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.

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.

Our First Country Fair Of The Year

The beautiful sunshine came out for us yesterday to make a trip to our first country fair of the year yesterday.

Years ago we used to visit Merton Abbey Mills and decided to take a trip there in with the Country Fair at Morden Hall.



Sadly the buzzy atmosphere that there used to be at Abby Mills is no more with a real lack of stalls.  It’s such a shame and would be great if some kind of regeneration project could be started there as its such a great area.

That said the boys had fun picking themselves a toy from one of the stalls, there are plenty of good restaurants to chose from and popping into see the water mill working is always great fun.


From here we walked to Morden Hall to see what was going on at their Counrty Fair.  It is a fair walk but all flat and takes you past Dean City Farm which is always worth a visit.

We made our way into the grounds where people were picnicking and playing pooh sticks from the many bridges the grounds home.

The fair itself is a real mixture of the traditional attractions that I love such as coconut shys, willow weaving, bee keeping, magicians and many more with the big rides that the older ones love.


The steam engines were wonderful to see and everyone loved the huge display of KNex that had been set up as a miniature fairground.


There were plenty of food stalls to choose from and a couple of great Pimms and traditional cider stalls.

The highlight for the youngest two was the medieval area where they got to watch the Knights complete in full armour.  Number four said it was the best thing he had ever seen!


This was the perfect start to the spring for us with so much to see and do inside and out of the fair.  It is running again today if you fancy popping down to take a look!

Our Last Summer Fete Of The Year

For anyone that knows me they will know that one of my top summer activities is visiting village fairs.  I love the feeling of stepping back in time and the simple fun of things like the coconut shy, lucky dips and tombolas.

With the last Bank Holiday upon us we set off to visit the Donkey Derby in Godstone, Surrey.  It was everything I love about a village fair, lots of stalls to browse, cream tea tents, Punch and Judy and the added bonus of the donkey races.

   
   

The children loved picking a donkey to cheer long and watched them race over the finish line.  They sat mesmerised at the Punch and Judy show and had a couple of rides on the monkey swings.

We had our obligatory cream tea under canvas while the children tried their hand at hand spinning and now  know where the song ‘wind the bobbin up’ comes from.

   
   

The highlight of number five’s day was the ornate wooden organ that he stood by for ages dancing to and popping pennies into the pot.

   

It was a lovely way to round off the summer holidays and now roll on the Christmas markets. 
  

Flower Show With More Cream Teas

Every year a wonderful house in the pretty village of Chipstead in Surrey opens its grounds to allow the local flower show and fun run to take place.

This is always a favourite for our family as it feels like a step back in time with a traditional brass band, coconut shys, cream teas and Pimms tent.

   
     

We took a wonder around the gardens of the owners grand home and had a look at his collection of exquisite classic cars that number four wanted to have a drive in!

   
     

Next stop was a jump around on the bouncy castle, trying our hand at the tombola, a successful throw on the coconut shy and some cupcake making.

   
     

We had a pit stop and endulged in a scrummy cream tea whist listening to the fabulous brass band.

  
It really feels like you are on the set of something like the ‘Darling Buds Of May’.

There are lots of games and shows put on in the centre of the main field and plenty of stalls selling lovingly handcrafted goods, flowers and lots of yummy food.

We saved the show tent until last and left the little ones outside with my Dad so I could have a good look around without the worry of one of them destroying someone’s entry that they would have put so much time and effort into.

   
   

My Mum was a keen flower arranger many years ago and I am really getting into photography do next year we are thinking about entering ourselves!!

  
 

Spring Has Sprung – Craft Fairs And Sand Ice-creams



I’ve been following The Milk List on Facebook for a while now, they  sell beautiful vintage furniture and toys for children’s bedrooms and  I noticed this week that she was holding a stall at a craft fair in Caterham so I decided to take a trip down there before our usual Saturday routine.





I was not disappointed when I arrived.  I was greeted with a smile at the beautifully presented stall which had many fabulous items.  We chose two wooden cars and a retro Bambi that are going to look great in number four’s room.  We would have browsed for longer but he had taken a liking to a set of pool balls that I was concerned were going to be launched through the opposite stall!  There is an online store in the pipeline so I will be keeping my eye out for that.





With such beautiful weather today I was looking forward to our Saturday trip to the park.  We had a picnic packed which the boys were very excited to be able to eat on the grass for the first time this year.  Once we had eaten and taken in the sun for a while we headed to the sandpit with our new sand toys which I’d managed to buy in between the screaming and crying on our IKEA trip yesterday.  I have to admit they’d been thrown in the bag yesterday with all the stress and I had not paid much attention to them.  Once opened I realised they were actually a little set of ice-cream cones and pots that can be filled with sand.  It was a great purchase as number four is normally happier to launch sand over me and any unsuspecting passerby but these keep his attention for a good hour.









This superb weather has got us all excited for the predicted scorcher of a Spring and Summer.  What plans have you all got in the pipeline?