Days Out With The Kids This Christmas

Yes I know we have only just put our sandals and summer dress aways but before you know it Christmas will be upon us and if you want to get those special days booked in then you really do have to start thinking about it now!

Christmas is by far my favourite time of year and I have compiled a list of a few of our favourites that I hope you might enjoy:

Lapland UK – This one just had to be top of my list as I have experienced nothing like it before. We were lucky enough to have our first trip there last year and we were absolutely blown away.

From helping the elves in Father Christmas’s toy factory, icing biscuits with Mother Christmas, taking to the ice in the most beautifully setting and finally meeting the main man himself who Frankie has named ‘the real’ Father Christmas it was sheer magic.

It brought a tear to my eye and I don’t think that day will ever be topped!

Hever Castle – For me Hever brings you everything you would imagine when you think of an English christmas celebration. The traditional fairground rides and beautiful christmas trail are perfect for the little ones, whilst the stunningly decorated castle is a sight that everyone will enjoy.

We are off there at the end of November so keep an eye out for what they have in store this year.

Chessington World Of Adventure – The Winter’s Tail event at Chessington World Of Adventure is always a fantastic day out. There is the chance to visit Santa in his grotto, ride on a few selected rides that are specially opened including our favourite – The Gruffly River Ride Adventure, decorate festive treats in the Gruffly kitchen and something new this year will be The Gruffalo Christmas Groove.

alongside all of this they are also offering sleepover packages and we can highly recommend a stay in their fantastic hotel.

Painshill Park – This one for us has the ultimate wow factor when it comes to the grotto. After a walk along a pretty lit walkway you find your way to the crystal grotto where Father Christmas is waiting to hand out his gifts.

It is certainly different from the norm and gets booked up extremely quickly so don’t leave it until the last minute.

Southbank – If you are looking for a day out with festive foods, quirky gifts and the perfect London backdrop then the christmas market at Southbank if definitey one for the list.

Hobbledown – I am so sad that I won’t be going along to the toddlers lunch with Father Christmas this year.

I have visited for many years now and it is the perfect trip for preschoolers where they decorate a biscuit, have some lunch and meet Santa in the cutest little wooden hut.

Winerville – We had our first trip here last year and it really exceeded our expectations. It is an uber cool experience in the heart of Clapham common offering a bit of everything from great food and drink to ice skating, roller skating, fairground rides, crazy golf and a whole lot more.

Disney On Ice – This has become somewhat of a tradition for us to visit a few days before christmas. The culmination of all our favourite Disney characters, the chill of the ice and the excitement of Christmas makes for a great day out.

National Trust – We have visited a fair few properties over the festive period and each one has its on unique and wonderful christmas feel. They offer visits to Father Christmas, crafts galore christmas markets and brilliant trails to wear the kids out which is always a bonus!

CBeebies Christmas Show:Thumbelina – Getting cosy in the cinema is perfect at this time of year and when its to watch a classic such as Thumbelina put on by some of your favourite Cbeebies characters then its always going to be a hit.

We are off to see this later in the year so keep an eye out for what we think!

RHS Wisley – Now the illuminated trail at Wisley is something I’ve heard so many good things about but haven’t actually got there yet. I think it will have to go on my list for this year.

Winter Wonderland – If you want Christmas on a grand scale then this is the place for you. Winter Wonderland is a huge area in Hyde Park full of fairground rides, food stalls, gifts, ice skating, shows and bucket loads more. We had our first trip there last year and had an amazing time!

Bocketts Farm – I love a farm visit over the christmas period and Bocketts offers an amazingly festive day out complete with a trip to santa in his hay barn.

The Snowman – My children laugh at how much I love The Snowman in any form. My first love was of course the illustrated character and I have loved watching how he has evolved over the years. We watched the stage show a few years ago which was absolutly spell binding and keep the attention of my younger two for over two hours which is no mean feat. This year there is also a magical exhibition at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery, an immersive experience at The Backyard Cinema, a special story telling session at Bath Pavilions by the talented author Michael Morpurgo and a the most magical showing of the animated film at the Royal Albert Hall accompanied by the Royal Philamonic Orchestra.

Priory Farm – This has been our Christmas Eve tradition for a few years now. We stop off in the cafe for a mince pie and a warm drink, get the last of our foodie bits at the fab farm shop and a trek round the discovery walk to wear out the over excited little one.

Peter Rabbit Movie:Review

If the tales of Peter Rabbit conjure up thoughts of a mischievous little bunny in a blue jacket, an angry gardener going by the name of Mr Mcgregor all based in a quintessentially english garden then the new Peter Rabbit movie will bring you all of this along with a few new characters and adventures thrown in!

I was lucky enough to go along to a screening the other afternoon with Oscar…much to the annoyance of the other kids to see first hand if the movie lived up to its huge expectations.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was the amazing use of CGI when it came to the super cute bunnies, their fluffy little faces really came to life and were hard to tell apart from the real thing.

The movie follows the timeless classic tale of the feud between Peter Rabbit and Mr McGregor and their long running battle over the ownership of the vegetable patch which in this new adaptation see the sudden death of the evil old man(could be a tricky one to explain to the kids, although it went over Oscar’s head), much to the delight of Peter and his siblings Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail.

Celebrations commence with a rowdy party hosted by Peter himself which involves all the surrounding wildlife taking over Mc Gregors home and partying the night away whist completely trashing the place.

Mr Tod the sly fox was left in a sorry state slumped in the bathroom with a shaved chest, tiny were hedgehogs being used as darts and Peter Rabbit himself was playing lord of the manner whist charming the ladies. This is all a far cry from the traditional tale but bought laughs a plenty to the audience.

The celebrations were short lived when Tom McGregor the nephew of Mr McGregor arrives to take charge of his newly inherited property. The garden feud continues with the younger, more sprightly counterpart who tests Peter’s light fingered ways and gives him a real run for his money whilst both battling for the affections of Mr Mcgregors beautiful, kind hearted neighbour which makes for an explosive end to the film!

The catchy up to date tunes and slapstick humour are all a far cry from the stories 19th centuries origins, but there are highlights back to the tales original identity through the film which is a lovely touch and allows you to relate back to familiar and much loved characters.

The movie has shot into the 21st century with rapping birds, booby traps that are far more advanced than the original garden sieve method of capture and a little romance thrown in for good measure makes for a family movie that will make a perfect treat this Easter.

All The Hugs From The Teletubbies For National Hugging Day

Today started with two very excited little boys boarding the train full of excitement to celebrate National Hugging Day with the Teletubbies and enjoy a special screening of their new DVD release – Teletubbies: Follow The Leader which is out on DVD now.

We arrived at Sony Pictures and were greeted with a a room full of brightly coloured balloons, sumptuous food and a gaggle of very excited tots.

It wasn’t long before the room was filled will roars of excitement as Laa-Laa and Po entered and dished out hugs to their loyal fans.

Full up and eager to see what the new DVD had to offer we made our way to our seats where I was amazed at how the first few seconds of the episodes starting silenced the whole theatre, which is no mean feat when you consider over half of the audience was of pre-school age.

We sat through two new episodes from the Teletubbies that didn’t fail to impress. The bubbly, familiar characters filled the screen and lead us through their adventures from chasing shooting stars to taking a ride on our favourite Tubby Custard Train.

The fun didn’t stop here and after the screening the children got the chance to get their faces painted, take part in making some crafts and the amazing opportunity to meet Jessica Smith who was the first ever ‘Sun Baby’ and dance along with her, Laa-Laa and Po.

The Teletubbies have gone from strength to strength over the past twenty years and have managed to retain their lovable characters whilst still moving with the times which is something that many childrens shows fail to do and I’m sure they will be around to entertain both children and adults for many years to come.

Christmas Hits Clapham With Winterville

It’s not often my children consider me a cool Mum but they were pretty impressed with me the other day when we had a mad dash after the school run to attend the launch night at Winterville on Clapham Common.

Winterville has been billed as London’s alternative festival and it certainly lived up to its name.

As we entered through the neon lit walkway we were greeted with the smell of roasted chestnuts, the sound of familiar christmas hits and a mixture of traditional decorated trees and super cool lighting from the many food stands.

The kids didn’t take long to spot the rides and headed straight off for an adrenaline rush.

The older two headed for the bigger rides of which there were plenty, the good old fashion Waltzer was the favourite while the younger two stuck to the smaller rides…not that they were happy about it!

After the thrills and spills of all the rides we headed over to take to the ice. I took a sigh of relief when they told me Oscar was to young to join in as ice skating is not my forte to say the least.

We sat on the sidelines enjoying a delicious hot chocolate and a gorgeously gooey chocolate brownie while the others thoroughly enjoyed skating around with the beautiful backdrop of the hustle and bustle of Winterville.

By now they had all worked up an appetite and we headed over to Street Feast where there was an amazing selection of street food from juicy burgers to crispy breaded chicken, sumptuous wood-fired pizzas to sticky ribs and so much more.

It is a great place to get out of the cold as well as filling your bellies!

We only scrapped the surface of what Winterville has to offer and I would love to go back to have a round of golf with Plonk golf, see if my skills are better on four wheels in the roller disco, and maybe take in a show.

It would also make a fantastic child free night out as sampling the delicious looking mulled wine and tipsy hot chocolates in the Spiegeltent.

I loved the urban vibe mixed with the traditional Christmas and I wholeheartedly agree that Winterville brings an alternative edge to your usual Christmas festival type attractions and is definitly worth checking out for yourself.

* We were asked along to the launch night for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

The Snow Kingdom:Backyard Cinema

Fancy visiting the cosiest cinema ever? Somewhere that creates a special experience from the moment you set foot inside? then The Backyard Cinema is the place to go.

I was lucky enough to visit this cinema a few years ago when the theme was Movies In A Lost World and it felt just like we were stepping into a scene from Raiders Of The Lost Ark with temples, monkeys and even a vine to grab onto to swing to your seats!

With Christmas on its way the Backyard Cinema has turned into hidden snow kingdom that allows you to venture through ice caves and across frozen lakes until you finally uncover the enchanted castle.

Once inside you can snuggle up on the cosy beanbags and cover up with a blanket whist watching a huge selections of classics such as Home Alone, Elf, The Nightmare Before Christmas and many more.

Refreshments aren’t your usual popcorn and coke in plastic cups either. There is a chance to sample some gorgeous cocktails such as Toxic Apple or Bubblegum Whizzbang.

From a special treat for the kids to a cosy date night their is something to suit everyone and different packages that can be selected ‘here’ to make the evening just as you like it.

We are off there in a few weeks to watch one of our all time favourite films so keep an eye out for how we get on.

PJ Masks Halloween Party

Could there be a more perfect start to half term then a combination of super heroes and halloween all rolled into one big party.

This is exactly what we were lucky enough to experience when we went along to the Picturehouse Central last week for the PJ Masks halloween party.

Balloons, banners and just about everything you could think of related to PJ Masks filled the room and hoards of excited children dressed as their favourite characters played with the super new PJ Masks products, crafted and danced along to a fantastic session put on by Diddi Dance.

Diddi Dance are in-fact hosting a week long ‘PJ Masks Super Dance Party’ from 30th October-5th November throughout all their branches in aid of the Youth Sports Trust.

As if this wasn’t enough excitement we were then surprised by the arrival of all the ‘real’ PJ Masks’ Oscar was absolutely over the moon!

They then all joined us for for a yummy lunch before we headed off to the screening of the brand new episodes that are set to hit our screens in the spring.

The action packed episodes will still see the same familiar characters with the addition of some new and exciting characters to bring even more fun to the hugely popular shows!

The boys exclaimed the they had had the best day ever and came away with the goody bag of dreams that they are still working their way through now.

PJ Masks really are going from strength to strength and with some great products that have just been launched in time for christmas and some brilliant new episodes coming in the new year their is so much for fans to look forward too.

Winterville 2017 Is Coming To Clapham

Winterville is moving south of the river after a break last year and will be hitting Clapham Common from 23rd November until 1st January.

Winterville is an alternative Festive experience that brings something a little different to the Christmas celebrations. With so many different attractions across town it is hard to know where to chose – but Winterville has something to offer the whole family.

You can take a ride on the big wheel and take in all there is to offer from high in the sky, try out your putting skills on the UV-powered plonk golf course or get cosy and take in a screening of on of the christmas classics in the Backyard Cinema’s Winter Garden.

If like me food is your thing then you won’t be disappointed with what Winterville has to offer. From burgers to fried chicken or sweets treats and cocktails there is something to suit all tastes.

When it comes to things to entertain the kids you will be spoilt for choice. They can take to the ice on Clapham’s first ever ice rink, get onto four wheels and try out their roller skating skills, they can get their dancing shoes on for a very special tea dance, watch the wonderful World Beyond The Wardrobe show they is a Narnia inspired interactive experience, and of course a festive outing wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Santa.

There are also some ticketed events on offer such as Cirque de Caberet, The Twisted Wheels Roller Disco, Stevie Wonderland and the All Abba Disco.

I really have just touched on a little of what they have to offer and we will be heading there ourselves at the end of November so keep an eye out for how we get on!

Spinjitzu Masterclass And Lego Ninjago Movie Preview

The other Sunday we headed for Tower Bridge to take part in a Spinjitzu masterclass lead by the master of kicks herself-Jade Jones the Olympic medal winning taekwondo and hosted by the hilarious Dick and Dom.

For those of you familiar with the Lego Ninjago series you will know that Spinjitzu is a martial art formed by the characters in the series and to celebrate the launch of the Ninjago Movie we were invited along to take part in a fantastic masterclass.

The park was filled with mini ninjas all eager to be practicing their kicks in front of the woman that is well known for just this.

With the stunning backdrop of Tower Bridge, the comedy of Dick and Dom and the expertise of Jade Jones it certainly made for a very special morning…the fun wasn’t to stop there though.

After grabbing a quick bite to eat we headed to The Empire, Haymarket for a preview of the movie itself. Popcorn in hand the movie started and the bustling cinema was silenced.

The Lego Ninjago movie is in short the story of a group of teenagers that struggle through the day to day life of High School and struggle some what to fit in. They do however have amazing alter egos that sees them in a continual battle to save Ninjago City from the evil warlord Garmadon who happens to be the estranged father of the green ninja.

With the use of the knowledge they had gained from the wise Sensai Wu-aka Jackie Chan that shows how good will always outweigh evil.

The movie is a mixture of action and humour(a good part aimed at the adults) with an underlying serious message of the importance of companionship, teamwork and self belief.

With a span of ages from 3-40 between us there was something to keep us all entertained throughout and is a must for any Lego fns this half term.

*a big thank you to Warner Bros for inviting us along to this great event.

Toys Galore With Cars 3

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months you can’t have missed the hype the has surrounding the release of Cars 3.

We were lucky enough to go along to a screening recently which left us all buzzing from the return of these lovable characters to the big screen.

Along with new film releases always comes a whole host of merchandise that children are drawn towards to keep the movie alive once they return home.

Ordinarily I’m normally a bit of a meanie when it comes to things like this as they are often gimmicky toys that fail to keep my children’s attention for more than five minutes!

However Cars 3 has bought with it a fantastic range of toys that have kept my boys occupied for hours on end which is nothing short of a miracle if you know my youngest two.

Lego is always a big hit in our house and the Cars 3 Junior Easy To Build version that is aimed at children aged 4-7 has been a fantastic addition to our collection.

The easy to follow instructions and recognisable characters make it a toy that Frankie can happily return to again and again and get the satisfaction that he can create it all by himself.

At this time of year I am always looking for toys that are easy to take on trips out to keep them amused on long journeys or when I need to try and keep them busy while we are having a meal.

This is where the mini racers and figural crayons are perfect.

The cars can be easily raced up and down in smaller spaces and crayons are always a go to, to let them get creative.

The quirky design of the crayons with the name and figure of each car was a real delight and they have also been used as race cars an several occasions too!

We have been thinking a lot about getting things ready for ‘back to school’ and one thing I like to do is get key rings for their book bags so they can be easily recognised and hopefully not lost within the first few weeks.

These super cute soft keyrings are the perfect way to adorne any book bag…or sneak onto your own keys if you are anything like my husband! 

If cuddly is your thing then the squishy Guido is the one for you. He has in fact  paved the way to become top choice for a bedtime cuddle here.

I have saved the best for last though which comes in the form or a remote control Cruz Ramirez car.

It is the perfect way for children to try their hand at becoming a racer themselves with an easy to use control pad that has simple manoeuvres for even the youngest of children to get to grips with.

This car has given them hours of fun and more than a few arguments about who is going to drive it!

I would love to know who your favourite character is from the new film and which one this fantastic toys would be on your little ones list.
*We were given these toys for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

A Dogs Purpose Screening

A couple of weeks ago I got to have some much needed one on one time with Izzy when we attended the screening of A Dogs Purpose at Picturehouse Central in Shaftesbury Ave.

Izzy is a huge dog lover and has aspirations of owning her own kennel when she gets older, so you can imagine her excitement when she realised we were going to watch a film that is based around her favourite fluffy animals.

Inside the theatre we were given ‘pic&mix’ sweets that were cleverly served in dog bowls, cleverly in keeping with the theme.


Izzy was beside herself as we realised it wasn’t only humans that were there to review the film but a whole host of dogs that had been invited along too; in fact she got to cuddle the insta famous Boo French Bulldog sisters, Coco and Boo the whole way through the screening.


A Dogs Purpose brings to the big screen a loving and devoted dog that has had a bit of a rough start to life until he is saved by his new owner Ethan that he enjoys many adventures with both good and bad until the sad moment finally that all animal owners dread and I had already preemted would happen in the film.

It then takes a real twist and sees him reincarnated over several decades coming back as different dogs that show him very varied lives.

I won’t spoil the ending for you but lets just say it was something I certainly wasn’t expecting.

This film took us through every emotion imaginable and we were in fits of laughter one minute and shedding tears the next.

It shows the huge bond between mans best friend and their owners and has got me thinking that it might not only be cats that have nine lives!