Magical Christmas at Thomas Land

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Well.. for us the Christmas season has OFFICIALLY started!!!!!!!! We were invited to go along to Thomas Land this weekend past and to experience Thomas Land at Christmas. I can say it was:



Yep, it was brilliant.

thomas land at christmas for kids

As we entered Thomas Land, we immediately felt as if we had arrived “at Christmas”. The festivities were everywhere, from fun “Christmas Photo Shoot Ops” (pop into the Christmas Pudding – see video below), to Reindeer Thomasthomas land at christmas

A most spectacular Christmas tree – and once it started going dark, this tree turned  into light and musical bonanza!the best of thomas land at christmas for kids

Of course there were all the rides – traditional like this oh so old but stunning merry go round – a new – we loved the tearaway trucks the best.

It was a cold day, I will admit, but it also meant, that Thomas Land was busy, but NOT CROWDED. It meant that we got to go on ALL OF THE RIDES and on many several times (I think we went 6 times on the tearaway trucks roller coaster and the kids’ squeals of delight where simply wonderful). We barely had to queue for any of them. Just the best way to explore a theme park.

We went ice skating, we visited the 4D cinema, we stopped for drinks and food and simply had the best day ever.thomas land at christmas grotto

Then as the sun began to set, it was time for our turn with Santa…. we entered the magical castle to meet the big man himself.Santa's grotto thomas land

A perfect end to a perfect day.

Actually.. I tell a fib.. after Santa – when Mum & Dad were shattered and ready to go – we went on another 4 rides …. and THEN we finally head home. Brilliant.

We did miss the fireworks – at 6pm (we left a 5.20pm) but having arrived at 10am, we simply exhausted from a day non stop on the go!

About 2 minutes after driving off… the kids were FAST ASLEEP all the way home! :-)

Disclosure: we were invited along to a Press Day at Drayton Manor theme parks. Many thanks to the team. It was the best day out this Christmas!

Santa’s Grotto Wimbledon Eddie Catz

Who is ready for CHRISTMAS!? Well, we certainly are and we love putting on some Christmas Tunes as soon as we hit November. We start thinking about Christmas Card Making and Christmas Cookie Baking – as we get ready and gear up to our Family Advent Celebrations.

And what better way to kick off the celebrations with a visit to Santa’s Grotto? We were invited along to come to Santa’s Grotto in South West London‘s Wimbledon Eddie Catz. Being a “play centre”, we were not sure what to expect from a Grotto at Eddie Catz, but were pleasantly surprised at quite how lovely an experience the kids had (excuse our slightly blurry photos, it was dark in there!!)

Santa's grotto wimbledon eddie catz - a lovely day out

Tucked away in the corner of the hustle and bustle of the play centre… is a small sign and post box pointing the way.

The kids waited patiently (whilst munching cookies and sipping hot chocolate) for their turn to go in.

They were met by super friendly elves, that quickly put them at ease, as the them down and gotten writing the all important letters to Santa. Surrounded by snowy pine trees and deer, the kids got to work.

Next they got to make some magical Reindeer Food – with strict instructions to sprinkle in the garden on Christmas Eve.

The kids seemed to really enjoy this part of the visit and I would say it certainly makes it stand out a little from “other grotto visits”.

We finally arrived “at the big moment and went in to see Santa himself. A beautifully decorated room with a wonderfully jolly Santa awaited us. The kids turned shy (but in a good way) and respectfully approached Santa. My daughter had made him a special card and carefully handed it over.

We then had some photographs taken and the children received a lovely little plush toy. I received the momento photos (lovely!) and then we went off for a play. Well, a cappuccino for me, Darling, and a play for the kids.

All in all a wonderful experience an a grotto worth visiting  – find out more on London’s Santa Grotto and book before they fill up!

Looking for Recycled Christmas Crafts?  Take a peak!

Disclaimer: the Eddie Catz PR team invited us along for the morning! Thank you very much for having us!

London With Kids – The Shard

As the half term hurtles towards us, we suddenly found ourselves with slightly less plans than usual, but as we live close to London, we know there is always something for us to see and do in London. One place we hadn’t visited before is THE SHARD! The Girl has been “learning all about London” at school and we thought it would be a great opportunity to visit London’s literally biggest (or certainly tallest) attraction.

And this is how our trip went…

We probably had a total of an hour at The Shard – including waiting to collect our tickets and travelling rapidly up the lifts. We were lucky with the weather and had brilliant views of the whole of London – seeing for miles into every direction. It was thrilling to be at the same height as helicopters circling London!

After The Shard, we headed to Borough Market for some yummy food and treats. Lucky for us it was “Apple Day” at Borough Market with lots going on – including shows and Morris Dancers. A great day out indeed.

Do check out Family Deals for the Shard or see what deals the have for the holidays.

Disclaimer: we were invited along to visit The Shard by the press office.

Halloween Treats – Easy Spider Cupcakes

Planning a Halloween Party? Having a spooky cake sale at school? Need cute Halloween Cupcake ideas? Read on. Today we have seriously cute and EASY to make spider cupcakes. How fun and lovely!

Also check out our Halloween Craft Ideas – 50 of the best ideas from around the web or take a look at these Scarily Cute Halloween Crafts! What a setting!

Simple and cute Spider cupcakes - recipe and how to! The kids are going to love this!

Ingredients for Cakes

  • 100g plain chocolate
  • 150g unsalted butter,
  • softened 150g caster sugar 20g cocoa,
  • sifted 3 eggs, beaten
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 1 ½tsp baking powder

2 tbsp Rachel’s Greek Style natural yogurt Ingredients for Frosting

  • 4tbsp golden syrup
  • 80ml double cream
  • 100g milk chocolate
  • 100g plain chocolate

3tbsp Rachel’s Greek Style natural yogurt Ingredients for Decoration

  • Chocolate sugar strands Smarties or similar sweets (for the eyes)
  • Liquorice laces or Catherine wheels


1.Pre-heat the oven 180°C, Gas Mark 4 and line a muffin tray with paper cases

2.Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave on medium power for 1 minute until melted, alternatively place over a pan of simmering water

3.In a mixing bowl beat the butter, caster sugar, cocoa powder and eggs, until soft and creamy. Add the flour and baking powder. Lastly add in the yogurt ensure the mixture is well combined

4.Spoon the mixture into the cases and bake for 20 minutes until risen and firm to touch. Leave to cool

5.Meanwhile in a small bowl gently heat the icing ingredients (except the yogurt). Either do this in a microwave, medium power or over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate has melted, leave to cool then add the yogurt. The frosting should be soft but not runny

6.Spoon the frosting onto each cake and carefully spread with the back of a knife. Dip each cake into chocolate sugar strands then place the Smarties for eyes, cut the liquorice laces into 8 equal pieces and push into the icing – work quickly before the frosting sets. To make the eyes stand out and a mouth simply place some of the frosting in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle and pipe for the desired effec

Makes: 12 cakes

Right.. you will find me in the kitchen stuffing my face!

Christmas Treats for Preschoolers

Last year (and we never go around to sharing this then), Pip Squeak’s Reception class – so lots of 4 & 5yrs olds – classed as Preschoolers in the rest of the world – made these WONDERFUL WONDERFUL little Christmas treats as part of their Young Enterprising scheme. The made them and sold them at school. Profits went to charity. The best bit about this young enterprising scheme, is that officially Reception is not a part of it, they are too young.. whilst the rest of the school gets organised activities… but you know, that never stops a real entrepreneur, now does it?!

We also have some great Gifts that kids can make for Christmas. Take a look!

I am digressing. The kids made adorable Rice Crispy Christmas Puddings:

Christmas Puddings Rice Crispy CakesAs they did these in school.. I can’t give you the exact quantities.. but I can give you what they used.

Rice Crispies Christmas Puds – Ingredients

  • Rice Crispies
  • Milk Chocolate
  • White chocolate
  • Marzipan Christmas Shapes*
  • Cupcake cases

If you can get marizpan shapes – by your own fondant and icing and colour it green and red. (We like using the Sugarflair Brand (UK Readers) and you  if you are form the US get it here – affiliate links)

Rice Crispies Christmas Puds – Method

1) Melt your chocolate in a big bowl in the microwave. Keep an eye on it, so as to not overheat it, as that ruins chocolate.

2) Mix in the rice crispies, keep adding until you have a good mix, that doesn’t look too “wet”. And spoon into the cupcake cases.

3) Prepare your Holly & Berries – if you have shop bought ones, this is an easy step. If you don’t, then use your fondant and colour it green and red. Cut simple holly shapes (don’t try and get all the detail, just a simple green leave will do) and make red little balls.

4) Now melt your white chocolate – again carefully in the microwave.

5) Add a spoon of white chocolate to each cake and pop your holly decoration on top.

Let set and ENJOY!

Also, why not look at these 15 DIY Christmas Ornaments as well as these 15 Christmas Decorations for some fun Christmas crafting?