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!

V&A Museum of Childhood (London) & National Doll Day

As many of you may know, we are a GREAT FAN of London and all the things that London has an offer to do with the Kids. Yes, London is busy and YES, London is expensive.. but if you plan your day right, you can have a fabulous day out at little cost. As “Sarf Londoners”, one place we had not had the time to visit was the V&A’s Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green. When the lovely PR at Baby Born invited us to come along for National Doll Day, I thought it was finally the opportunity to make the “trek”.

It turns out, that it wasn’t much of a trek at all – as Bethnal Green is on the very handy and super fast CENTRAL LINE and the Museum of Childhood itself is only a stone’s through from the tube.

ENTRY IS FREE too, which is always a bonus.

Museum of ChildhoodWe had a fabulous time. I have to say that the Museum was much much MUCH better than expected. There is a great permanent exhibition of toys throughout history (until very recently too – we spotted things from 2013!). The kids adored see the toys and seeing if they could find things that they have or “already know from Daddy’s old toys”. The Museum is also “handily” interspersed with little activity stations and things to do – from a sensory area, to pretend tea, to robot mechanics and even a Sand Pit! The kids can dress up and create a puppet show or go on rocking horses.

If that isn’t enough, the Museum (on a Sunday), as lots of activity sessions for kids – we heard one singing session going and caught the Shadow Puppet show too.

As part of our day with the team at Baby Born, we had a go at Paper Doll making and playing with the new dolls out on the market. Though my kids were very shy at the Paper Doll making event itself, we took ours home and 2 weeks on, we have been colouring and cutting more and more and MORE paper dolls (printed off the internet). I am amazed at quite how much they have enjoyed this little arty project and for how long it has been going on!

Here is a little video we made about the Museum!

Such a fabulous day out and fantastic way to celebrate National Doll Day!

Thank you for luring us to Bethnal Green to finally visit this amazing museum and for the chance to get to play with all the latest Baby Born dolls!

Days Out With Kids – Sensational Butterflies at the Natural History Museum (London)

As we finally hit our stride this Summer holidays we are ready to go out on adventures and explore. There SO MANY things for the kids to do and see in London. And as “city dwellers”, I particularly enjoy seeking out activities for the kids that brings them closer to the wonders of Nature! One such Day Out, is a visit to the National History Musuem‘s Sensational Butterflies.

Sensational butterflies-037-310315

You are invited to “Step through the tropical greenery as the exhibition takes you on the transformational journey of one of nature’s most incredible life cycles. Following the trail leads you past munching caterpillars, jewel-like chrysalises and interactive displays, while hundreds of striking butterflies and moths flutter above your head.”

We have had the pleasure and amazement of observing the Butterfly Life Cycle before (you can order “caterpillar kits” online!) – but we never cease to marvel at the sheer wonder of it. This year, we didn’t have the opportunity to “observe the Butterflies” at home, so it was nice for us to go to this butterfly exhibition. The kids were excited to see the different Life Cycle stages right before the eyes.. My daughter actually saw a butterfly hatching (the others missed it). In some ways the experience here of seeing – caterpillars, cocoons (and so many different ones) and final butterflies, was more exciting as they didn’t have to wait days between the stages! The magic was happening right in front of us in the short time we were there.

AT Scientist butterfly House -008-150413

The children were also delighted that the wonderful butterflies, would land on our rucksacks and on one occasion on one of the children’s heads – staying there for AGES! It was quite magical (and looked like a butterfly fascinator!).

This exhibition is truly beautiful, spectacular and memorable. I love that not only can you simply enjoy the beauty of butterflies, but that you also get to learn about butterflies and their life cycles – see and observe for yourself. Learn about “friends and foe” and what butterflies and caterpillars eat. Right up close to nature. As kids that grown up in a city, these connections are so important to them (and me as their parent).

If you are considering a visit to London this Summer, I totally recommend you come along to the Sensational Butterflies, it is too beautiful to be missed. Combine it with a visit to the Dinosaurs at the National History Museum.. and then if you have time, head over to Hyde Park and check out the gorgeous Serpentine Gallery and the Princess Diana Memorial Playground. The combination of these things makes for a FANTASTIC family day, creating treasured memories.

Disclaimer – we were invited along on a press trip to see the Sensational Butterflies.

Days Out in London with Kids

If you are in London this Summer (2015) and are looking for things to do with the kids, you are IN FOR A TREAT!

Each year the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park hosts an exhibition, as well as a fabulous architectural structure. They choose an architect that does NOT already have a building design in London to come up with a design and build. This year they have a Spanish couple called Selgas Cano and they have come up with this most awe inspiring design. It is simply BEAUTIFUL!

Plan in enough time to sit down for a nice drink and cake (unless it is a hot day, then take a picnic and sit under a tree in the shade).

I took the kids along (nearest tube via High Street Kensington, but if you have time, enter the park via any gate and go for a walk in this lovely green space).

Serpentine Pavilion by Selgas Cano in Hyde Park - Serpentine Gallery 2015And here is a video with us walking around and through the Serpentine Pavilion 2015