Monday, October 26, 2009


If you live in or are visiting North Devon and Barnstaple just isn't enough for you anymore (and who can blame you - there's no way Wilkinsons makes up for the loss of Woolworths) then a trip to Exeter might be just what you need. The new shopping centre at Princesshay is great. There's a massive Next, loads of other clothes shops, a Hotel Chocolat, and more shoe shops than you could hope to see in one life time. I know this because yesterday I went in every single one of them.

It's bit of a drive from North Devon, about an hours travelling. I drive down to Tiverton and from there cut through on the country lanes towards Credition as it seems shorter than going all the way down the duel carriageway and on the M5. Plus its much easier to get to the city centre car parks that way.

It was lovely and sunny when my eldest daughter and I arrived and we set about shopping straight away. Now I feel I have gone sadly wrong in raising her as she is not a great lover of shopping and has no interest in shoes whatsoever. However, the converse trainers she lives in will not see her through the winter weather on her walk to college everyday so I insisted she have something waterproof. After hours of walking she eventually talked me into buying another pair of converse trainers with a plastic coating! I am not convinced but she'll live and learn.

Princesshay also holds one of my favourite restaurants - Nandos. Unfortunatley yesterday the wait for a table was about 30 minutes so we resorted to MacDonalds instead.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Big Sheep

It was about this time last year that I reported on the Big Sheep at Halloween and I have mentioned the Big Sheep in another previous post when we have come down just to use the Ewetopia soft play area of an evening, but we have just spent our first full day at the Big Sheep for a long time and there have been a few changes.

My advice to potential first time visitors at The Big Sheep is to arrive by 10.30 and make sure you see the shows. None of them are more than about 20 mins, and all are quite entertaining, with one exeption. Don't bother with the Beer Show. They lure you in with the promise of free beer, and in actual fact you get nothing in the show and can get free beer just by visiting the brewery whether you have been to the show or not. It's little samples of the beer they make, which is quite nice and you can have as many as you want! Of the other shows, my children like the sheep show, and in particular, feeding the sheep at the end, and the duck show. My husband made the mistake of giving my youngest daughter the camera and now we have nearly two hundred photos of Indian Running ducks being chased round a field by a sheepdog.

There are lots of new outdoor things to do, most of which is free. We liked the jumping pillows (think bouncy castle without the walls) and the little peddlecarts. The chair-o-plane you can go on as many times as your stomach allows, but its only open at certain times. Things you have to pay for include pony rides and a combat area. We didn't do either of these but running round shooting people with laser guns looked fun.

We played in Ewetopia for a while, stayed for the sheep race, then came home. I would have loved to show you a photo of the sheep, racing down from the fields to the finish line with thier knitted riders on thier back, but my camera battery had died by then. We placed bets, but none of us won.