Bringing Back The Outdoors With Little Tikes

I am a big believer in the benefits of getting the kids outdoors. In this technology driven day and age a huge percentage of children have very little…if any time spent on outdoor play.

According to a government study more than one in nine children haven’t set foot in a park, woodland or beach in the past 12 months and a whopping 74% of children spend less than an hour outside in the fresh air.

The benefits to outdoor play are endless from increasing a child’s self confidence, building their fine and gross motor skills, boosting those all important serotonin levels to give them that feel good boost and so, so much more.

Little Tikes understand all to well the importance of this too and held an event at The Lookout in the centre of Hyde Park to show just how easy it is to get children excited and engaged about getting outside and having fun.

Luckily for us the sun was on our side for this event and I arrived with two super excited little boys who’s eyes lit up the moment they saw the huge array of brightly coloured, beautiful toys that Little tikes are so famous for.

For us Little Tikes have been a part of our family of the past twenty years. My eldest was bought a kitchen from them for her first birthday and since that moment we loved their hardy, eye catching toys that are certainly built to last and allow childrens imaginations to run wild through play which is so important.

The boys headed straight for the Cozy Coupes as they do whenever we come across one and were really pleased to see the truck version which is a little bigger than the original and has plenty of space in the back for them to carry around anything they wish.

From here they moved onto the playhouses and we were all really taken with the Build-A-House which allowed them to customise their own home with interchanging panels that can be attached with easy to use tools. Oscar was also pretty taken with the BBQ to and loved cooking up a storm for everyone.

After a break for lunch and a spot of face painting they got stuck into the water and sand play. I hadn’t realised that Little Tikes had such a extensive range when it came to this and the boys were literally spoilt for choice.

A big hit with both of them was the Turtle Sandbox that they happily sat in building sandcastles and creating forts with the Monster Dirt Digger. Frankie loved looking on at the Fun Zone Splash Face which was like a tug of war that ends with a splash of water in the face if you loose! Int believe that Mr confident – Frankie was to scared to give it a go.

I spent a good part of the day dodging the bucket full of water that fills and drops without warning in the Fun Zone Drop Zone. This great toy can actually be filled with balls instead of water and used for indoor play as well.

The boys love anything involving wheels and spent a good while winding round the beautiful pathways of The Lookout on the Fold’n Go 5 in 1 trike which has a a fabulous parent handle that allows you control of the steering for a super smooth ride and the Lean To Turn Scooters that give them a super easy ride allowing them to really build their confidence.

As the day drew to an end and I struggled to get the boys to leave it came to my attention that my boys who usually have the shortest concentration span ever had spent half a day through engaged, every muscle in their body used and their imaginations stretched to their limits; we certainly give the Little Tikes outdoor range a big huge thumbs up from us!

Dinosaurs In The Wild:Review

Sunday got off to a fraught start as usual with me dragging children through central London at 100 miles per hour due to the fact we were running ridiculously late on our way to the Greenwich Peninsula to experience the new immersive walk through experience – Dinosaurs In The Wild.

After a quick dash to get our tickets wee headed straight to the start of the experience where we were handed 3D glasses and prepared to get ourselves ready to transport back in time to the Chronotex research station.

The time machine saw us encounter all sorts of hurdles on its mission, but we arrived safe and well and in perfect time to explore the labs.

We stayed in each lab for around 10 mins which was the perfect time for inquisitive hands and minds to stay occupied without getting bored and distracted. Each section had the children transfixed to everything that was going on and i didn’t hear a moan or a groan from my own or any of the other children at all.

They got to see a huge beating heart of a Alamosauraus, get really hands on by touching ‘real’ dinosaur poo and teeth, watching baby dinosaurs hatching and the feeding time of lot of bigger dinosaurs too.

Oscar was really taken with a baby dinosaur that was brought out for them to see and got pretty upset that he couldn’t the one home!

The climax of the event took pace in the Lookout at the very top of the research station and I don’t want to spoil the experience by letting you know what goes on. All I will say is that its not for the faint hearted and although the age rating is 5+ I would say if your little ones are sensitive souls then this is something to consider.

Oscar who is 4 went through pretty unfazed but bolshy Frankie was soon put in his place by the whole experience.

I loved every minute of our trip and the set up left nothing uncovered. The charaters stayed in role fabulously throughout and keep the children involved and engaged for the entire 70 mins. The set and models were so lifelike that the children at not point doubted we have travelled back thousands of years through time and completely believed each and every moment.

The experience is running until the end of July 2018 and whether you are a dinosaur fan or not this is one not to be missed!

*We were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Ten

Running behind with this series once again – but hey ‘better late than never’.

It was a pretty big one for me work wise and was a little hard to really concentrate on the smaller things when there were so many exciting things taking place, so this is exactly where I will start.

Working With Kids: By this I don’t mean having to go out of the house everyday and leave the kids, I am in fact lucky enough to take my little ones along with me for a large part of the work I do and this saw Izzy taking to the ice with some of the stars from Disney On Ice and little Oscar get a special screening of the new Peter Rabbit movie.
They always say never work with kids and animals and although it can be pretty stressful at times I am very grateful to be able to do just this.

Loving My City: A lot of my work takes me into London on a weekly basis and normally involves me flitting from one place to the next and not really stopping to take it all in. After the Peter Rabbit screening I had a few hours with Oscar and we took this chance to wander around town taking it all in; from the beautiful architecture to the eclectic groups of people.
London has so much to offer and I really need to slow down and make the most of it when I get the chance.

Oscar Writing His Name: This is a proud moment, mixed in with a little Mum guilt too if I’m honest.
The more children I have obviously the more limited my time is to spend with each of the children and with the older ones having homework to complete I sadly devote a lot of learning time to them a poor little Oscar gets a little left out.
So the other day whist he was writing his Grandad’s birthday card with Izzy, she came in showing me how well he had done with writing his name without any help from her.
I was over the moon that he had done it and a little guilty that there had been little input from me! So its a big thank you again to his fantastic nursery and a big kick up the bum for me to set some time aside to work with him.

Disney On Ice Is Back With Worlds Of Enchantment

A few weeks ago Izzy and I took to the ice with Frankie Bridge and some of the stars from Disney On Ice to practice some moves whilst they were getting ready for the new show – Worlds Of Enchantment.

It is set to be yet another jaw dropping show with Ariel and her undersea kingdom, Lightning McQueen and his friends racing round the rink, the timeless classics from Toy Story that I know will be the favourite of my boys and of course there couldn’t be a show set on ice without an appearance from Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff.

Take a look below at just a snippet of what there is to see and keep an eye out of what we thought when we visit the show at the SSE Arena next week. It really would make the perfect day out this Easter!

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Nine

This weeks ‘celebrating the small things’ is a bit about how I’ve been trying to think positively when things are not going the way you hoped. I am always a glass half full person and I wholeheartedly believe that thinking positively isn’t about expecting the best but accepting that whatever happens is the best thing for that moment in time.

A No No To Wheat For Frankie: We seemed to be spending a lot of time at St Thomas’s with Frankie this year in a bid to see if we can tick a few allergies off his huge list!
The other month we had a success with baked egg and I had high hopes for the wheat challenge but sadly it wasn’t to be. We had got right to the end of the five hour long test before he broke out in hives and was having itching in his throat and ears. We were both devastated as he had been sitting there all morning planning all the new foods he would be able to eat and this all came crashing down in one foul swoop!

On a positive note the reaction wasn’t as bad as it could have been and there is still good chance he could pass the challenge at a later date which we have everything crossed for.

And So Came The Snow: For me the attraction of snow is very short lived. Yes it looks very pretty and I love getting out to take photos in it, it is great fun to get the sledges out and bomb down the hills with the kids but it brings everything to a complete standstill, everything get cancelled and the kids eventually get bored of the whole thing!

I did however manage to embrace it as much as possible is as its such a rarety to get a few snow days in the UK. We went out and and enjoyed playing in the white stuff and then equally enjoyed getting back in to snuggle up with a hot chocolate.

Birthday Parties: Birthday parties when you have five children tend to take up a huge amount of the weekend, it is lovely for the kids but I often find myself thinking of the hundred and one ways I could be filling my day instead of being there though.

I have to say though this birthday party that was for Oscar’s best friend was an absolute delight.

None of the other children had really formed firm friendship groups whilst at nursery and would never really mention specific friends until primary school age. Oscar however is a different child althoghter and has a best friend that he speaks of very fondly and recalls their adventures at playgroup with such passion.

Its times like this the mum guilt kicks in for moaning about them having their own special times as they are such important experiences for them.

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.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Seven

Well I am really playing catch up with myself this week and I am really behind with my “celebrating the small things” posts, however I promised myself I wouldn’t miss a week and I’m going to stick to it.

This week I’m going to be looking back over half term which was a pretty horrendous one for us to be honest!

All of the children were ill until the end of the week and to say I was getting cabin fever would be an understatement, but we still managed to get a few good moments to record.

Feeling Grateful For My Job: School holidays can be a real issue when it comes to thinking of things to occupy the children and this is where I am extremely grateful for my work as it brings such amazing opportunities for the children and allows their time off to be filled with amazing memories.

This half term we were asked if we would like to become Chessington World Of Adventure ambassadors again this year so it would have been rude to not have a trip to celebrate wouldn’t it. We also had a wonderful afternoon at a Little Miss And Mr Men Tea Party where the children were treated to an afternoon of food, fun and personalised pictures from Adam Hargreaves.

Growing Up Fast: I received an email from Oscar’s nursery to let me know that they would be changing things a little at nursery to get the older ones ready for their big move to reception this coming September.

If I’m honest it gave me a big lump in my throat to think that my last little one would be moving on and I won’t have a little one around the house during the day anymore.

We spent a good while that afternoon practicing writing his name and learning his numbers and I was immensely proud of how far he has come…even if I’m not quite ready for it!

Feeling Proud Of My ‘Middlish’ Child: I say ‘middlish’ as when you have five children there isn’t really a middle child is there!

The one I am referring to however is Izzy. I often underestimate how much she does for me and when I sit back and think about it I would be pretty lost without her.

I always told myself that it was my decision to have a large family and putting on the older children was something I wouldn’t do as it has never been their choice.

In reality though a huge part of my day involves try to solo parent whilst working and this is no mean feat at times and I have to call in some help which 9 times out of 10 falls on Izzy.

Don’t get me wrong she loves to have a moan and a groan about it at times but is always there to help wether I ask or not and I really need to show her my gratitude for this more often.

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.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Five

Last week was a pretty hectic one full of all sorts of highs and lows that saw us here there and everywhere. I can safely say that we are looking forward to a break in routine and some fun and games during half term next week.

Here are the small things we have been celebrating:

Egg Challenge Success: Last week saw us taking a trip to St Thomas’s for Frankie to have his baked egg challenge. Frankie’s allergies aren’t something that apper heavily on my blog, I think this is because by the time I had started writing, the trials and tribulations that come with raising a child with allergies had settled and we had learnt to deal with the problems.
Since starting school though the problems and differences in his day to day life have come to light again and for him it is now impacting him in a more emotional way due to the fact he feel different to his peers.
School lunches are limited, baking at school and friends parties all see him singled out which can be upsetting for me as well as him.
We were over the moon that the baked egg challenge was a success and there has been another food to his list of things he can eat.

Much Needed Girly Time: Trips out are somewhat of a rarity for me and time alone with my Mum and sister is almost nonexistent. One of us is always working or there is a child in tow, so it was lovely to have the opportunity to have an afternoon out to the theatre to watch Cirque Du Soliel.
Aside from being a fabulous show having time to simply chat and giggle uninterruptedly was an absolute treat.

Watching My Husband Thrive: I really don’t praise my husband enough… he would completely agree with this but this weekend made me a very proud wife.
His absolute passion is fighting, so much so it has been lucky enough to forge a career out of this and his gym is going from strength to strength.
This weekend he took a team of his young fighters to a tournament and the success of all his students showed how much love, time and dedication he has shown each and everyone of them.

Cirque Du Soleil – OVO Review

I think I must have been living under a rock for the past few years as the wonders of Cirque Du Soleil seem to have passed me by. If I’m honest shows that involve magic or are circus act based are something that rarely grabs my attention, but after only ever hearing glowing reviews of Cirque Du Soleil from family and friends I knew it was something I had to experience for myself.

Last week I was lucky enough to attend a performance of the show that is currently showing at the Royal Albert Hall which is a truly wonderful place in itself.

upon entering we were drawn to the stage that had been engulfed with a giant egg that was set to be the main topic of the show…I did have to google this to find out OVO is Portuguese for egg!

It wasn’t long before the lights dimmed and from every corner of the theatre performers crept out and interacted with the audience in the most spectacular insect outfits. From grasshoppers to butterflies and spiders to fleas they got the audience buzzing with excitement before even taking to the stage.

It wasn’t long before the spectacular acts began and the performers leapt, contorted and balanced in the most fabulous way in front of an astounded crowd.

An army of ants put on an amazing display of foot juggling with all sorts of fruit and veg from kiwis to corn on the cobs.

Two beautiful butterflies put on an amazing performance by intertwining with each other mid air, showing immense strength and the most unbelievable movement that was as beautiful as it was dazzling.

Never did I think a diabolo could be bought to life in such a fabulous way, but watching them flying through the air was sublime.

All of this was interspersed with a comical love story of a cheeky bluebottle who’s affections for the voluptuous ladybird were certainly not reciprocated.

The finale saw a whole host of insects effortlessly flying through the air to land on a huge wall that they appeared to be walking on with such ease and graze. It really was the perfect end to an outstanding show.

The whole performance had me captivated throughout and with it’s mixture of comedy and awe inspiring acts it’s makes for a show perfect for the whole family.

*I was given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.