Anthony Gormley, Sea Shells And Bus Painting

Art, the sea and delectable food are one of life’s perfect combinations and for me Margate is a home to all of these.

In August the imposing cast iron sculpture from Anthony Gormley was erected on the chalk in front of the Turner Contemporary and I have been desperate to see it for myself for months.

It is one of one hundred sculptures from his ANOTHER TIME series and was as breathtaking as I imagined.

‘I wish to celebrate the still and silent nature of sculpture, ANOTHER TIME is necessarily isolated, and is an attempt to bear witness to what it is like to be alive and alone in space and time’

As I looked out to sea I thought of the words that Anthony Gormley had used to describe land work whilst listening to Oscar’s opinion on the piece.

What really stood out to me was the compassion he was showing for the man being alone. He looked on asking why he was standing alone and as we left kept looking back and worrying that he was being left alone and lonely.

It really was a sight to behold and something I’m really pleased to have shared with Oscar.

Sadly the Tuner Contemporary didn’t have a lot work on display as they were preparing to showcase the world of Tracey Emin…I think I need a trip back to see this.

We still managed to make use of the gallery though by grabbing a late breakfast and taking in the view form the beautifully light and airy cafe, and have a through the beautiful neon installation to the side of the gallery.

For the middle of October we were lucky enough to have picked a very mild day to visit and spent a good while chasing the waves, jumping over rock pools and collecting shells.

The foodie inside me was out in force and on our last visit we had passed The Bus Cafe along the sea front and I was determined to see what they had to offer on this visit.

Oscar was thrilled to climb onboard and take to the top deck to find a table.

The converted bus is run by a super friendly couple that were extremely friendly and very welcoming of little ones which is always a huge bonus for us.

The menu comprised of a selection of wraps and salads that you can mix and match to your own taste.

Fillings were plentiful and jammed packed with flavour.

Not only did Oscar enjoy the novelty of eating his lunch on a bus, he was also handed a special pen so they he could create his own masterpiece on the side of it.

He was more than about this happy to say the least!

The months of having this little one to myself during the day are passing by way to quickly and I have plans for plenty more days like this before I have to let him move onto his school life journey.

He is way more ready for this than I am!

Toddler Time At Chessington World Of Adventures

Chessington World Of Adventures main attraction for us as a family is the diversity of the theme park and its ability to cater for all ages.

With this in mind I took some time out with Oscar to see what that have to offer pre-schoolers during the week when all the others are busy working away at school…I have to add this didn’t go down to well with the others.

I don’t need to tell any of you what tricky creatures three year olds can be and days out can often be more than a little fraught.

Queuing is something that is certainly not one of Oscar’s strong points, so the relief to be able to get on every ride within minutes was a massive bonus for me as well as him!

Our first port of call was the Gruffalo River Ride Adventure that saw us following mouse on his adventures with The Gruffalo whilst floating along in our little wooden boat through spooky dark areas, over a few lumps and bumps and a good few moments of getting a little wet.

The Gruffalo theme is something that is certainly present throughout Chessington World Of Adventures now which is perfect for the little ones and Oscar was over to the moon to meet the ‘real’ Gruffalo at the meet and greet session.

From here we headed off to take in a few more rides and with such little queuing time was got so many in.

Out of the eighteen rides suitable for toddlers some of our favourites were the Sea Dragons where we wizzed and whirled around in the little boats.

The beautiful new carousel called the Adventure Tree that we tried our pretty much every animal on.

The Flying Jumbos that took us flying way into the sky, and for my little thrill seeker a trip on the front of the Scorpion Express that he was thrilled to be riding upfront on.

There is food aplenty available and all tastes are easily catered for from BBQ chicken to fish and chips or burgers to pizzas there really is something for everyone.

I grabbed a much needed coffee and refuelled ourselves with a quick sugary treat.

A ride that we had yet to try out was Zufari and I have to say after trying it out I have no idea why we had left it this long.

We hopped on board the Zufari truck that took us on a a very bumpy adventure through the wild spotting some pretty spectacular animals on the way.

I couldn’t believe how close we managed to get to the giraffes and rhinos. Oscar was hugely amused by being so close to rhinos bum!

In the mood for some more animal spotting we took a walk through the Trail Of The Kings and spotted a very sleepy lion.

The gorillas were out to play and Oscar was highly amused with their antics.

It’s not just the bigger animals that Chessington World Of Adventures homes. The petting zoo is always a big hit with mine and we spent a good while petting the sheep, looking in on the greedy pigs while they fed and trying to keep up with the cutest little goat I’ve ever seen.

From land animals we made our way into the Sealife Centre to see all the creatures of the sea.

Oscars favourite moment was getting the chance to touch a starfish and ask the poor lady a hundred and one questions on the subject that she more than happily answered for him.

It was wonderful to be able to experience Chessington World Of Adventures from the perspective of just a little one rather than having to keep my large brood all happy.

It is the perfect way to allow them to experience the excitement of the rides without the stress of the queues and get to see the animals without it being so busy which can be very stressful for tiny ones.

It really is a day that allows them to build their confidence and independence and gain knowledge of a huge variety of animals all in one place.

Oscar came away bursting to tell his brothers and sisters about his day and literally can’t wait until his next trip.

If this sounds good to you then you can get yourself an adult and pre-school pass ticket for only £21 or an annual pass that always you in on selected dates and times for only £60.

We got so much done in the few hours between school runs that it is certainly well worth a visit.

‘I am a Chessington Blogger Ambassador, I was given a Chessington Annual Pass to do this review with my family and I was not paid to do this post. If anyone would like to confirm any details in the post, please email press.office@chessington.co.uk’

Saying Hello To Autumn At Priory Farm

A chill in the wind, beautiful rich colours, Halloween and cosy afternoons snuggled up under warm blankets are just a few of the reason I absolutely love October.

The weather hasn’t yet changed to the bitterness of winter and getting out into the great outdoors is a real pleasure.

The first adventure for us is always a trip to Priory Farm to select the perfect pumpkin for carving and eating if I ever get round to trying pumpkin pie…I have been promising the children this for the past goodness knows how long!

I have written about Priory Farm countless times as it has so much to offer from fantastic play areas to a brilliant discovery walk and they always go that extra mile for special occasions such as this.

Today we climbed aboard the truck that was decked out perfectly for Halloween with missing limbs, cobwebs and huge spiders.

The short journey lead us straight to the pumpkin field which the children couldn’t wait to get to and select their favourite pumpkin, which for the first year ever wasn’t a competition to see who’s was the biggest.

A good few laps of the field and more than a few pumpkins picked and rejected we finally had our favourites and headed back to the kiosk where there was a game of ‘roll the pumpkin’ and hoopla onto creepy arms to keep the children amused while we waited for our ride back.

Prized pumpkins in hand we climbed aboard and headed off to get a well earned piece of scrummy cake and a good coffee.

There is so much going on over the next few weeks at Priory Farm as well as the pumpkin picking and a visit come highly recommend from us!

Country Kids

Mini Ninja At Yo Sushi – Boxpark

I am very lucky that all of my children bar one are open to try pretty much any food that they are introduced to.

This has opened them up to experiencing a wide variety of different cuisines with sushi coming pretty high up on their list of loves.

Trying to make it for ourselves though is something even I haven’t attempted so when we were asked along to Yo Sushi at Boxpark, Croydon I was as excited as the children!

On a Tuesday and Wednesday at 11am during the summer holidays Yo Sushi is running their Mini Ninja Sushi making masterclass aimed at children aged 5-12.

Being as unorganised as always I hadn’t looked at the recommended age range and in fact went along with Oscar(3) and Frankie(5) and Izzy(11).

Our super friendly Sushi maestro sat the children down and got them kitted out in their hats and gloves in preparation to get creating.

They were all given instructions sheets on how to make Maki, Salmon Nigi and Crab Handrolls.

These weren’t neeeded as the children were shown step by step how to make each piece and there was plenty of hands on help if neeeded.

Usually the attention span of my children is limited to cupcakes but amazingly they sat through the whole hour without a fidget or a moan.

Once their boxes were filled with yummy sushi made by their own fair hands there was a quick game of who could move the edamame beans the quickest which was great to burn off a bit of energy.

At the end of the session they were awarded a certificate for all their hard word and given a bag to take home their sushi and the rolling mats they used so they could have a go again at home.

My lot however couldn’t wait to get home to eat so we sat for a while eating there creations whilst I sampled some delightful pork buns that I will certainly be returning again for.

There is still time to get you litttle ones booked in at several different locations around the country and it has certainly come highly recommended from us!
 *Collaborated post 

Breakfast With Dame Jacqueline Wilson At The Foundling Museum

Dame Jacqueline Wilson has been a part of our family for many years with her books being a source of great pleasure over the years. In fact my eldest who hardly ever picked up a book would often be found engrossed in the adventures of Tracey Beaker which always bought me such delight.

A new generation of fans is now coming through in the family with Izzy and Frankie finding a love of her books.

When we were asked along to The Foundling Museum have breakfast with her I knew this was an opportunity not to be missed and the children…and myself were super excited at the prospect.

The Foundling Museum in West London is currently home to the Hetty Feather exhibition that is showing how the history of the Foundling Hospital has been bought to life through the character of Hetty Feather in Jacqueline Wilson’s top selling book that has since been won awards as a fabulous stage show and extremely popular TV series.

The interactive exhibition at the museum allows the children to see historical artifacts from the days of the Foundling Hospital and try on period costumes which allows them to get a real feel for how things would have been in this era.

Izzy and Frankie also loved putting pen to paper and creating a menu of food they would love to eat and comparing it to the bland and basic meals the poor Foundling children would have had to have eaten.

After exploring the exhibition the children all settled down for Jacqueline Wilson to tell us a little more about the museum and read an excerpt from the Hetty Feather book that the children all listened to intently. 

They then all queued patiently to get there copies of Hetty Feather signed and to have a chat with the wonderful lady herself.

We came away with wonderful memories of meeting such a humble and inspiring lady and highly recommend going along to see the exhibition yourselves which is on until the 3rd September.

Hunting For The Yeti At Riverhill Himalayan Gardens 

Wooded pathways, stacks of branches, and plenty of mud are just three of the things that make my lot happy and luckily enough they are plentiful at Riverhill Himalayan Gardensin Kent.

We had our first trip there last week and on the way I had a car full of bemused children trying to work out why we were off to the Himalayas by car!

Upon arrival whe picked up our maps at the kiosk and I grabbed a seat outside the cosy looking Riverhill Cafe that I had earmarked for later in the day.

I planned a rough idea of where the day was going to take us while the children took up residence in the ‘Toy Shed’ that made the perfect play area to keep the little ones amused while the adults have a sneaky piece of cake.

I had put a little to much faith in the wonderful British weather and arrived with a summer dress and flip flops which probably wasn’t the best attire.

Fortunately though they are fully prepared here for the unprepared such as myself and have a lovely little area they you can borrow a pair of wellies from.

We headed into the woods where the children all climbed to their hearts  content until we came across the fab adventure playground.
There were climbing walls, slides, tree houses and so much more to explore and they all spent a good hour here enjoying all it had to offer.

Ready to explore some more we entered the woods again with a pit stop for some den building before we made it to Little Everest Viewpoint.

The view from the top was stunning and the perfect place to stop for our picnic.


Refuelled we headed back down the hill towards the hedge maze.

I’m not a huge fan of mazes and tend to freak out a little if I can’t see an exit. Luckily enough the hedge maze is low and was easy for the children…and me  to navigate.

The rain decided to come and say hello so we decided to take cover in the activity tent where they all got the chance to make their own clay creations.

With an unusual calmness from my lot I took the chance to grab a coffee and some delightful carrot cake from the cafe whist they created their masterpieces.

Scattered throughout the grounds were lots of interesting sculptures with the huge scaffold tube sphere being a real pull for the kids.

Our final stop of the day was the stunning gardens full of wonderful flowers, an abundance of fruit and veg and hidden wrought iron gates that are always some thing I love.

Riverhill Himalayan Gardens was an absolute treat to discover and we will need another visit very soon as we didn’t manage to find the illusive yeti who is said to be hiding in the woods.  
*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest options.

Country Kids

PJ Masks Have Landed At Oxygen

Oxygen in Croydon has become a bit of a regular haunt for me and my youngest since its recent opening, with us regularly  taking part in the toddler sessions that are aimed at little ones aged five and under.

I mean what could be better than an hour of running and jumping around a huge trampoline park when you are three years old, and of course for us parents tiring them out for an hour is always a huge bonus.

When I was asked along to try out their new PJ Masks Jumping Adventures I knew it was going to be a huge hit with my youngest two.

We arrived and the boys were handed costumes which they happily doned to transform themselves into thier favourite PJ Mask characters Gekko and Catboy.


Trampoline socks on and safely briefing done we made our way into the main area where the boys bounced, dived and lept to their hearts content.


What set this session apart from the usual toddler sessions though was the addition of lots of games put on by the super friendly staff that have really got into the spirit of things by dressing as the characters too.

The boys joined in with groups leaping across the trampolines and loved rushing to see how quickly they could move the balls from one trampoline to the other.

Extremely warn out they made their way to the cafe area where I enjoyed a much needed coffee while they made masks and coloured in PJ Mask themed sheets.

If this sounds like something that your little ones would enjoy then these sessions are running until the 5th September and by using the code PJMASKS at the checkout you can save yourself 20%.

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