A Sleepover At Alton Towers

A few weeks ago now we took the long journey to Alton Towers. I had not visited this theme park since I was sixteen and I was eager to see the changes and introduce the children to all the fun.

After a five hour drive we were more than happy to arrive at the Splash Landings Hotel. Its bright and cheery decor made for a warm welcome and once inside our family room we were pleasantly surprised by how spacious it was.

There were facilities to make a much needed cup of tea and before long beds had been claimed and we rested our heads in anticipation for a big day ahead. The room offered everything we need from cosy beds, a good shower and entertainment packs to keep the little ones amused. The only problem we encountered were our nightmare neighbours that keep us awake for half the night!

We headed down for breakfast and had a little bit more time to explore the hotel in the light of day where the children stood amazing by the huge waterpark that was housed in the centre of the hotel. Sadly we just didn’t have the time to try it out but it really did look absolutely amazing.

Time to fuel for the day we made our way to the restaurant to have our breakfast where there was a huge variety of food to choose from. From cereal and fruit to a full english breakfast.

The children loved being able to go an help themselves to cereal from the special machine and chose from the vast selection at the hot buffet. It was also a really refreshing change to have so much choice for Frankie and all his allergies.

Full to the brim it was time to head off to the park for a day of fun. There is a shuttle bus that you can catch to take you directly to the park but we chose to take the short walk.

Once inside we spilt up with Archie and Izzy heading off to the thrill seeking rides whist we stayed with the younger two and headed off to CBeebies Land.

CBeebies Land had been on our list of places to visit for a while now and as soon as I saw the boys faces light up as soon as they saw the huge, rainbow coloured welcome sign I knew that they were going to love every minute. They dashed back and forth for sometime before they finally decided on their first ride which as the In The Night Garden Magical Boat Ride that saw us winding through a little stream spotting all our favourite characters as we went, next up we took to the sky with the Go Jetters, played at being Postman Pat in the bright red van, took in the sights of the whole of Cbeebies Land with the ‘Get Set Go’ Tree Top Adventure.

We took a little break from the rides and took a walk around the much calmer Something Special Sensory Garden and found some familiar names in the walk of fame.

There was so much to see and do and so resfeshing to have such a huge area dedicated to preschoolers in a theme park as this is something that is so often missing.

A quick pitstop with our adrenaline junkies who came back buzzing from the excitement of the amazing Wicker Man and Oblivion. I think I was actually most exited that the two children they get on the least had spent some quality time together and enjoy each and every minute of it. Hot doughnuts are a must on a day out like this and we plotted up on the huge grassy area that was perfect to take in the pretty surrounds Alton Towers has to offer.

I was a little concerned that Frankie was going to be a bit left out when it came to the bigger rides but I needn’t have worried as there was a huge variety of family friendly rides that were a good middle ground for those that couldn’t enjoy the thrill seeking rides but still wanted something a little faster.

I loved that we could all take to the water in the River Rapids, Swing high and low in the Heave Ho and battle with our competitors on the Battle Galleons.

Fit to fall after a day full of fun and adventure we headed back on the monorail to the Crooked Spoon restaurant to fill our hungry bellies and rest our weary feet.

When we arrived I was really surprised at the laid-back, outdoorsy feel to it which was right up my street. The little play area directly outside meant that the children could happy play whist waiting on their food.

When in came to the food there was a great choose for both adults and children from juicy burgers and mouth water steaks to roasted summer vegetable carbonara and spicy Sri Lankan curry.

I opted for a classic prawn cocktail to start followed by a creamy chicken carbonara which came served with a beautifully crispy chuck of garlic bread. The larger men of the family dived into a huge bowl of loaded nachos that i couldn’t help but try followed by a mixed grill that definitely came with their seal of approval.

The little ones had a mixture of dishes such as soup and crusty rolls, fresh melon and delicious sausage and mash that they all devoured with not one complaint which is a rarity.

Im not sure how we managed but I couldn’t resist desert – especially cheesecake, and Izzy defintiy wasn’t going to turn down a gooey chocolate browniw with a side of ice-cream now was she!

The friendly, attentive staff who didn’t batter an eyelid when they had to clean up an entire glass of squash that was poured over the table minutes after we sat down and didn’t moan once about having to navigate the huge cuddly toys they had won earlier was a real bonus to a fantastic meal.

If I was to round up our experience of Alton Towers I would say it was a bundle of fun from beginning to end, thoroughly exausting and definitely worth a trip.

* We were invited to Alton Towers for the weekend for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

A Rainy Day At Chessington World Of Adventures

I’m sure you are all going to think I have completely lost my mind when I say this, but I absolutely love visiting Chessington World Of Adventures on a rainy day! Don’t get me wrong torrential rain and thunderstorms might make me think twice but a bit of rain never hurt anyone!

In fact for me I find there are a whole heap of benefits to visiting on a rainy day. I mean there are a fair few water rides in the park anyway so why not just embrace it as once you’re wet you’re wet!

We arrived on Friday and within minutes the heavens opened and we took shelter in the Smokehouse BBQ which was a great way to fill our bellies before we started the day.

They offer a great range of BBQ style food such as pulled pork, chicken and hot dogs served with crunchy chips, sweet potato fries and the best creamed sweetcorn I’ve tasted.

Full up and ready to face the showers we made our way to our first ride of the day which is always the Gruffalo River Ride, a favourite of the boys as well as mine. With the majority of the queuing done undercover and the ride itself inside we stayed pretty dry.

From here we moved onto the the Scorpion Express that my little adrenaline junkies love and I have to say speeding around the track whilst getting a face full of rain just added to the excitement.

Zufari was next on the list and I thought the animals might have been talking shelter so we were more than happy to see the giraffes and rhinos up close to the jeep in all their majestic glory.

Due to everyone being scared off by the weather the queue times were incredibly short for the summer holidays and we managed to get on all of our favourite rides within a few hours which allowed me some time to put my feet up in the cafe while the kids dried off in the Dragon’s Playhouse soft play area.

I feel like I’ve let you into a precious secret here but if you are not scared of getting a little wet then the short queue time, space inside restaurants and the calmer pace of things are definitely a huge bonus.

‘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’

Exploring Stories With Pizza Express And Puffin Books

If a poll was taken with my family on which was their favourite restaurant I know that Pizza Express would win hands down!

The children love the delicious food that is served quickly to quash those all to familiar ‘I’m starving’ moans and as a parent I love the family friendly vibe that you get in each and every restaurant. The hustle and bustle means I don’t feel I need to be continually asking the kids to be quiet and with the great activities that are always on offer there is actually not much chance for fidgety bums and fingers to get restless.

It was in fact an exciting new activity pack and competition that Puffin Books have created for Pizza Express that saw us making our way to one of their Brighton branches last week.

We were taken to our seats by our super friendly waiter that handed the children their activities packs and they got started on them straight away. The Story Explorers Adventure Journal was full to the brim with activities and games inspired by different books and it really got the children’s creative juices flowing.

After trying to create their own Grey Huffley from their favourite series – Diary Of A Wimpy Kid they feasted on a starter of dough balls and vegetable crudités while I indulged in some delicately battered calamari that I had to keep Izzy away from!

Actually if you are a fans of Diary Of The Wimpy Kid too then there is a brilliant competition you can enter where you can design your own book cover and submit it online for your chance to win a family portrait down for you by Jeff Kinney, the author of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid himself.

As we waited on our mains we were treated to a visit from caricaturist Sean Savage who created a fantastic portrait of us all. The kids absolutely loved it and found the size of my teeth hilarious!

With our special memento safely tucked away we ate a delicious selection of pizza and pasta that didn’t fail to disappoint.

Aside from being so family friendly another highlight of Pizza Express for us is the way they cater for Frankie and his multiple allergies. The kids menu can be adapted perfectly which always makes him feel inclusive rather than having to have something completely different which can happen in so many other restaurants.

We had a quick break between courses where it was Izzy’s job to make up the chatter boxes that came in the activity packs. These are always a hit with us and they played for ages asking each other questions to unveil the final answer.

A meal out isn’t complete without desert and at Pizza Express you really are spoilt for choice. The children dived into ice cream sundaes and brownies whilst I went for the mini biscoff cheesecake dolcetti which I told myself was a lighter option!

Full to the brim and bursting with ideas on stories they were going to create and illustrate when they got home really meant that Pizza Express has been a feast for our minds as well as our bellies and we highly reccomend a trip there soon so you don’t miss out on all the fun!

*Collaborated post

Now We Are Six:Happy Birthday Frankie

When I was one, I had just begun.
When I was two, I was nearly new.
When I was three, I was hardly me.
When I was four, I was not much more.
When I was five, I was just alive.
But now I am six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now forever and ever.

A.A. Milne

This was one of my favourite poems from my childhood and now as I’ve grown and become a mother I can relate to the words with each year that passes in my little ones lives and I have to agree that six is a pretty perfect age.

On frankie’s six birthday where his birthday request has simply been, ‘Lego and mussels’ I look on in wonder at the beautiful little boy he has become in those six short years.

He is certainly my most vibrant child that has a charater and tenacity that is heartwarming and alluring and his charming personality never fails to fill a room.

He is strong willed, determined and passionate and although this obviously comes with its challenges I wouldn’t change it for the world.

In fact it was his head strong ways that saw my big birthday plans of a trip to a Lego exhibition in town for him come crashing down when he insisted on a simple day of softplay with his little brother and a lunch of mussels to finish.

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 

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

FEGO Banstead:A Eatery Perfect For All The Family

How often do you walk past a restaurant or cafe and immediately dismiss it for not being ‘child friendly’?

For me this is something I do regularly with my brood, as lets face it eating out with small children isn’t always the most enjoyable and stress free experience.

For a while now I have passed by FEGO in Banstead gazing in at their stunning decor and  scrumptious looking cakes longing for a few childfree hours to while away my time.


It looked far to pristine to take my motley crew into and the thought of them in there would bring me out in a cold sweat before my feet passed the threshold!

With these thoughts still firmly in my mind when I was asked along to visit FEGO I was more than a little apprehensive as to how they would cater for us.

We arrived at FEGO on a busy lunchtime during half term and were greeted with a smile and shown to our table near the back of the restaurant that was buzzing with a great atmosphere and full of a real eclectic group of people…including children!

The menus were brought over and I was happy to see there were a good range of different meals without the menu being large and over bearing. We were also welcome to chose from the breakfast menu even though we were there for a late lunch.

I love flexibility in restaurants as lets face it a stack of warm pancakes are welcome at anytime of day!

There is something to cater for all tastes from full english breakfasts to delicious salads, juicy burgers to pizzas and so much more.

The boys were kept amused with the colouring sheets while waiting for their burgers that they picked from a great selection that offers something a little different to the usual chip heavy childrens menu.


I opted for spicy scrambled eggs that were a tasty combination of eggs, cheese, avocado and tomatoes with a fiery kick of jalapeño and my obligatory soya latte.

Frankie’s allergies were catered for brilliantly and not a scrap of their burgers were left on either of their plates.

Crispy fresh chicken breasts served in soft rolls with plenty of salad and juicy, homemade beef burgers would be hard to resist.


It wouldn’t be a meal out without a sweet treat to finish it off. The boys went for a bowl of creamy blueberry ice cream and a sticky waffle covered in vanilla ice cream and sumptuous chocolate sauce.

All my preconceived ideas of this restaurant were quashed the minute I entered the restaurant.

The staff were all warm and welcoming, the food was beautifully presented and a delight to eat and the decor is simply stunning.



FEGO has something to offer the whole family from grabbing a quick pastry to a cosy date night with a cheeky cocktail or two.

There is so much more that I want to try such with their infamous ‘coffee in a cone’ being top of my list.

*collaborated post.

Jackson And Rye Guilford:Review

Just before Christmas we made our way into Guilford to the launch evening of the brand new Jackson and Rye restaurant that has just hit town.

Jackson and Rye are already a very well established chain that have bought a touch of London style dining to the heart of Guilford.

The dimly lit restaurant and dark decor set the tone for the New York style dining they are famous for.

Once seated we were shown a menu that was so hard to chose from as the variety was so great.

We started with mini corn dogs that had caught our eyes a few minutes before ordering, a huge plate of flavoursome crunchy chorizo prawns and some wonderfully crispy buffalo chicken wings.

Our eyes may have been bigger than our bellies as the portions were so generous that after the appetisers we were already pretty full.

Mains arrived promptly and my Cajun spiced chicken was super succulent and accompanied perfectly with a fresh sweetcorn succotash that was a welcome change from the richness of the starters.

My steak loving husband picked his favourite fillet steak and was more than happy with the juicy cut of meat and the crispy fries that set it off perfectly.

Literally bursting at the seams I still made room for a sticky potted cheese cake that was served with a tart berry compote.

We went along as a couple but this restaurant would also cater well for our large family; we looked on at a table full of little ones throughly enjoying a large variety of food from the menu.

Jackson and Rye was a welcoming, relaxed restaurant that still had that feeling of something a little special. They have taken the usual American dining experience and given it a touch of class.

After chatting with the friendly waiting staff we found the restaurant is infamous for their weekend brunch and we will certainly be back soon to sample this soon!

Lunch With A View At The Greyhound Hotel

For year and years I have driven past the Greyhound Hotel in Carshalton and never taken the time to stop by to see what they  had to offer.
When I was asked to come along and check out the newly renovated restaurant I was more than happy to take a visit and see what I had been missing for all these years.With the youngest two and my Dad in tow we went along to sample some dishes from their new menu.

I have to admit when we first entered the plush dining area with my two fidgety boys my heart sank a little and was really worried it was going to be a fraught experience but I couldn’t have been more wrong.I was welcomed warmly by the lovely owner who was genuinely more than happy to have little ones share the experience of dinning in his beautiful restaurant.


They soon settled in their seats and were more than happy to spot the ducks from the window that offered fabulous view of Carshalton Ponds.

The menu offered a good range of hearty ‘pub grub’ with a difference. There is a twist on the usual favourites with a few different dishes in there to which makes the menu that little bit special.

I chose the roasted garlic kiev with truffled mash, treacle bacon and summer greens whist my Dad opted for the signature Greyhound cheeseburger with ale onions, shredded lettuce, pickles and fries.

My chicken was beautifully moist and was complimented perfectly with the smooth truffle mash.

My Dad thoroughly enjoyed his juicy burger with lashing of flavour that had been added with the use of different pickles and sauces.

The boys chose sausage and chips and fish and chips from the children’s menu.

Their plates were completely cleared which is a rarity and number four was super impressed with his ‘snail’ shaped sausage!

Pudding was going to be struggle but it would have been rude not to try!

I opted for the sticky toffee pudding with ice cream which was everything you could want from a warm, indulgent pudding.

Number four always struggles with pudding as he has so many allergies, but the waitress was more than accommodating and he was very happy with his huge bowl of meringue and strawberries.

Our first visit was one to remember and the beautiful food and faultless service will certainly be bringing us back again in the near future.

*we were gifted this meal for the purpose of the review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

My Budding Blogger: Sleepover At Auntie Kate’s 

Number three has recently found a real love for photography and looking through fashion vlogs and blogs online.  I often catch her making her own vlogs and writing blogs in her notepad.

Because of her passion for this I have told her that every Sunday she can write and take pictures of anything she likes and I will add it to my blog.

I hope you all enjoy seeing the world through her eyes.

Hi this is my weekend with a sleepover at my Aunties.

  
First I had to go to Italia Conti, but I had to leave 15mins early this week because my Auntie was taking me to see the new Cinderella movie, it was great.  After that we went to Ask Italian where I had a lovely spaghetti carbonara and a plateful of olives.  If you don’t know I love olives.

   
     

The next morning I went for a two mile run.  I go to a place called South London Harriers so this was good for my training.  When we finally got back I had a nice bubble bath then watched the London Marathon with some pancakes and maple syrup yum yum yum.

Then we met the rest of the family in Priory Park.  We didn’t stay in the playground very long.  We went to see my older brother in the skatepark.  He was not very happy we were there, he didn’t speak to us.  I think he was pretending we were not his family. Teenagers!!!!

  
Next we went round to the duck pond and a nice man gave us some bread to feed the ducks.  After that we went through the woods And my little bro was pretending to be a dinosaur, silly him!!

   
 

I took some nature pictures and found some animals made out of willow.

   
    

Finally we had a stroll down the High Street and I was eager to get into Acsessorize where I bought some mini notes and a pen.  

I hope you enjoyed a bit of my weekend.
             The Twinkle Diaries