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  1. WOW!  Best thing that’s happened to Bournemouth Pier!

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    We wanted to see what all the fuss was about with Bournemouth latest attraction and so myself, my husband and our 7 year old nephew tried out the ‘Clip n Climb’, ‘Highline’ and ‘Pier Cave’.  From the moment we arrived we felt it had a great atmosphere and you could tell that the staff enjoyed their job and actually wanted to be there.  We arrived quite early so once we were given our bands we went upstairs to the ‘Coffee Reef’ cafe to have a quick drink.  Wherever you sit in the café you either have a lovely view of the coastline or you can sit back and watch everyone on the highline and climbing walls.  We didn’t have anything to eat but the food and cakes looked very tempting and my fussy coffee drinking husband said the coffee was one of the best he’d had.

    Once it was time to go in we were given our safety briefing and was shown how to put on our harness and clip ourselves to the belays.  We were then taken over to the first wall and were shown how to unclip from the mat, clip the belay to our harness and then we were ready to go.  Having never done this before I was surprised at how nervous I was and how challenging I found it.  I managed to go half way up before having to force myself to let go and float safely down.  Our Nephew also found this particular wall quite difficult but he had a really good try whilst my husband (in his spiderman socks) flew to the top.  Our friendly instructor asked us if we were ready to explore other walls and off we went for some climbing fun.  Once I found the confidence to let go and know that I was safe I grew more competent with each wall I tried.  There are a few which I would say were fairly easy and there were some which were very difficult so every ability was catered for.  The time for this activity went quite quickly but my husband had managed to try every wall but two and myself and our Nephew did our best with most of them but there was a few of the higher more difficult ones which we decided not to do.

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    Before we were due to start the ‘Highline’ we had a quick drink upstairs and then introduced ourselves to the instructor.  The ‘Highline’ is the aerial obstacle course and as soon as we got onto the platform our Nephew's nerves started to show and I was suddenly hit by how high up we were and had to keep reminding myself that we were attached to the safety track and were quite safe.  Our Nephew went first and managed to complete the first set of obstacles without any problems but when he got onto the swinging logs we saw him put his head down and hug it for dear life.  Suddenly worrying that he may have frozen my husband managed to give him some kind reassuring words and he wiped away his tears and went on with a level of confidence I’ve never seen him have before.  I myself was at the back and managed to get round but did it with utter fear and very tensed muscles!  Whilst I did really enjoy it I was quite relieved to get back on to the stationary platform!

    After the ‘Highline’ we went back downstairs to get ready for the ‘Pier Cave’.  Another instructor showed us how to use the lights on the helmets and issued knee and elbow pads to anyone who wanted them.  After a little briefing we were guided through the first tunnel into the large ball pit.  Having done caving on a school trip I was now feeling quite apprehensive as obviously there was more room in the tunnel when I was a child!  Now I would like to say that I overcame my fear of tight, dark tunnels but no, I’m afraid I sent my husband onwards with our Nephew while I backed up towards where we had come in.  I did enjoy watching the little group go through on the screens and I really appreciated the instructor telling me at the end that I did well giving it a try.  Our Nephew loved this activity and spent most of the rest of the day chuckling about how his Uncle’s tummy nearly got stuck in the tunnel! 

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    By the time we had finished all 3 activities we were pretty tired but our Nephew still wanted to go back on the climbing walls but we managed to get his coat on.  We did notice while we there they that the ‘Vertical drop slide’ and ‘Leap of faith’ looked like great fun and we did ask if we could pay extra to do this but we were told that they were fully booked so it’s given us a good excuse to go back another day.  As the weather was bad we weren’t luckily enough to see anyone go down the zip wire but that’s on my ‘to do’ list for next Spring/Summer time.

    All in all, the 3 of us really do recommend ‘Rock Reef’. The staff are very friendly, helpful, knowledgeable and competent and the Attraction itself is exciting, fun and great value for money.

    If I could recommend anything to Rock Reef then it would be for them to give each child a certificate to say which challenge they had conquered.  Our Nephew had never done anything like this before and I know he would have appreciated having something to remember the day by.

    So a big Thank You and Well Done to Rock Reef and their staff, we’ll be back!!!

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     Love

    'Dorsetmum' xxx

  2. bread pudding

     

    I'm not a huge fan of Bread Pudding myself but my husband has been asking me to make it for years so as it's his birthday today I thought I would bake one last night so he can have it in his lunch box and he said it was amazing (big compliment as he can be harsh when judging my culinary efforts).

    It's one of them 'throw it all in the bowl' sort of recipes which I love and so I thought I would share it with anyone who may be interested.

    500g White or Wholemeal bread

    500g Mixed dried fruit

    1 tbsp Mixed spice

    600ml Milk

    2 Large eggs, beaten

    140g Light brown sugar

    100g Butter, melted

    2tbsp Demerera sugar (for the top if desired)

     

    Tear the bread into a large mixing bowl and add spice.  Pour in the milk and scrunch it up with your fingers, add eggs and sugar and mix well.  Leave it to sit for 15 mins to soak while the oven is pre heating to 180C/160C fan.

    Butter and line a 20cm square tin (don't use loose bottom base) and then stir in the melted butter and make sure it's all coated, and add mixed sprice and fruit.  Tip it all into the tin, flatten and sprinkle with sugar if desired.

    Bake for an hour and a half and put some foil on the top if it looks like it starting to burn.  

    I checked on mine at this point and found it really hard to tell if it was done inside as its quite a squidgy mixture so I gave it an extra 15 mins (just to be sure).  Obviously once it cools everything gels together so its really easy to cut into squares.

    Tips.....

    There are lots of other things that can be added to jazz it up a bit including glace cherries, mixed peel, orange or lemon fresh rind or grated fresh apple.

    Chop up half of it and wrap individually so they can be put in the freezer and taken out as and when.

     

    Happy Baking!

    'Dorsetmum'