The Cutty Sark:A Day Out For All The Family

[AD] I am ashamed to say that although the Cutty Sark is less than an hour away from us I have never visited, either alone or with the children. It’s one of those places that is so close I’ve simply overlooked it and never made the trip.

However during the half term holidays we were invited along and I was as excited as the children to have our first visit.

After a short journey that was made extra special with a trip on the Docklands Light Railway – another first that I highly recommend if you have little ones we arrived and were immediately taken aback with the sheer beauty and splendour of the ship.

There was no queue at all to get on which is always a bonus when you have children as hyperactive as mine. There is the option to take in the sights of a ship with an interactive guide that talks you though each and every step; but the boys are a little more hands on and decided they just wanted to go ahead and get exploring.

A big worry for me was that the whole set up would be more aimed at adults but this couldn’t be further from the truth. All three of the magnificent decks have been geared up for inquisitive little fingers which certainly placated my nerves.

The lower deck was the first to be explored and it gave you the first insights into the history behind the tea clipper and how and where it carried its precious cargo. It also allowed you to witness the skeleton of the ship and just how much detailed is in the inner workings. The boys were absolutely amazed by the length and the thickness of the huge chains that would have anchored the ship down all those years ago.

Next up was the middle deck which was definitely the area my boys enjoyed the most. There was a special bench that mimicked the movement of the ship, lots of wooden toys for tiny ones to get their fingers on, a chance to sail your very own ship and a whole host of interactive displays to explain what everyday life would have been like onboard.

For me it had to be the top deck that was most impressive. The beautiful glossy wood and brass fittings along with the masses of ropes the seemed to fill the sky really was an amazing sight to see.

The boys ran up and down the decking and exclaimed, “we feel like a Goonie”. They loved being able to get inside the sleeping quarters to try out the bunk beds, peep through the port holes and take a look at the grand dinning area and see where all the food would have been prepared.

The last port of call was to take a look under the boat. I was just expecting an area to take a look at the ship itself but it was in fact a really laid back, peaceful area where you can grab a bite to eat, sit down and take in the beauty on the boat or indeed the stunning views of London from the viewing gallery or take part in one of the many activities on offer for the children.

Whist we were there there was a big group of children all playing a game to help them understand a little more about the ship in a really fun way(you can check out the highlights on my instastories to see a little more).

My preconceived ideas of what the day was going to hold we’re completely smashed after our visit. I took on a whole host of knowledge from the trip as well as the boys and it is definitely well worth a visit.

There is so much for the children to see and do and if you check out Royal Museums Greenwich they will keep you updated on all the fun things on offer for the family such as toddler time, meet the captain and Cutty Sark characters and lots more.

Creating Your Own Pizza With Pizza Express

[AD] During half term we had the pleasure of heading along to the Pizza Express test kitchen in West London for a very special pizza making party.

In usual fashion we arrived once the party had started to a room filled with plums of flour and happy little faces; the boys couldn’t wait to get stuck in!

The dough was kneaded and spun like true professionals and they were then given a whole host of toppings to fill their base with.

A smiling face seemed to be a running theme amongst a lot of the children and it was lovely to see their creative minds at work; this leads me on to letting you know about a fab competition that allows the little ones to use their brilliant imaginations to create their own pizza that if selected could end up on Pizza Express’s very own Piccolo menu.

All you need to do is head over to the Pizza Express Site and select four toppings from a choice of 20 for your very own pizza and then give your creation a super special name to make it stand out from the crowd!

I know that my little ones would be over the moon to be able to visit any of their restaurants and order their very own creation.

The competition is open until Monday 17th June 19 and is open to all children up to the age of 13.

Once the children had finished their pizzas they were popped into the oven to cook whilst they took part in a game of pin the moustache on the waiter which proved to be very popular.

With the smell of pizza in their air everyone got scrubbed up and ready to eat. The meal obviously started with their infamous dough balls, followed closely by their very own pizzas.

For me Pizza Express is the only restaurant we visit that Frankie and his allergies are completely catered for. He doesn’t have to put up with a completely separate/bland menu but instead he can indulge in exactly the same food that the rest of his family and friends enjoy without any worry. From the soft and squashy dough balls to pretty much any pizza he fancies and to finish it’s not just a bowl of fruit or a boring lolly; he can have a ice cream…well sorbet that he never notices the difference with and even a gooey chocolate brownie!

It’s has been one of our top restaurants for family dining for a while now and after our pizza making extravaganza it will remain there for a long time to come I’m sure.

Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab Review And GIVEAWAY

Frankie is a big fan of anything science related. He loves making potions and pulling things apart to see how they work. This can sometimes cause more than a little bit of mess and chaos!

So when we were asked by Learning Resources to try out there Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab I was more than happy to give it a go.

Beaker Creatures is a science kit for young children to be introduced to the wonders of science in a fun and educational way.

The kit took less than five minutes to put together and consists of a main tray with three chambers where the experiments take place.

The main experiment is to dissolve a pod which is pretty similar to a bath bomb inside the main chamber to extract the creature within.

To start the extraction we had to fill two syringes with water, place inside the other chambers and press down on the plungers to release the water into the main chamber. We did have a little bit of trouble getting this to work to begin with but once it got going the pod started to fizz and bubble away, allowing the creature to be released.

Frankie was super excited by the whole process and loved them trying to identify which creature he had found on the identification sheet.

Alongside this great activity there is also an instruction sheet containing another four experiments you can try out using products you can easily find around the home, including ‘alien slime’ which was of course a big hit!

Beaker Creatures was a great way to introduce simple science experiments to the children in a fun and pretty mess free way!

If this sounds like something they your little ones would like then go ahead and enter my competition below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Collaborated post

Crate Creatures Surprise:Review

Anything crazy looking, involving monsters and noise making is always a hit with Frankie and Oscar. Although I hate stereotypes my youngest two are definitely boisterous creatures and are always drawn towards toys that are a little bit naughty.

When I was asked to review ‘Pudge’ from Crate Creatures Surprise I knew they were going to be a big hit.

Pudge arrived caged and padlocked up and the boys took great delight in trying to crack the cage open and release the monster. Frankie could do this with ease and I loved the fact that aside from a few little bits of plastic there was no wasteful packaging as the cage could be used to store your new found friend.

Once freed the boys had a brilliant time pulling at his super long tongue that made his eyes glow bright as he shakes with temper that he has been pulled at! Although you need batteries for Pudge I was pleasantly surprised that there are batteries included to allow for a little play on demo mode which is pretty unusual and very welcome feature.

Just like the boys he is always hungry and pizza is definitely his meal of choice. He calls out to be fed pizza and makes noises of appreciation once he has chomped away.

Any kind of fast movements with him such a flipping and ticking will see Pudge squeal with delight which also had the boys in stitches.

I think one of the favourite features though was the response you get from him when spoken too…it has certainly been a breath of fresh air to have questions aimed at him rather than me!

There are four monsters to collect in total and each one has its own unique character offering a whole host of different features.

There is so much to love about these differnt creatures and they would make an absouotly great gift for both girls and boys.

*collaborated posts

Pizza Making And Doughnut Decorating At The Num Noms Series 5 Launch

We kicked off our half term in a pretty spectacular way when we headed off to the Good Housekeeping Institute to celebrate the launch of the Num Noms Series 5.

For those of you that haven yet heard of Num Noms(where have you been) they are a range of collectibles that have been made to look and smell like food. They come in a whole range of different forms from lip glosses to nail polishes and so much more.

We were introduced to these cute little characters a while ago now and all three of my youngest have been really taken with them.

As we arrived at the Good Housekeeping Institute the celebrations were already starting and the entrance was covered with pretty balloons and we were welcomed with lots of friendly faces and so much for busy fingers to do!

The kids got stuck in straight away and loved seeing the new additions to an already great range. The most popular addition for my lot is definitely the lip glosses and they spent ages creating their own flavour.

It wasn’t long before we took to our seats and the event kicked off with an introduction from Nickelodeon’s Nigel Clarke. The first part of the day was pizza making, as the ingredients were being past round a room full to the brim with children I was more than a little anxious about how this would go, but the children were thoroughly engaged and enjoyed every minute of making their very own creations.

While their pizzas were cooking away they got the chance to make up some fruit kebabs which was pretty similar to the way Num Noms can be stacked and arranged which makes them a great for keeping little fingers occupied.

It really was a day full of experiencing, making and tasting different foods in different ways and I think one of the highlights of the day was hopping on a push bike that had a smoothie maker attached and cycling away to make our very own fruit smoothies.

Izzy however was a little preoccupied by the fact that Chloe Medows and Chloe Chloe Lewis from ‘The Only Way Is Essex’ were there and took half the afternoon plucking up the courage to ask for a selfie with them!

The last activity of the day though probably brought a bigger smile to my face than it did to the kids – doughnut decorating.

The kids were presented with two huge ring doughnuts each that they were then given free reign to decorate as they wished. Covered with all kinds of sweets and fab Num Nom stickers they all looked incredible.

After such an immense day the children were knocked off their feet again by taking home a goodie bag full to the brim with Num Noms goodies that they couldn’t resist opening on the train which made for a pretty messy journey home!

I know that mine were ecstatic about the new Series 5 and if you have a lover of collectables like me then check them out ‘here‘.

Family Photography Workshop With Sharp Shots Photography Club

It was a few years ago when I first met the lovely Lillian Spibey from Sharp Shots Photography Club whist she was running Sharp Shots Photography Club workshop at Priory Farm in Surrey. Lilian in fact runs the UK’s largest kids and teens photography company and has taught over 2000 students aged between 7-15. The courses run after school and on site at numerous locations across the south East of England.

Izzy chose this course as her birthday gift as her passion for photography had just started to take hold and she enjoyed every single minute of it!

She came away with a firm vision of where she wanted her new found skills to take her and has been putting them into practice ever since.

Im sure that Izzy’s love of photography has been passed down by me as since I started my blog a little over three years ago now photography is the biggest and most loved part of it.

When I first started all I was armed with was my IPhone and no clue of how to take a photo at all. Over the years I have upgraded to my beloved Olympus Pen, followed countless photographers on Instagram and just gone with what I think would make a good picture.

I really feel that from the start of my blogging journey my photography has improved but I had got to the point when some professional intervention was needed as there were things I just couldn’t get the knack of no matter how hard I tried.

So when I was approached by Lilian to come along to a workshop she was putting on for bloggers and their children I was over the moon.

We headed off early to meet everyone in London where Lilian greeted us with her calm and welcoming manner which put us all at ease and eager to get some tips from the experts.

Sharp Shots Photography Club aims to provide you with life long photography skills teaching you how to use your digital camera along with composition skills to allow you to take the best photo you can.

We all sat around in a large group where I was very happy to see the lovely Emily from Family Four Fun who had also come along. Each person introduced themselves and told us what they were hoping to gain from the day which was lovely as their were such a wide variety of aims with a lot of them involving the need to know the basics which is where we started.

I know for me this was of upmost importance as I have to admit since getting my camera over two years ago I have been pretty scared to use anything other than auto and I was really eager to move away from this. Izzy was just excited to explore her surrounding and get snap happy around the park.

Lilian started with the theory side of things and we got the chance to see how other photographers put different techniques to use in their style of photography and the mechanics behind how the camera actually works which was extremelly interesting. Her background and passion for what she does makes her the perfect teacher and things that I have found daunting before were made so much simpler through her explanations.

We learnt to master the basics such as shutter speed, how to focus, depth of field and how to get the most out of your pictures by putting yourself in different positions to get that perfect angle.

For me it was all about getting something different from my photography. I feel I always opt for a close up as this is what I feel most comfortable with and it was great to be able to try out different shutter speeds to gain some fantastic images with the passing traffic and pretty ribbons.

Cameras are amazing pieces of equipment that can give you such a different perspective on the same scene and I am so pleased that I have now been armed with the knowledge to try different things out.

I think though what I gained most from this workshop is how differently children take to new things. I was certainly very tentative about changing my style and was apprehensive about taking a step away from what I am used to; where as Izzy embraced it all with our any apprehension and gained some wonderful images because of just that.

Below I have left a section of her favourite shoots from the day, ones that I am extremely proud of.

Going over my own photos I’ve been pretty critical, but have learnt from the kids to be more gun hoe with my approach and will certainly be trying out my new found knowledge a lot more in the future. Here are a few of my favs from the day.

We both came away from the day with our heads bursting with new ideas and even more passion for photography! Izzy can’t wait to sign up to another course this summer and I am hoping on getting on another one too!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Twenty One

It has been a pretty quiet week which has made it perfect for my ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ series.

My Little Personal Shopper – Over the years clothes shopping on the High Street has become somewhat of a distant memory for me.

With the rise and ease in internet shopping and the number of children I had increasing the lure of shoppers by centres became less and less and now nearly all of my clothing purchases are done online.

The other day I had to get some last minute bits before our camping trip which ended up being a thoroughly enjoyable trip with Oscar.

We chatted over a babychino, stocked up on goodies for our trip and my most memorable moment was Oscar picking out outfits for me and giving his expert opinion on what looks good and what not so!

Daisy Chains – Sometimes the simple things in life pass us by and one thing that I hadn’t done for such a long time was to make a daisy chain. It’s such a simple task and the kids absolutely loved it.

How We Eat – The other day was actually a pretty big one as we had Mumset come into our home to film the way we eat as a family.

This was a pretty nerve wrecking experience as my kids can be pretty unpredictable at times and goodness knows what little gems they could have come out with!

Although the day was a huge thing for all of us I came away from the day extremely thankful of the fact I get to share dinner time with all my crazy loons!

Taking To The Ice With Disney On Ice and Frankie Bridge

I hold my hands up and can honestly say that I am the worst ice skater you are ever likely to see! Every christmas I head out with the kids and try my hardest to soak up the festive atmosphere whilst clinging onto the side of the rink for dear life!

With this in mind when an email hit my inbox inviting me along to Queens Ice Rink to skate with some of the stars from Disney On Ice and Frankie Bridge I knew that Izzy would be over the moon at the thought of this and I would have to face my fears!

We arrived at the rink and Izzy’s face lit up as we were handed a pair of beautiful white skates in preparation for our session and while Izzy was itching to get out onto the vastness of the huge rink I was coming out in a cold sweat.

Everyone took to the ice and after a few stumbles seemed to take to it pretty well. Izzy was off within minutes and left me to fumble along behind her.

The experts then joined us and I was guided round the ice by an extremely patient instructor who gave me a little more confidence but still didn’t manage to stop me falling spectacularly on more than one occasion…much to the embarrassment of my daughter.

The real stars of the show then showed us all how it was really done and span, twirled and lifted in a way that I could only ever dream of.

I definitely think the highlight of the afternoon though was getting the chance to meet and skate with the lovely Frankie Bridge. Izzy has been a fan of hers since her Saturdays days so getting the chance to meet her whilst skating was just the best treat.

She was warm and welcoming and fantastic with the little ones, even if she did take the mickey out of my skills!

Her talents are going to make a very welcome addition to the new Disney On Ice show – Worlds Of Enchantment that is set to start this April and we can’t wait to get along to see and tell you all about.

I came away from the afternoon with a little more confidence on the ice and a daughter who now has her heart set on being the next Disney princess on ice and left the rink clutching her boots exclaiming she is going to cherish them forever.

Mr Men And Little Miss Tea Party With Mi-Pac

Our half term was pretty horrendous due to being housebound with coughs and colds for the majority of it. Thankfully though good health was restored just in time for us to attend the Mr Men and Little Miss Tea Party at Maggie And Rose in Kensington that had been put on to celebrate the launch of the fantastic new Mr Men and Little Miss range from Mi-Pac.

We arrived to rooms full to the brim with Mr Men themed activities from crafting to face painting, plenty of Mr Men books to settle down and read and the highlight of the day – the opportunity for the children to get their very own personalised illustration from Adam Hargreaves who has taken over from his infamous Father – Roger Hargreaves.

All worn out from all the fun the children settled to a scrumptious tea before taking a look at the brand new range of Mi-Pac bags that were a huge hit!

Mi-Pac wasn’t a brand I knew a lot about until today and I was massively impressed with not only the super cool new designs but the high quality make of the bags and their attention to detail.

The tough faux-leather of the multi character bag is perfect for my little ones as its perfect for my carefree children who are pretty reckless when it comes to looking after their bags, the adjustable, padded shoulder straps allow little ones to carry their bag with ease or the top carry handle is perfect for parents to take over when they’ve has enough!

My pre-teen was particularly drawn to the fact the bag had an internal pocket that is the perfect size for a laptop and a small front pocket to home all those little bits and pieces you need to get at quickly.

The cool and quirky new range is eye catching and fun as well as being super practical and has had people stop me to ask where they are from countless times already.

Take a look HERE for the full range they have available.

I have to say though my day was absolutely made when I was gifted my very own personalised Little Miss bag that has become a much cherished item from this amazing afternoon.

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.