Keeping The Magic Of Christmas Alive At Lapland UK

Do you remember the wonder that each sparkling light on the christmas tree would behold, how the smell of the fresh pine needles used to fill the house and your heart with such excitement, how every sip of warm hot chocolate and each bite of your delicious mince pie would fill your tummy not only with good food but with butterflies from the anticipation of the arrival of Father Christmas each and every year.

As we get older sadly these feelings dwindle and our hopes and expectations of christmas change and the magic slowly fades away.

However once we are blessed with the gift of children this magic fills our hearts once more as we see the wonder through our children’s eyes.

I have soaked up every moment of my children’s twitchy fingers as they try to adoren the tree with the delicate decorations, looked on in wonder at each and every nativity play as the stand their fumbling through the words of those heart warming christmas carols and for me one of the most magical moments is clinging onto their wriggly bodies as they stand in line to see meet the big man himself…Father Christmas.

All these moments are precious yet sadly as fleeting as our own and each and every year I try my upmost to keep the magic alive for as long as possible.

Familiar traditions such as baking the Christmas cake and writing letters to Father Christmas all help with this but as with anything as children grow and their knowledge widens the belief in Father Christmas begins to be questioned and I can honestly say that the reality of having a non-believer has always been way harder on me than it has been for them.

If there was a place you could visit that was as magical and as mysterious as the thought of Father Christmas himself then surly this would help keep the magic alive for that little bit longer would it not?

This is what I has high hope of when we were asked along to Lapland UK last weekend. In its tenth year now I have never heard a negative comment about anyones trip and after meeting the charming husband and wife team Alison and Mike at an event last month I knew that the love and passion that came across as they spoke so fondly of their creation was going to shine trough on our trip.

I decided for my sanity to leave telling the children about our trip until the day before we left. I am completely at fault when it comes to making the children little balls of excitement as this time of year but even I couldn’t take how excited they were going to be on hearing they would be going on the trip.

The invitations get sent through the post in a beautiful presentation box with each child having a personal invitation, complete with a gorgeous wax seal.

The box itself can be placed in the freezer to make for a gust of cold air when they open it up which Frankie was absolute amazed with and went rushing over to the window to see if he could see the tail end of Father Christmas’s reindeers that must have just delivered them.

That night was like putting the children to bed on Christmas Eve, the excitment was immense and after reading The Untold Story Of Father Christmas which is written by the founders and is the perfect way to get them familiar with the lovable charters they would be meeting the next day, they finally settled.

We couldn’t believe our luck when we woke to snow the next morning and as we came off the motorway and drove a short way through snow covered woods it really couldn’t have been a more magical build up to or visit.

A short walk from the carpark we arrived at a beautiful snow covered building where we checked in with the friendly elf and enjoyed a quick snack before our tour started.

It wasn’t long before it was our turn to be guided through the huge bookcase into a magical enchanted forest where we were told the story of how each tiny pinecone turns into a elf that then helps out with making all the toys for Father Christmas to deliver.

This is also what our children had been enrolled to do and as we were about to set off to take up the challenge the huge set of doors was slowly opens to reveal a cascade of snow and a stunning snow covered walkway.

Once inside the workshop the children were all settled at work benches where they has the job of stuffing super cute polar bears ready for delivery on Christmas Eve. This could have lead to many tears and tantrums as the toys were not for them to keep, however the story had been told so well and their role for the day described perfectly so there was not one tear or moan from any of the children in the room.

After all their hard work we then made our way to meet Mother Christmas in her kitchen; the kitchen was snug and cosy and the warmth from Mother Christmas was infectious. The children carefully decorated their gingerbread trees and packed them away to hang from their own trees once they got home and then settled down to a story read by Mother Christmas herself whist the parents got the chance to snack on a delicious biscuit themselves.

When all the work was over we had free reign of the village where you could grab something good to eat and drink or like us get tempted by a few to many sweets in the sweet shop. We picked up a small gift in the shop that really was a child’s dream with a huge selection of gifts and of course not to be missed a trip to the ice rink.

Skating is really not my forte and although I braved it I stayed pretty much in one spot while the children fearlessly skated off with their Dad. Oscar was over the moon as ice skating is normally of the agenda for him as he is only three, but with the help of some super cool strap on skates and the aid of a penguin he was well away.

It was now time for the most anticipated part of the day…our trip to Father Christmas. The walk to the grotto held yet more beautifully snow covered pathways, the cutest of little elf homes and of course a stop off to visit the reindeers where we also got the chance to help out with preparing their food.

We had a very short wait until the children names were called and we were lead to his Grotto, the doors opened and the beaming smile from the big, jolly man filled the beautifully decorated room.

The children sat next to him, hanging on his every word in complete awe. The heart melting moment for me though was the look on the children’s faces when he spoke bout each one individually, letting out little snippets of their lives that they never imagined he would ever know.

Mouths aghast at what they had just experienced and me with tears in my eyes I know that there is no way that this visit could ever be topped and will certainly never be forgotten.

The attention to detail at every point is unbelievable, there wasn’t a queue in sight and the whole day ran seamlessly. But I think what stood out most for me was I didn’t hear a moan, a cross word or a cry from any child all day which is certainly a first for us and just shows that the whole experience is put together with the childs enjoyment being the top priority.

I experienced this day with children aged from fifteen to three and each and everyone felt and shared the magic of this wonderful place. Archie integrated with his younger siblings and loved every minute of watching their delight as we did and although he is way past the age of believing it was still an amazing experience for him.

The one that I most wanted to see the reaction of was Izzy though as the start of High School has already had an effect on her and her belief has been waining since last year, yet the sparkle in her eye and the smile on the face after this trip has given me at least one more year of magic with her and for that I will be forever grateful.

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

My First Scalextric:Review

Scalextric tracks are something that I remember fondly from my youth, in fact the first one was bought out in 1957…my memories don’t go that far back.

I never had one of my own but loved going to my cousins to challenge them to a race and spent hours watching the cars speeding round the track.

My eldest son still has a set that he is keeping well out of reach from his destructive little brothers, much to their annoyance.

When I was asked to review the My First Scalextric I had high hope for what the boys were going to think.

Their eyes lit up as soon as they saw they saw the brightly coloured packaging and they couldn’t wait to get inside.

Once opened the figure of eight style track was super easy to assemble which was very pleasing as the boys were itching to get started.

It didn’t take them long to pick up what they had to do and the adjustable hand controllers allow you to use variable speeds depending on the ability of the child. They are also colour matching with the track so they can easily know which car they are racing.

One of my less fond memories of Scalextric is the moment the cars come flying from the track just as you were in the lead. Thankfully they now use magnatration which has a strong magnetic force allowing the cars to keep better traction.

As well as being heaps of fun My First Scalextric helps to improve fine motor skills, manual dexterity, hand eye coordination and give them great practice in playing well as a pair which is much needed in this house!

With Christmas not to far away this would be a very welcomed gift under any tree.

*collaborated post

PJ Masks Halloween Party

Could there be a more perfect start to half term then a combination of super heroes and halloween all rolled into one big party.

This is exactly what we were lucky enough to experience when we went along to the Picturehouse Central last week for the PJ Masks halloween party.

Balloons, banners and just about everything you could think of related to PJ Masks filled the room and hoards of excited children dressed as their favourite characters played with the super new PJ Masks products, crafted and danced along to a fantastic session put on by Diddi Dance.

Diddi Dance are in-fact hosting a week long ‘PJ Masks Super Dance Party’ from 30th October-5th November throughout all their branches in aid of the Youth Sports Trust.

As if this wasn’t enough excitement we were then surprised by the arrival of all the ‘real’ PJ Masks’ Oscar was absolutely over the moon!

They then all joined us for for a yummy lunch before we headed off to the screening of the brand new episodes that are set to hit our screens in the spring.

The action packed episodes will still see the same familiar characters with the addition of some new and exciting characters to bring even more fun to the hugely popular shows!

The boys exclaimed the they had had the best day ever and came away with the goody bag of dreams that they are still working their way through now.

PJ Masks really are going from strength to strength and with some great products that have just been launched in time for christmas and some brilliant new episodes coming in the new year their is so much for fans to look forward too.

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?

Awesome Little Green Men:Review

My youngest two are huge lovers of anything to do with the forces. From police men to soilders  they are always having role play games together where they are catching robbers or battling it out in fields.

Any toys related to this are always a big hit so I had high hopes for the Awesome Little Green Men when we were asked to review them.

Awesome Little Green Men are blind boxed collectibles that have over 100 recruits and vehicles to collect in series one.

Each box comes with a figure, dog dog on a chain and and a new recruit poster.


There is also a battle pack that comes in a super cool truck shaped box and six figures that would make a perfect present to start off their collection.

The figures are more than just collectibles as the aim of the game is to build the best troop with General Pain and General Panic at the helm.

The figures to me are a new take on the traditional army figures of old and it makes a welcome change to have something different from the normal doll or animal theme.

With Christmas fast approaching these would make great stocking filling or a great little pocket money treat.

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

Toys Galore With Cars 3

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months you can’t have missed the hype the has surrounding the release of Cars 3.

We were lucky enough to go along to a screening recently which left us all buzzing from the return of these lovable characters to the big screen.

Along with new film releases always comes a whole host of merchandise that children are drawn towards to keep the movie alive once they return home.

Ordinarily I’m normally a bit of a meanie when it comes to things like this as they are often gimmicky toys that fail to keep my children’s attention for more than five minutes!

However Cars 3 has bought with it a fantastic range of toys that have kept my boys occupied for hours on end which is nothing short of a miracle if you know my youngest two.

Lego is always a big hit in our house and the Cars 3 Junior Easy To Build version that is aimed at children aged 4-7 has been a fantastic addition to our collection.

The easy to follow instructions and recognisable characters make it a toy that Frankie can happily return to again and again and get the satisfaction that he can create it all by himself.

At this time of year I am always looking for toys that are easy to take on trips out to keep them amused on long journeys or when I need to try and keep them busy while we are having a meal.

This is where the mini racers and figural crayons are perfect.

The cars can be easily raced up and down in smaller spaces and crayons are always a go to, to let them get creative.

The quirky design of the crayons with the name and figure of each car was a real delight and they have also been used as race cars an several occasions too!

We have been thinking a lot about getting things ready for ‘back to school’ and one thing I like to do is get key rings for their book bags so they can be easily recognised and hopefully not lost within the first few weeks.

These super cute soft keyrings are the perfect way to adorne any book bag…or sneak onto your own keys if you are anything like my husband! 

If cuddly is your thing then the squishy Guido is the one for you. He has in fact  paved the way to become top choice for a bedtime cuddle here.

I have saved the best for last though which comes in the form or a remote control Cruz Ramirez car.

It is the perfect way for children to try their hand at becoming a racer themselves with an easy to use control pad that has simple manoeuvres for even the youngest of children to get to grips with.

This car has given them hours of fun and more than a few arguments about who is going to drive it!

I would love to know who your favourite character is from the new film and which one this fantastic toys would be on your little ones list.
*We were given these toys for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.

Movie Night With Toy Story

What memories does the year 1995 conjure up for you?

Well you may be surprised to know that it was the year both Yahoo and EBay hit the World Wide Web, the biggest hit of the year  was Unchained Melody by Robson and Jerome and amazingly the cult classic Toy Story graced the big screen.

Even as a stroppy teen the story of Andy and his much loved toys grabbed my heart and is a film that I will never tire of watching.

I have passed my love of these films down to my children and over the years the characters have filled our home time and time again.

At the moment it is Frankie and Oscar that are the biggest fans and we often drag our moth eaten Woody around from place to place…in fact that little cowboy has certainly had a fair share of adventures with us over the years.

It’s not only the films that get watched and toys that are played with. Oscar’s favourite shoes are his Buzz Lightyear Vans that have ‘Andy’ embleshed on the sole.

When we were asked by B&M Stores and Thinkway Toys to keep the love of Toy Story alive by having a movie night complete with cosy blankets, popcorn and retro sweets with Woody and Buzz as company I knew the boys would be over the moon.

Sadly our Buzz went to the toy hospital in the sky a while ago now and as I said Woody is looking a little worse for wear so we were very happy to get the chance to play with some new characters.

The boys sat chomping on their goodies transfixed to the original Toy Story just as if it was the first time they had watched it.

It was in fact 2010 since Toy Story 3 was released and with the upcoming release of the fourth movie in 2019 it is lovely to be able to reach for the DVD and keep the love for this movie going and the anticipation for the next one high!

If you love Toy Story as much as us then you can’t miss our Twitter party that is taking place on 27th June from 1-2.30pm where there will be plenty of Toy Story chat and the chance to win some B&M vouchers.

So put the date in your diary and I look forward to tweeting you soon.