Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Railfest 2012 at the National Railway Museum in York

I've been to the National Railway Museum in York once before, when we lived a bit closer to it. We had a super day out.

From 2-10 June the National Railway Museum is holding Britain's biggest rail celebration - RAILFEST 2012.

This enormous event, the size of 11 football pitches, has an impressive line-up of more than 50 trains. These include the historic and the record-breaking. You can see the Flying Scotsman, the Mallard and the Tornado (Britain's newest steam train that I've seen stop at Milton Keynes a few times - let me tell you there is nothing more exciting than first hearing and then seeing a massive steam train pull into a station. I'm not joking).

There will be a Chuggington Activity Area for younger visitors as well as a family chill-out area. You will also find stalls, refreshments and live music.

The NRM advises buying tickets in advance to jump the queues on the day and to travel by public transport, as the only parking available for the nine days of the festival will be for blue badge holders only.

I'm telling you about Railfest 2012 because a) The National Rail Museum is fab and b) they occasionally send me sweets and toys for the boys and this is my way of saying thank you. We were offered free tickets too, but sadly cannot make it this time.

Thursday, 17 May 2012


Nick Jr., the award-winning pre-school channel from the Nickelodeon network, announces the 2012 launch Help Dora Help, the campaign that brings exploration to life in nurseries and pre-schools across the UK.

The campaign, supported by The Prince’s Foundation for Children & the Arts consists of a free activity pack, giving nurseries and pre-schools educational activity resources. Nurseries will also have the opportunity to apply for an award of £20,000. The pack follows the Early Years Foundation Stage development goals and contains six activity session plans that provide stimulating learning opportunities with the theme of Dora the Explorer’s adventures. The themes for this year’s pack are: Cooking, Sports Day, Fairy Tales, Animals, Seaside and Music.

Registration is now open at for nurseries to apply for a pack. They have until 22nd July to work through the activities with their pre-schoolers and put together their application for the £20,000 award.

Once this year’s applications have been submitted, an expert panel led by Nick Jr.’s Wake Up World Helena Dowling, alongside Nick Jr. representatives and partners including The Prince’s Foundation, Dora Magazine and Chad Valley will choose five finalists. The public will then be able to vote for their favourite application and decide who is awarded the £20,000.

Each of the five finalists will be awarded discovery and learning equipment from Chad as well as a classroom visit from Dora the Explorer and all five finalists’ award bids will be filmed and aired on Nick. Jr.

In 2011, Hope Nursery School in Belfast was selected. With the award the Nursery selected to build a play area featuring numerous play structures, a puppet theatre, garden, sand and water area.
Tina McCann, MD Nickelodeon UK, said: “The quality of applications in 2011’s Help Dora Help campaign were incredible. We’re delighted with the way the award has been used at Hope Nursery and equally excited to engage with pre-schoolers and practitioners across the country once more throughout 2012.”

Nurseries and pre-schools can apply for the free Help Dora Help Activity Pack and Award Fund at