Wednesday, 29 August 2018

The day Little Hiccups goes classy (well...as close as we can!)

Last year Little Hiccups envisioned a slightly more sophisticated Family Fun Day for the children as they are unable to attend the Hiccups Event of the Year - our Fundraising Ball (November 24th this year - you can book online here: http://www.littlehiccups.co.uk/charityball/). Our wondering thoughts led us to an Afternoon Tea Party (because who can turn down cake) and when Iveridge Hall offered us their gardens to use for a Hiccups event we jumped at the opportunity to put our plans into action. Last year was a huge success and we had wonderful food in wonderful surroundings. We had many requests to repeat it this year and were happy to oblige.

The owners of Iveridge Hall, Graham and Linda, were generous enough to lend us their gardens and facilities again which were very gratefully received. We also thought the food was so delicious last year that we approached the same caterers. Since last August, they have moved from their Caravan, Rosie, that travelled to events to their very own cafe - Hart Coffee House and Deli in Boston Spa. They were still happy to help us out though and the food and crockery was all thanks to them. The cakes were particularly beautiful with masses of creamy icing on top of delicious, moist sponge. (My mouth is actually watering thinking about them again! If you are ever in Boston Spa, I recommend paying them a visit and sampling one (or two!) of the cakes! There was so much food left over unfortunately that we need to remember to ask people to bring some tupperwear with them next year so that they can take some home with them. This year, our Chairperson Sarah, nipped into the Leeds General Infirmary Children's Ward and St Georges Crypt after the event and made sure that no food went to waste.

As sophisticated as Afternoon Tea is, we decided that the children required entertainment and possibly to burn off all the sugar that we had just supplied them with. With this in mind we hired a bouncy castle and a Soft Play area complete with bouncy unicorns (which my toddler was particularly fond of!) from Bounce and Wobble. Got to say - not sure if it burnt energy off or just gave them boundless more but they certainly seemed to enjoy themselves.

This year it was also through that it would be nice to have a calmer sensory corner for those either less mobile or that wanted to escape the noise and inevitable giddiness that comes with a bouncy castle. After some home crafting and raiding of the Hiccups storage unit, I think the Trustees managed to put together quite a nice and magical little area of the garden to escape into. 

And of course, no 'posh' event is complete without horses so of course we had to see if we could hire some. We were lucky enough to be able to hire KL Therapy Ponies last minute and they brought with them two of the most adorable miniature horses that I, and everyone else, fell in love with straight away. They were the most docile creatures and loved sampling the grass at Iveridge Hall. The children enjoyed stroking, brushing, plaiting manes and holding the reins. I think the ponies quite enjoyed all the attention too!

All in all, it was a lovely day, with lovely company and great food and entertainment. Even the weather behaved and it was certainly hit and miss leading up to the event. I'd been watching the forecast all week and it was a complete tease with showers changing to rain changing to storms, back to clear then showers, etc. In the end it behaved itself. We had a very light drizzle but then it was cloudy and just warm enough. Which in my mind is the perfect summer day but then I am ginger and hide from any sun so some may disagree with me on this!

Thank you to everyone that came and helped make it such a special day.

"Thank you once again Little Hiccups for such a lovely afternoon tea, with great food, great company and a great place to visit! It was also lovely to meet some new faces as well, already looking forward to the next outing xxx"

"Thanks for the lovely tea party, Jacob loved the sensory garden as you can see x"

"Thank you for another fabulous afternoon tea xx"
Links
x

Monday, 2 July 2018

Little Hiccups 9th Birthday Celebrations!





It's Little Hiccups 9th Birthday this year and we invited the families to help us celebrate! We like a good party so had a lot planned. 

Meet a Creature paid us a visit and brought with them a variety of animals. We had a very friendly rabbit called Flora that a number of the children fell in love with. She was a particular lovely rabbit that enjoyed hopping around the room on her lead and getting lots of cuddles from her visitors. Then there were the less cuddly animals but not less delightful. There were snakes, a bearded dragon, a tortoise, a tarantula (which enjoyed sitting on heads) among others. We had the animals on a stand in a slightly separate room so that the animals were not bothered by the noise of the party and also so the children were in a quieter room when meeting the animals.

We also invited back our regular Susie Sparkles to entertain the children as she just does it SO well! Susie has been our regular entertainment at our parties for the last few years and she knows our kids well. Her outfit for this event certainly blew us all away as she came in a gorgeous dress with enormous wings like a butterfly. It was certainly a sight to behold. Susie did her usual fantastic job entertaining all the children with games and songs and there were a lot of very tired but happy children at the end of the party - always a good result!

As if that wasn't enough, Nicola from Face Painting by Cheeky Faces was available to paint faces and arms to requests. I saw unicorns, flowers, sunsets, action heroes, bandits. Our children do have a wonderful range of imaginations! And Nicola managed to beautifully fulfill them all!

As always, we were in the glamorous Royal Armories setting. And the staff and the way the team gels there never ceases to impress me. It honestly is like clockwork. I love events there as its just so organised! I have very little to do to prepare for the event. Just how I like it! The food went down very well. Especially the cake!


Alison from Celebration Balloons of Rothwell was also on hand to decorate the room with the finishing touches. The children loved the animal themed balloons with caterpillar, bee and butterfly balloons on top of balloon towers.

I think the parties are getting harder to top though bring on our 10th Anniversary Party next year. I have a few ideas...

"Happy Birthday Little Hiccups, thanks for a great party x"

"It was really nice to see Emily interact with the animals. Especially the rabbit!"

"Thanks for the great party!!"

"Enjoyed meeting the animals - Emily thought the rabbit was a teddy bear and was very reluctant to let go!"

"Thank you again Little Hiccups for a lovely morning! Took us a bit to get through the door when we got there due to "feeling too shy" but once in he had a fab time!!"

"He had so much fun xx"

"Happy 9th birthday little hiccups thankyou for todays party xxx"

"Happy birthday. We had a blast. Thank you xx"

"Thanks for a lovely party!!! Harvey had a ball. Touched a tarantula!! And played on stage . I was so proud of him. Lovely to see everyone. Can't wait for the next event xx"

Websites:
https://royalarmouries.org/venue/royal-armouries-museum/
http://www.meetacreature.co.uk
http://www.susie-sparkles.co.uk
http://www.nicolasfacepaint.co.uk/ 
https://www.rothwellballoons.co.uk/ 

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!