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  1. I saw a Facebook Competition in May which Pixifoto in Poole were running for a free family photoshoot plus a free print and to my surprise I found out a couple of days later that I had won.  I spoke to a lovely lady at the Studio who asked a few questions about our hobbies and interests and we booked a date for a few weeks later, (they were great when I had to cancel an appointment due to my son’s constant snotty nose which I didn’t want in photo’s).

    Having seen the studio at the back of Mothercare in Branksome before I wasn’t a stranger to the location and firmly told my husband that we would be going in to quickly do the shoot and receive our free print and that we would try to avoid the sales pitch at the end haha.

    Now anyone with a 2 year old child will know that there is a very small window of cooperation and that bribery in any form can only be used a couple of times before it’s success wears off.  We had a lovely guy doing our shoot and he wasted no time at all getting us ready and within a couple of minutes he had the camera going.  We did our ‘Complimentary’ family picture first and then he went on to change backing screens and get toys out plus one’s we’d been asked to bring along.  Our boy managed about 20 minutes of smiles but it wasn’t long after that he got fed up and we tried chasing him back into the studio a few times before we cried ‘That’s a wrap’!

    We were asked to come back after 45 mins to have a look through our photo’s which was fine with us.  I was fully prepared to say thanks and walk away with the Complimentary photo on order but I was trapped by the first photo of myself and my son which instantly brought a tear to my eye.  (I’m sure I’m not the only Mum who normally has the camera on days out and therefore finds I’m hardly ever in any). 


    We had a very quick look through the other shots and both loved a few of them.   Sadly our little Angel had turned into a little Devil and hunger and tiredness on his part meant we struggled to concentrate on the packages prices that we were being offered.  I’m not very good under pressure and in the end I had to ask if I could go away and have a think about it. 

    My husband did quite rightly tell me that we will never ever be able to capture the same photo’s that were taken and that although the amount of photo’s we wanted would mean a certain package price we both knew they were worth it.  So I rang back and visited them again whilst my monkey was at Pre School so I could have a good look through the pictures and we ended up buying a great package.  Having now received the prints I can say I am thoroughly pleased with Pixifoto.  The staff we dealt with were all very friendly and professional and I will definitely go back to them again.



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    Please visit the Pixifoto Website for details on special offers and package prices.


    Love Dorsetmum



  2. We’ve been meaning to visit Abbotsbury Swannery for years so I decided to take my son and his Nanny over ‘Dorset Resident’s Week’ so we could take advantage of the 2 for 1 offer.   We were doing really well keeping my son awake in the car and then he fell asleep about 10 minutes before we go there so we had a quick cuppa in the car from the Abbots House by the Children’s Farm (which looks fantastic) and patiently waited for him to wake up.

    Before we went I read a review from Charlie Moo’s blog which I was very grateful for as it said that the Swans and nests were quite a walk from the entrance (for a small child) and a pushchair was recommended.  I’m glad I took ours as it was handy to rest our normal suitcase sized day bag on and for my boy to rest his weary legs near the end of the day.

    When we finally went in it was nearly Noon so we decided to go straight down to the water’s edge for the Mass feeding and were lucky enough to be given a bucket of food and my son took great pleasure in feeding all the Swans.

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    The Swannery is the world’s only managed colony of nesting mute Swans and it really is a fantastic sight.  I would have loved to be have been able to listen to the commentary however once the bucket was empty I spent the rest of feeding time chasing my son around and stopping him from rushing near any nesting Mums!  We did have a lovely walk around the colony and was very surprised to see so many nests on the walkway and the sheer volume of happy Swans in the area (up to 600 sometimes).  The Swannery is very picturesque and had it of been and ‘adult only’ trip I would have quite happily sat in the sun with a good book for a few hours!  

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    Once we’d had a good walk around the nests we took a stroll up to the café, (stopping en route to have a quick race on the go karts).  The café has a lovely little play area next to it which was great for amusing our boy while we waited for food our to arrive.  The food we ordered was very fresh and delicious and the children’s meal came with a squash which was good.   The staff in the café clearly enjoyed their job as they were all happy, helpful and very polite. 

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    Sadly the Tractor Trailer rides weren’t running on the day we went so after our lunch we went into the Giant Swan Maze (which actually is in the shape of a Swan!) and I desperately wanted to complete the quiz so we ended up spending a good hour in there and had great fun trying to find the quiz posts and giant instruments which my son loved.  I did get a little nervous though when the poor boy was showing signs of exhaustion and I had lost all sense of direction!  I was very pleased we had completed the quiz though (even though myself and Nanny argued constantly over one of the answers).  Obviously I’m not going to tell anyone where the posts are or what I think the answers are because where’s the fun in that?  

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    All in all, we had a great day.  I do wish we had gone when the cygnets were there but we hope to go again next year and combine it with a trip to the Children’s farm.  Thanks Abbotsbury Swannery for a lovely day out!


    WORTH NOTING……………..

    Pick up a Maze Quiz from the reception when you go in and post your entry back in the reception for your chance to Win a Pass.

    If you have children with you then make sure you take lots of Baby Wipes and look out for the Hand Gel dispensers.

    The only toilets in the Swannery are by the entrance so be sure to have a quick trip before going in (although we did have to do 2 sneaky bum changes in the maze).

    Mass feeding time is 12 & 4pm and should not be missed!

    There is a picnic area if you wish to take your own lunch.

    Have a good look around for offers before you go.  The Swannery currently has an offer on the Website for 20% off Entry when you book online at least 2 days before your visit.  You can also exchange your Tesco Clubcard Vouchers which can be used against a day’s Entry or look out for a ‘Best of Dorset Attractions’ Leaflet. 

    If you purchase a Season ticket you will receive a huge amount of benefits with access to the Children’s Farm, the Subtropical Gardens and so much more.  Please visit the Website for more info.