cracking day out was great to see kids interacting but best was watching Ben focusing and following the fish xxx"

"Fab day out xxx"

"Thanks for a fab day"

"Thank you Little Hiccups fab day as always. What would we do without you. Didn’t take photos but we had a great day xxx"

"Thank you for a lovely day at The Deep"

"Thank you so much for today. The boys had a fab time"

"Thanks little hiccups. Great morning at the Deep."

"Thank you little hiccups for a great trip to the deep."

"Thank you joe loves his deep family day out."

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Ending 2017 with a party - Hiccups style!


Well what can we say. We managed to finish off 2017 with a record breaking party again with over 100 children coming to help Little Hiccups celebrate the end of the year in style. We even had a family travel up from Norwich was an honour! Plus it was lovely to see them again. It's been too long guys - looking forward to your next visit already.


The party being held at The Royal Armouries in Leeds meant that it was certainly in style. The Ball Room was decked out ready for the New Years Party and was certainly glamorous. And it also very conveniently fitted in with our Rise of the Guardians theme this year! A lovely touch was the red carpet entrance we were treated to! As always - a MASSIVE thank you to the Royal Armouries for allowing us to host our party there. Alison from Celebration Balloons returned as well to apply the finishing touches to the decorations. Her balloons graced each of the 22 tables and she also designed a Balloon Wall to be used as a backdrop for family photos.


x











We'd spoken to Santa earlier on and he was so impressed with the families of Little Hiccups that he'd delayed his return back to the North Pole to make sure that all the children that attended the party received one more gift each. He even wore an extra special red turban to celebrate the event and brought two fantastic elves to help run the grotto. The presents had been donated to Santa through the fantastic Mission Christmas Charity run by Radio Aire.



Whilst the children were waiting for their turn to see Santa we had the fabulous Susie Sparkles as the Tooth-fairy from Rise of the Guardians and much to the children's delight she'd even brought Jack Frost along with her - a character as cheeky as the film version! There were snowball fights, an Easter Egg hunt and other games and crafts to keep the children entertained.

Also present was Claire providing face painting mainly in the Christmas / Rise of the Guardian theme but I did see a few tigers roaming about the place! Claire was a wonderful addition and any child (and adults - **cough**) that wanted their face painted received one. With over 100 children attending and only 2 hours that was no small feat! If she'll have us - we'll definitely be inviting Claire back to future events.

We were also honoured with the presence of Simon and Temperance . You may have seen these two on YouTube. The Little Hiccups Committee watched it recently and were all bowled over and all agreed we just HAD to invite them to the party this year. Have a watch and you'll see why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5_EuMsn7_o - If you keep an eye on this blog - we're hoping to have some good news soon!

"Thank you so much for today. The girls really enjoyed the party. Gabrielle loved the lights and her new tiger from Santa. Happy New Year. See you next year"

"Thank you so much for such a fabulous party today love the Broadleys xx"

"So many thanks for today!! Everyone had a great time. Watching my boy join in the games instead of hiding on the sidelines has filled me with so much pride I really can't thank you enough"

"Another fabulous party, thank you so much "

"Corey was asleep within minutes on the journey back to Norwich! We all had a great time, you are all excellent"

"Thank you for a great party xx"

"Thank you Little Hiccups for a fabulous christmas party the room looked amazing kid really enjoyed themselves once again xxxxxx"

"You really do have the best parties. Thank you so much xx"

"Thanks for yet another fantastic party. Your hard work and energy is so well appreciated. Happy New Year to you all xxx "

With Thanks to:
The Royal Armouries 
Celebration Balloons 
Mission Christmas 
Susie Sparkles 
Claire - Facepainting
Santa and his Elves!

Monday, 11 December 2017

It must be Christmas!

Ready to see Santa
x
Christmas can now officially start as Little Hiccups have been on their annual trip to Sundown Adventureland. My children know that the Santa they visit at Sundown is the Real Santa (the rest are helpers as it is obviously a very busy time of the year!) so its now a given that we visit here to kick off Christmas in style at the start of December!

Sundown is a theme park designed for under 10's. It's friendly, well laid out and everything is easy to access. There are several play grounds and slow rides with lots to view and there are also two indoor play areas where you can warm up and grab a bite to eat.

Getting into the Christmas spirit
This Christmas was our largest trip to Sundown yet with 200 people booking on. Little Hiccups took up 3 Santa Slots over lunchtime and it was nice to see everyone together. The elves are well aware of our group now and help out with wheelchairs and pushchairs where needed so that everyone can get a chance to visit Santa. And what a lovely delight that always is. I've been going to Sundown since my eldest daughter was 2 (she's now 11 and still coming with us!) and we all still love the Christmas ride. This year my youngest daughter (just turned one!) joined us for the first time so we got to see the ride and in fact, all of Sundown, again through fresh eyes. Though this year it was mostly bewildered eyes as she tried to take everything in! Although it was the demands of the one year old this year that meant I failed to get the large group photo. I got some - but not enough to show the enormity of our group! Next year guys...

The important thing was everyone who went had a lovely time. We had several new families joining us for the first time, and several families where this was their first trip to Sundown. Hopefully, both groups will return for more as we plan to be coming here for many years in the future!

Just a small gathering!
"Thanks once again Little Hiccups, Nathan had a "really good time!" at Sundown today."

"Can't beat Sundown at Christmas, thank you Little Hiccups! X"

"Thank you for a lovely day from the 3 (4) of us xx"

"What a very special day we've had today. Thank you so much Little Hiccups for making such a difference to so many children."

"Thank you for another fabulous day! Your events always manage to make our big girl smile, which is soooo nice to see."

"Thankyou so much little hiccups for another amazing day at sundown adventure land. All the girls had an amazing time. Gabrielle was smiling throughout but wasn't keen on stopping for a picture. Stopping the fun! Merry Christmas Little Hiccups."

"Another massive Thank You to all at Little Hiccups for arranging another fantastic day out. We've had a wonderful day at Sundown and for the 2nd time Jacob sat and talked to Santa and gave him his letter. He went on all the rides. Don't know what it is about it there but he loves it and is much more relaxed. Its been amazing to see him enjoying himself without all the anxiety and wanting to do and see things. It's the only place he will go see Santa too. I've had a few happy tears today seeing how much fun he was having."

"As always with Little Hiccups events another fantastic day out.  Sundown is somewhere I've been going since I was a kid and my children absolutely loved it.  Thank you so much."

"Thank you so much for a lovely day at Sundown Adventureland. A good time was had by all and Santa was lovely. Thank you all at little hiccups."

"Thank you so much for today. I had two very happy boys all day."

"Wonderful day had by the whole family. Thank you so much Little Hiccups x"

"Fantabulous day(as always!!) thank you"

"Our first trip to sundown with little hiccups and we all loved it! Thank you!"

"As soon as we got home we played with Santa's presents thanks for a lovely day xxx"

"Thank you to all who helped organise today, both the boys loved their day out and so did we, the boys enjoyed it so much that the pair of them were fast asleep on the way home, xxx"

"Thank you. We had a fantastic day xx"

"Another lovely day"