Friday, 19 May 2017

A sensory event

Despite the fact that I managed to book this event on the same day as the Leeds Half Marathon and the venue was slap bang in the middle of the run, it was a very nice day!

Sensory Space Leeds is a new Sensory room based in Burley. There were two Sensory Rooms. One was designed to stimulate and assist in the development of young children, babies and individuals with additional needs. There were twinkling fibre optic lights and a touchy feely sensory box. My 6 month old daughter in particular loved the bubble tube whilst she relaxed on the cushioned beanie that surrounded it For the more agile, there was a large ball pool with obstacle course and caterpillar bumps. For the slightly older there was a book and toy corners with carefully selected sensory toys and books.

The second room was a UV Active Room. In here there was a swing and a slide. This room was back lit by ultraviolet lights. We also spent a bit of time in here next to the fibre optic lights corner. The hammock swing was particularly popular.

There was also a nursing room which Little Hiccups used as a Relax Room as it was decorated in cool blue and you can relax in a comfy rocking chair whilst you watch the twinkling star ceiling lights. Soothing music also adds to the calming effect of this room.

Little Hiccups also provided a lunch which proved popular and we all had a very warm welcome by the owner, Sophia, with a choice of drinks. It was a nice chilled event and gave families the opportunity to chat to one another in a more relaxing environment!

Website: http://www.sensoryspaceleeds.co.uk




Shopping for a good cause



At our Rainbow Factory trip back January we got chatting to one of the mums. It turns out she owns a store called 'The Style Attic'. So called because the store was actually in the attic of her house! An amazingly good and effective idea although it was somewhat unusual to walk through somebody's house to reach the clothes. I did spend a great deal of my time in house envy however. It's one of those perfectly designed houses with many interesting little quirks and pictures scattered around always providing something fascinating to look at.

The clothes in the store were truly beautiful and I thought very well priced and I ended up buying a dress perfect for a wedding I have coming up. I could have easily have spent more though. And it was nice to know that 10% of all the sales went towards Little Hiccups - so it was guilt free shopping too! We made £100 commission on the night not including the money raised from ticket sales. So a massive thank you to everyone that attended and helped us out.

To make it an evening to remember we had sparkly wine (and sparkly juice for the drivers) and nibbles available for all guests on arrival.  Plus we also had the company of the most gorgeous little girl before she headed off to bed. She truly was the most chilled, most welcoming child with the most beautiful of smiles. Everyone that came in was immediately besotted with her and I think she definitely stole the show that night. We certainly lost Little Hiccups Trustee, Sarah, for a great portion of the night.

I personally really enjoyed my evening out and will certainly remember the Style Attic next time I need some new clothes. If you couldn't make it on the night, you can follow them on Facebook here.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Having a wild time!

Little Hiccups booked to visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and it turned out to be an incredibly popular idea and we very quickly sold out with 140 tickets gone in almost no time at all making this our most popular event yet. With so many tickets sold we decided to post everyone’s wristbands needed for entry out before the event. Families could then arrive at a time convenient to them and enter without queuing. This turned out to be very handy as it appeared that the day we picked to visit the park was also the hottest day of the year so far at a glorious sunny 20 degrees and a day where the park was advertised on Groupon (which I found out after) with a special Wizard of Oz theme. To say it was busy would be an understatement! We arrived shortly after opening time and the queue for entry was already stretching far back into the car park.

With our wristbands on however, we could nip through the shop and through the Pre-Paid ticket entrance, then we were off. It was busy and we did have to navigate through crowds but we managed to make our way round the animals and stop for a play in the adventure playground where we bumped into several other families. I think our favourite animals of the day had to be the Polar Bears who ironically, seemed to be enjoying the warmth and were out and wandering around much to the delight of the children. We also particularly enjoyed the lemurs as you could walk through their enclosure and get up close. There was one with a tiny baby clinging onto its mother. Very cute to see.

Once all the animals had been visited, it was a quick ice-cream in the tent for us where we bumped into a couple of other families, then it was time to get some very tired children home. From the photos and comments I received later on in the day this seemed to be across the board – all in all a successful day!


"What a wonderful day as always thank you Little Hiccups"

"Had such a lovely day today thanku for organising a great event again."

"Fun day thanks for today everyone."

"Lovely day out with everyone thanks little hiccups once again."

"Thank you for a fab day little hiccups!!"

"Whoa, what a day! Thanks so much for organising our trip to The Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Not only did we spot lots of animals we had the pleasure of the lovely Sarah Stewart joining us. Keep practising those jokes Sarah, as the day progressed your skills improved!"


"Thank you little hiccups for such a lovely day. Aiden loved the monkeys and giant otters. xxx"

"Thank you little hiccups , been a brilliant day. Thanks for giving us yet another fab experience !"

"Thankyou little hiccups we've had lots of fun today as a family."

"Thankyou little hiccups once again another fantastic day out xxxxxxxxx"

"Hamaad and family enjoying a lovely day out with little hiccups at Yorkshire wild life park Thank you xx"

"Thank you for such a brilliant day out xx"

"Thank you again for today. We had an amazing time xx"

Friday, 24 March 2017

A photoshoot with no hiccups!



With this event I can only speak from personal experience as we were in slots and the only other contact with other families was fleeting. Dean Sanderson is a regular however with Little Hiccups. He’s been present at many an event and at all our Fundraising Balls to take photos. We love the end results, but more than that we’ve always loved the way he creates a rapport with the children straight away and makes what could be a stressful event fun and exciting. His magic lies in capturing the child’s true personality. I have two very different children (and a third but she’s only 4 months old so we’re yet to see a real personality yet – other than a complete refusal to smile for the camera on this visit!) My oldest is shy and perhaps struggles to express herself more than she would like. We let my middle child hit centre stage first as he is the extravert of the family and definitely has no problem expressing himself! I think the problem was dragging him away. Dean successfully managed this by letting him take a few of the shots of his sister and we managed to get some lovely ones. Then it was time for all three to get in the shot and there was many an amusing positioning by myself and my husband trying to get the baby to smile whilst staying out of shot. It didn’t really work as she’d just woken from a deep sleep but we did get one nice one at least.

I think the hardest thing about this event is picking out my favourites. I’ve so far narrowed it down to 15. Taking away another 6 to get to the 9 needed for the canvas is going to be hard! I’ve heard glowing reports from Hiccups families and in fact this year, the demand was so high we had to stretch the event over 2 days instead of our usual one. Dean’s reputation is certainly growing! This year was also the first year in Dean’s personal studio so the atmosphere was more relaxed and its also nice to know that there is a location to return to when I want to go back (I have full intentions of dressing the baby in an Ewok suit and taking her back when she is able to sit. It’s got to be done!)



If you missed the Photoshoot and would like the you can find Dean’s website below to book an appointment:

Website: www.deansanderson.co.uk

"Thank You to you all at Hiccups and Dean Sanderson. We had a lovely time and the dinosaurs were well behaved when they got home. You are amazing."

"He made an impossible task seem far too easy and got some lovely shots! Thank you!"

"Thank u little hiccups and especially Dean. Soo lovely. Harvey and I had the best time xx"

"I just wanted to say thank you Little Hiccups and to Dean Sanderson, for an enjoyable photo shoot today.I think that I am right in saying, that it's the least stressful photo shoot that I have "ever" been to with Nathan, & Dean has captured some "adorable" photo's of Nathan, as I haven't seen any of the family shots yet lol! :)"

"I am looking forward to seeing all of the photo's from today's photo shoot! :)"

"A brilliant shoot with some gorgeous photos that I am very excited to see xx"


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Leeds and Bradford Airport Tour

Leeds and Bradford airport are working really hard to make the airport and the transition through the airport completely accessible. One of the things that they are doing is offering tours through the airport during the quieter season to allow parents and their families an opportunity to scope out the airport. Little Hiccups decided to arrange for a few families who are travelling this year to go on one of these tours.

We met at The Special Assistance area which is in Hall A of the Airport. If going on holiday with an additional needs child (or in fact - with anyone that might have any kind of additional needs!) this is the area that you will need to contact beforehand and the place you will need to start your holiday. The designated special assistance company, OCS, are the team responsible for assistance at the airport and will do their utmost to make your time in the airport as stress free as possible. In cases of Autism for example, where standing and waiting in a line might be stressful, you can use the 'fast track' lane at security.

In our case, after a brief introduction we went to have our photo identification checked and to receive our pass that allowed us to travel through the airport security. Once this was done the tour started.

We discovered a variety of useful information. Security is the hardest part as that is a necessary part of travelling about an airplane and is unfortunately unavoidable. We had to still follow procedures such as the removal of shoes and passing everything through X-ray but again there is a document you can download on the website that will explain the process. It's designed by and aimed towards aiding Autism but there is no reason why you cannot use this with any child. Any pushchairs or wheelchairs at this will point will also have to be scanned.

Once you are through this area however, it's smooth sailing the rest of the way. On the other side of Security you reach Duty Free. We were also shown the disabled toilet in the departure lounge and a Changing Place which featured a height adjustable bed and a hoist (although you will need your own slings) and also a Special Assistance area where you can wait for the plane. It's this area where you can embark on the Ambulift which arrives to to pick up passengers with reduced mobility to help get them into the plane. This was definitely the highlight of the tour as we were treated to an example of how it works and had a trip out to a stationary airplane where the Ambulift raised our seating area up to the door of the plane. It's ideal as it means that anyone with reduced mobility can access the plane without having to use any steps.

Little Hiccups found this tour very helpful and will hopefully be organising this on a regular basis once or twice a year. If you are interested in attending such a tour, please get in touch at events@littlehiccups.co.uk.

For any information on the accessibility and how to access Special Assistance you can check out their website at: http://www.leedsbradfordairport.co.uk/at-the-airport/special-assistance.

"This will be a great benefit when we fly on the 6th of this month as he is fully aware of what will be happening and that everything is perfectly safe and quiet."





Friday, 10 March 2017

Come bounce with us!

Little Hiccups Visit to an Exclusive Use of
Oxygen Free Jumping
Sunday 19th February 2017



What an event! I've had a number of parents approach me over the last year or so and ask for a Trampolining event. We've never been able to accommodate that for one reason or another until I contacted Oxygen FreeJumping. Not only did they say yes when I asked them, they were positively enthusiastic about the idea! What we were asking was not a small thing either - we knew that it would be a popular event and we wanted the entire place to hire out for just our families so that we could ensure that families would have a fun and relaxing time knowing that it was just us in there. This didn't seem to phase them at all and we agreed a slot in the middle of the afternoon one Sunday in February. It turned out to be just as popular as we expected and tickets sold out very quickly. Before we knew it we had 120 people attending and a definite fun afternoon planned for some very excited families.

It was as fantastic as we had hoped. It was a nice relaxed session with lots of exploration and laughter (and certain parents getting trapped in the Air Bag which completely made my day and will certainly be a story to tell in the years to come!) There was so much to do from gentle bouncing to games to the now infamous airbag and also a mini Ninja Warrior type assault course for friends (and our Trustees too it seems) to challenge each other to a friendly race.

There was obviously the crossover between sessions before and after ours where it was busy but Oxygen FreeJumping were aware that we had a number of children attending with sensory issues so our session had no music or flashing lights. Not only that, but they also made sure that the music was not blaring out for the following session while we were in the cafe upstairs enjoying our pizzas.


The staff were also fantastic. They were firm but fair about the rules of the place and it felt very safe throughout. They were friendly and fun and also incredibly helpful about any questions we had. Nothing was too much for them. It is definitely a place we'll be visiting again.

"Great afternoon. Thank you guys xxx"

"Thank you for a brilliant day trampolining x"

"Thank you for a fabulous afternoon xx"

"Tired kids!! Thanks again Little Hiccups they had a great time!!"

"Thank you Little Hiccups great event again."

"Thank you so much for today never laughed so much. Xx"

"Thanks once again little hiccups another fantastic event xxxx"

"Thank you Little Hiccups fantastic afternoon, Kody loved it. Huge thank you to the staff at Oxygen who were amazing today xx"









Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Adding a little sparkle to January

Magical Storytelling at The Rainbow Factory

Little Hiccups booked The Rainbow Factory exclusively for Little Hiccups' families for a visit as we all needed a little sparkle in our life this cold January month. It has been 2 years since our last visit but we were not disappointed. The warmth of our reception took us straight back to our last visit and it was like we had never been away. The staff are so enthusiastic and you can tell that they truly love their work - a fact that absolutely shines through to the children who are completely captivated by the entire session. I had wondered if my two at 8 and 10 were too old for this event. I needn't have worried. The 8 year old in particular was so heavily involved in everything during this event that it was hard to get him home and in the car on the way he declared that he wished he could stay!

Our adventure started off travelling through Magical Woodlands where a variety of magical creatures lived. The models as always were so incredibly detailed you can get lost in each scene imagining the story behind it. You can half imagine that they move every time you turn around and that the stories are played out each night once the doors are closed to the public.

Once through here we were treated to a highly interactive show by two very talented actresses. The children (and adults - lets be honest!) were kept interested by the enthusiastic storytelling and acting as well as their ability to involve the children in the storytelling. It wasn't a case of the children having to sit quietly and watching.  Instead they were highly involved in an exciting story which encouraged audience participation - The Rainbow Factory certainly know their clientele. It certainly helped to keep their attention long enough to allow the majority of adults to sneak away and be treated to a buffet dinner and hot drinks which hopefully gave them a well earned 5 minutes rest!

After the theatre, the children were taken to the Creative Kitchen where playdoh, colouring or sticky Fairytale themed activities were available for everyone to get stuck into. Once all this was completed, it was their turn for food and they were then treated to sandwich platter dinner and drinks which was quickly devoured before home time.

"Thanks Miriam and co for another lovely event xx"

"Thankyou so much for a "magnificent" afternoon (his words!). It was magical! I have one loved up young man right now."

"Thank you. What a magical afternoon xx"

"My 17 month old was also absorbed by it all. I cannot believe he sat so still. It was a lovely, fun day. Thank you"

Website: www.rainbowfactorykids.com


Friday, 13 January 2017

An Enchanting completion to a Magical Year


2016 has certainly been a massive year for Little Hiccups so it is only fitting that our last Hiccups Family event of the year should be our biggest Christmas party yet. We had an huge increase from 50 children to 85 and so many attended this year that the Royal Armouries very kindly moved us into the larger space on the ground floor. And what a delight that turned out to be as the room was gorgeously set up for a glamorous ball. The decorations really made the party feel incredibly special. Lunch was also part of the party package and the usual yummy collection of food was available for everyone to snack on.

This year saw the return of Susie Sparkles as an enchanting fairy and she continued to captivate the crowd with her mesmerising voice and rapport with the children. She was joined this year by Dozy Dave - a fantastic magician and balloon artist. During the couple of hours that the party was on, I witnessed many a child running around the hall with a balloon hat and sword. And it is always a delight to watch the children be wowed by his magic show. I've never seen children sit so still as I do during one of his shows.

Of course, as it was Christmas, we had asked Santa if he could delay his return to the North Pole and pay us a visit at this party. Something he gladly did. Santa managed to meet every child in his fantastic grotto with the timid woodland animals also paying us a visit and surprise them with one last present (and many, MANY thanks to Radio Aire's Cash for Kids for the amazing presents received!) It is safe to say that every child went away happy that day. Many of the adults did as well as we had the bar open. It was still Christmas after all! 

Alongside our volunteer, Heather who ensured that photos of the children with Santa were taken, Dean Sanderson Photography also offered their time and were doing the rounds to make sure that the memories of the day were captured. We'll be doing a family Photoshoot with Dean in March so watch this spot for our review of how that event goes!

"Thank you for another fantastic Christmas party complete with plenty of sparkles & glitter! You never cease to amaze us with everything the Hiccups family achieve in a year despite having your own families to entertain! Your all so selfless & completely amazing. Thank you for putting a smile on Max's face yet again today & for allowing us as a family to share it together in a safe, non judgemental, fun and happy environment Xxxx"

"I just wanted to say a HUGE "thank you" to Little Hiccups for such a great Christmas Party once more at the Royal Armouries today. As you can see Nathan "really enjoyed" seeing Santa, and he enjoyed it more, as one of your staff/volunteers asked Santa to see Nathan outside of his Grotto, has Nathan didn't like the sound of the blower which you could hear from inside the Grotto. So "thank you!" Little Hiccups, you did yourself proud once more!) xxx"

"Well done to all involved.first time for my lot and they had a brilliant time loved the food and great presents. Thank you very much."

"Thanks for a lovely party Little Hiccups and everyone that helped the children have an amazing time, we enjoyed every min, xmas glitter and sparkles to all xxx"

With thanks to: