What to expect at the Horrible Histories, Blitzed Britain Exhibition

Now, I’m not usually one to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do or where you should or shouldn’t visit. When I tell you about our days out it’s just to give you an idea of what we got up to and the fun we had so that you might fancy a trip there too. I am going to make an exception here and insist. Yes insist that you go and visit the Imperial War Museum North.

We had never been before, it’s somewhere that was on my radar of places to go but it didn’t really appeal to me as something that might be suitable for my just turned 7-year-old. The baby, he’s easily entertained being pushed round in his buggy with a rich tea for a treat.

Oh how wrong I was.

Last weekend we were kindly invited to have a good old nosy at the new Horrible Histories, Blitzed Britain exhibition. The munchkin was very excited, although we’d not really ever gone into too much detail about World War 2 with her and she’s only ever looked at Horrible Histories at school.

The exhibition is fantastic. Rattus Rattus, of Horrible Histories fame, leads you on a journey through what it was like to live during the Blitz, which is German for lightening don’t you know (Mr C and I didn’t!) There is a Survival Guide that takes you through the exhibition, each page refers to a different section, there are questions, spaces to draw what you’ve seen and letters to collect and scramble (you get a free juice if you collect all the letters). It doesn’t matter if you don’t follow them in number order (we didn’t) and each page reinforces the main learning point, yes be prepared for you and the kids to learn things (unless you are WW2 experts)

Horrible Histories Blitzed Britain

The Survival Guide leads you through the exhibition

It’s very interactive, there are buttons to press, things to listen to, touch screens to play mini games on, videos and clips to watch, things to smell, things to read. It’s bright, colourful considering the subject and informative in a way that children can understand.

Horrible Histories Blitzed Britain Exhibition

Keep Calm and Carry On

In the kitchen we found out about rationing and what people could and couldn’t have. The sniff saucepans give an idea of typical concoctions people would eat. The touch screens get you to fry yourself a tasty dish with limited ingredients, including a bar of soap and a very cute hedgehog.

Learning all about rationing at the Horrible Histories Blitzed Britain exhibition

In the Kitchen you learn about rationing, guess the concoctions  by smelling the pans and create your own dish using limited ingredients

Taking shelter under the kitchen table

Can’t get to a shelter? Take cover under your kitchen table

In the garden we learnt how people were encouraged to grow their own vegetables, and feed your left overs to pigs. There is a short film all about it (about 2 minutes) projected onto a giant pair of bloomers hanging on a washing line. The munchkin had a chance to see if she could cycle as quick as a pigeon flew to give messages, she couldn’t, those pigeons are fast! She thought peeking at the little boy in the outside loo was hilarious!

Learning about gardens, growing your own veg and smeilling rotten left overs to feed the pigs

Learning about how families were encouraged to grow their own vegetables and keep pigs. Finding the idea of an outside loo hilarious!

We found out about black outs and spotted obstacles in a blacked out street with a UV torch. There is also a great touch screen game where you have to tap on the hazards in a blackout. The munchkin was not happy until she could beat her daddy’s score!

Playing a find the Hazards in a Blackout game

Finding all the hazards in a black out. Not happy until she beat her daddy’s score

We stood in an Anderson shelter, I hadn’t realised how small they were and we found out what happened during an air raid.

Anderson or Underground during an air raid?

Learning about where people went to find shelter during an air raid

The munchkins favourite bit was finding out about being an evacuee, learning about why children were evacuated and where to. She enjoyed listening to real life stories through the ‘phones’ (which were also in other parts of the exhibition) and reading the letters some children might have sent home. She also enjoyed milking the cow, who had been painted with stripes (you find out the reason why) and dressing up as an evacuee, there was a whole dress up area with different outfits to try.

Learning about being an evacuee

Channelling how sad an evacuee would feel

Learning about life as an evacuee

Learning about life as an evacuee in the countryside

Dressing up as an Evacuee

Evacuee with name tag like Paddington included

There is a great section on the Dads army, jobs you could do during the war and about jobs animals did too. You even get to test how steady your hands are to defuse a bomb.

Testeing her bomb disposal skills

Testing her bomb disposal skills.

At the end you had the opportunity to test your knowledge and draw or write what you had learnt about the blitz to ‘rebuild’ a wall, a very symbolic and fitting end to the exhibition.

Horrible Histories Blitzed Britain

Rebuilding after the Blitz

Lots of the information, video clips, sound clips and artefacts in the exhibition tell the story of how Manchester and the North West was affected during the Blitz which really bought the information to life. There was so much to see, I’ve really not even scratched the surface with the things to do, to read, the facts and the details in each area, I’ll leave that for you to discover when you go.

We had a great day, there was lots of other things we got up to at the museum, so much I’m going to save it for another post. We will definitely be going back over the summer holidays. The museum and the exhibition, which will run until next year, are free with donations welcome. I really can’t recommend it enough.

Horrible Histories Blitzed Britain at the Imperial War Museum North

Horrible Histories Blitzed Britain

 

For more information why not visit the Imperial War Museum North website

IWM.org.uk/north

No payment was received for this post, all words and opinions are own

Trust

Have faith in a plan
Much bigger than yours
That guides you through time, places and people.
Trust one day all will be clear

Have faith in the obstacles
Sent to test you
That proves you’re strong, powerful, not broken
Trust one day all will be clear

Have faith in the destination
Still unknown
That you’ll get there with crossroads, decisions and choices
Trust one day all will be clear

Trust in the plan
Much bigger than yours
That all things happen for a reason
As one day all will be clear

mumturnedmom

I bet you look good on the dance floor

Last weekend I was out out on a works do. It was a big celebration evening in a function room as many of us will be going in different directions from September. There was a seating plan, a nice dinner and then a disco afterwards. Are we still calling it a disco? There was dancing afterwards. It was a really lovely evening.

Now, I’m not a dancer by nature. Don’t get me wrong, I have been known to throw some serious shapes, me & my friend Caroline once did a truly amazing Zumba routine to Proud Mary at a wedding, but usually there’s a one in a million chance of my legs, upper body and arms coordinating for long enough for me not to look ever so slightly awkward. I love to people watch so to compensate I have perfected the chair dance, I don’t need to think about my legs and only have to move the top half, it’s in these situations I possess all of the rhythm!

There are however, times when I just need to get up to dance. It will usually be reflective of how much alcohol I’ve consumed and what song comes on. There are just some songs that I need to get up to dance to, no matter how un coordinated I’ll end up looking. This got me thinking, everyone must have a song, a song that drags them to the dance floor, almost against their will.

As I had that little thought I opened the question to the other non dancing people watchers I was sat with. I’m not sure how honest some their answers were as some of them had real fear in their eyes that I was going to request their song from the DJ. I wasn’t, I’m not that cruel, I was genuinely interested. As you can imagine there was a whole range of songs. From System of the Down, said by the man with fear in his eyes, Al Wilsons The Snake, Metallicas Enter the Sandman by my lovely colleague Sam who then couldn’t resist the call from Erasures A little Respect, Diana Ross, anything early nineties Madchester or Beck and Underworld.  Some people had more than one choice that would have them shuffling, dad dance style, to the dance floor.

I have a couple of songs that make me abandon my seated post and move my feet. Tiffany, Do you think we’re alone now, a classic if ever you hear one and Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen, obviously!

There’s also some songs that I dance with when I’m with my friends, who are normally already up dancing. Sweet Caroline, the aforementioned Proud Mary, anything from the dirty dancing soundtrack and a good old end of the night, lets all hug Hey Jude.

So tell me, what’s your song? Do you have one or are you like Mr C who proclaimed that there is nothing he could hear that would make him want to dance. Do you have just one where the music takes over and controls your feet or will you dance to anything the DJ plays?

 

Any excuse for a bit of Queen

Evaluate

Through the fog
Searching for light
Just a glimmer of hope
So we can see with fresh eyes
Our worth.

Looking for the need
To keep moving
To free ourselves
From the merry-go-round
Following the light.

Finding the urge
To take stock, review, evaluate
Find our will
Redefine our significance
To carry on
Putting space between there and here.

 

mumturnedmom

Having a nosy at Macdonald Kilhey Court

I love a good nosy inside buildings and houses, when I’m feeling particularly bored I’ll pop onto estate agents websites to peek at the prestige homes. You know, the ones I’ll never be able to afford, just to nosy at what they’re like inside. So when I was invited to go and have a first look at the extensive refurbishment at Macdonald Kilhey Court hotel by attending a little garden party they were holding I couldn’t really say no. Plus, it was our wedding anniversary so it got us out of the house sans kids for a couple of hours and there was an offer of a glass of Pimms in the sunshine.

We popped up after work and luckily the sun had come out to play so it was lovely and warm. I’ve been to a couple of weddings at Kilhey Court so already knew that the setting and the gardens are absolutely beautiful. We were met by the General Manager, Martin and then the assistant manager Maria showed us down into the garden where we sat with a Pimms. It was a lovely relaxed atmosphere. There was a band and garden games you could play, although Mr C and I avoided them as we are really competitive and I’m not sure scrapping on the lawns would have given off the best impression!

Pimms at Kilhey Court

Pimms in the Sunshine

After a while of basking in the sunshine and chatting to Maria, who we couldn’t help tell all about Sam and then to Holly the Sales Manager about blogging and all sorts of other things (I even sounded like I knew what I was talking about) Holly took us on a tour of the hotel so we could see the refurbishment. I’ve got to say, I was really impressed. The rooms we saw were a good size and the decor is modern but still manages to fit in with the overall setting of the manor house. There are classic rooms, twin rooms, family rooms and Family suites available in the new part of the building. I think these are fantastic for families, there are rooms with sofa beds and some of the rooms can be adjoined for families with older children too.

Refurbished rooms at Kilhey Court

Fancy refurbished rooms

I was also interested to find out that they have rooms that allow dogs, there’s a lounge area in the new part of the building where people with dogs can sit and order drinks and food. You can really tell a lot of thought has gone into transforming these rooms to make them stylish and practical for people who are looking for somewhere to stay.

Refurbished Rooms at Macdonald Kilhey Court

Little Extras

In the Manor House, there are executive rooms and Feature Suites which are just beautiful. You can really imagine a bride & groom stopping there or if you were looking to sneak off for a romantic night away. I have been dropping lots of hints to Mr C.

Feature Suite at Macdonald Kilhey Court

Stunning Feature Suite

We live in Wigan which is where Kilhey Court is, so apart from weddings (the majority of our friends our now wed) there would be no real reason for us to stay over (although I’m desperately trying to think of one) and I’d always only thought of Kilhey Court as a place for events and weddings, I was of course wrong.

Spa facilities at Kilhey Court

Spa & Pool

I was excited to find out that I could visit and use the facilities even if I wasn’t staying at the hotel. There’s a Spa which offers spa days or one-off treatments, a gym, dance studio, water babies swimming lessons, a bar you can use, the hotel does afternoon tea and they are have recently launched a Sunday Lunch menu which was really reasonably priced and sounded delicious.

Restaurant at Kilhey Court

Restaurant

After our tour we went to have a little look around the garden and down to the lake, which you can have a walk round, then it was time to head home and pick the kiddiewinkles up. We were made to feel very welcome by the team and we had a lovely couple of hours. Now that I know the full extent of what Kilhey Court has to offer I will definitely be visiting again, we’re always looking for nice places for Sunday lunch and you don’t get a much more beautiful setting than here and who doesn’t love a spa day!

Macdonald Kilhey Court Gardens

Gardens