Meanwood Valley Urban Farm Event Review – 16 Jan 2017

So I’m trying out a few new things with my blog to see where it takes me…If nothing else I will document the hilarity and the challenges of our family days out! So here is the first one of hopefully many – Meanwood Valley Urban Farm, Leeds.

Picture the scene…It’s a wet Sunday morning, the online shopping has just been delivered and your child has just smudged half a tub of Play-Doh into your light grey carpet. Your significant other is hoping that as it’s raining, bit dramatic; drizzling we will be having a day in the house where he can take a nap when the baby does and he can switch over from CBeebies to the Sky Sports Channels whilst I head up to the toilet or to put the washing away etc (he thinks I don’t know he does it, I do).

Anyway, I had other ideas…We’ve been to loads of places now in and around Yorkshire (blog posts / reviews on these to follow this one) but I fancied going somewhere new. I hit Google to see what was available. There was a few things on there, some of which were not really aimed at crazy toddlers – Thrackray Medical Museum, Thwaite Mills Museum etc and a few places we had already visited so I picked the first one we had not been to yet. Meanwood Valley Urban Farm it was.

The place was easy enough to find as it is well signposted off the main road…as we were driving through a housing estate I did question if I was going the right way but I though hey, it’s an urban farm after all so it must be right and it was! We parked up in the carpark with no problems (no charge for parking), dressed everyone ready for the inclement weather only to get to Reception to be told there was an entrance fee and they don’t accept any kind of debit or credit cards!! I was mortified – I managed to force a smile/grimace and asked where the nearest cashpoint was. We were directed to a Waitrose about 5 minutes up the road. Thankfully on arrival at the Waitrose the ATM had cash in it (I think a mini meltdown would’ve occurred if not) and we headed back to re-create the coat, wellington boot, hat and gloves rigmarole! Moral of the story – make sure you have cold hard cash in your possession when visiting these smaller attractions #LessonLearnt The entrance fee was £2 per adult and 50p per child so I handed over our Waitrose wonga and we were in. The Reception also sells bags of animal feed for 50p a bag. We decided to buy one bag as they seemed pretty substantial but with hindsight we should’ve bought a few given that there are quite a few animals dotted about and the fact that Phebe decided to pour approximately 2/3 of the animal feed onto the concrete floor nowhere near an animal!

The animals. There were some lambs and alpacas in an indoor shed. There were donkeys, sheep, rams and pigs in outdoor pens and in the fields and then there were some converted stables that housed piglets, guinea pigs and rabbits – Phebe’s favourites ❤ The pens all seem to come off one long concrete path so its great access for wheelchairs and pushchairs, lots of ramps for getting to the higher and lower bits of the farm too. The animals were all pretty well behaved apart from the alpacas which hissed at us a lot! As a breed they are now officially on my shit list! What even are alpacas anyway?! Also, down by the stream there were some little huts or hutches that look like in the Spring/Summer they may house chickens or ducks.

Now onto the important things – the café! There is a really nice little café on the Site which sells quite a nice range of hot drink and homemade cakes. There was also a small menu of sandwiches, jacket potatoes etc. The staff were helpful, really friendly and attentive even though they were extremely busy which was nice and the food and drinks were reasonably priced. Other facilities were toilets which looked to be in a converted stable, no frills but they were clean so can’t grumble. A little outdoor play park with a small climbing frame/slide and those twangy animals on springs…you know the ones. It would’ve been nice on a warmer day but we didn’t frequent as it was a bit of a soggy mess.

So after our lovely Latte’s and second helping of the Bakewell Tart as it was so nice we left and headed for home…via Screwfix! The joys of being married to someone in the building trade Lol J Anyway, so yes the weather was a bit rubbish, yes Phebe fell over in the mud about a million times and got home looking like Stig of the Dump but it was quality family time in a peaceful and safe environment. Phebe literally ran herself into the ground gallivanting around the flower beds playing chase with her Daddy and she slept like a log for at least 2 hours that afternoon. All in all it was a bit of a win. It was close to home, it didn’t cost the earth to get in and was nice to see and feed the farm animals. I would recommend the Meanwood Valley Urban Farm as a short family trip out to kill a couple of hour’s tops. I think in the Summer it may have more longevity as there may be events on and you could factor in a picnic but in the bleaker months it’s certainly not full day activity.

I hope you all like the review…please feel free to comment with any feedback on the review or if there is anywhere in particular you’d like me to review. Also, stand by for event reviews / blog posts on our family visits to Roundhay Park, Lotherton Hall and the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and many other places!

 

www.mvuf.org.uk/

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Work Placement – Part 2

Following on from my previous post about how I secured my Work Placement with the NHS I thought I would do a post about how it all actually went…. 

I was super nervous about my Placement as anyone would be…There was so much to consider that I just didn’t have to worry about in the Army. How long would it take me to get there in rush hour traffic?  What will I wear?  Is appropriate to do my hair in a nice style and should I wear makeup or jewellery?  It was all very alien to me but I had prepared well.  I had been out and specifically bought some ‘work clothes’, I’d recce’d my route in advance and I’d been staring at every female office worker for weeks to see what they were doing with regards to hair, makeup and jewellery etc.  Because of all that I felt pretty prepared and knew that if it all went to pot I’d tried my best.  All those worries mixed in with not knowing anyone or what you were going to be doing and its fair to say I was anxious. 

So I arrived at the Medical Staffing Dept at St James’ Hospital and just got stuck in as best I could.  The team were doing Pre-Employment Checks on some Doctors that were starting in the Summer and I just dived right in.  I felt a little bit as though I should slow down and not ask as many questions as I was but then I thought that this was my Work Placement and I needed to get as much from it as I possibly could.  So with that in mind I continued to be a pleasant pain in the posterior and quizzed the ladies I worked with on pretty much everything!!  As the days went on it turned out, Administration in the NHS wasn’t too dissimilar to the way the Army did things.  They both used the Oracle system which I was well used to, the pay was done almost identically with pay scales based on  seniority and time in post and they used increment dates like the Military do.  By the end of day 2 I didn’t feel nervous anymore – I felt confident and enthused and now set my sights past just learning what Medical Staffing did on a day to day basis.  Day three came and before you knew it I had swanned off down to Occupational Health and introduced myself, told them what I was doing and if they could let me see what they did in their Dept.  They were only too happy to help.  I then did this in Trust HQ Main Reception, Payroll/Pensions and General Recruiting!!  Everyone was so keen to help and enlighten me on the roles and responsibilities of their Dept that by the end of the first week I had a good overall view of NHS admin and not one small (but integral) part. 

By the time week two came I felt really part of the team, the girls were all so friendly and helpful –  even when they must have been sick to the back teeth of me quizzing them on Contracts or NHS Policy or the Recruitment procedure and whatever else sprung to mind! This was really great as it put another one of my fears to bed.  I had never worked in a predominantly female environment before never mind an ALL female Dept but I had nothing to worry about…I had fit right in. 

Towards the end of the second week however, I didn’t feel as though I was getting much new out of the Placement.  This wasn’t down to any individual or me losing interest, it was purely down to the fact that I had arrived at the Dept in their busiest time and the workload was immense.  That coupled with a few new starters  and there just wasn’t the time to dedicate to little old me on Work Experience.  Initially my Placement had been scheduled to run over 6 weeks but I had made my decision and I left the Medical Staffing Dept after only 2 weeks.  I was really sad to leave and it was a tough choice to make but I only had 4 weeks left where I was paid by the Army and I needed to make it count. 

I had heard people say that you need to make finding a job your  full time job and they weren’t exaggerating!  I had made the right choice – There was no way I could work full time on my Placement, come home and keep my house in order and do the networking and preparation I need to find the right job for me.  Im still at it and hopefully good things are in the pipeline!!  🙂

http://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/patients-and-visitors/our-hospitals/st-james-university-hospital/

http://www.leedsth.nhs.uk/home/