A Murder Mystery Dinner with Far Out Theatre at West Compton Manor

A Murder Mystery Dinner with Far Out Theatre at West Compton Manor

I was recently invited to possibly the most exciting opportunity I have ever had through this blog, a murder mystery dinner and stay overnight. The murder mystery part was performed by the lovely people behind Far Out Theatre at West Compton Manor and we were able to stay overnight in order to really enjoy the proceedings. It was a little drive to Dorset but it was more than worth it as we had a fantastic time.


I’ve been slightly delayed in getting this post up as we’ve all been suffering from sickness bugs recently and I wanted to ensure I published this with a clear head so I could talk about just how much we enjoyed ourselves. You may have seen my numerous pictures on Instagram about it, I’m sure you can see I had a great time.

West Compton Manor itself is an absolutely gorgeous place and we were very honoured to stay there. When we arrived, we were invited in for tea and cake before being shown to our rooms. We were totally not expecting the team at Far Out Theatre to already be in character but it was great, really building the excitement before the dinner later on that evening. Ben Tover was indeed a very good butler.

I’ve always wanted to do a murder mystery so was excited to see how it would proceed and we were shown five scenes, all based on the day of Edd N Buried’s funeral and his wake thereafter, of which we were all attendees. One scene was played out before we retired to the room for dinner, others whilst eating.

We were able to question the suspects between these scenes and really put the team from Far Out Theatre on the spot. Fair play to them, they responded well despite having some very strange ways thrown their way from Steve and Amy aka Everything Mummy! The food we had was absolutely delicious and we were supplied with plenty of wine to make our stay as hospitable as possible. What we didn’t realise was that the cast actually prepared the food themselves alongside the performance and our sometimes very intrusive questions – how amazing are they?

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We were treated to a Bloody Mary Veloute, then stuffed mushroom to start followed by goulash and ice cream for dessert. It all tasted delicious – I especially enjoyed the mushroom starter – and since we are talking about food, I have to mention the gorgeous breakfast I was made the next morning – it tasted divine and was exactly what I needed!
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Throughout the five scenes, our choices for the perpetrator changed many times but when it came to opting for who we thought had done it, I went with my original thought. With all the information we had gathered together, mine seemed like a viable bet and I like to fancy myself as a detective when watching or reading murder mysteries anyway. I was wrong. Only one person got it right and that was Steve, which he was incredibly smug about!

After the perpetrator had been revealed, we spent some time chatting with the Far Out Theatre team and Ashley who owns West Compton Manor. They are an incredibly friendly bunch and a great group of people to have a laugh with. They are very talented and I wish them well with the murder mystery dinners in the future – I’ve been recommending them to everyone!

Keeping Fit At Go Ape

A month or so ago now, I was invited by the team behind Simply Health to visit a place of my choosing from the list they provided and see just how many calories can be burned and steps taken whilst doing these activities. I was helpfully provided with a Fitbit for this challenge and was given the following options of places to visit:

  • Up at the O2
  • Go Ape
  • Escape In Time

All were very intriguing and something I would love to do but I eventually settled on Go Ape and headed off with a friend to test everything out. Now let me tell you, I am not a big fan of heights so this was always going to be a challenge for me. However it is a challenge I jumped into wholeheartedly and faced my fears as much as possible. I was interested to see how many calories could be burned and how many steps could be taken. Whilst some things didn’t take much energy, the netting sure proved a challenge as I struggled to get from it and onto the ledge – I probably burned the most calories here!

Due to being strapped up in a harness and having to use my hands to keep me safe at all times with my safety line, photos were obviously a no go – since both myself and my friend were strapped up and we had no one else with us, I’m afraid we had no one to take pictures but I do have this certificate which I am very proud of!


Simply Health have recently spoken about how wearable tech can help when trying to make exercise a little more fun and I certainly agree. I found the whole experience fun (whilst a little frightening and challenging at times!), especially looking up the data on the Fitbit later.

So what did swinging about in the trees do for me? Here’s a list of everything my Fitbit told me…

  • I burned 224 calories overall – I think most of these were probably when I was stuck on the net and panicking, haha!
  • I took 1229 steps overall from the office to the finish of our activity
  • I covered 1.2km
  • I was fully active for 41 minutes
  • The activity lasted for around two hours – 41 minutes is for where I didn’t stop moving but a lot of time was spent catching my breath, panicking on netting or catching my bearings

I was very pleasantly surprised at these results. Whilst I didn’t burn as many calories as I perhaps would have doing some other activity, this definitely gave my muscles a workout and my mind too as I pushed through my fear. After experiencing such a different way of getting exercise in, I am very keen to try other more unique avenues of exercise. I really enjoyed myself and am very proud of myself for giving it a go.

Do you use wearable tech when exercising? Do you find it motivates you more? I definitely think my Fitbit inspires me to be more active – I am very competitive with the other ladies from Slimming World!

A Fitbit and entry to Go Ape was provided FOC for creation of this post

Get Yourself To Willows Activity Farm This Half Term!

Get Yourself To Willows Activity Farm This Half Term!

Willows Activity Farm is one of our favourite places to visit in the school holidays. It is just down the road from us and offers such fun things to do! We visited just before Christmas (read more about that here) and we were recently asked if we would like to see what they had going on this half term. Of course, we couldn’t say no!

You may have seen some of my Instagram shots from when we were but this week is actually lambing week so as well as some other fun half term activities, we also got the chance to see some baby lambs up close and personal and if we were really lucky, some being born!

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Some of these lambs were just a few days old and we even saw some that had been born very early that morning! We stood in the lambing marquees for quite some time as when we got there, a ewe was in the full throes of labour. We did end up standing there for quite some time because she seemed to be sabotaging herself – she’d push really hard and she’d get somewhere then plonk herself back down to get comfy and the lambs feet would disappear again. In the end the farmer had to help her deliver but it was a truly beautiful moment and I am glad we waited for it.


If you look carefully, you can see the baby lamb next to the ewe on the left. As you can imagine, Jack had plenty of questions and once we left the sheep marquee we set about answering all of them whilst also going to visit the other animals that he desperately wanted to see.


We even saw a baby calf who was just three days old – so incredibly beautiful! There is so much to do this week at Willows Activity Farm – they have tons of things on for the February Frolics lambing event with funfair rides, fleecy arts and crafts, the magical Ice Rink, lamb bottle feeding, storytime, sing-a-longs, puppet shows, learning about lambing and so much more! Plus there are still a multitude of things to do at the farm all day including visiting the lambing marquee, the agility play trail, visiting the farmyard, the under 5’s play area and a whole host of other things!


We didn’t do much on Monday as I really wasn’t feeling well and Jack was starting to suffer the effects of a cold too. However we did manage to attend a few of the lambing events, especially a lamb being born in the lambing marquee which is the one thing we really wanted to see! Jack really enjoyed himself and is already asking when we are next going back!

I think our next trip will be to visit the brand new Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground, opening on the 2nd of April 2016. Sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun! If you live in or near Hertfordshire, be sure to visit Willows Activity Farm this half term. You won’t be disappointed.

We received free entry in order to review the half term events

Seeing Santa at Willows Activity Farm

Willows Activity Farm in London Colney is just up the road from us yet until the other weekend, we had never been (and after Steve’s hospital stay, we almost didn’t make it this time but luckily fate worked in our favour and we managed to go). We, plus a handful of other bloggers and their families, were invited to visit and try out their Santa Spectacular experience. We took Em’s son Ben along too and here is what we got up to…

First of all, we all gathered together to find out what we were doing for the day. I caught up with Lilinha for the first time in ages and finally got to meet the beautiful Sian and her gorgeous family after many years of talking via social media! We then made our way to the beginning of the Santa Spectacular experience. We queued up to meet Santa which was fantastic – Willows Activity Farm really pulled out all of the stops. There aren’t any pictures of me and Jack with Santa as Steve didn’t think to take any but we do have a fantastic shot of Steve and Ben with Santa. The whole process that goes into meeting Santa was so magical – the children each have a red token which they hand to Santa’s Elves before visiting Santa and telling him what they want. He then gives them a magic key and they post the key in a box to be allowed into the toy shop to choose ANYTHING they want. Let me tell you, telling a child they can have anything they want leads to a lot of time spent with them choosing!


After all the children had seen Santa and chosen their toys, it was time to visit the brand new elve’s Teddy Bear Workshop where the children could create a bear. This was something that they both loved although we did have to help them quite a lot as it was quite fiddly and they, especially Ben, are still so tiny! Each child received a certificate with their bear which they could take home to keep and there was even the option of buying outfits for your bears too.

The rest of the day was completely up to us – there were still plenty of Santa/Christmas themed things to do such as the ice skating but if we wanted to, we could also go off and visit the animals, ride on the tractor etc. With so much planned, we had to refuel and armed with the food voucher Willows kindly gave to us, refuel we did. Our food was super yummy and as you can see, the boys really enjoyed theirs!



After our filling lunch, it was time to visit the animals. After all, when you visit a farm you have to go and see the animals, right? We spent plenty of time in with the animals, buying some feed for them and even cuddling them when it came to the guinea pigs…

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Jack loves visiting the farm and he already wants to make this a regular occurrence with Ben – he loves animals and he finds something so exciting every time about visiting a farm. After spending some time with the animals, the boys wanted to ride on the tractor wagon thing and so we ventured out to find it. We just missed it and waited patiently for the next time it came around which wasn’t too long after. The wagon was playing Christmas songs all the time, the person driving must really love his job. The boys loved sitting on it and even sat on Steve’s lap at one point so they could see more of what Willows Farm had to offer.


All in all, we had a fantastic day enjoying the Santa Spectacular at Willows Activity Farm. Hurry, its still on until the 24th – trust me, you will love it! You can find out more here.

We were gifted free entry to the farm and its events for this post

Flamstead Scarecrow Festival

With it being a lovely morning earlier, we decided to visit the Flamstead Scarecrow Festival – we being myself, Jack and Em from Love Emily xox. Unfortunately, it did start raining half way round and we did get extremely soaked but we had good fun checking out the scarecrows at the annual Flamstead Scarecrow Festival which has run since 2002.

We made a donation of £2, picked up our voting forms and went to see what they had to offer. They had some really fantastic ones and it was hard to pick our favourites but I took pictures of a few that we liked.

Jack’s favourites were the dragon and the minions (and I quite liked the Alice In Wonderland and Charlotte’s Web ones, the book geek that I am!). There were also some fantastic Daleks that I didn’t manage to take any pictures of, sadly. Everyone else seems to like the minions too > > >


Jack’s favourites! #flamsteadscarecrowfestival

A photo posted by Bex Smith (@rebeccajlsk) on


Even though it rained cats and dogs, I really enjoyed my time there and would definitely go again. I love quaint little village pastimes and this one is definitely something special.

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As you can see, there were plenty of different scarecrows to vote for – I also really loved the Jack and the Beanstalk one going across the road, brilliant! Jack is being a scarecrow himself in the very last picture as we made our way back to the car. He won’t stop talking about scarecrows now, I think I may have to introduce him to Worzel Gummidge!

This is why I don’t want to move away from this area – we have such lovely little things and I sure would miss them. Do you have quaint little fetes, festivals etc where you live?