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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.

Bassetts Omega 3+ Multivitamins

Every morning without fail Oscar and Archie have always had vitamins with their breakfast. As soon as they turned three they have had the chewy multivitamins. Giving them one that tastes good is always key as then they will willingly eat it.

Bassetts Vitamins have just launched new Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for 3-6 year olds. I gave them to Archie and he ate it straight away and said they were yummy. Each pastille is soft and chewy, so easy for little ones to eat and they smell so fruity too.

Each pastille contains Vitamin B6 which supports normal psychological function and Vitamin B5 which contributes to mental performance, which is so important when Archie is constantly on the go all of the time and learning new things all the time.

One of the best things about the Bassetts Vitamins Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for me is that they have no added sugar! Knowing Archie is getting a smart start to the day without any added sugar is great. They are made from natural flavours and colours and taste so orange and fruity.

We have been trying the new Bassetts Vitamins Omega 3 + Multivitamins Orange Flavour Pastilles for a couple of weeks now and they are just part of our daily routine. I would highly recommend these multivitamins to help support a smart start to the day which also taste good.

We have had great fun getting creative as Archie could demonstrate how he think the multivitamin tastes. After all, being healthy should be a way of life for children which enables them to have fun and make the most out of each and every day.

A packet of thirty multivitamins is only RRP £5.50 which is a small amount to pay to support Archies. There is a next stage that Oscar takes which is for children age 7-11. 

*Just a reminder, food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet.

 

This post is in collaboration with Bassetts Vitamins.

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 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 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.

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!

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!

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!