Jul 29, 2017

A Great Day with Henry at Hampton Court


It may not be top of everyones' places to go list, and it wasn't ours, but we've just had a fabulous day at Hampton Court Palace and Bushy Park.


We had been before. Around six years ago and I wondered how my son James (who is eight) would react to spending the day walking around a park and a historical royal palace.


I was reassured that we would have a good laugh in the maze and enjoy watching the deer but I had no idea just how good the day would be.


We left the car in Bushy Park's free car park, wondered around the deer, played in the kids area and ate ice cream before heading across the road into the palace.


After collecting our tickets we headed in and toured the Young Henry exhibition. James was surprised by Henry's younger days, his athletic build and ability at sport coming as a complete surprise to someone who only knows perhaps our most famous King by the infamous 'fat Henry' painting depicting his later years.


We headed out to the Maze, where we did indeed laugh a lot, before heading back inside where we happened to come across a troupe of actors giving a performance of 'Power Play', which depicts Henry, Thomas Cromwell and Cardinal Wolsey plotting the annulment of his marriage to first wife Catherine.


It lasted 1 hour, but my son and all of the other children watching were enthralled as the actors went from room to room playing out the scenes in the very places in which they actually ocurred so many years ago. It was brilliant!


Whilst eating lunch we spotted what looked like a huge play area peaking over the top of the bushes. Feeling properly refreshed we headed off and my son played and played and played in the Magic Garden, a sizeable area with sandpits, water, climbing frames and dragons. I eventually had to drag him away after an hour and a half!


We headed back into the palace to explore all the rooms and see Henry's crown before walking around the gardens and eventually returning to Bushy Park to collect the car and say goodbye to the deer.


All in all it was the most surprising and entertaining day and, if you're near by, I thoroughly recommend it.






New Posts
  • jasonssmith
    Sep 6, 2018

    I am the luckiest dad around. Every year I'm able take the summer off and spend quality time with my son, but thanks to the unusually glorious, hot and sunny English weather, this year was extra special. At the start of the holidays we made a list of all the places he wanted to go, all the things he wanted to do and all the people he wanted to see. We did the lot and more. It was very special. But, for me, the most special aspect is the bond created by spending so much time together. Laughing and chatting in the car, restaurants, attraction queues and various other places is simply brilliant. I realise not many dads have the opportunity to spend so much time with their kids (I did say I'm the luckiest dad around), but I would encourage all dads to spend some time doing this kind of stuff. There is nothing more rewarding, for you and your kids.
  • jasonssmith
    Jul 12, 2017

    We're half way through the first week of the summer holidays and, even if i do say it myself, it's been a pretty good start. After winding down work related activities I've been able to focus all of my attention on my son James and, as a result, we've both been thoroughly entertained. We've been to cricket training camps (where I also get involved), spent a thrilling day at Chessington World of Adventures, built dens whilst walking the dogs in the woods and played traditional card games during rainy afternoons. He also diligently took me through all the school work he brought home at the end of the school year. James is keeping a diary of all the stuff we've done, so he'll have a record to consult in the future and remember the great times we've had, laughs we've shared and experiences we've enjoyed, together. It's a great way of keeping his mind active and developing his writing skills during the long summer break. It also challenges me to make the holidays as rich and engaging as possible. No pressure!
  • vickiharris1977
    Jul 3, 2017

    As a SAHP I spend a large quantity of time with my children but does this add up to a good amount of quality time? You would think it would be easy over the course of a whole day to chalk up a certain amount of good quality time with each child or even just one of them!  The reality for me however is that I know I am struggling.  I am certain the 30 minutes spent with daddy each day before bed is filled with more quality than my whole day. I am sure I could come up with a whole host of good excuses as to why I have little time for quality moments.  There is managing the house, washing, errands and running my own business so plenty to fit in but instead of salving myself with excuses I will admit that I am not 100% sure what quality time should look like anymore! When I turned to the dictionary to take it in the simplest terms even that did not help as I found the meaning is almost intangible in a way, it can be interpreted so many ways: Google defines quality time as 'time in which one's child, partner, or other loved person receives one's undivided attention, in such a way as to strengthen the relationship. "the most important thing is to spend quality time talking to their children"' Collins Dictionary defines it as 'If people spend quality time together, they spend a period of time relaxing or doing things that they both enjoy, and not worrying about work or other responsibilities' Wikipedia says: 'Quality time (QT) is an informal reference to time spent with close family, partners or friends that is in some way important, special, productive or profitable. It is time that is set aside for paying full and undivided attention to the person or matter at hand. It may also refer to time spent performing some favorite activity.' Ok so we can all agree that during quality time your children should receive your undivided attention, but it also seems that you need to shut off your mind to distractions and be completely in the moment with them too.  In 2 of the definitions it implies that you are doing something almost as if it is an activity but google's example of how to use the noun caught me the most.  Quality time TALKING to your kids.  One thing I am good at is spending time talking to my eldest daughter about her day and her feelings but I am reminded that children remember more of what you do than what you say.  So here I am stuck again and sure that as is always the case you need a little bit of both to achieve the perfect result.  Time spent in quality doing or not doing AND time spent in quality talking! OK so now I have realigned myself as to what I think I need to be achieving onto the how to achieve it! Perhaps it is just me but because we are together all the time I find it hard not to see playing with my girls as another job I need to fit in and it is this mindset in myself which needs to change in order for me to truly find a way to get that quality time with them back again.  For me it is all about connection, right now I am disconnected with my life just getting by anyway I can but in order to reconnect there are some things I need to take care of first. Taking better care of myself - At the moment, I am a little lost so I need to find myself before I can do anything else.  I used to be so happy playing with them ready to be silly and get stuck in now the energy seems to have drained out of me and though the mind is willing my body is weak! Digital Detox - I am pretty sure technology is the biggest interloper in my relationships both from my overuse and theirs! Asking for Help - I love my girls and while I desperately want time to myself I also have a conflicting emotion that I want to stay with them and be involved in what they are doing.  I need to learn to take some time out and ask for help no matter what my feelings. Hopefully once the above is all taken care of the quality time in my house will be flowing again.  If like me you need a bit of a hand to rediscover what the QT should look like then I guess I would say let the kids guide you. If you are all really stuck here are 5 ideas to get started. Wii Game Challenge - You may have realised by now that we are a tech obsessed family so we roll with it! Playdough/Painting - or some other artistic pursuit that you can all get into. The messier the better I'm sure. Movie night - Get together on the sofa and enjoy a cuddle they are a limited time thing! Go for a Walk - Take the dog if you have one, get outside in the fresh, hold hands, have a chat, just be in the world together. Have Dinner - Stay in or go out for a great family meal together plan your next day out or weekend or talk about your favourite memories as a family. I often console myself that quantity time is better than no time at all which is true but now I have the steps I need to get to my ultimate goal of re-learning how to create better quality time and connection with each of my kids. Wish me luck! Sam x If you have been feeling the same way I would be grateful to know I am not alone! Equally any ideas to help me I would absolutely love to hear them. If you like what you have read come and visit us at www.livelaughgiraffe.com/join-in and join in the conversation.