Category Archives: Arts and Crafts

Blogmas Day 13: Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular

On Tuesday morning we went to Willows Activity Farm in London Colney, St Albans as they are running their annual Santa Spectacular. If you have read my blog before you will know that we absolutely love Willows Activity farm and it is somewhere we have been visiting since Oscar was little. We are so lucky that we only live 15 minutes from the farm and visit at least five or six times a year.

Their Santa Spectacular is always amazing and a real fun filled magical day out for the whole family. What I love about Willows is the ticket price is what you pay, there are no hidden extras. Every activity, ride and experience is included in your entry fee. Archie always gets so excited when I say we are going to Willows, he absolutely loves it. We met my friend and her daughter at the farm at 10am when it opened and got our Santa Spectacular visitor guide, our Elf passport, animal feed, and three tokens. One for meeting Father Christmas, one for decorating a gingerbread man and one for making a cuddly toy. You also get given a free child return visit voucher to use in the new year between 5th of January to 15th February and the 25th March to the 29th March. We will making use of that for sure.

We decided to go and visit Father Christmas first before the farm got really busy. You walk through lots of decorations; from the Polar Express to Santa’s Sleigh, the decorations are beautiful. There is also a lovely spot on a log under lots of lights which is perfect for a photo. We went in to see Father Christmas, he was really lovely chatting to the children and in exchange for their token he gave them each a magic key to get into Santa’s toy shop. I love this idea so much, so instead of Father Christmas giving them a gift, the children can pick anything they want from his toy shop. It was absolutely full of toys, there were so many to choose from. Eventually Archie picked a Doctor’s kit. You can then also purchase your photo that you had taken with Father Christmas.

We then went to watch the 3D movie which was great. The gingerbread decorating was also in the same barn so we did that as well. It was nice to sit down and enjoy a hot cup of tea whilst the children iced and decorated their gingerbread men. You can also purchase snacks in the barn as well.

We walked back to the Farmyard and fed all of the animals and got to see the Reindeer. Archie always loves the Farmyard and last time we were there the piglets had been born and he couldn’t believe how much they had grown.

Next to the Farmyard is the Create-A-Cuddle Worskshop where you exchange your token and are given a empty bear, stuffing, pick a coloured heart, a birth certificate and a lovely bag for your bear to go in. We stuffed our teddy and put in the heart and then zipped him up. Archie has taken him to bed ever since, its a really lovely teddy.

We walked across the farm to where Tristan the Tractor is as he was ready to take us on a Festive Wood Ride. As we got on the tractor each child can choose some bells and throughout the ride he plays Christmas songs and Archie sang along and shook the bells. On the ride you can see the sheep, cows and pigs as well as festive scenes set around the route.

We headed to the Peter Rabbit adventure playground as the kids always love it. It is such a fantastic play area and Archie loves all of the interactive games and musical instruments. Mr Tod’s Lair is another great Peter Rabbit attraction that opened at Easter and for any little Peter Rabbit fan is great fun.

We went into Woolly Jumpers and got some lunch and a drink and then Archie and his friend played in the soft play. The soft play at the farm is huge and has different areas for different ages. I often come here in the Winter months, even on a rainy day as you can use the soft play and the Farmyard is covered too in the barn.

We went to go on the ice-skating but missed the time slot whilst we were having lunch. I think on the weekend it is open longer. We finished our day by going on the rides and then headed home to get Oscar from school.

We had a lovely day and you really do get so much for your entry price as well as picking a great gift from Santa’s toy shop. The prices for  the 15th-24th December 2018 is £22 for an adult, £38 per child, senior £21, under 2 paying (so they can take part in all the activities) £22.50 and disabled child with free carer £25 and a disabled adult is £12.50. You can save £2 off of those prices by booking online beforehand. It really is such an amazing Christmassy day out for the whole family to enjoy!

We were gifted the tickets to Willows Activity Farm Santa Spectacular event and had a wonderful time!

Blogmas Day 8: Making My Own Christmas Wreath

On Thursday morning I was kindly invited along with a few other Mum’s from school to go to our friends house for a wreath making workshop. I have never done anything like this before and have wanted to take part for a couple of years but now Archie is in nursery on a Thursday morning it meant I was child free and could join in.

We arrived to pastries, fresh juice and hot drinks and then picked between a round or heart-shaped wreath. I picked a round one as I was aiming to use it as a table centrepiece with a handle in the middle as I can’t attach a wreath to our front door as we don’t have a knocker and the door is too thick for a hanging hook. Annoying!

My friend had asked Emily from who is a local florist and she brought along Nordmann fir pieces from a local Christmas tree farm along with other exotic pieces, decorations and lights. She started as off by showing us how to attach the hanging hook and then how to place your pieces on and which way to go around the wreath using your copper wire to secure everything as you go. To be honest at the beginning mine looked shocking and I wasn’t very impressed with it but as I got further around it suddenly all came together. In the end I used the fir-tree pieces and gypsophila and few pieces of eucalyptus.

At the end my wreath was huge and I did ask Emily to secure the last bit of wire and trim it down for me. I then added little sticks of cinnamon, wooden decorative hearts and fairy lights. I am really pleased with the finished result and it looks great on my dining room table. It smells absolutely amazing!

This is a great Christmas activity to do at home with the girls and it was nice to do something at Christmas time that is more for the adults.

Blogmas Day 7: Swizzels Stocking Fillers & Festive Sweet Tub Give Away

I cannot believe it is only 18 days until Christmas, December is flying by. I have started preparing the boys stockings that they hang on the end of their beds on Christmas Eve. As well as filling it with books, games and little toys I always add a sweet treat. Swizzels have a huge range of amazing Christmas gifts and stocking fillers to make your little ones jump for joy on Christmas morning. From sweet shop favourites to bumper bags of your favourite sweets, there is something for everyone.

There are also fantastic retro sweet hampers that you can personalise which would make the perfect gift for my Dad. He loves sweets, retro ones in particular and the hampers are a bargain at £16.99! There are also vegetarian and vegan gifts available, so there really is something for everyone.

My absolute favourites are Love Hearts, Drumsticks and Refreshers, they just take me right back to being a child when my Grandad would give us a fifty pence piece every Thursday and my Brother and I would go to the local newsagent and spend it on them. Even now when Oscar gets given them at parties and especially on Halloween I always eat the drumsticks!

Online on the Swizzels website throughout the whole of December you can get 15% off everything using the code DEC2018. After looking through the website I also ordered our whole family a packet of personalised Love Hearts each to put on the Christmas table. I will share a photo with you when they arrive.

On the Swizzels website they also have fun Christmas recipes, quizzes, jokes, cracker making tutorials and Christmas crafts. Perfect to keep your little ones entertained up until Christmas. Oscar and Archie love doing Christmas crafts and baking so we will be making the Drumstick Squashies Rocky Road and printing off the colouring sheets.

So here’s something to set your jingle bells ringing! Thanks to the lovely people at Swizzels, to celebrate Christmas, I have two scrumptious Swizzels 5kg Party Sweet Tubs (RRP £24.99) to give away. They are filled to the brim with the finest Swizzels sweeties and each tub is enough to satisfy even the sweetest of tooth right through Christmas and into the New Year! They are perfect for sharing, filling multiple stockings, or even as a staff room treat, these tubs have been packed with all your childhood (and adulthood!) Swizzels favourites: Refreshers, Parma Violets, Mr Chews, Love Hearts, Fizzers, Fruity
Pops, Drumsticks, Double Lollies and more… It’s enough to make your mouth water!

To enter this fabulously mouth-watering competition all you need to do is enter below! Merry Christmas and Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is in collaboration with Swizzels.

Blogmas Day 3: Christmas Dining Table Inspiration

I cannot wait for Christmas this year! Oscar is so excited and Archie understands all about Father Christmas this year properly for the first time, so its really magical. This Christmas as usual we have both sides of the family for lunch, there are 12 of us around the table for lunch. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I love adding personal touches to make it as fabulous and as special as possible for everyone.

I have been searching on Google for Christmas table ideas over the last few months and found so many great ideas. I have decided to stick with my usual Gold colour theme to match our fabulous Pines and Needles Christmas Tree. This is our second year of having our gorgeous tree delivered and dressed and its a show stopper! I’ve picked up lots of little bits from Christmas fairs and garden centres and online as well and thought I would share a few ideas with you. We also went to the Ideal Home Show at Christmas where I brought some new decorations.

For the last few years I have used Gold chargers on the table that I brought from Next. This year I wanted to get some gold place mats instead and again brought them from Next, one side is a shimmered gold and the other is glitter gold. I prefer the shimmer but you could alternate each mat to jazz it up a bit. They come in a pack of four with the coasters for £20.

I also follow a lot of independent sellers on Instagram and Facebook and ordered some lovely personalised wooden Christmas tree place setters from Pretty Personalised who sell lots of personalised gifts.

Last year I had a beautiful centrepiece made by Love Flowers in Rickmansworth and it looked amazing and smelt divine! I think it was about £100 and I will definitely be getting another one this year.

Last year I also found these cute wooden personalised napkin rings and brought thick disposable napkins from Marks and Spencer to put inside them. They have similar ones available from Not On The High Street, a set of 12 is £48.

To go with my Gold theme I also have Gold Cutlery from Viners. The sets come in lovely display boxes and are £135 a set for four people. The only annoying thing is I can’t put them in the dishwasher so have to wash them up by hand.

I hope I have given you a few ideas. I would love to see your Christmas Dining tables and any great ideas you have, so make sure you share them with me!

Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise Review

Last week we were kindly sent the Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise to review and as Archie loves making slime with Oscar I knew he would find it fun. When it arrived I absolutely loved the packaging and the whole surprise element of it.

Archie unwrapped it and as you peel back the outer cardboard all of Poopsie’s accessories are attached to the card. She comes with over 20 surprises; 4 Unicorn Food slime packets, 4 Unicorn Magic packets and 1 packet of Unicorn Sparkle, a Poopsie key chain where you can store your slime, an exclusive bottle, a unicorn shirt & nappy, a spoon, a hair brush, a cleaning tool and a measuring cup. Everything you need to make your unicorn slime poo and to also keep her clean so you can use her as a doll as well.

Inside the box is then your surprise Poopsie Unicorn. There are four different Unicorn’s to collect. Archie got Rainbow Brightstar.

We laid everything out ready and then followed the step by step instructions provided. They are easy to follow and Archie enjoyed mixing the unicorn food and drink and feeding it to her. He managed to help me mix everything and be involved in the whole process which made it much more fun and engaging for him. It is for children over 3 years old.

He then found it hilarious as he shook her and then placed her on the potty and he watched her poop! The slime is then made in the potty, you leave it for 10-15 minutes to set and then you can play with it.

Cleaning Poopsie was easy and I flushed her through with warm water and used the cleaning brush. I had read before hand not to leave it and wash her straight away otherwise it is harder to clean.

Archie really enjoyed getting creative and making his unicorn slime, he found it great fun. It is a great toy and is easy and fun to use.

The Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise has an RRP of £49.99 and is available at Smyths, The Entertainer and Argos. It was recently ranked in the Dream Toys Top 12 Toys for Christmas this year so grab yours before they sell out!

You get enough packets to feed and make more slime and when you run out you can purchase more when needed. I also noticed Poopsie Pooey Puitton bag which you can purchase which is full of unicorn magic, unicorn crunch, glitter and colouring to make the ultimate slime!

 

We were gifted the Poopsie Unicorn Slime Surprise for the purpose of this review.

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 NumNoms Smoothie Movie Night

Last night we had a lovely chilled evening after school. The boys had pizza for dinner and then a bath and then came back downstairs for our very own NumNoms Smoothie Movie Night. We were sent a lovely package last week full of goodies for the perfect movie night. The boys snuggled under their new fleecy throw, tucked into their sweeties and we downloaded The Greatest Showman as we hadn’t watched it before.

As well as our movie night treats we were also sent the new Num Noms Snackables Silly Shakes Maker Play set. Archie was so excited when he opened the box and the play set smelt amazing! The set is made up of a sweet kitchen where you can mix up slime shakes. You use the mixing bowl to put the jelly base into and then add your choice of scented colouring and glitter or sprinkles. Archie then slotted the mixing bowl back into the kitchen and mixed up his slime recipe.

You then pull out the oven shelf tray and transfer your slime mix into the plastic shake dispenser. This rotates and you can fill the dispenser with all different coloured slime shakes. The set comes with three mini silly shakes cups and you then use the the special dispenser to fill up your shake cup.

Its a great play set to get involved in ‘messy play’ and Archie loved making different shakes in different colours and then starting all over again. The pieces are easy to clean as everything slots in and out of place to keep your set looking great.

If your children, like mine love making and playing with slime this would make such a fantastic Christmas gift. Archie also plays with it along with his other NumNom toys when were not making the slime shakes. All of the NumNom toys make the playroom smell amazing. The Num Noms Snackables Silly Shakes Maker Play set has an RRP of £39.99 and includes everything you need to make your slime shakes. You get the jelly base, two glitter toppings, two colouring tubes, three shake cups plus a special edition NumNom.

We were also sent a NumNoms light surprise in a jar, which has a gorgeous smelling NumNom plush inside and a light surprise edition NumNom inside too. A great stocking filler at only £12.99.

Archie is a big fan of NumNoms and has been since we went to a special event back in April and he has played with them ever since. He loves how each one smells different and whenever were in Smyths Toys we always pick up a mystery pack to add to his growing collection. Again the mystery pack or the starter packs would make great stocking fillers.

We had the best Smoothie Movie night thanks to NumNoms UK!

 

We were sent the above mentioned products so we could have our NumNoms Smoothie Movie night and for the purpose of this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

My Top Christmas Advent Calendars For Kids 2018

With less than one hundred days until Christmas (95 to be precise) and the shops filling up with all their Christmas decorations, I have already started my planning for the festive season. Next week I can book our annual trip to Harrod’s Christmas Grotto and slots are already open with Pines and Needles to book your Christmas Tree delivery, so the planning starts now!

I have been looking at Advent Calendars for both Oscar and Archie. They both get a chocolate calendar and a toy advent calendar. Last year they had a Playmobil one and a Lego one, which they loved!

This year there are so many great advent calendars on the market to choose from but here are my favourites;

This one we will be getting for Oscar as he is Smiggle obsessed. It is £25 and has £40+ worth of goodies inside. If you find one of the 25 lucky tickets hidden inside the Calendars you can win a £500 Smiggle shopping spree! These flew off the shelves last year so your best to buy it now and hide it away.

For Archie this Christmas we have got the Schleich 97702 – Wild Life Advent Calendar 2018. He loves animals and whenever we go to the toy shop he always chooses another Schleich animal to add to his growing collection. It is £24.99 And features 24 compartments containing gifts of Schleich Wildlife toys and accessories. He will love it!

LEGO 60155 City Advent Calendar 2017 Construction Toy. Lego sell a variety of different advent calendars all with 24 gifts inside. We had a Lego one last Christmas and Oscar loved it! They start at around £20.

For the creative children Play-Doh and Crayola have a fantastic advent calendar this year. The Crayola 04-6808-U-000 Christmas Advent Calendar Kit is Packed with craft projects, homemade gifts, finger puppets, and colouring activities, this set helps kids get into the spirit of Christmas. It is £19.99. The  Play-Doh Advent Calendar is £15 and features 24 hidden surprises. The calendar comes with several small pots of Play-Doh including two glittering colours for a festive touch, with a new addition/accessory to discover every day.

Playmobil Advent Calendar Santas Workshop. Playmobil also sell a variety of advent calendars.Oscar has had this one before and over the 24 days you build up a Santa’s workshop play scene. It’s a really lovely calendar! It is £19.99 and has 106 pieces inside.

This advent calendar would have been my dream as a child! The Barbie advent calendar is £35.00. In the Barbie Advent Calendar as well as Barbie herself over the 24 days it includes everything she needs to be a ballerina, baker, ice skater, pet vet and professional skier. It helps kids to understand different careers while living the magic of opening a present each day! I love this one!

This is the perfect advent calendar for your little car lover! It is around £19.99 and Contains 8 different Hot Wheels vehicles, plus stickers and surprise accessories.  Hot Wheels Advent Calendar with Mini Cars Toy Mattel

The Happyland advent calendar is perfect for the younger children from 18 months. It is £25 and as you can see comes with lots of toys inside to make up the Christmas play set. It’s very cute!

So these are my advent favourites for Christmas 2018! I hope you enjoyed the post and maybe have got some inspiration for your little one’s calendar this year. Expect lot’s of Christmas posts coming your way soon!

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Fearne By Fearne Cotton For Boots Mini Club Autumn/Winter 2018

Yesterday we drove into London as we were invited by Boots Mini Club to come and see their new Autumn/Winter 2018 collection and the Fearne by Fearne Cotton collection exclusively designed by the gorgeous Fearne herself.

When we arrived there was a huge art and craft station for the kids to get creative at and add their own artwork on a lovely jute bag. Whilst Archie and Oscar were decorating their bags I walked around and looked at the new collection of clothes.

I started off in the baby room which was full of warm and cosy items ready to keep you little ones warm as the weather gets colder. So much extra detail has gone into the baby clothes; everything is 100% cotton for extra softness on delicate skin, everything also has nickle-free poppers to prevent any irritation and inside so you never miss a popper out again one is coloured copper, so you know to ‘always start with the copper popper’. So clever! I can’t tell you the amount of times I did poppers up wrong on sleep suits when changing the boys when I was so tired. One collection has little penguins on it which is so cute and the elephant cuddle robe is just adorable and super soft. For baby girls there are pretty dresses and tights sets and for boys lovely dungarees sets. My favourite is the knit dungarees set its so cute. There is also a Mickey and Minnie collection which is 0-24 months, A Wild World collection full of warm, soft hooded jumpers, bright prints and cosy knits. As well as all of your newborn essentials coming soon to Boots Mini Club is a super delicate premature baby range. I couldn’t believe how tiny the clothes were. I spoke to a lady who was representing Bliss Baby Charity about the importance of soft fabrics and velcro fastenings on premature baby clothes. The clothes open fully flat so you can dress your baby carefully. This will be in stores from the 17th of November.

The Toddler range (18 months to 6 years) again is full of beautiful brightly coloured clothes with bold prints and designs. There are lots of hoodies, cardigans, dress and tights combos, cool tshirts, jeans and jeggings. Everything you need to keep your little one layered up and warm over the colder months. Archie loved the water resistant puddle jumpsuits that neatly fold into itself to make a backpack.

Dare I mention it, Christmas! The Christmas collection and occasional wear is gorgeous. Lovely Christmas jumpers, Christmas pyjamas and party wear for the big day. The Christmas Moments collection also has the cutest bits for babies first Christmas; Mr and Mrs Claus all in ones, my first Christmas sets and Christmas jumpers. Everything you need to dress your little ones up over the festive period.

Ok, I have saved the best until last! The Fearne by Fearne Cotton Autumn/Winter 18 collection. I just love it! You can really see Fearne’s cool, quirky and bold personality in her designs and I am very jealous that she has adult versions of some of the pieces, especially the leopard print tracksuit!

Her baby range goes from 0-12 months and everything has bold prints and slogans on it. When she introduced her collection to us she said she wanted to get across creativity in children, fun and positivity. You can see just how much thought has been put into the designs and the way in which Fearne spoke about her pieces you could see how proud she is of her collection.

For boys and girls aged 12-7 years the creativity focus comes across in a cute pencil design dress, cool tshirt designs and slogan tees such as ‘Make Create, Ta-Da.’ The collection just oozes ‘cool’ with double denim combos, gender neutral jeans, leopard prints, animal prints and the most gorgeous girls party dresses and fur coats. It’s super trendy!

The collections are available online and instore now. Everything is reasonably priced and so well made. Head to Boots Mini Club now to get everything you need for your little one’s Autumn/Winter wardrobe now. A word of warning though…. Your kids will be way trendier than you!

Elephant Parade London 2018

When I first saw on Facebook that the Elephant Parade London 2018 was coming to London this Summer I couldn’t wait for the holidays to take the boys into London to look for them.

I have loved the Elephant Parade statues for a while now and a few years ago brought our very own herd. One for me, one for Daddy and one for each of the boys. They have so many hand painted gorgeous designs to choose from but I chose ‘A love story’ and the biggest one is one of only 88 made. We have the the 10cm (£39.95) the 15cm (69.95) the 20cm (£99.95) and the large 30cm one (£259.00). We absolutely love them and love that 20% of Elephant Parade net profits are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects.

‘Elephant Parade® is a social enterprise and runs the world’s largest art exhibition of decorated elephant statues. Created by artists and celebrities, each Elephant Parade statue is a unique art piece. The life-size, baby elephant statues are exhibited in international cities and raise awareness for the need of elephant conservation.’

Now for this Summer you can take a walk around London and spot the hand painted gorgeous Elephant’s for yourself. There is also a pop up store selling replica elephants at 20 South Molton Street City of Westminster London W1K 5QE.

The Elephant Parade London 2018 runs from the 21st June until the 18th July 2018!

‘The Elephants around London will then be auctioned off at a high-profile dinner and auction conducted by Sotheby’s Harry Dalmeny, on 28th of June at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, attended by members of the Royal Family, key conservationists and society figures. Money raised will help protect Asia’s endangered elephants and support projects that protect not only wild elephants and their habitats but the people who share their landscapes.’ I would so love to own a giant version of one to have in the garden!

Enjoy the parade and I can’t wait to see your photos!