BACK TO SCHOOL: Buying shoes at Clarks inside Junction 32 Shopping Outlet – Review

BACK TO SCHOOL: Buying shoes at Clarks inside Junction 32 Shopping Outlet – Review

Believe it or not but the kids will be back to school before we know it, so we’ve been getting ahead of the game and buying school shoes from Clarks Shoes at Junction 32, well in time for the new term.

I have vivid memories as a child, sitting in Clarks shoes getting my feet measured before selecting my shoes. And this fondness of Clarks continued into my adult years as I have wide feet, I am very active and I like comfortable yet stylish shoes, so I have remained a regular customer.

back to school shopping junction 32 castleford clarks shoes xscape

I now have my own children to buy for as well and their feet seem to be rapidly changing, so I jumped at the chance to try out Clarks and get the kids fitted for some new school shoes (this fitting service is free of charge for all children).

Luckily for us, we live near a Clarks outlet store at Junction 32, opposite Xscape in Castleford.

If you’ve not been to Junction 32 outlet shopping village, I recommend a visit as there are lots of shops and things to buy at discounted prices (up to 60% off RRP).

I used to enjoy shoe shopping… until I had kids


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Believe it or not but #schoolpupils will be #backtoschool before you know it 👍🙂🙏 And we have a #schoolstarter and a #year3 student ready to get to class… so first things first is… shoes! 👌👌👌 We all know how important well fitted shoes are + getting ones that are good quality for all that running around in the playground 🏃‍♀️🏃🏾‍♂️🏃‍♀️ So we went down to @junction.32 to find our perfect #schoolshoes from our all time favourite @clarksshoes 🥿👞🥿 There the kids were fitted and got to choose their favourite pair of shoes, ready for September! Full blog coming soon on yorkshirefamilies.co.uk @mamameiblog #gifted #ad #clarkes #junction32 #castleford #shoeshopping #clarkesshoes #wakefield #familyyorkshire #westyorkshire #yorkshire

A post shared by Sophie Mei Lan (@yorkshirefamilies) on

 

Whilst I have frequented Junction 32 many times on my own or with a friend, it was with trepidation that I took along an irritable 4-year-old and an impatient 7-year-old.

But when we arrived my daughters spotted an interactive space station to play with which is available during the summer holidays (there’s lots of space-themed events too, I have listed them at the bottom of this blog). This is handily placed next to Clarks Outlet store (and to my delight, next to Starbucks too).

Anyhow, back to the task in hand… finding school shoes for my daughters. It’s never a particularly pleasurable experience taking my rabble shopping but luckily the staff at Clarks seem very used to lively children.

back to school shopping junction 32 castleford clarks shoes jasmine hale

Clarks offers a free fitting service by their fully trained Kids fitters, to measure length, width and depth of your children’s feet

First off, we went to the back of the store to have my daughters Jasmine and Arianna’s feet fitted.

The expert fitter was really patient and the manager presented us were some spare socks to borrow (yes, parent fail moment when you realise you’ve brought your children shoe shopping in sandals and with no socks on!).

Jasmine and Arianna both have wide feet so it was good that they got their sizes right so that they weren’t just cramming their feet into shoes that were too slim fitting.

back to school shopping junction 32 castleford clarks shoes yorkshire families

Once we had their sizes written on a card, they could then go explore the school shoes, which prices start from £26.

After much deliberation and patience from the staff, Jasmine and Arianna tried on a range of pairs (and the shoe fitter checked the fit of each shoe when they were wearing the pairs).

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Eventually, they settled on the same style of shoe. I couldn’t believe we’d managed all this within half an hour and they had ended up with well fitting and smart school shoes ready for the new term!

https://www.facebook.com/YorkshireFamilies/photos/pcb.2122256148069015/2122255851402378/?type=3&theater

My mum who had driven us to Junction 32 in the car from Wakefield (there is also an X32 bus you can get there), also had time to buy some new sandals and a bag from Clarks. I also had my favourite Starbucks Frappuccino!

back to school shopping junction 32 castleford starbucks

A quieter experience 

We had a great experience in store and it didn’t feel threatening or intimidating like a lot of shops can when you bring kids inside.

I love the fact too, that they have an autism-friendly environment. My little brother has Autism and shopping can often be over stimulating and too noisy for him, but Clarks have a space at the back of the store.

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Families are welcome to use this space, have a quiet area and a 1 to 1 fitting experience away from the hustle and bustle.

This service is available now and to secure your space, you can call or email the centre management team using the details below:

Call: 01977 520153

Email: kerry.ford@landsec.com

back to school shopping junction 32 castleford clarks shoes kids fitting

What’s on for families at Junction 32 Shopping Outlet?

Here are the family-friendly Space-themed activities on this summer:

  • Saturday 10th August – Space Craft

Rockets, rovers, satellites and stations this week! It’s Space Cadets with Space Craft. There will be space slime and space junk model making, not to mention the fabulous photo opp for proud Space Cadets to show off their ‘Out of this World’ space makes. Their faces can then go in the Space Hall of Fame alongside other famous master makers of Space Craft.

  • Saturday 17th August – Space Race

The Space Race is on and you’ve got to be in it to win it. We will look back at races already won… to space, to the moon, and to Mars. Celeste Craft and Astro Bob will be on the lookout for space cadets who’ve got the speed and skill to break new records. Don’t miss this super-fast, speed of light space sensation of a session. There will be walking in space races, rocket races, around the sun and back races. On your marks…

  • Saturday 24th August – Alien Invasion

Visitors from outer space are on their way to Earth.  Are the space cadets under attack? Are these alien invaders friends or foe? Meet some Martians and work out the motivation for their Earth mission, and get ready for defending or befriending.

  • Saturday 31st August – Zero Gravity Disco

Time to party like there’s nothing holding you down. Oh, hold on! There is NOTHING holding you down! Who turned off the gravity? Find out what dance moves look like in space when everything goes slow-mo in zero G. It’s the interstellar dance championships and you’re all invited to throw some shapes to celebrate graduating from space cadet training.

For more information, go to: https://junction32.com

DISCLAIMER: We received two pairs of shoes for the purpose of this review. All views are our own. 

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SNOZONE CASTLEFORD: Sledging at Xscape Yorkshire – Review

SNOZONE CASTLEFORD: Sledging at Xscape Yorkshire – Review

Who knew you can sledge all year round in Castleford, West Yorkshire?

When SNOZONE contacted me about reviewing an experience at Xscape I assumed it was just skiing.

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield Children's soft play area

But far from it, they offer snowboarding, sledging and have a café-cum-play area on site too.

As I had a day planned with my two daughters (aged 4 and 7) and my little brother who’s autistic along with his girlfriend, sledging seemed like a great way to try out Snozone for the first time and was something that the whole family/our clan could do all together.

Here’s what we got up to:

Arriving at SnoZone

We were instructed to arrive 30 minutes early to get ready in time for the sledging, which you definitely need to do if you’re hiring clothing  and it gives you time to choose a helmet and sledge.

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield Children's soft play area

We were warmly welcomed by reception who provided us with the right sized clothing and snowboots so that we could stay warm and protected.

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield Children's soft play area

The clothing was really padded so the receptionist helped us to the changing rooms as i struggled carrying all that for my two daughters and I.

We got changed before putting our possessions in the lockers provided (these are located either inside the changing rooms or the shared changing area).

We then selected a helmet and a sledge just in time to start our session. It was super busy due to it being a Saturday so I was worried it might be sensory overload for my little brother Oscar.

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield

There is a small section cordoned off for sledging which is right next to the ski lifts.

Oscar was fine knowing that he had all his safety gear on and that there was a process of queueing up the slope to then be able to slide down at your leisure.

Surprisingly my youngest Arianna got really scared of sledging, I think it was the fear of sledging on her own and with lots of new people around.

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield

But after a few attempts, Arianna got into the swing of it.  My eldest Jasmine however took straight to it and couldn’t get up the slope and down again fast enough.

We had 45 minutes sledging which was plenty of time despite the crowd of people. And actually part of the fun was dodging the other people as we slided down the slope.

I was really glad we had the hired clothing wear on too as this meant we were all snug and protected and it was even more fun getting covered in snow!

Afterwards, we all felt like we had done a bit of a work out so we headed upstairs to the Alpine Kitchen and Free Soft Play area.  

Eat, Drink and Play

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield Children's soft play area

It’s a great space to watch people ski, sledge and snowboard through the glass windows.

As we had come on a special open day we were treated to free face painting and a live musician.

We had a great day out and it was a great introduction to Snozone. My brother is looking forward to returning for a bespoke session as they offer special assistance and training to people with additional needs.

I am also looking forward to roping some of my grown up friends into a snowboarding lesson soon!

For more on Snozone and our other top places to go in Yorkshire, check us out in the Yorkshire Evening Post here.

How to get to SnoZone

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield Children's soft play area
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SnoZone is located inside Xscape at Junction 32 of the M62 in Castleford. The full address is:

Xscape Yorkshire

Colorado Way

Glasshoughton

Castleford

WF10 4TA

We tend to travel by public transport and as I was coming from Sheffield with my little brother we caught a train to Castleford and then a bus from Castleford Bus Station to Xscape (the bus station is really close to the train station).

When travelling from Wakefield, there is a new x32 bus that runs every hour and it’s a lot quicker than previous services which tended to stop at every possible bus stop on your way to Xscape.

Snozone Castleford Xscape Yorkshire Wakefield Children's soft play area
DISCLAIMER: We received the sledging free of charge for the purpose of this review. But all views are our own.

YORKSHIRE EVENING POST: Meet the Yorkshire Family behind Yorkshire Families Magazine Blog

YORKSHIRE EVENING POST: Meet the Yorkshire Family behind Yorkshire Families Magazine Blog

Yorkshire Families editor Sophie Mei Lan and her family are regularly featured in Yorkshire Evening Post so we thought we’d also share their favourite things to do in the region.

Sophie Mei Lan is a multi-award-winning vlogger, blogger and film-maker – she runs Yorkshire Families magazine, MamaMei.co.uk (a family and mental health blog) and Evoke Media Group – an all female video production and influencer marketing company Blog Up North.

Sophie, 31, lives with her husband Chris Hale of three years, 32 and their two daughters Jasmine, 7, and Arianna Hale, 4.

Family of the Week – as featured in Yorkshire Evening Post


What are your top tips for getting
children to do what you ask?

I try to be as positive and a gentle parent where possible. So I try to explain things and reason with them. But sometimes if they’ve kept me up at night I loose my rag!

Bribery and rewards normally do the job too.


What family task takes you the longest?

Getting ready for school and nursery, we have endless troubles over what to wear and how wrinkly their tights are.

What’s the weirdest thing your children
have done/brought home/done to your house?

My eldest Jasmine loves art and regularly comes out of school with enormous box models made out of rubbish. We always look odd as I don’t drive so have to try and get the kids and a huge sculpture of rubbish home, I’m like Buckaroo. Jasmine’s very precious about keeping them as well.  



Have your children ever really, really surprised you? How and why?

We both have our own YouTube channels. I vlog about mental health and attachment parenting at YouTube.com/sophiemeilan and they have their own Make and Move channel. And they have taken to presenting and vlogging so naturally they instantly say: “Hi guys, comment down below, subscribe and give this video a thumbs up.”

What’s the most bizarre thing you have found yourself saying since having kids?

My daughter was at the bus stop for me and begging for an apple and all I had was chocolate in my bag. The other people at the bus stop looked disgusted at me.

What’s the funniest thing your children have ever said/done?


They told their teacher in a careers class that their mummy is a professional footballer for a living (because they’ve seen me play football a few times… I love it but no-one would ever pay me to play it!).

Mini moan – what really gets your goat?

Judgemental people! You really don’t know what battle or toddler someone is facing. So just don’t judge and try empathise.

What’s your favourite family day out?

We’ve always loved the free crafts at The Hepworth Wakefield and now we run The Hepworth Cafe there, so we’re there all the time.

We had a lovely day out at Kirkstall Abbey recently and it’s free to enter.


Image India Hobson / The Hepworth Wakefield

What hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy as a family and separately?


We all love going to Xscape in Castleford, from bouncing on trampolines in Gravity to learnming to snowboard in SnoZone, there’s loads to do. We also love trying out climbing walls and love the new one at Meadowhall in Sheffield. I also love dancing, vlogging and shopping at Victoria Gate, Kirkgate Market and Trinity Walk in Wakefield.

What’s the hardest thing about being a parent?

It can be relentless and trying to reason with kids mid tantrum is hard.


What’s a typical evening for the grown-ups once the children are in bed?


I co-sleep and breastfeed, so there’s no such evening without kids for me.

What is Leeds’ most family-friendly restaurant and why?

We like trying out different places inside The Light or Trinity Leeds. In Wakefield we love going to Abdul’s Indian or Pizza Express.

What’s the best thing about weekends and why?

No school runs and reviewing lots of family-friendly places for my YorkshireFamilies.co.uk blog and magazine.

What is your most treasured memory?

My daughter nearly died when she was 3 months old. And the Leeds Intensive Care Unit loved her back to life. I’ll never forget the moment that she started breathing again.


What’s the number one thing you would change about Leeds?

The transport! Lack of parking, awful trains and the ring road.


What’s the children’s favourite food/meal?
They love a good Sunday Dinner with lots of gravy.

What’s your top penny-pinching tip?

Take a range of snacks around with you.


One family member’s proudest achievement?

I was a semi-finalist bellydancer on Britain’s Got Talent and my husband Chris Hale was a quarter-finalist on BBC’s MasterChef.

What one item can you not live without?

My gym kit, phone and liquid eyeliner.


What can your children not live without?


YouTube and my phone.  

Child’s favourite book and author

We went to see Dear Zoo recently at Wakefield’s Theatre Royal and they loved that by Rod Campbell.