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

Ain’t No Party Like A Num Noms Party

Last Sunday we were up bright and early to catch the train into Shoreditch to celebrate the launch of Num Noms Series 4 at All Stars Lanes in Brick Lane.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Num Noms, they are basically a collection of super cool collectables that come in the shape of scented characters, lip glosses, nail varnishes and light up characters that can be stacked, raced and traded to your hearts content.

After trying out a collection of Series 3 Num Noms my guys were super excited to see what the new collection would have to offer!

We walked into the most spectacular party where there were literally Num Noms galore, from a whole play area dedicated to them, images of them all over the big screens and a creative area where the boys loved trying out the new nail polish maker.

This fab new toy allows you to make your own individual nail polish with scents such as strawberry and banana with a sprinkling of glitter if you fancy.

Im sure this is going to be on the top of many Christmas lists this year!

The fun didn’t stop there and we had after a game of bowling that was made pretty competitive by Izzy they tried their hand at icing some Num Nom inspired biscuits with the lovely people from Biscuitiers.

I was more than impressed with the level of concentration that was kept by my extremely active children and the results were pretty tasty too.

They then all headed off to get their faces painted while I got treated to a much needed manicure at the nail bar.

Suitabaly worn to from all the fun it was time for some lunch and a chat about what they had thought of the day.

They were on an absolute high from such a fantastic afternoon…probably a little to do with the pic’n’mix and yummy milkshakes too.

What I really love about Num Noms is the fact that even though they are branded more towards girls, my boys absolutely love playing with them alongside their sister who even after hitting high school this year is still very much a fan and has loved building her collection at home.

Do you have any Num Noms fans at home?

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 

An Afternoon Tea Fit For A Funky Princess At sketch

After catching sight of a dogs bottom on the side of a building and a hopscotch area greeting you in the hallway I knew we had arrived at sketch and were going to be in for something a little different to your usual West End afternoon tea.This treat was going to give me and number three some much needed me time and with the look on her little face when we walked into the profusion of pink in the Parlor it would be a trip to remember.

We were shown to our seats by one of the georgous ladies in their bang on trend pink, cold shoulder dresses that bought a funky, relaxed edge to the formal tea.

In fact every element of the traditional afternoon tea was there with a quirky edge to it from the eclectic range of sandwiches and pastries served on fine bone china embellished with zany wording to the delicate pink soft furnishings sitting proudly inside walls blanketed with cool artwork.

There is a choice of a your usual tea with a whole host to chose from, champagne or non-alcoholic Bellini while the children get a choice of different juices.

The towers of sandwiches and cakes were bought over and I indulged in different breads filled with  amazing fillings such as coronation chicken, smoked salmon and tarragon cream and green asparagus with cucumber and ricotta to name a few.


Number three enjoyed avocado and tomato, mozerella and pesto panini, and traditional ham.


We had a taste of each other’s to make sure we weren’t missing out on anything and a few more were ordered as they are more than happy for you to swap or refill anything as you go through the afternoon.

Cakes and pastries galore filled our plates for me, with my favourites being the apricot and pistachio gateaux and the blueberry and liquorice tart.


The children’s pastries provided a more hands on approach and they get to fill their own selection of choux buns with scrumptious fillings.


Warm fruity scones with served with lashings of clotted cream and sticky sweet jams.

When we were nearly fit to burst and thought we had come to an end the piece de resistance arrived in the form of two beauties served from the trolley – a poppy and red currant choux and a raspberry, chocolate and hibiscus flower cake.

Barely able to move with a few leftovers stashed away beside us a lovely little surprise was given to number three in the form of the cuddly sketch bear named Pat!


Aside from the splender of our surroundings and the sumptuous food one of the biggest highlights for number three, and actually me too were the toilets!

Yes this may come as a surprise but they need to be seen to be believed. Brilliant white walls and sweeping staircases that lead you into a room with an eye catching, multicoloured glass ceiling and space aged, egg shaped pods that make up the toliet a themselves.

I don’t think I have ever known number three to need the toliet so much!

If you are looking for an afternoon tea with a difference that will feed your eyes and mind as well as your tummy then this is the place to be.

It is the perfect place to excite the adults and the children alike and it will be a place we will be visiting again to explore everything else they have to offer.

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

Retro Fun At Dreamland Margate

Dreamland in Margate was an amusment park that my Mum has very fond memories of from her summer holidays in the 1950’s/60’s.

Fun filled days of good old fashioned rides and fairground stalls, of which my grandparents favourite was ‘Spin A Disc’ where they won some beautiful cut glass that is still in the family to this day.

Many years have passed since then with Dreamland having a change of name for a few years and sadly a long period of closure.

Thankfully last year a regeneration program was started on the site and we went along to check out how much our little ones would enjoy this iconic amusment park.

Unfortunately we had a midweek trip which meant that the rides outside were not open for us to try out, but we will be back very soon to give them all a try.

There was still a whole host of activities to get involved in inside and we headed straight to the roller disco to see how we got on, on four wheels.


Luckily enough for me number five was to little to join in so I got to sit on the sidelines and watch my husband and number four slip and slide around the rink.

Let’s just say neither of them were naturals but they had a good try and enjoyed bopping along to the upbeat disco music whilst making their way round.

If you fancy watching instead of skating like me there is a run of great diner style booths along the edge of the rink where you can relax and grab a drink or something to eat while watching all the fun.


From here we made our way into the Octopus Garden which is a soft play with a real difference.


You have your usual ball pit, soft bricks to play with and areas to climb and slide down that all children love. 


But they have kept a seaside theme and added some great features such a several sandpits, a dressing up area, role play sections where they can do some shopping or get their hair done and a gallery that they can create their own chalk masterpiece in.


If all of this gets to much and a refreshment break is needed there is a great little cafe where you can grab hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, salads and lots more.

We filled our bellies with some really tasty chips whilst sitting in a really cool beach hut before heading out to the amusement arcade.

Slot machines are normally a pet hate for me!  Poring money into machines with the hope of getting something in return which rarely happens.

I have to say though I was very impressed with the machines that Dreamland have to offer.

There was a whole section of vintage machine that gave the children the opportunity to play with games that my Mum my have played with all those years ago.

They had all the other games you would expect to see in an arcade plus lots of machines that allowed the children to earn tickets that they could then exchange for something of their choice at the till.

While my husband and number four were busy earning tickets number five was keep amused by trying to pick up the money from this super cool floor!

We all had a wonderful, fun filled afternoon at Dreamland and have created some wonderful memories in a fabulously restored amusement park that is steeped in so much history that the restorers have managed to withhold perfectly.

We can’t wait to come back and try out the rides later in the year and tell you all about it!

*We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinion.