Thursday, 3 May 2018

Little Hiccups are soaring to new heights

Little Hiccups has been back to iFly in Manchester to once again take to the skies. iFly is where those dreams of flight become a reality. Our families were suspended in a column of air which totally reproduces the feeling of freefall. It was super safe, super fun, super cool and anyone over the age of 4 was able to have a go if they wanted.


It isn't for everyone. Indoor Skydiving is an incredible sensory experience but for some it may be too much. Consequently on the day we had some children back out which is absolutely fine. We're just proud of them for giving it a go! And who knows - next time might be better and they might get a little bit further. We like to think that this is partly what Little Hiccups is about. #NoLimits sometimes means going out of your comfort zone but its absolutely fine if you want to go straight back into it! Our job is to provide the opportunities. We think every child deserves the right to have that at least.


The instructors on the day were fantastic. They were patient, understanding and incredibly helpful. We'd asked parents and carers beforehand if they thought that their child might have required a little bit extra support in the air tunnel and if two instructors were needed. Whenever this was the case they were always pleasant and willing to help out. Flyers were taught hand signals to better help them fly but the all important one was thumbs down. If the instructor saw you do this one they took you straight out with no hesitation. I know of one child with sensory issues who was very nervous about flying who used this his first time in the tunnel and that was a big step in earning his trust so that he felt able to give it another go. Super proud of his willingness to keep going! And I've got to admit - I also used this hand signal the first time I was in. I found the wind in my face a bit
overpowering and struggled to catch my breath. I did the thumbs down and was out in seconds. Couldn't fault them at all! And just in case you are wondering - I also went back in and loved it the second time now I knew what to expect. I even successfully achieved the High-Fly where you go to the top of the wind tunnel. I've not looked at the photo of me in the tunnel though - not sure I'm brave enough for that! And for those of you that are like me and not a fan of wind in your face, I did notice that they can provide a full face helmet instead of just goggles for a small extra cost. I think I'll be going down that route next time!


We'd also like to thank the on site Italian cafe for providing all the food on the day. It was, I think, definitely the cherry on the cake for a fantastic day. 

Till next time! 

Websitewww.airkix.com/plan/manchester.aspx


"What a day."

"We had the best time. Thank you so much, still on a high now."

"Feeling very proud of my little man for doing it. Exhausted though."

"Had a brilliant time!!"

"We are all on an adrenaline come down"

"Omg it was awesome xx"

"Still buzzingxxx"


"Thanks for arranging a lovely event, sadly Harvey hated it lol. Too much going on and although we managed to wear the suit the goggles were a step too far. Luckily I brought the ipad so he was ok then. Ryan loved it though ! And I enjoyed the eating haha roll on next trip xx"

"Thank you so much for a fabulous day, we had an awesome time Skydiving, Max and Christabel have not stopped talking about it, you made my Max fly like a super hero and he loved it, thanks again for an incredible day out xx"

"Thank you Little Hiccups for a fabulous day what fun we all had.

"Thanks so much for today!"

"Brilliant day!! Thank you again!! Xx"



Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Relaxed Family Photoshoot



We've used Dean the last couple of years for our Family Photoshoot as he is just so welcoming and experienced with all the families. Dean has a lot of experience with children with additional needs and is prepared to spend that extra time putting them at their ease to get the perfect shot. His shots also always capture the true nature of the child and I've seen shot after shot of the child laughing and enjoying the photoshoot!

Included in the package was a 30 minute photoshoot and then all images were available to download and either print off elsewhere or via Dean.

This year we split it over 2 weekends and were cursed slightly with horrendous weather (not once but twice!) for one of the groups causing us to cancel and rearrange. I'd just like to take this opportunity to say thank you to that group and to Dean for their patience and understanding.


Website: www.deansanderson.co.uk

"Photoshoot was brilliant both my kids loved it and posed so well for Dean. It was more them having fun rather than having a photoshoot. They both were free to do what they wanted rather than told to pose a certain way. Dean has a way with kids and made them laugh so much. He let my son on his computer to show us all the pics and even take a few of his sister. Really grateful for the extra mile he went for us to make the kids feel at ease. Pictures came out brilliant and natural. Can’t wait for the next one!!" 

"Dean was absolutely brilliant. Laughing and joking putting the kids at ease. Nothing is to much trouble for him and he makes you feel so at ease that you forget your sat in front of a camera. So yes we've captured some special family magic to go on canvas for all to share that enter our home. Many thanks to Dean Sanderson Photography. And to little hiccups for providing families for the chance to capture our special families xxxx"

"Dean always makes us feel at ease. My boy truly gets into model mode once he's with Dean. So many gorgeous shots." 








Wednesday, 7 March 2018

There's something fishy going on...








The Deep was named Runner Up in the Visit England Inclusive Tourism Award 2017. It has also been awarded Gold in the National Enjoy England Awards - Access for All category 2011, and Silver in the Enjoy England Award in the Access for All Category, 2009. And you can see why. They have truly done their best to make the visit accessible to all. Its often just the simple things that have the most impact. Like the way that The Deep has a separate entrance for accessibility and groups and the queue tends to be shorter here - always a good thing for our children.

Our trip unfortunately missed the grand opening of the new Changing Place which was a shame and would have been very useful but we were welcome to use the First Aid room on the day. We've since seen the photos of the Changing Place and with its wall of a coral reef image its got to be oneof the prettiest! It contains an adjustable bed, hoist, adjustable basin and mirror, a centrally placed toilet and a portable privacy screen. The Changing Places facilities is also open to any who need it - not just visitors at The Deep.


I've not even mentioned the exhibits at The Deep yet. It takes about 2-3 hours to get around and in this time you pass large glass tanks full of fish, jellyfish, sharks, giant serene looking turtles (my favourite) dangerous looking Swordfish (my son's favourite) and of course, the penguins - who were all in doze mode when we passed them. Can't say I blame them though. Looked peaceful! You pass through the history of giant marine animals of times past and onto our present. You get a glimpse into the Midnight Zone and the animals that reside in the darkness. The learn of the dangers that humankind are presenting to this world and ways in which we can help (Spoiler - reduce plastic use!) and near the end you are shown a variety of non-marine animals such as the Leafcutter Ants that snaked their way from leaf source to their ant nest on ropes above our heads. All in all, it was a very educational and fun day. It is definitely worth a visit if you have never been.

Some of the feedback that we received on the day was that it was too busy which some of the children didn't cope too well with. Unfortunately in this instance it couldn't be helped. We decided to visit The Deep in the winter months as it was cosy and warm indoors and it seems that a lot of other people also had the same idea! However, when I spoke to The Deep after the event to thank them I mentioned the feedback. I was informed that they are now doing Tranquil Tuesday after 3pm where the lights will be brighter and the audio turned down, creating a tranquil environment for visitors. This event is perfect for those who prefer to visit during a quieter and more peaceful environment. I was also informed that there will be a 'Quiet Day' on September 12th - keep an eye on their website here for more information on this!




Website: www.thedeep.co.uk

"Thanks for today Little Hiccups was a lovely day."

"Thank you for organizing such a lovely trip to the Deep"

"Great afternoon - Billy didn’t just tolerate the crowds (best result ever in a public place)- he had a brilliant time interacting with all the lights and displays and ice wall! Thanks guys x"

"Thank you little hiccups had a cracking day out was great to see kids interacting but best was watching Ben focusing and following the fish xxx"

"Fab day out xxx"

"Thanks for a fab day"

"Thank you Little Hiccups fab day as always. What would we do without you. Didn’t take photos but we had a great day xxx"

"Thank you for a lovely day at The Deep"

"Thank you so much for today. The boys had a fab time"

"Thanks little hiccups. Great morning at the Deep."

"Thank you little hiccups for a great trip to the deep."

"Thank you joe loves his deep family day out."

Thursday, 4 January 2018

Ending 2017 with a party - Hiccups style!


Well what can we say. We managed to finish off 2017 with a record breaking party again with over 100 children coming to help Little Hiccups celebrate the end of the year in style. We even had a family travel up from Norwich was an honour! Plus it was lovely to see them again. It's been too long guys - looking forward to your next visit already.


The party being held at The Royal Armouries in Leeds meant that it was certainly in style. The Ball Room was decked out ready for the New Years Party and was certainly glamorous. And it also very conveniently fitted in with our Rise of the Guardians theme this year! A lovely touch was the red carpet entrance we were treated to! As always - a MASSIVE thank you to the Royal Armouries for allowing us to host our party there. Alison from Celebration Balloons returned as well to apply the finishing touches to the decorations. Her balloons graced each of the 22 tables and she also designed a Balloon Wall to be used as a backdrop for family photos.


x











We'd spoken to Santa earlier on and he was so impressed with the families of Little Hiccups that he'd delayed his return back to the North Pole to make sure that all the children that attended the party received one more gift each. He even wore an extra special red turban to celebrate the event and brought two fantastic elves to help run the grotto. The presents had been donated to Santa through the fantastic Mission Christmas Charity run by Radio Aire.



Whilst the children were waiting for their turn to see Santa we had the fabulous Susie Sparkles as the Tooth-fairy from Rise of the Guardians and much to the children's delight she'd even brought Jack Frost along with her - a character as cheeky as the film version! There were snowball fights, an Easter Egg hunt and other games and crafts to keep the children entertained.

Also present was Claire providing face painting mainly in the Christmas / Rise of the Guardian theme but I did see a few tigers roaming about the place! Claire was a wonderful addition and any child (and adults - **cough**) that wanted their face painted received one. With over 100 children attending and only 2 hours that was no small feat! If she'll have us - we'll definitely be inviting Claire back to future events.

We were also honoured with the presence of Simon and Temperance . You may have seen these two on YouTube. The Little Hiccups Committee watched it recently and were all bowled over and all agreed we just HAD to invite them to the party this year. Have a watch and you'll see why: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5_EuMsn7_o - If you keep an eye on this blog - we're hoping to have some good news soon!

"Thank you so much for today. The girls really enjoyed the party. Gabrielle loved the lights and her new tiger from Santa. Happy New Year. See you next year"

"Thank you so much for such a fabulous party today love the Broadleys xx"

"So many thanks for today!! Everyone had a great time. Watching my boy join in the games instead of hiding on the sidelines has filled me with so much pride I really can't thank you enough"

"Another fabulous party, thank you so much "

"Corey was asleep within minutes on the journey back to Norwich! We all had a great time, you are all excellent"

"Thank you for a great party xx"

"Thank you Little Hiccups for a fabulous christmas party the room looked amazing kid really enjoyed themselves once again xxxxxx"

"You really do have the best parties. Thank you so much xx"

"Thanks for yet another fantastic party. Your hard work and energy is so well appreciated. Happy New Year to you all xxx "

With Thanks to:
The Royal Armouries 
Celebration Balloons 
Mission Christmas 
Susie Sparkles 
Claire - Facepainting
Santa and his Elves!

Monday, 11 December 2017

It must be Christmas!

Ready to see Santa
x
Christmas can now officially start as Little Hiccups have been on their annual trip to Sundown Adventureland. My children know that the Santa they visit at Sundown is the Real Santa (the rest are helpers as it is obviously a very busy time of the year!) so its now a given that we visit here to kick off Christmas in style at the start of December!

Sundown is a theme park designed for under 10's. It's friendly, well laid out and everything is easy to access. There are several play grounds and slow rides with lots to view and there are also two indoor play areas where you can warm up and grab a bite to eat.

Getting into the Christmas spirit
This Christmas was our largest trip to Sundown yet with 200 people booking on. Little Hiccups took up 3 Santa Slots over lunchtime and it was nice to see everyone together. The elves are well aware of our group now and help out with wheelchairs and pushchairs where needed so that everyone can get a chance to visit Santa. And what a lovely delight that always is. I've been going to Sundown since my eldest daughter was 2 (she's now 11 and still coming with us!) and we all still love the Christmas ride. This year my youngest daughter (just turned one!) joined us for the first time so we got to see the ride and in fact, all of Sundown, again through fresh eyes. Though this year it was mostly bewildered eyes as she tried to take everything in! Although it was the demands of the one year old this year that meant I failed to get the large group photo. I got some - but not enough to show the enormity of our group! Next year guys...

The important thing was everyone who went had a lovely time. We had several new families joining us for the first time, and several families where this was their first trip to Sundown. Hopefully, both groups will return for more as we plan to be coming here for many years in the future!

Just a small gathering!
"Thanks once again Little Hiccups, Nathan had a "really good time!" at Sundown today."

"Can't beat Sundown at Christmas, thank you Little Hiccups! X"

"Thank you for a lovely day from the 3 (4) of us xx"

"What a very special day we've had today. Thank you so much Little Hiccups for making such a difference to so many children."

"Thank you for another fabulous day! Your events always manage to make our big girl smile, which is soooo nice to see."

"Thankyou so much little hiccups for another amazing day at sundown adventure land. All the girls had an amazing time. Gabrielle was smiling throughout but wasn't keen on stopping for a picture. Stopping the fun! Merry Christmas Little Hiccups."

"Another massive Thank You to all at Little Hiccups for arranging another fantastic day out. We've had a wonderful day at Sundown and for the 2nd time Jacob sat and talked to Santa and gave him his letter. He went on all the rides. Don't know what it is about it there but he loves it and is much more relaxed. Its been amazing to see him enjoying himself without all the anxiety and wanting to do and see things. It's the only place he will go see Santa too. I've had a few happy tears today seeing how much fun he was having."

"As always with Little Hiccups events another fantastic day out.  Sundown is somewhere I've been going since I was a kid and my children absolutely loved it.  Thank you so much."

"Thank you so much for a lovely day at Sundown Adventureland. A good time was had by all and Santa was lovely. Thank you all at little hiccups."

"Thank you so much for today. I had two very happy boys all day."

"Wonderful day had by the whole family. Thank you so much Little Hiccups x"

"Fantabulous day(as always!!) thank you"

"Our first trip to sundown with little hiccups and we all loved it! Thank you!"

"As soon as we got home we played with Santa's presents thanks for a lovely day xxx"

"Thank you to all who helped organise today, both the boys loved their day out and so did we, the boys enjoyed it so much that the pair of them were fast asleep on the way home, xxx"

"Thank you. We had a fantastic day xx"

"Another lovely day"

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A sticky Saturday morning



I get a lot of requests for Little Hiccups to book cinema trips. Pretty much as soon as one is done we get another request for more. I think its because families can relax in the knowledge that they won't be hearing tuts if their children want to call out, sing along or stand up to watch the show. I know this because its not an uncommon thing in one of our Hiccups cinema trips for these to happen. And its fine. And the parents know that it is fine.The children are enjoying themselves and that is the important thing.

Siblings are also welcome as are the tiny ones. We had a couple of babies there this time and one mother emailed me to ask if it was OK to bring her baby to the cinema. My reply - of COURSE it was. Little Hiccups actively encourages the whole family to come along to our events. We think it is important that the family are able to enjoy activities together.  

This time, we were lucky enough to go and see a new release - Paddington 2. The reviews on the movie were all fantastic and it lived up to its hype. Paddington has now settled in with the Brown family, and is a popular member of the community who spreads joy and marmalade wherever he goes. One fine day, he spots a pop-up book in an antique shop -- the perfect present for his beloved aunt's 100th birthday. When a thief steals the prized book, Paddington embarks on an epic quest to unmask the culprit before Aunt Lucy's big celebration.

As always during our cinema trips we have the lights on dim, the sound reduced and subtitles. Audio descriptions are also available but in this case were not needed. There is space for the wheelchairs and at the front of the cinema there are sofa like seats which some of the children prefer.

Little Hiccups treats the families to snacks as well (a little bit naughty as its early in the morning but we figure everyone deserves the treat!) so children get the children's combo which includes popcorn, sweets and a drink. Adults are treated to popcorn and a drink. All in all, its a nice and relaxing trip (for most - my 11 month old kept trying to explore and basically throw herself down the stairs as a consequence but I managed to outwit her on this occasion!)

A massive thank you to the team that helps us all get our snacks and into the cinema. We fully appreciate how much extra work it is and we were only faced with smiles and helpful attitudes. It is one of the main reasons that we return to this cinema time and time again.

"Thank you Little Hiccups again for such a lovely Saturday morning! Paddington was a hit with the Chown's! Amazing ladies as usual."

"Thank you little hiccups. Great morning. One of the very few cinema movies we’ve got to the end of xxx"

"Paddington AIDEN Bear https://www.facebook.com/images/emoji.php/v9/f5b/1/16/1f43b.png would like to thank little hiccups for today! We all really enjoyed it. Xx"

"Thank you Little Hiccups for a wonderful time today xxx"

"Thankyou so much for the opportunity to come and watch Paddington 2. The girls loved it (almost as much as us parents ) was lovely seeing you all today."

"Thank you little hiccups for a fabulous morning at the cinema."









Thursday, 16 November 2017

Meeting the donkeys!



We've done a lot of activities lately that encapsulate our #NoLimits theme so sometimes its nice just to slow down and smell the hay. This event was aimed a little more at the smaller members of Little Hiccups who are not quite old enough to join us on the bigger events such as skiing or at water sports.


During the half term holidays in October we went to visit the Donkey Sanctuary in Adel.  The Donkey Sanctuary is also a charity that offers donkey assisted interaction to children with additional needs. Because who doesn't love a donkey! 







x




"Donkeys have a unique presence, a zen-like grounded quality. We’re using their abilities as sentient facilitators and encouraging them to be an equal partner in the session." Caron Whaley, Director of Donkey Assisted Therapy.
Initially, the programme involved riding therapy for children with additional needs but over the past four decades it has evolved to cater for users with emotional and cognitive needs as well as physical. As a consequence we are developing a new model focusing on self-esteem, coping mechanisms, conflict management, empathy and many other skills.
Children with physical, social and behavioural difficulties gain confidence, improved life skills and a sense of achievement from the programme. And the donkeys – many of whom have been rescued from a life of neglect, mistreatment or abandonment – gain a new and rewarding life engaging with lots of people.
Our children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves on the day and get a lot out of meeting the donkeys and we got some beautiful smiles from them all. The children got a 20 minute ride on the donkeys where they also played some hand eye coordination games like putting a toy bird in its nest. Children that were waiting to go on the donkeys were also invited to play outside in the play area or in the Sensory room. And as it was close to Halloween we also jazzed up the event with spooky fancy dress for a bit of fun. We had some fantastic looking costumes scaring everyone but fortunately the donkeys all took it in their stride!  

We were also honoured that one of our regulars, Callum decided to join us on his birthday. We hoped that he had a fantastic day and that he enjoyed his cake! Happy Birthday Callum!
As well as visiting the donkeys we also held a cake bake to raise funds for Cash for Kids.  Cash for Kids is also a Charity and their goal is to respond to the needs of children in the communities so they can live life to the full and realise their individual potential. Every Christmas they run Mission Christmas where they collect gifts for disadvantaged children. For the past few years, they have contributed towards the Little Hiccups Christmas party and with their donations they've helped make it a party to remember and helped create so  many special memories for many special children.

Little Hiccups is pleased to announce that the bake sale raised a fantastic £119 which Little Hiccups is matching. A massive thank you to everyone who contributed and donated to such a fabulous cause. It was hard work eating those cakes but I suppose someone had to do it!
"Thank you Little Hiccups for your trip to the Leeds Donkey Sanctuary (Halloween style), yesterday, as it was another "great" trip, and Nathan absolutely "loved it! And the donkeys lol! And Nathan looked like he was someone from to the manor born, with his fancy dress and his riding helmet on lol!"

"Thank you again so much. I can't believe how much Callum loved been on the donkeys and I was super worried. 100% going again. We had a lovely morning."
"We had a fab morning with the donkeys. Thank you so much x"

"Thanks a lot guys was a lovely morning x"

"Thank you once again little hiccups for a lovely morning at the donkey sanctuary xxxxxxxx"