Category Archives: Days Outs

Warner Bros Studio Tour London, Hogwarts In The Snow Review

Last night we were kindly invited to the press preview for the ‘Hogwarts In The Snow’ event that is running over the Christmas period at the Warner Bros Studio Tour London. For any Harry Potter fan the studio tour is absolutely mind blowing and amazing but when it undergoes its make over each Christmas for Hogwarts In The Snow it becomes even more magical!

We are so lucky that we only live ten minutes away from the studio, so we picked Oscar up from school and headed straight there. The boys were so excited, especially Archie who hasn’t been since he was a baby so it was all new for him. Oscar is so lucky and has been a few times now. When we arrived we were greeted by a giant Christmas tree outside and in the entrance hall is a beautiful tree. It gets you really in a Christmassy mood. We had welcome drinks and then entered the tour.

At the beginning you watch two short videos about how the books were made into the amazing Worldwide famous films that they became. We then gathered around the giant doors of the Great Hall and Oscar was lucky enough to be asked to open the doors. The doors opened to the Great Hall which was dressed ready for a Christmas feast. It is amazing to think that they really filmed in there. The food props looked so real but were made from resin and then we were shown the special effects of the Christmas puddings on fire.

The stage in the Great Hall is set up for the iconic Yule ball from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire which is the celebration of the Triwizard tournament. Decorated with beautiful trees and the orchestra.

Other sets around the studio were also decorated for Christmas, such as the Gryffindor common room and Harry’s dormitory. Opposite these rooms was also a great wind and fire kiosk and a lovely member off staff explained to Oscar all of the materials they used in the films to make snow and fire. He found this really interesting and spotted all of the lit fireplaces around the tour which were made by using a combination of water vapour and lighting effects. I must say all the staff throughout the tour are so lovely and enthusiastic and full of Harry Potter facts and were more than happy to answer all of Oscar’s questions.

Oscar and Archie had photos on the green screens where they were transformed into Wizard’s. They also tried out the other interactive activities around the tour, like learning wand combinations and getting a broomstick to rise up and down.

We then walked through one of the newest attractions, the Forbidden Forest where you can see some of the creatures from the films and play around with the special effects and make a thunderstorm or wind.

You then walk through a small gift shop and onto Platform 9 ¾. Archie’s little face when he saw the Hogwarts Express was a picture. I have seen it a few times now but each time you are taken aback as it’s just an amazing sight. You can walk through the train and then sit in a carriage and have your photo taken and then watch a video of a short train journey.

We then had dinner in the backlot cafe, we had burgers followed by Butterbeer ice cream which was delicious. The Warner Bros Studio Tour London is one of only four places in the World that serves Butterbeer. You then walk outside and can have photos by the Knight Bus, the covered bridge of Hogwarts Castle, the flying car and in Sirius Black’s motorbike. You can also go in side the iconic house that is number 4 Privet Drive.

Back inside you can see lots of props and costumes and then walk through Diagon Alley which is the cobble stoned street shown in the films. There is also a display set up here where you can see how they magically make footprints appear in the snow when nobody is there.

This leads you to all the detailed plans and drawings off the sets within the films, its amazing to see just how much work goes into every last detail of the films. Last but not least you walk into the room which takes my breath away each time, where you see the most amazing statue of the Hogwarts Castle and during the Hogwarts In The Snow event the whole Castle is covered in snow. It really is the most magical sight and for me, with only 34 sleeps until Christmas coming to the Hogwarts In The Snow event has been the most amazing start to this years Christmas festivities.

In the huge gift shop there are lots of Harry Potter themed Christmas decorations and it is full to the brim of gift ideas for any Harry Potter Fan. With the launch recently of the Harry Potter Lego, Oscar has four of these sets on his Christmas list all which they stock in their store here.

We had the most magical evening and the Hogwarts In The Snow event is not to be missed! The event is running now until the 27th January 2019 and all tickets must be pre-booked online at www.wbstudiotour.co.uk

This post is in collaboration with Warner Bros Studio Tour. We were gifted the entry tickets but all opinions are honest and my own. We loved it!

My Top 5 Places to Visit At Christmas With Kids In The UK

I love Christmas and over the last couple of years we have been to some fantastic places with the boys over the Christmas period. Some are our family Christmas traditions and others places we just love to go to as they are so magical. Here are my top 5 places we have been to so far….

1. Lapland UK

Lapland UK is so amazing! We went two Christmases ago and I was blown away. It is magical from start to finish and other then real snow I imagine it’s just as magical as Lapland itself. It’s quite pricey but in my opinion I would pay it time and time again. We had the most magical family day out and the boys, especially Oscar as he was 7 couldn’t believe it. You come away full of Christmas spirit!

2. Harrod’s Christmas Grotto.

We have been visiting Harrod’s Christmas Grotto since Oscar’s first Christmas. I eagerly await my booking email every year and book up straight away. It’s a Christmas tradition in our house as it’s the same Grotto I visited as a child too. Each year is so different with a different theme and decorations and the boys love it! We always buy the Harrod’s Christmas bear for our tree afterwards then have dinner together. It’s nice to have a special Christmas tradition as a family. You have to pay a deposit (this year was £20 a child) when booking the Grotto but get it straight back on your Harrod’s reward card afterwards to spend in store, we use it to buy more Christmas decorations. I booked our slot last month and can’t wait to go!

3. Santa Spectacular – Willow’s Activity Farm, London Colney, St Albans

Willows Activity Farm is such a great day out in general with so much to see and do. But at Christmas it’s amazing! The Grotto is fantastic and when you visit Father Christmas you get a key to his toy shop where you can choose whatever toy you like. There is also ice skating and you can meet their husky dog. Here’s my post from our visit to the farm last Christmas. It runs from 21st November – 24th December 2018 and costs from £30 a child, £19.50 Under 2s, £14 an Adult, £13.15 Seniors, £25 Disabled child & free carer and £12.50 Disabled adult + free carer. It really is a fantastic day out for everyone!

4. Santa’s Sleepover At Alton Towers

We love Alton Tower’s and had a weekend away there staying in the enchanted village back in April. At Christmas Alton Tower’s put on their Santa’s Sleepover. Within the package you get an overnight stay in our amazing accommodation, a unique visit to Santa (experience dependent on accommodation), their fun-filled Pantomime, Alice in Wonderland , A festive evening meal, a delicious buffet breakfast, One day Waterpark tickets, One day Theme Park tickets with selected rides and attractions including CBeebies Land, evening entertainment including character meet & greets, shows, a Christmas cinema and a farewell from Santa Claus! Plus 9 holes of crazy Extraordinary Golf.

5. Warner Bros Studio Tour, Hogwarts In The Snow

I love the Warner Bros Studio Tour and luckily for us its only ten minutes down the road from us. We have been four or five times now but no time is as magical as Hogwarts In The Snow. The Great Hall is set up for a Christmas Feast, snow falls as you walk outside and we usually go in November and it really gets you into the Christmas spirit. This year it is running from the 17th of November through to the 27th of January 2019. For any Harry Potter fan this is not to be missed! It is beyond magical!

Another fun event to go to with the kids is visiting the #holidaysarecoming Coca Cola Christmas Truck. Every year they realise tour dates and we went and saw it at a local supermarket. The staff make it a really fun event for the kids and we got a free downloadable photo.

Our Visit To The Cutty Sark & Their New Toddler Time Sessions

Lats week we drove into London to Greenwich to visit The Cutty Sark. The Cutty Sark is somewhere I remembered visiting as a child and when I mentioned to different people about us visiting almost of all of them said they remembered school trips there as a child too.

We parked very easy about a three minute walk away and strolled along the Thames past the Old Royal Navy College and the Naval College Gardens which was lovely. As we approached the ship itself Oscar couldn’t believe how big it was. We got our tickets and the boys were given an explorer trail booklet to read and stamp around the ship. I also brought them a Royal Museums Greenwich Kid’s Handbook which is full of games, facts, quizzes and stickers.

The Cutty Sark is one of the top tourist attractions in London as it is the World’s last surviving ‘tea clipper’ ship which was built to carry tea from China to Britain between 1870 and 1878. It belonged to a man called Jock Willis who took over his Father’s shipping company in 1862. The Cutty Sark was one of the fastest ship’s on the seas at the time reaching speeds of 17.5 knots thanks to her sleek, narrow design. The ship also transported Wool and in December 1883 she left New South Wales and made it back to England in just 82 days! She carried other goods too such as beer, coal, candles, cork, clay, pickles, perfumes, pianos, paper, sugar, shoes, shark bones, screws and wine.

We started on the Lower Hold. When you walk in their is still a smell of tea in the air and this space would have been full of chests of tea from China. On the floor there were words written in Mandarin, as Oscar has just started to learn Mandarin at school he managed to read a few words himself, much to a group of tourists amusement, they couldn’t believe it! On each floor of the ship, facts are written all around and there is so much to learn about it. Not forgetting to get our booklets stamped on each floor too.

We then went up to the Tween Deck which has really low ceilings and this is where they would have stored most of the cargo. There are lots of interactive things to do on this deck. Oscar and Archie both tried to sail the ship to see how long it would take them to get back from Australia. Archie liked playing with the model ship and there was also a story telling time going on which the children loved.

On the Main Deck there was so much to see and learn about. This is where the crew lived, work, ate and slept. We went in the cabins which were very snug, obviously the Captain and officers cabins were much more comfortable. Animals would also be kept on this deck, mainly chickens in a cage. We went up to the Stern and Oscar got to ‘steer’the ship. He couldn’t believe how big the Ship’s wheel is. He then went on to ask a member of staff ton’s of questions which was nice to see as he is at the age now where he takes everything in and wants to learn about all that he sees.

Downstairs in the dock there is a lovely cafe that serves all sorts of food and afternoon tea. In the Dock there is a nice children’s corner with cushions and books where Archie sat for awhile whilst Oscar listened to all of the fact phones about this level. There was also a workshop on where you could draw and cut out your own characters/animals and make them into an animation, Oscar really enjoyed this.

We also looked at the different figureheads and learnt that Cutty Sark means short shirt in Scots and Nannie the Cutty Sark’s figurehead is wearing one. I was blown away that in 1869 when the Cutty Sark was first built it cost £16,150!

Also in The Dock they have a lovely toddler session called ‘Toddler Time On Board Cutty Sark’ which runs Wednesday during term time from 10-11.30am and 1.20-2.50pm. You can bring your little sailors along to enjoy stories, playtime and sing along to songs with the groups theme changing each week. Such a lovely group in the most amazing setting! The session is for Under 4’s and can be purchased on the day at the admissions desk. It costs £5 for an adult, with under 4’s being free or if you sign up to an annual membership for only £44 you will get these sessions free.

An annual membership gives you fast track and free entry to four world class attractions; The Cutty Sark, The National Maritime Museum, The Queens House and The Royal Observatory plus lots of members perks.

We really enjoyed our visit to The Cutty Sark last week and it’s somewhere we will definitely visit again along with the rest of the Royal Museums Greenwich attractions. A fun and educational day out is always a win from me!

This is a paid collaboration with the Royal Museums Greenwich.

Our Day At The NFL Kickoff On Piccadilly With Subway® & Subway’s NFL Kids Paks

On Saturday we got the train into London as we had kindly been invited to attend the NFL Kickoff on Piccadilly by Subway® . When we arrived at Piccadilly there was such a buzz and so many people! We walked down to the Le Meridien Hotel and went upstairs to a VIP section where we had welcome drinks and canapes. We went out onto the terrace which had great views of the street below and watched more and more people arriving and listened to the steel band playing.

We walked down to BAFTA where we watched the NFL UK Live presented by Subway®  and  hosted by Neil Reynolds with his special guests Matt Forte, Paul Posluszny and Ron Jaworski. Paul is a former NFL lineback who played in eleven seasons for the Buffalo Bills and The Jacksonville Jaguars. Matt is also a former NFL player who played ten seasons and played for The Chicago Bears and The New York Jets. Ron who they call Mr Philadelphia is a former quarterback. Over his career he played for lots of different teams but is an Eagle’s Icon. He wears his Eagles Superbowl ring with pride.

During the NFL UK Live Neil hosted a few games and then told the audience if you had a star under your seat to come and play on stage. Oscar was so lucky that he had a star and went up on stage and was paired with Paul Posluszny to see if he could throw the ball into a Subway®  bucket. With a little help from Neil he got it in and won an Official NFL Duke game football, he was so happy!

We were then taken into a side room where we got to meet Neil and his three NFL guests. Matt Forte and Paul Posluszny were absolutely huge, I felt tiny standing next to them. Oscar and Archie got to have photos and a chat with them and Ron even let Oscar wear his Superbowl ring. They also signed his NFL football that he won.

We then went back out onto Piccadilly to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders perform and watch the Mascot race between ‘Jaxson de Ville’, the Jacksonville Jaguars mascot and ‘Swoop’ the Eagles mascot.

Oscar then got to take part in his first ever NFL Flag training session in partnership with Subway®. I have written about these fantastic sessions before HERE. The NFL Flag programme presented by Subway® gives children between the ages of 8-11 exposure to the sport of American Football without the helmets pads and contact. Flag football is growing within the UK and Ireland and the partnership between the NFL and Subway® will enable the game to grow at an even faster rate. NFL Flag Presented by Subway® is currently operating in eight cities including London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Gloucester, Peterborough and Cardiff, with plans to roll out the programme to more cities in England and Wales plus to Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. It was great for Oscar to take part in a training session and to see what it is all about. The session was full of fun and great activities that kept all the children engaged. It would be great for Oscar’s school to do it as he had so much fun and at the end of his taster session he wanted to have another go. You can find out more about the NFL Flag sessions presented by Subway®  and register your school HERE.

Afterwards Subway® had a giant ball pit where you had to jump in and catch a NFL football and if you downloaded the NFL Events app they sent you a free photo which was great. Each person then had ten seconds to search the ball pit for one of a few silver balls to win a prize. Every person who took part was given a Subway® NFL t-shirt and a Subway® foam hand. This will be perfect to take along to one of the NFL games that are at Wembley in October. Tickets are on sale now!

We then got to watch The Vamps perform live on stage and then headed home on the train.

We had such a fantastic time at the NFL Kickoff and I have never been to a sporting event that is so upbeat, fun and family orientated. I can’t wait for the games to start at Wembley!

In Subway® stores now are NFL Kids Paks. We went to our local Subway® last Sunday in Watford and had a lovely lunch. The boys each chose from the menu where they could pick from 4 different types of sub, their choice of salad and also got a drink and a BEAR Pure Fruit Yo-Yos. Greg and I also chose our Sub and salad and a drink. With the Kids’ Pak™ menu there are 4 activities to collect. Luckily the boys got a different one each so we only have two more to collect. Oscar’s was called Passing Practise, a touchdown game where you each have a player and have to flick the ball through the ‘touchdown’ card to win points. Archie’s is a Flag Football Pairs, with lots of different cards and a neat box to keep them all in, to carry around with you in your bag so you can play anywhere.

We had a lovely lunch and the boys want to go back this weekend to try and get the other two NFL Kids Pak™ they haven’t collected yet.

This post is in collaboration with Subway® 

Sea Life London Aquarium Review

Yesterday we got the train into London up to Westminster to go to the Sea Life London Aquarium on the South Bank with my parents. It’s in a great location surrounded by other attractions such as The London Eye, Shrek’s Adventure and The London Dungeon plus loads of lovely restaurants. The South Bank is always such a fun place to visit with amazing street entertainers and musicians.

We arrived at around 11am and had we were booked in on one of their new ‘Behind The Scenes Tours’ at 11.30am so we made our way to -2 in the left and started our Sea Life adventure. Oscar and Archie also had a Mission Pack each on a lanyard (don’t forget to get your Sea Life pop badge) and contains all you need to be Junior Ranger. It includes Ranger accessories, a pencil, magnifying glass, Shark height chart, Activity book and Ranger Cards. Within the explorer book are different missions to complete on your way around the aquarium, these are also marked around the aquarium so you don’t miss them. The Mission Packs are a great way of getting children to really engage with the fishes and read all the information and learn as much as possible. Also with the rest of the bits in the pack, learning can continue at home. Each Mission Pack is £4.

The aquarium is so well laid out with plenty of space to manoeuvre a pushchair or a wheelchair. Each tank has information for the respective animals inside. Oscar was fascinated by the sea urchins and how they move and the newborn tank had the cutest smallest starfish I have ever seen. One of my favourite exhibits has always been the Ray pool, I just love how elegant they are gliding around the pool. The tank is huge and you can get a great view of them beneath the water too.

We then met our Behind The Scenes guide Dom at the big sign located by the Ray Pool and then were taken through a staff door into the workings behind the aquarium. In one huge room there are so many different species. Some that can’t be exhibited as they are so sensitive to light and sound, some that are in breeding programmes and some that have been rescued. Listening to Dom it was unbelievable to hear that in the last 30 years we have lost half of the World’s Coral and seeing what organisations like Sea Life are doing to help the situation is marvellous. The Behind The Scenes tour is a really informative way of seeing just how much hard work goes on at aquariums like this and how much they are doing to save our planet! My favourite thing I learned on the tour was how dangerous two of the smallest animals were; The Mantis shrimp has such a punch on it it’s like being shot. They move up to 23 metres per second and accelerate faster than a bullet! The other was a Scorpion Fish, these are found in the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. They blend in with their natural surroundings and if you stepped on one the venomous spines would likely kill you. To go on the Behind The Scenes tour it is £8 each or £7.20 if you book online beforehand.

Afterwards we visited the rock pool where you can touch a few of the animals. As the boys had their Mission Packs on they were also given game cards to take home. Opposite the rock pools is the huge central tank that can be seen from all three floors with the sharks in it, amongst other fishes and turtles. The turtle in the tank is absolutely huge! You can then walk through the tank tunnel to get really up close to the animals.

We then went through the Rainforest Adventure, which has everything from piranhas to poisonous dart frogs. If you dare you can even put your hand in a ‘Piranhas’ mouth! We found out on our behind the scenes tour that in the rain forest there is a type of Piranha that is vegetarian and has human like teeth so they can eat nuts and fruit that fall into the water from the trees.

Next up was the penguins. They are just so adorable, some huddling together others were diving in and out of the water. There is a viewing globe where you can go in and be amongst the penguins.

On the top floor there is a shark cage that you can get a great view of the sharks in. Sea Life also now offer an amazing experience from £130 where you can swim with the sharks. You get to have a 15 minute snorkel with magnificent sharks including Sand Tiger Sharks, Grey Reef Sharks and Black Tip Reef Sharks. Oscar is desperate to this so we will bring him back so he can have ago. All participants have to be 1.3 metres tall or above. If your feeling really brave you can even propose under the sea!

We then went through the Jelly Fish section. They are so amazing to watch. I found it fascinating that Jelly Fish have no brain or heart. The biggest ever recorded Jelly Fish was a whopping 37 metres! I don’t fancy being stung by one of those!

We had such a lovely day at the Sea Life London Aquarium. There is so much to see and do and more importantly so much to learn about. Oscar and Archie absolutely loved it and its a fantastic day out for the whole family.

Admission ticket prices are £26 but if you purchase online before they are from £21. There are fantastic deals that you can purchase so you can visit Sea Life and other Merlin attractions at a discounted price. For instance you can book Sea Life plus one other attraction, you can choose from The London Dungeon, Madame Tussauds London, Shrek’s Adventure! London and The Coca-Cola London Eye and you then have 90 days to visit again and use your voucher. You can also purchase an annual Merlin Pass from £139 per person which gives you unlimited visits and access to 32 major attractions such as Thorpe Park, Lego Land and many more. You can make a huge saving!

Image result for list of merlin attractions

 

We were gifted entry into the Sea Life London Aquarium but all opinions are honest and my own and we loved it and had a fantastic day!

Peppa Pig World And Paulton’s Park Review

Yesterday we spent the bank holiday at Paultons Park. We have visited the park before four years ago when Oscar was four and now that Archie who is three loves everything Peppa Pig we knew it would be a fantastic day out for all of us to enjoy! Plus Paultons Park and Peppa Pig had new rides and experiences which weren’t there when we last visited.

Our Trip To Peppa Pig World In 2014. On our last trip we stayed at The Pig Hotel.

Paultons Park really has the best of both World’s for a family like ours with a five-year age gap between the boys. Obviously Peppa Pig World was amazing for Archie but there are also other areas in the park with bigger rides for Oscar to enjoy as well.

We made a weekend of it and travelled down to the New Forest on Sunday and went to Lyndhurst as Oscar wanted to look at the Ferrari garage. We then drove to our hotel in Southampton, ‘The Grand Harbour Hotel’ which is 20 minutes from Paultons. You can book a Paultons break and stay in this hotel and book your tickets and get a second day in the park free. You can book this on the Paultons Breaks website. Our hotel was lovely, we had a huge family suite and took a swim in the indoor pool. Our stay included breakfast which was lovely and we also ate at the hotel for dinner as well. We would definitely stay there again.

We arrived at Paultons Park at 9.45am to get our tickets and then went inside. The park itself doesn’t open until 10am so we waited for a bit until it was open. Whilst I was waiting I logged onto the free wifi and downloaded the Paulton’s Park app which makes it easier to navigate your way around the park. We headed straight to Peppa Pig World and went on The Windy Castle Ride which is where you sit in a cloud and go around and around. You get a great view of Peppa Pig World from up here!

We then went into Madame Gazelle’s school house and had a photo taken. Before we arrived we purchased a photo pass online which allows you to pick four photos around the park for £25 rather than £10 a single photo. You can also purchase a nice Peppa Pig World frame which Archie loves and now has pride of place in the playroom. When you purchase any photo/photo gift you get a code so you can download the photo as well.

We then played in Mr Potato’s playground and then queued up to meet Peppa and George. You can meet them at certain times during the day, by checking the app you can see easily what time you need to go to the ‘Meet and Greet’ area. Archie was so excited and couldn’t believe he was meeting the ‘real’ Peppa and George.

We then went on Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip which was fun and then grabbed a drink from Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Cafe. Inside the same building is the George’s Spaceship Play Zone which is a giant soft play area. There are several play areas within Peppa Pig World as well as the soft play, Mr Potato’s playground and muddy puddles which is a mini splash park where you can jump up and down in muddy puddles. As the weather wasn’t great we didn’t go in muddy puddles but when we visited last it was a lovely day and Oscar jumped around the playground in the sun.

We then went on George’s Dinosaur adventure. Oscar was big enough now (over 1.1m) to go on on his own so I watched and Archie went on with Daddy as he is less than 1.1m. Archie liked riding through all of Peppa’s friends. I was impressed at how quickly the queues go down as the staff are quick and efficient at getting everyone on and off the rides.

We then walked through ‘Little Africa’. This is a relatively new exhibit and certainly wasn’t here when we visited before. We walked through and saw Meerkats, Giant Pouched Rats, snakes, Fennec Foxes, Millipedes, Hedgehogs, exotic birds and bugs. Its a really lovely animal exhibit to walk around and is set out really nicely. We really enjoyed this and spent quite a bit of time in here looking at the animals and birds.

We grabbed some lunch at the Queen’s Kitchen which was hot dogs and pizza and then decided to head out of Peppa Pig World as it was really busy and return a bit later on. We went on the Victorian Carousel and the Viking boat ride then took a walk through the woods on the nature trail and saw the birds of prey, hornbills and the tropical birds.

We came out buy the little explorer playground in the Lost Kingdom. We went on the Dino Chase roller coaster which Archie could go on too and both the boys loved it. It was pretty fast!

Just outside the Lost Kingdom is the Water Kingdom which is a huge splash park and play area and we stopped here for a coffee and a play. It’s a shame it wasn’t a brighter day as the splash park is fantastic. Next time I am packing swim shorts and towels for the boys.

We then headed back to Peppa Pig World but on the way stopped off at the Wave Runner water slide. Oscar went on with Daddy and I think the photo says it all…….

We grabbed an ice cream from Miss Rabbit’s Ice Cream Parlour to eat in the queue of the next ride. We went on the Queen’s Flying Coach ride. This is one of two new rides that have opened this Summer in Peppa Pig World. It was very popular and we had to queue for about 30 minutes. You sit in individual coaches as a family and take a tour up above the park and it starts in the Queen’s castle.

By this point it was quarter to five and our feet were killing us, so we decided to pick one more ride which was the other new ride, Grampy Rabbit’s sailing club. You go in a little boat underneath the Queen’s flying coach ride circuit passing Peppa and her friends. It is a lovely ride and a perfect way to end our day out at Paultons Park!

We had such a lovely couple of days and Peppa Pig World was really magical for Archie, just like it was for Oscar when we came when he was younger. You could see when walking around the park how excited all the children were. Oscar really enjoyed it too and loved the Lost Kingdom and Little Africa. It’s a fantastic day out for the whole family and we can’t wait to go back again. It’s a really special day out with so much to see and do!

*This post is in collaboration with Peppa Pig World. We were gifted entry to the park but all opinions are honest and my own. Its a fantastic day out and we loved it!

Cassiobury Farm & Fishery Open Day

Yesterday we went to Cassiobury Farm and Fishery as they were running an open day event. Cassiobury farm is a beautiful place set in the heart of the woods of Cassiobury park in Watford, next to the canal and has a private collection of exotic animals and birds and has its very own rare breeds farm. I saw the Summer open days advertised on Facebook and booked tickets for the four of us and it came to only £26! £8 an adult and £5 a child over 3. Under 3’s are free. I had wanted to book last Summer but we were away when they were on.

So I made the mistake of putting the actual farm address in google maps and ended up down a single track to the farm where there is no parking. It does tell you this on the website but I didn’t read it beforehand. The best place to park is in the Cassiobury park car park which is free with a ticket for six hours. You then just walk through the woods which is sign posted to the farm, it literally took five minutes. Disabled Parking is available on-site, but you must call the Farm to reserve a bay in advance.

An arrival I couldn’t believe the farm and fishery was, I think it’s around 15 acres. For years it wasn’t open to the public at all but now they have several open days a year. It first opened to the public in 2015 and when we went yesterday I couldn’t believe we hadn’t brought the boys here before. Firstly we saw the Pelicans which were huge! You can walk around in their enclosure with them and they are very friendly.

They had little boats on one of the old watercress beds and we paid £3 for Oscar to have a go for ten minutes. They were great fun! There is no age limit, your child just needs to be able to swim if they tip out. It is so shallow though and the supervisor is walking in the water by the boats.

We then saw different monkeys, wallabies, love birds, cockatoos and macaws. It was lovely to see them so close up. It was hard to believe we were in the middle of Cassiobury park and behind these gates are so many amazing animals.

I absolutely loved the Black Swans that were on the water, the look so elegant gliding over the water. I don’t think I had ever seen one before.

We then walked to the rare breeds farm which have Gayal, Hungrian Steppe Cows, Soay Sheep, Gloucester Old Spot Pigs, Pygmy Goats, Red Deer, Fallow Deer, Miniature Horses & Donkeys, Turkeys, Pheasants, giant rabbits and many more animals. The miniature horses were my favourite and the miniature pigs.

The private collection of exotics includes Binturong, Flamingos, Meerkats, Marmosets, Wallabys, Crested Cranes, Pelicans, Macaws, Raccoon Dogs, Arctic Foxes, Civets, Gents, Squirrel Monkeys, Reindeer, Capybara, Tortoises and more. Oscar loved the Silver Fox which was absolutely beautiful! It was lovely to see an Arctic Fox up close too!

After exploring the whole farm we sat down on the large meadow area and had our lunch. In the central area there is a bouncy castle, face painting, fishing, crazy golf, mini-tractor rides, climbing frame, stalls and animal encounters. There is also a hot food counter that serves lovely food.

We then walked through the giant tortoise enclosure, I absolutely love them and am trying to talk Greg around to getting one for a pet. There was also a bug enclosure where two people were teaching the children all about the different bugs.

Last but not least we saw the flamingos which was lovely and then we headed back to the car. We were at the farm for about three hours and had such a wonderful time. All the animals were so well kept and the whole farm was lovely and clean. You can see all of the love and attention that has gone into it.

There is only one Summer Open Day left this season which is on Saturday the 1st of September, 10am until 5pm. So if you like local, do not miss it! You can book online or pay on the door, the price is exactly the same. It really is a great day out for all the family!

What We Did, Where We Ate & Where We Stayed In Jersey

Last Summer at the end of the holidays we took Greg’s parents to Jersey for five days. I had never been to Jersey before and couldn’t wait to go as so many people had told me what a beautiful island it is. I went online and researched hotels and restaurants so I thought I would put together a post so if you go to Jersey you can see all of the  wonderful places we went too and I might give yous some ideas.

Firstly I booked our flights with EasyJet from Luton which were around £150 each return and the flight itself is only an hour long so perfect when travelling with kids.

I then booked our hotel which was called The Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa which is right on the seafront looking over St Aubin’s Bay in St Helier and has a view of Elizabeth Castle which is beautiful. We booked the St Brelade suite which was huge. It had our main room, the boys room, two bathrooms and a living area with a sea view. On our first night we ate in the restaurant in the hotel and the food was really good. We had breakfast each morning at the hotel, with some much to choose from there was something for everyone. The staff throughout our stay were lovely and friendly and couldn’t do enough for you. The boys especially loved the pool which was indoors and the changing facilities, gym and spa downstairs were all lovely and clean and we used them everyday.

I booked all our restaurants prior to our arrival after looking on the internet at other people’s reviews and some our friend’s recommendations. Our friend’s told us to go to the Crab Shack which is in St Brelade which is the most amazing fresh seafood restaurant right on the beach. I had the Oysters here which were the best I have ever tasted and the restaurant was quite reasonably priced too.

We also went to Doran’s Courtyard Bistro which was in the street next to our hotel in St Helier. It is the most beautiful, quaint restaurant with the most amazing food. The restaurant was just so unexpected when you walk past and then you go inside and the courtyard and decor of the inside of the restaurant made you feel like you were in a french farmhouse.

I booked Mark Jordan At The Beach a few weeks before we went as its such a popular restaurant. It is in St Peter and again has stunning views. We sat outside meters from the beach. It has a  Michelin Bib Gourmand for good food as well as two AA Rosettes and an entry in the Tatler Restaurant Guide 2014. I was really excited to go here as all the reviews I read were so positive. The menu was great and had great food for children too. This restaurant was by far the most expensive of the other four we ate at but was a lovely treat.

St Helier itself is a beautiful town full of lovely shops, coffee bars and restaurants. There is also a lovely park which is directly behind the hotel where we took the boys a couple of times. In the middle of the town is a beautiful clock that plays different songs and I am so please we stumbled across it.

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During our days in Jersey we went to St Brelade and played on the beach and strolled along the beachfront. We visited the famous ‘Jersey Zoo’ which was amazing. You can absolutely not go to Jersey without visiting the Zoo. We spent the whole day here and the boys loved it!

We also got the sea bus over to Elizabeth Castle. We spent a couple of hours here and when we walked around the top of the castle the views were amazing. We then headed back for some lunch. It was lovely to explore and be a ‘tourist’ after being in Ibiza a few weeks before where we just relaxed.

When we visited the zoo and other beaches we took the bus which was so easy to do as the bus station in St Helier is huge with frequently running buses going everywhere on the island. It’s so easy to get around.

We also went to St Martin which is beautiful as my Mother In Law wanted to go to the Jersey Pearl shop. I ended up coming out with a beautiful necklace and a ring. When in Rome and all that!

We absolutely loved Jersey and can’t wait to go back. It’s so quick and easy to get too even for a short break it’s the perfect place. Everything is so beautiful, people are so relaxed and everywhere we ate the service was amazing.

Admittedly it’s not the cheapest of places to go too but it’s definitely worth it! We love Jersey!

Dinosaur World Live Stage Show Review

Yesterday we got the train into London and took a short walk to Regents Park to the Open Air Theatre to watch Dinosaur World Live. We hadn’t told Oscar and Archie where we were going, so it was a huge surprise when we arrived at the theatre and they saw the huge Dinosaur poster.

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I had never been to the Open Air Theatre before and as we walked inside I was surprised that hidden in Regent’s Park is this really cool theatre with a restaurant and a bar covered in natural foliage and pretty plants to stay in keeping with the park itself. As we took our seats in the open air theatre it instantly felt more of a chilled out and relaxed environment which you want really when at the theatre with children.

The stage set looked great, it was an old American city that had been destroyed and taken over by the Dinosaurs. As soon as the show started we were introduced to Miranda who moved to the deserted Dinosaur inhabited island as a child with her parents her were both Paleontologist’s and their team. She then grew up around the Dinosaurs and raised and trained them so that she could introduce us to some of them on the stage.

Throughout the whole show Miranda kept the audience captivated with her energy, humour and passion for Dinosaurs. Firstly she introduced us to Juliet, a Segnosaurus which is a herbivore Dinosaur and she invited a little girl on to the stage to help her feed her. Then we met Orlando, the cheeky Microrapter that flew around the stage. Once again a little boy was invited on to the stage to brush his feathers. The way Miranda got all the children involved was lovely.

Next up came baby Beatrice a Triceratops who was fast asleep and after the whole audience shouting ‘Wake up Beatrice it’s Christmas’ she woke up to say hello. Shortly after we were joined by Brutus, the adult Triceratops. Archie’s little face lit up as this is his favourite Dinosaur. He even has a huge version in his bedroom that he rides and calls his pet. He loves them! Brutus was huge! 12 tons to be exact, which is the same weight as three hippos!

Next we met baby Tamora the little sister T-Rex of the almighty Titus. She was cheeky and maybe needs a little more training as she didn’t like taking commands off of Miranda. Although she was very well behaved when a little boy from the audience put her on her lead and took her for a walk.

Miranda was hesitant to unleash the almighty Titus on us. After all he is a 9 ton Tyrannosaurus Rex with a bit of a temper. Smoke pumped on to the stage, followed by the biggest roar I have ever heard and out came Titus. He is huge! Oscar couldn’t believe how big an adult T-Rex actually was.

Throughout the show we had been keeping an eye on a Dinosaur egg that kept making movements and then suddenly, Crack! A tiny Giraffatitan baby popped his head out of the egg. His Mother Gertrude then appeared and they went off to bond.

Now I know what your thinking, she’s gone mad! They are puppets! But how I have written it to you is exactly how the children saw it. All around the theatre the children were transfixed on the stage in sheer amazement as each Dinosaur came out. Next to me was a very sweet little boy, I guess only about four and is reactions were adorable. He knew every type of dinosaur and obviously was Dinosaur mad. This is the reaction this show has on the children, it’s absolutely magic!

After the show every child can meet a few of the dinosaurs and give them a stroke with was lovely. Obviously the Dinosaurs are puppets, but they look absolutely brilliant and the actors and actresses that make the noises of each dinosaur were so accurate and life-like.

Dinosaur World Live is every Dinosaur Lovers dream show. It is not to be missed! It is currently at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until the 9th of September. You can find out more information and book tickets HERE. The show is for all the family, but recommends for children age 3 and upwards. All tickets are £16.50 and there are two shows, one at 10.30am and one in the afternoon at 1pm. Do not miss it!

We were gifted the tickets to watch Dinosaur World Live but all opinions are honest and my own.

Our Day Out At KidZania, London

A Couple of weeks ago I drove into London with my friend Claire and her son to visit KidZania which is inside the Westfield shopping centre at White City. I had read so many great reviews about KidZania and what a fantastic day out it is so I couldn’t wait to take the boys but just wanted to wait until Archie was a little bit older to enjoy it all.

We booked online a few days prior to our visit. If you book online earlier you can then print off your ticket or use the QR code on your phone on arrival. For Oscar, Archie and myself it was £62.  Archie cost slightly less as he is under 4. The prices vary depending on which day and time slot you pick. Our slot was booked at 11 and as we arrived we were greeted by a huge British Airways aeroplane and then we had to go the escalators to the departures lounge where the boys got their ID wrist tags were given their 50 KidZos. As Archie is under 4 he wasn’t given any. We also purchased a money holder that goes around your neck so the boys didn’t loose any of their KidZos. This was about £5.

As soon as we walked into the main KidZania town I was completely blown away at how amazing and realistic it looked. When we first got inside it wasn’t too busy so we took the boys straight to the hospital bit where Henry and Oscar performed an operation.

The general idea is to earn more money by doing jobs but you can also pay to learn new skills and take part in different activities. Each child over four years old it’s given 50 KidZos to start with and the aim is to leave with more KidZos than you started with and then you can spend them in the shop on the way out. As Archie is under 4 he didn’t get any KidZos and could only take part in certain things. In hindsight as he is nearly 4 I should have said he was 4 and paid the higher price as he could have easily joined in with all the activities the older boys did. On a few occasions he got upset that he couldn’t join it which was hard to explain to him.

There is a younger area upstairs for the under 4’s which wasn’t great to be honest. Downstairs there is the Supermarket which Archie could shop in. He loved the Supermarket where he filled his trolley and then paid for his shopping.

We then went upstairs and the boys learnt to become pilots in the British Airways flight school and then also became members of the BA cabin crew. It was nice that we got asked to go and actually be passengers on the plane.

We then headed to the Cadbury factory which you have to pay with your KidZos to take part. Oscar kindly gave Archie some KidZos so he could take part too. They got to learn how to make chocolate and at the end was given a voucher to exchange for a chocolate bar when we left.

We then went to the storage company and the boys were given 3 boxes and a checklist of locations where the parcels needed to be delivered around the KidZania town. The lady kindly gave Archie a jacket too so he could join in.

At lunchtime we headed to the Gourmet Burger Kitchen restaurant. For Henry and Oscar we paid £4 each and they actually got to make their own burger in the kitchen whilst we ordered our own food and sat outside and ate it. It was great that we could get a nice meal for lunch without actually leaving KidZania itself and having to go back into the main shopping centre. Within KidZania there are a few different places to eat.

We then headed to the fire station and the boys got to wear a fireman outfit and then go off in the fire engine and put out a fire. The burning hotel looked so realistic and the boys had a great time. Henry and Oscar kindly gave Archie enough KidZos so he could take part as well. He loved going in the fire engine.

As the afternoon went on the queues to take part in each activity got bigger and bigger and I said to the boys we will return when they have a day off when other schools don’t as I’m sure it would be much quieter and less queues. This meant we didn’t actually manage to get to go on everything today. By the end of the afternoon we were queuing about twenty minutes on each activity.

Upstairs the boys then earned money by being window cleaners. Once again Archie joined in with this activity.

The boys had an absolutely fantastic day out and in all the places we have visited for a day out with the kids this is 100% one of the best. It is well worth the money and we spent 5 hours there and had a fun filled day out. Parking in the shopping centre only cost £8 for the whole time too which wasn’t bad considering we were in London. We can’t wait to go back!