Tag Archives: family

Our 2018 Adventures

January

January always starts slow, after all we are recovering from a hectic Christmas, Archie’s birthday and the New Year! Oscar went back to school on the 8th and straight away had Rugby and Cross-Country fixtures. At school he was learning about Egyptians so we took a trip into London to visit the British Museum.

February

Oscar took part in a lovely concert at the O2 called Young Voices. He spent the day there rehearsing and then we went up in the evening to watch him, it was great! We went to Woburn the following weekend as the boys love it there, driving through the animals. As a surprise for Oscar’s birthday we took him into London to see the Lion King. It was one of the best shows I have ever seen and can’t wait to go and see it again with Archie when he gets a bit older. Oscar had a great 8th Birthday, we had family around on his birthday to celebrate and he had a bowling party with his friends as well.

March

This month I turned 30! We celebrated in style with a lovely meal with my family at the Grove, A Willy Wonka themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych with my lovely friends and the little ones, a fabulous night out at MNKY HSE with even more birthday cake with the girls and a lovely dinner at our friends house. I was thoroughly spoilt and had the best birthday!

We also took another trip to Woburn with my friend Georgina who had never been before. Archie had lots of fun!

April

April was a seriously busy month. We did so much! We visited Willows Farm as they had their Easter programme running with our friends. The Easter holidays were in full swing and we went into London to the Shrek’s adventure which was great fun and then spent the rest of the day in town.

We had a lovely Easter surrounded by family and friends and the boys ate way to much chocolate!

We stayed a night at Alton Towers in the enchanted village and spent two days in the park. Archie loved Cbeebies land and the park was pretty quiet so we went on loads of the rides.

We visited Zippo’s Circus which was in London and we had never taken the boys to the circus before. They were so excited and loved all of the acts.

Paradise Wildlife park opened their new World of Dinosaurs feature. We went on quite a rainy day but that was fine as the park was quiet and we got to see all of the animals up close. Oscar loved the new Dinosaur park.

May

Oscar had his first ever one night residential with the school this month. To say I was anxious is an understatement but he had the best time and enjoyed himself so much!

We took the boys to Cardiff to watch Monster Jam which is a great show that comes over once a year from America and the Monster Trucks have races and do tricks. It was SO noisy!

Oscar went to Twickenham for the first time to watch the Rugby with his Godfather and his two boys. As he had started playing it at school he really enjoyed it and had a really special day out with Uncle Matt.

We went away for a few days to Lulworth Cove in Dorset. We went to Durdledoor beach was is beautiful and then to Monkey World as well. Greg and I went to Monkey World years ago but had never been with the boys. It is such a lovely place and we got to see all of the Monkey’s so close up.

June

In June we went to Go Ape with some friends and Greg went up with Oscar. Archie and I stayed firmly on the ground! We visited the Warner Bros Studio Tour with my friend Claire and her son. We are so lucky to have this only ten minutes from us. Oscar had sports day and won the high jump, relay and the 50m.

We took Daddy to Bond In Motion in London. Oscar loves the Bond films and seeing all of the cars, boats and bikes used in the films was great fun! Its such a great exhibition and if you are a Bond fan you must visit.

July

Schools out! Oscar broke up from school at the beginning of July. We went on holiday for a couple of weeks to Rhodes. We stayed at the brand new Sensatori hotel which was lovely. We have stayed at a few of these now and always have a lovely time.

We went to Westfield, London to KidZania with my friend Claire and her son. I couldn’t get over how big it was and it must be so magical being a kid going to somewhere like that. It is a fantastic day out.

On the last weekend of July my Brother got married. Oscar and Archie were both page boys and it was a lovely day.

August

We went back to Woburn safari park again with the boys Great Auntie Liz. They love it here, I think this is our 3rd trip this year so far.

We went to Regents Park open air theatre to watch the stage show ‘Dinosaur World Live’. Oscar and Archie love Dinosaurs and really enjoyed the show.

Oscar learnt to finally ride his bike this month. He briefly learnt last year but wasn’t very interested but gave it his all and picked it up in no time at all. We are so proud of him!

We went away for the night to Southampton and stayed at the Grand Harbour hotel and on the second day we went to Peppa Pig World/Paulton’s Park. We went a few years ago when Oscar was younger but as Archie loves Peppa Pig we knew he would love it. Oscar went on the bigger rides in Paulton’s Park and we had a great day.

We went to Henley-On-Thames with Oscar’s friends from school for a night glamping in a bell tent. Just Oscar and I went, Archie stayed at home with Daddy. The kids all had so much fun as did the Mummy’s.

To end off the Summer break we went to the London Aquarium with my parents. We went on a behind the scenes tour of the aquarium which was really educational and we all had a great day. Finishing off with our favourite restaurant for lunch; Honest Burger. I have lost count of how many times we have been to one of these over the last year!

September

Oscar went back to school into year 4 and Archie started Nursery at the same school. It was so emotional for me and my anxiety went through the roof. Archie only goes three mornings a week but settled in straight away and absolutely loves it!

We were invited by Subway to an amazing NFL event on Piccadilly. Oscar ended up in the NFL live show and we had such a fun day out. The NFL is such a fun, family based sport and the atmosphere was fantastic.

We spent the day at London Zoo where we hadn’t visited for a while. There were new attractions in the zoo which was nice for us to see and the Zoo is always a winner with the boys as they both love animals so much!

Oscar and Greg also took on Liquid Leisure which is a giant inflatable park on a lake near Windsor. It looked like great fun and I am going to have a go next time.

October

My Mum turned 60 and we had a lovely family get together at my Nanny’s house and then a meal out too.

I had booked Greg a car driving experience at Christmas so we headed to Loughborough where he got to drive a 1970’s Transam which is Oscar’s favourite car and a Mustang.

During half term we went to Go Ape Nets Kingdom which was fun and Archie could join in too. We went to Greenwich where we went on the Cutty Sark which is a really fun yet educational day out. We went to the theatre to see Baby Bum Live for Archie and went to the new Rock Up climbing place in Watford.

November

In November Oscar took part in a big Taekwondo competition which he did really well in. We went to a great event with Zoggs to Coral Reef in Bracknell where we had the pool and water slides to ourselves with some other bloggers. It is the best pool in the UK we’ve been to by far.

Excitingly for me I managed to get Spice Girl tickets for next year! I literally sat online with every device running until we managed to get four. I cannot wait! That afternoon we met our friends in St Albans and went to Prime for lunch and then to the theatre to watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It was a fantastic show and the kids loved the flying car.

We went to the Warner Bros Studio Tour to its annual Hogwarts In The Snow event. It is such  magical experience and really kicked off the Christmas period for us.

I took Archie and my friend her little boy who is Archie’s bestie into London to see the Room On The Broom stage show which they both loved and we headed into Oxford Street and got our own personalised family Quality Street tin.

December

December was by far my favourite and most hectic month this year! The boys woke up on the 1st to their naughty elves returning with their advent calendars and the decorations up in the house.

Oscar took part in the annual TKD Taekwondo championships and got a silver medal in his patterns and a gold in sparring. He was over the moon!

Archie had his first little Christmas performance in his nursery class and I had fun wreath making with my friends.

We went into London for our annual Christmas tradition to visit Father Christmas at Harrods. We have done this for seven years now and I love getting our annual photograph. It shows how quickly the boys are growing up when you look back at the previous years.

We went to the Watersmeet Theatre In Rickmansworth to watch the pantomime; Snow White and we had never been before as Oscar had always gone with his school. Archie loved it and danced in the aisle from start to finish. It was a great production and something we will do every Christmas with them now.

I went to Willow’s Farm with Archie and my friend and her children to their Santa Spectacular. Willow’s is always a fantastic day out and they put so much on at Christmas!

The Coca-Cola Christmas lorry was touring the UK and was at an ASDA nearby so I took the boys after school to see it. The Coca-Cola Christmas lorry always reminds me of being a child and when you heard the advent on TV you knew it was Christmas time.

Oscar and Archie broke up from school on the 14th after a lovely carol service at the local Church.

On the Saturday we drove to Gatwick and the boys had no idea where we were going. That evening we told them we were flying to Lapland in Finland the next day to see Father Christmas. I have never seen them both so excited, they couldn’t believe it. It was the most magical trip ever! We went on a reindeer and a husky sledge ride, met the big man himself, went sledging and played in the snow, went on a snowmobile, crossed the arctic circle and visited Santa’s Village. It was a trip I am sure they will remember forever!

Last week we also drove over to Bruges on the Eurotunnel which was a lovely couple of days exploring such a beautiful city especially at Christmas time and eating way to much chocolate!

Then we came home to a wonderful Christmas with our family and friends and the boys had a fantastic time.

Last but not least Archie turned 4 on the 29th. We had a fun filled day with bowling, Prezzo’s and a Paddington bear tea party with family and friends.

It’s been a fantastic year and a big thank you to all of you who come back and read my blog posts! Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2019! Happy New Year!

Blogmas Day 4: Making A Family Christmas Dinner Easy!

Some people dread preparing and cooking Christmas Lunch but I always really enjoy it and over the years have mastered different tips to make it as easy as possible. After all its only a giant roast dinner! I make my shopping lists well in advance so that nothing gets forgotten.

  • Turkey for 12 – M&S
  • Maris piper potatoes
  • Goose fat
  • Parsnips – M&S
  • Mash – M&S
  • carrot and swede mash – M&S
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • peas
  • cauliflower
  • stuffing – M&S
  • pigs in blanket – M&S
  • sausage meat – M&S
  • stuffing – M&S
  • yorkshire puddings – M&S
  • turkey gravy
  • bread sauce
  • cranberry sauce

I always lay the table on Christmas eve and just have to add the sauces on the day out of the fridge.

Our Christmas lunch is always for a minimum of twelve people and I start organising it a few weeks before. I went online last week and booked my Turkey on the Marks & Spencer entertaining website and picked a date and time slot for when I will pick it up. This makes it so easy and you can pick your size of bird when ordering so you know you will always get one as big as you require, I ordered a 12-14 person British Organic Free Range Pembrokeshire Bronze Turkey. I also ordered two portions of their outdoor bred garnish selection which consists of stuffing balls and pigs in blankets. When I go and collect the Turkey I will also grab the M&S carrot and swede mash, Yorkshire puddings and parsnips. The parsnips I buy already prepared and they just go straight in the oven in foil trays.

I have also already booked a Tesco delivery slot for the 23rd of December where I have brought all the drinks, nibbles, vegetables, sauces and goose fat for the potatoes. I also buy Bacofoil roasting trays and cook the Turkey, potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and parsnips in and then they can go straight in the bin without any washing up.

I work out my cooking schedule the day before and stick to that and everything then runs smoothly. I use a Jamie Oliver recipe I found years ago for the Turkey and that goes in early in the morning. I remove the giblets, place a large orange, a lemon and a cooking apple inside the Turkey and cover the outside of the bird with unsmoked streaky bacon. The Turkey always stays moist and tastes amazing.

I also cook a piece of ham as well and that only takes 60 mins and has a honey glaze on it. Oscar and Archie prefer it to Turkey.

The Turkey comes out of the oven 30 minutes before serving and I cover it in tea towels to keep it warm. We have two ovens so everything fits in to cook, but this is a great way of making room to cook everything else by leaving your turkey out to rest.

Greg always carves the Turkey and starts doing this about ten minutes before we serve so that everything is cooked and all on the plates at the same time and kept nice and hot. I also make the gravy whilst the turkey is being carved so its ready to go. At the same time I warm the bread sauce and cook the Yorkshire puddings.

My Mother In Law always part cooks the Christmas pudding so we leave that to finish cooking whilst were eating our lunch. I also bake a chocolate cake on Christmas Eve ready and we have mince pies as well. Along with cream, custard and brandy butter.

  • brandy butter
  • cream
  • custard
  • mince pies
  • Christmas pudding
  • chocolate cake
  • ice cream

With all the throw away cooking trays in the bin, I wash up the cutlery and the plates and dishes go into the dishwasher straight away as I cannot stand a cluttered kitchen.

And that’s it, Christmas Lunch cooked for another year!

Zoggs DC Super Heroes Range & Our Trip To Coral Reef

Last week we went on an exciting trip after school to Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell. We were kindly invited by Zoggs to celebrate the launch of their new DC Super Heroes range. The range comprises of swimwear for the whole family, a surf rider, goggles, water wings, swim toys, armbands, kickboards and swim hats.

When we arrived at Coral Reef the boys were so excited and couldn’t wait to get into the pool. It is only half an hours drive from us, I couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited before. We got changed into our new swimwear from Zoggs in the changing village which was huge and very clean and then headed into the pool. I fell in love with my swimming costume which not only looks great but is from the Ecolast range. The swimming costume is made from eco-friendly chlorine resistant fabric that is made from plastic waste material recycled from the ocean, I absolutely love this range from Zoggs!

Within Coral Reef Waterworld there are four interactive water slides, an erupting volcano, a pirate ship, toddler area, rapids, jacuzzi and an adults only spa so there’s something for everyone. Archie loved the pirate ship and spent most of the time here going up and down the slide. He also really enjoyed the toddler area with the little slides and activities.

We all went on the water slides which were fantastic! At the top you can pick which theme you like and the slide then lights up the colours of the theme you have picked. Archie was tall enough to go on a couple of the slides too which was great. On one of the slides you have to hit the lights on the way down and your time is recorded on the board at the bottom of the slides. Oscar loved this!

The erupting volcano is great fun too. An alarm sounds and then the volcano erupts spraying water out of it at some pace I might add, it pushed me right across the pool much to the boys amusement. Oscar rode the Batman surf rider around the rapids which he loved and he flew around them.

The new Zoggs DC Heroes Range is being stocked on the Zoggs website and in Everyone Active Leisure Centres. Luckily Archie swims twice a week at an Everyone Active leisure centre nearby, so I will be picking up some of the swim toys there for fun stocking fillers for the boys. Oscar loves the splash balls and when we are on holiday we always take one with us, who knew such a small ball could provide so many hours of fun! The justice league Superhero Soakers would make great gifts too!

Both the boys love swimming and between them spend three hours a week swimming. Archie loves his new Superman shorts and couldn’t wait to show all his friends at his lessons.

Thank you so much to Zoggs and Coral Reef for a wonderful evening and to Warner Brothers for the boys amazing goodie bag!

 

We were gifted all of the Zoggs products and entry into Coral Reef.

Our Parents vs Kids Little Tikes Family Games Night

To celebrate the launch of the brand new Little Tikes Board Game collection we were kindly sent the ultimate game package to have the best Parents vs Kids Family games night. The boys were really excited when I told them we were having a games night complete with brand new Little Tikes games, a movie and a take away.

We live in rather a competitive household so there was fighting talk even before the games began! We were sent two games out of the new range; Crazy Blender and Hot Hoops.

The Crazy Blender game is so much fun! You simply shuffle the cards and give each player three each and then turn the blender on that swirls around and around. Archie went first and he called out the fruit on his card and then threw it into the crazy blender, the next player then has to follow on with the last fruit the last player called and if they don’t have a card with that fruit on it they take on from the card pile. If they still don’t have the fruit you move onto the next player. As the game goes on it gets harder to throw your cards into the Crazy Blender and some fly out which the next player has to then have. The player with no cards left is the winner. It is such an easy game to play and even Archie who is 3, 4 in a couple of months played along easily too.

This is a great family game and so much fun, when the cards were flying around Oscar and Archie found it hilarious. Having quite a wide age gap of five years it is sometimes difficult to find games we can all play together, but the Crazy Blender is perfect and we really enjoyed playing it. The game itself is aimed at children aged 5+ but like I said Archie played along easily. It has an RRP of £16.99 and would make the perfect Christmas gift and the perfect family game to play on Christmas Day! It is available now at Argos, Smyths Toys and Amazon.

We were also sent a chalkboard to keep track of the scores. At the end of playing rounds of Crazy Blender the boys had taken the lead.

Our second game is called Hot Hoops. This was so easy to set up, you simply have to add a few sticker decals but then you are ready to play. This is a two player game so we went head to head, Parents vs Kids. You can also play the game on your own, practising like Archie has been doing ever since we opened it. He loves this game!

You simply have to aim your basketball into the hoop, each player starts with two balls and when you get the ball in the hoop it goes through a tube to your opponents side of the game. The player will no balls on there side of the court wins. This games is so much fun, the competitiveness really came out in the boys and the adrenaline was pumping when they couldn’t score and they were rushing to try and score again before we did. There little faces were so funny!

This is also a great game that you can take with you to play at family and friends houses as it folds up neatly, has storage underneath for the balls and a carry handle. It is each to store in the playroom cupboard too.

Hot Hoops has an RRP of £19.99 and is sold at Argos, Smyths Toys and on Amazon. I can see this being a supper popular game for Christmas as it is perfect for the whole family as well as being a one player game you can play on your own with too.

At the end of the evening the boys won!

We then sat down to watch a film on Netflix and ordered a Chinese of the Just Eat app.

We had such a fun family games night thanks to Little Tikes and it is something we all really enjoyed as a family and will be making it a weekly weekend fixture from now on.

Thank you Little Tikes!

This post is in collaboration with Little Tikes UK.

Our Review Of The TUI Sensatori Atlantica Rhodes Resort

Back In July we stayed at the TUI Sensatori Atlantica Rhodes Resort for two weeks. We booked it back in February and at the time the hotel itself was still being developed. It was due to open in May but ended up opening in June. To be honest I was worried as a new hotel can come with teething problems, but on the upside everything would be brand new! The photos I had seen posted online looked amazing and we couldn’t wait to get there.

Before I get into everything about our holiday on our return my iCloud had a glitch and lost over 2000 photos which about 400 of them were of our holiday. I have a few so will share those but am gutted that I can’t share with you the videos I made.

This was our fourth Sensatori resort, we had been to Crete, Tenerife and Ibiza previously and know when booking a Sensatori hotel you are getting a 5* hotel with ultimate luxury with lots for the children to do as well.

We flew out to Rhodes from Luton which was fairly easy. I booked the priority lane as always which is £3 a person if you pre book and slightly more expensive if you purchase on the day. It allowed us to fly through security and into the shops! We were lucky to be the first on the plane and the pilot invited the boys into the cockpit. Archie refused but Oscar couldn’t believe it! We arrived in Rhodes quite late and the transfer to the hotel was about 45 minutes. Once we arrived, we had welcome drinks and were offered to go to the restaurant but as the boys were tired we were taken to our room by golf buggy where our luggage was waiting for us, along with a fruit platter and dessert tray.

We booked a family suite with a swim up pool and when we got to our room it looked amazing! A large main bedroom for us with a TV, mini bar which is stocked up everyday and is included in your all-inclusive, a second bedroom for the boys with another TV, desk and wardrobe inside. Hidden between the wardrobes in our room was the entrance to the bathroom which had a large bath/shower, two sinks and a separate toilet cubicle. The sliding doors then opened out on to out terrace and swim up pool. The boys loved having this and we used it everyday. There is tons of storage in the room, two wardrobes in the main and one in the kids room which was great to keep everything organised and room nice and tidy.

Within the resort there is the main buffet restaurant ‘Mesogios’ where you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have different themed nights and the food was really good. I especially loved the fresh honeycomb at breakfast, that was so yummy! The other five restaurants you need to book for either using the screens in the hotel lobby or using the TUI Sensatori app. Caprice is a lovely Italian restaurant, Gaia is a healthy option restaurant, Kuzina is a greek restaurant and Liberty is an American restaurant. The last restaurant, Citrus is an adults only restaurant. Other than Citrus we ate at all of the other restaurants and the food was lovely. You can also eat lunch at Liberty or Kokumi cafe without booking. We were on an all inclusive package so you can eat and drink as much as you like. This is great with kids as they can eat and drink as much as they like and throughout the day waiters/waitresses came around to our sunbeds and took our drink orders and brought it to us.

In the evening there is a entertainment programme which you can view on the app two weeks in advance. For children they have Playhouse Live, movie nights and fun sleepovers. On the boardwalk each night there are different shows either from the Sensatori show team or acts that have been flown in to perform for you. During our stay we also had the World Cup and they showed the England games on the huge screen in the boardwalk, had a BBQ and brought beers around to everyone. The atmosphere was amazing and the Sensatori team made it really special and great fun!

During the day there are so many pools to choose from; the adult only pool (obviously not for us), the splash park and spray ground which was absolutely amazing for the boys with so many great flumes, the indoor pool, the ‘quiet pool’ which wasn’t that at all it was more like another family pool and this is where we spent most of our time, the main pool by the family rooms and the activity pool where they had lots of activities in that ran throughout the day. There was also the beach which is shingle but the sea was lovely and warm and there is also water sports you can do. Oscar and Greg went on the jet skis and Greg learnt to Water Ski, which was rather funny.

There is also a full activity programme for adults and children that run throughout the day as well. There is a kids club and stay and play sessions over in the nursery. I didn’t use this myself as the boys have never been in a club on holiday but other parent’s we spoke to said it was really good. Oscar did go with Greg to the sports hub to take part in a Nintendo DS racing competition which they loved.

An activity which Oscar wanted to do was learn to Scuba Dive. You can do this in the dive school which is located in the indoor pool. He had a lesson in the indoor pool for about 70 euros and then a few days later he got to do it in the sea which was amazing, this was about 100 euros for the hour. He absolutely loved it and can’t wait to do it again, he was a real natural and the instructors were lovely.

When they were building the hotel they came across ancient ruins from 5AD. They excavated it and have built a glass bridge above it so you can walk above and look at the archeological site. The main part was the village that had a church, two live presses and around 80 houses. You can even look down one of the wells. It is an amazing thing to see and we walked across it each night, its beautiful.

On site there is also a car hire office where we hired a car for the day, I think it was 140 euros and we drove to Rhodes Old Town. It was free to park and then you walk inside the medieval walls and there are so many lovely shops and restaurants. We spent the whole day here and also dove to see the Acropolis. I brought lots of bits in the town for the unique shops and we also had a man in the main square draw a picture of Oscar and Archie which he delivered to our hotel the next day. It’s absolutely amazing!

We also ventured to Lindos on one of the days. We got a taxi from the hotel as it’s not to far away. It’s a beautiful town full of little quaint streets, hidden away churches and at the top of the hill an ancient castle. Oscar and Archie had a donkey ride to the castle and back down again.

The rest of the time we spent at the hotel which was lovely and with so much to do you can you won’t get bored.

One thing the TUI reps sold to us was the VIP Lounge at Rhodes airport as it is a nightmare. It was around £150 for the four of us and yes it did get us through check-in much quicker but after that it’s a waste of money. The VIP lounge was small and cramped, the food was terrible and then it was so disorganised getting from the lounge to your boarding gate, at one point the stewardess just pushed us into the queue and everyone behind started moaning and it was a bit embarrassing to be honest. One man even missed his flight. I wouldn’t bother purchasing this if it’s offered to you, it’s a waste of money.

Overall apart from the journey home (Rhodes is famous for being a terrible airport) we had an amazing holiday and would go back and stay again. With all the Sensatori resorts you know you are getting luxury. It’s a beautiful hotel and obviously as it was brand new everything was sparkling clean. We had a fantastic holiday!

*This is a honest review of our holiday and I was not compensated in anyway for this post.

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!

World Of Dinosaurs At Paradise Wildlife Park

On Monday we drove to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne for a family day out at the Zoo. I packed a picnic and even thought it was due to rain all day we braved it and got on our way. The boys were really excited as new to Paradise Wildlife Park is the World of Dinosaurs. We have been to Paradise Wildlife Park many times before and absolutely love it! Oscar and Archie are both into dinosaurs and when I told them there would be 30 life-sized dinosaurs they couldn’t wait to see them!

When we first arrived at the Zoo we decided to see all of the animals first and save the World of Dinosaurs until last. It was raining quite heavily but this actually worked in our favour as most of the animals were indoors and we got so close to them.

The Lions, Cheetah and the White Tiger were all inside out of the rain and we were so lucky to see them only a metre or so away from us.

The Big Cat walkway is always great and you can see a Jaguar, Snow Leopard, Tigers, Cheetahs and the Lions. We stopped at the picnic area by the Tigers which is covered from the rain and ate our lunch right next to the Tiger’s enclosure window. A lunch with a great view!

After we had seen all of the animals in the Zoo we made our way to the World of Dinosaurs.

We were genuinely blown away! It’s absolutely fantastic, full of 30 life-sized dinosaurs that move and make sounds. I’ve never seen anything like it. Oscar couldn’t believe how real they looked. For any Dinosaur fan this is the place to visit. Around the woodland walk around the Dinosaurs are signs that tell you what each Dinosaur is called and facts about them.

By the T-Rex is the perfect photo point where you can pose in a jeep as you get away from the roaring T-Rex. Watch out for the Dinosaur at the end he will squirt you with water! When you have finished the walk there is a great Dinosaur themed shop and cafe.

I am going to take the boys back in a couple of months to do it all again in the dry warmer weather. We got absolutely drenched but had a lovely day out as always at PWP.

*This post is in collaboration with PWP. All opinions are honest and my own.

Shrek’s Adventure London Review

Yesterday we went into London as we were invited to the Shrek’s Adventure London DreamWorks tour and to get up close to a ‘real’ Nadder baby dragon from ‘How To Train A Dragon’. We have been on the tour once before a couple years ago when Archie was only small and Greg was at work that day, so we were looking forward to a fun family day out.

Luckily the weather was beautiful yesterday and it was lovely and sunny walking across the millenium Bridge to walk down the South Bank past the London Eye to the Shrek Adventure entrance. We collected our tickets then had a short queue to the lift. Once upstairs you walk down a hallway with Shrek themed stained glass windows. There is a small shop where you can purchase snacks and Shrek themed light up ears (you can also drop any pushchairs off here too) before starting your tour.

We had our photo taken with Donkey  (one of you will be given a wrist band with a serial number on it so that you can see all your photos at the end). We then we to the departure lounge where we were greeted with a very enthusiastic and fun tour guide who went through a quick safety briefing and led us to the magical red bus station. We met Princess Fiona and then boarded the magical bus with our 4D glasses. We drove/flew with Toothless the Dragon, Kung Fu Panda and the plane from Madagascar. But as we reached Far Far Away with Donkey’s dodgy driving we were surrounded by Rumplestiltskin’ witches and as we landed killed his favourite Witch! oops!

We then met Cinderella who told us we needed to find Shrek, quick. We then walked through the forest to the fortune-teller, Esmeralda who told us we needed to get three ingredients to make a magical portal spell to get us home.

We walked through the forest to the poison apple pub where we were greeted by a Cinderella’s Ugly Sister where we got the hair of a hero from puss in boots. We then walked to go and play a game of ‘the wheel of torture’ where we had to answer three questions to save Pinocchio. We then rewired the torturer’s brain to become our friend and he gave us our second ingredient, the conscience of a boy.

We then went through a mirrored maze to reach Sleeping Beauty on Drury Lane. Gingy then opened the door for us to the Muffin Man’s bakery so that we could mix up our potion. We needed one last ingredient, the scent of an ogre. Everyone knows that Ogres smell like onions, so after Donkey dropped on off we added it to the potion. Oscar was asked to put it in the cauldron. We said the magic word ‘Waffle’ and then entered the magical portal to return home. But disaster happens, Rumplestiltskin had tampered with the portal and we had been captured my the Witches and found ourselves locked in prison. But don’t worry Shrek isn’t far behind and comes and saves us! We are finally back home in Far Far Away.

After the tour is finished you can sometimes have a photo with the bag ogre himself but this wasn’t available when we had finished. Here is a photo from when we visited in 2016.

You then get to meet all your favourite DreamWork’s characters and have photos with them.

New to Shrek’s Adventure for the Easter Holidays (Friday 30th March – Sunday 15th April 2018) you can head to the Isle of Berk and meet one of the baby Nadder Dragons that have just hatched out of its egg. You can have a photo with the little dragon and purchase it at the end. Are you brave enough to venture close enough?

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We had a fantastic time at the Shrek’s Adventure Experience. The boys loved it as it is a fun interactive tour that really gets the children involved. I would definitely recommend going as its a really fun family day out. If you purchase your tickets online before you visit you can save up to 30%. You can also purchase a Merlin Annual Pass which from £139 per person which gives you unlimited access to 32 magical attractions! As you are right by the London Aquarium and the Coca Cola London Eye you can buy tickets to be able to visit both/all three attractions at a reduced price which must be used within 90 days. You can also combine your ticket with Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeon helping you to save a lot of money!

I was only saying to Greg today that now Archie is old enough to enjoy all of these wonderful days outs we should invest in Merlin Annual Passes, especially as we take the boys to Legoland and all the time. Especially with the 32 places you can visit with it.

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*This post is in collaboration with Shrek’s Adventure. We were given free entry to the experience. All thoughts and opinions are honest and my own. We had a fantastic day!

My Separation Anxiety

Last week Archie turned 3! I can’t quite believe it and just don’t know where the time has gone. Being the second and last child I have definitely noticed more anxiety this time around watching him growing up and I just don’t want to let him go. He is so ready to start nursery and was meant to start next week but I have delayed it a term, as the time got nearer my anxiety went through the roof. He is around children a lot during the week as we go to two toddler groups, a Playball class and his swimming lesson so I know he’s not particularly missing out on anything by staying at home with me. He also needs to be potty trained to start at the nursery as we haven’t quite mastered that yet. I’m not going to lie there is a part of me that just wants him to start next September and just do one full year in nursery before reception.

Looking back Oscar didn’t go to nursery until he was three either, he started nursery on the September after his third birthday going a few mornings a week and did a year in nursery before going into reception. Again we went to lots of classes so he had lots of child interaction. Even now as Oscar’s school holidays draw to a close and he goes back to school next week I start to dread it, as I love having him at home with us and really enjoy the school holidays. During the week he has such a long school day (8.20-4.15) and then after school clubs, reading, piano practice and homework so we don’t have a lot of time during the week to do anything fun. So we make the most of the weekends and holidays.

I think in my crazy mind I think that once Archie starts nursery and he does a couple of mornings which will then lead into days and then suddenly he will be at full time school that I just want to keep him at home for as long as possible as once he starts that’s it. He’s my sidekick and goes everywhere with me so suddenly having free time to myself will be lovely but very strange. My Mother In Law said to me years ago that your children are only lent to you and then they grow up and fly the nest, I get that but it scares my how quick the time goes, Oscar is almost 8 and I wish life would just slow down.

I 100% have an issue with leaving the boys, Oscar was only left once overnight when he was 2 weeks old as it was our best friend’s wedding (he was 3 weeks early) and since then I’ve never had a night apart from either of them. This year my brother is getting married and I was invited on the hen do to Marbella. Now instantly I wanted to go, sit in the sun and have fun with the girls and then my anxiety kicked in. Leaving the boys behind even though I know they would have a fun weekend with Greg and be totally fine, the thought of being in a different country to them made me say no. Even now there is a part of my brain that says don’t be so stupid, go and enjoy yourself! Greg’s been away with his friends loads since we had children and its great to have time just being you!

I know a lot of the problems go back to when Oscar was born and he was poorly and then when he was a few weeks old he couldn’t breathe and I had to clear his airways. It scared me how quickly things can go wrong and since then have always felt safer when they are with us. Which is crazy I know.

Even me reading this post back now and I think ‘crazy lady’ and can see how I am missing out on doing certain things/trips which would be fun. But for now I just want to enjoy our boys whilst they are still young. After all when they are all grown up I will have plenty of time to do other things.

#Blogmas Day 5: Our Annual Trip To Harrod’s Christmas Grotto 2017

Yesterday we picked up Oscar from school and drove into London to go to the Harrod’s Christmas Grotto 2017. Every year in September I eagerly await the email to let me know when I can book our visit. This year the bookings opened in October and at 9am I got my email and by 9.05 our slot was booked! When booking you pay a £10 deposit per child over 3 years old, under 2’s are free. On the day of your visit to the grotto you get your deposit back to spend on your Harrods reward card. The boys then get to choose a new decoration for the Christmas tree with it.

So we picked Oscar up from school and drove into town and parked in our usual spot. When we got to Harrods we walked around the outside and looked at all of the decorated Dolce & Gabbana windows. They were really good, and had a photo by the huge Christmas Tree. We were a bit early so we then looked around the Toy Kingdom on the third floor which is every child’s idea of heaven.

When we arrived at the grotto which is located right by the Toy Kingdom Oscar presented our ticket and then we went into a roped off area that had Christmas colouring, mini golf and other games and lots of friendly elves to play with. The boys were given green bells to look after and then when the green bells group were called we went through a red curtain into a beautiful room with a huge Christmas tree and two of Santa’s elves.

They told the children all about the magic of Christmas and every child got an ‘Official Elf’ badge and a Harrods gold chocolate coin. The elves were really friendly interacting with the boys asking them what they would like for Christmas. We were then called through to meet the big man himself and Oscar and Archie knocked on the door and Father Christmas greeted them.

He was really nice, congratulating Oscar on learning to ride his bike since he had last seen him and asked him about school and his friends. Archie wasn’t so sure to start with but within minutes was giving Father Christmas a high five and telling him he would like a blue car for Christmas. We then had our annual Christmas photo taken with him (this is our eight year at Harrods).

Oscar and Archie were then given lovely red gift bags with a Harrods teddy inside as their gift. They were over the moon. We said our goodbyes and went to view our photo, which we brought to go with all the others which was £14.50.  The boys also posted their letters to Father Christmas in the special postbox outside.

We then went and brought our Harrods 2017 bear decoration (we buy one every year) and Oscar also chose another bauble. We had a great time and its just so magical and we love it! We always then walk around to Pizza Express for some dinner then drove home. Needless to say the boys were shattered by the time we got home and went straight to bed!

Merry Christmas!