Teaching Children To Give A Little This Christmas

With the media whirlwind that surrounds Christmas it can be very easy for children to get wrapped up in the commercialisation of it all and loose the true meaning.

It is very easy to get swept up in all the splender that surrounds Christmas and loose sight of the fact that this time of year is not a happy one for all of us.

Christmas is the perfect time to teach children the gift of giving and set them up with skills to show understanding and compassion for those less fortunate.

Something small such a helping out an elderly neighbour with odd jobs or simply a gift of their time is a simple way to give something back.

There are many ways to get the children involved and below I have listed a few charities local to me that offer a great way to do this:

  • Loveworks Christmas Appel Loveworks are a Reigate based charity that’s aim is to help the most vulnerable groups of people in the local area. Over Christmas they run a campaign where you can collect non perishable goods during November and drop off to your local Loveworks food bank in the first week of December.
  • Stripey Stork, Help Santa StorkStripey Stork is a charity created by a group of mums who wanted to make use of their unwanted baby and children’s items by giving them to people in need in the local community. Over the Christmas period they run a campaign called Help Santa’s Stork that allows you to either pick a brand new gift for a child either directly from Amazon or chosen by purchasing and dropping off at local collection points.
  • Give A Christmas Gift – Give A Christmas Gift campaign allows you but a gift from the list they have compiled and then drop your special gift off to several collection points that will then be distribute the collections amongst several local charities.

I hope this post has given you some food for thought and I would love to hear any ideas of charitable acts that you carry out with your little ones at this time of year.

Little Lambs Softplay – New Location And Better Than Ever

Setting up a business whilst being a busy Mum is something that is no mean feat and something many of us would shy away from for many reasons.

It takes drive, determination and passion to keep going and I am in awe of anybody that bites the bullet and makes their hopes and dreams a reality.

This is exactly what Sophie the owner of Little Lambs Softplay in Coulson has done and I have absolutely loved watching her journey and how far she has come in a few short years.

From a small area in a cricket clubhouse Sophie then moved her business onto a bigger and better premise inside a very popular shopping centre in Sutton that was a huge success, so much so that she then had the opportunity to grow even more allowing her to open the new premise she is in today in Coulsdon town centre.

I went along with Oscar to check out everything that is now on offer and we were both more than pleasantly surprised.

The softplay area is extremely spacious with slides, ball pits, ride-ons and lots more to keep little ones up to the age of 6 occupied.

On the same level there is plentiful seating from tabled areas to a cosy corner away from the noise that would be perfect to fed babies or simply pick up a book a relax if it all gets a little to much.

One thing that has always drawn me to Little Lambs is the food. Softplay areas are not usually renowned for the best food but they have really got this down to a tee here.

From indulgent waffles covered with cream and all sorts of goodies to at the healthier options of jacket potatoes that follow Slimming World guidelines, there is something for everyone.

I settled down with a warm croissant and a creamy coffee while Oscar opted for the fully loaded hot chocolate.

My head was turned more than a few time though with the scrummy looking Oreo milkshake and festive late complete with a mini mince pie.

Full up and worn out from all the running around we made our way upstairs to the role play area that I absolutely fell in love with.

The children can get dressed up in a huge variety of different costumes, take to the stage and become a mini popstar, get cooking in the kitchen area or do a spot of shopping in the supermarket or finally become a builder in the construction area complete with a cement mixer, bricks and safety equipment.

Little Lambs really do have everything you could want and more from a Softplay and more.The usual equipment to allow the children to build confidence, agility and let of some steam; good food to keep you all fuelled and an interactive area to allow you to really engage with your little ones whilst growing their imaginations.

This has certainly gone on our list of favourite places to visit and we will definitely be regulars from here on in.

*collaborated post

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

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.

Spa Seekers Parents Retreat At Brooklands Hotel

It had been an absolutely age since I last had a spa day…and infact until the other week I had only ever visited a spa once before!

I always have big plans to get away for the day and switch off from the outside world and have some mich needed me time bit something always comes up as as is the same for most parents time for ourselves is out on the back burner.

So when I was invited along by Spa Seekers to have a day at Brooklands Hotel in Surrey I jumped at the chance…it is work after all!

I arrived and met up with another four lovely bloggers – Katy from Modern Mummy UK, Hannah from What Hannah Did Next, Carissa from Little Likely Lads and Rebbeca from AAU Blog.

Firstly we were shown around the hotel that was built on the old Brooklands racetrack and carries that theme very tastefully throughout the hotel. 

The rooms are all beautifully decorated with many of them having a stunning view of Mercedes World’s racetrack.

 

Once the tour was complete we settled down to a beautiful lunch and glass of bubbly in the hotels restaurant.

I had already been informed by a reliable source that the food was outstanding and they were not wrong.

I tried to be a little healthier and opt for a salad but the lure of the cakes from the afternoon tea was to much and my resolve faded pretty quickly.

Fit to burst we made our way to the BSpa where there attentive staff got us kitted out with the obligatory robes and slippers and gave us all the information we needed to enjoy our afternoon.

I had a massage and wrap booked in for later in the day so had plenty of time to try out the roof top hot tub that also had a brilliant view of the race track.

As well as the hot tub there is a choice of an indoor or outdoor area to kick back and relax in or a meditation room fully equipped with warm water beds and plenty of magazines to really switch off and take some time out.

I always get a little nervous when it comes to baring all for treatments but I couldn’t have been put more at ease by my lovely therapist.

She made me feel so comfortable that I could easily have drifted off to sleep during my treatment that left me we silky soft skin and thoroughly relaxed.

We all tried to drag our day out a little longer with a coffee and another dip into the hot tub before leaving.

With a whole range of treatments from massage to manicures there is something for everyone and it really makes for the perfect getaway for a group of friends or even a date with your partner.

This experience was just the tonic I need to give my frazzled mum brain a break from the bickering at home and my body some much needed tlc, and u won’t be leaving it so long next time.

If this sounds like the kind of thing that you would enjoy then go ahead and enter a great competition ‘here’ for touchable to win a trip for yourself.

*I was invited along to this event by Spa Seekers and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Father’s Day At Flower Farm

I have to say that when it comes to Father’s Day I am a little selfish with the plans I make!

My husband doesn’t really share the love for the great outdoors as much as me, so when I announced we were heading off to pick strawberries his face didn’t exactly light up at the prospect.

The children however were hugely excited as it is certainly a highlight of the summer for them.

Sadly it seems that PYO farms are few and far between these days but we are lucky enough to have one right on our doorstep.

Flower Farm in Godstone is a small farm that has very reasonably priced PYO strawberries  and raspberries come July, with the great addition of a well stocked farm shop and lovely tea room where you can grab light bites and of course a delicious afternoon tea.

The sun was beating down on us whilst picking but this didn’t put us off, even my husband got stuck in and said he was throughly enjoying it.

I love activities like this that cost very little money and bring us all together as a family.

It actually gave me time to reflect on the fact I am incredibly lucky to have my husband who always goes out of his way to make us all happy, and maybe this should be reflected in my choice of activity next year! 

Country Kids