Friday, 15 August 2014

Summer Holidays weeks 2 and 3!

So we are now nearing the end of week 3. I have to say it seems like ages ago I wrote this post about our Summer Holiday plans.

I have stuck to my decision to have a relaxing and unscheduled summer holidays, and so far, apart from a couple of blips, it has worked out well.

In Week 2 we had an impromptu trip down to Herne Bay, it was a fantastic, unplanned, evening out. The children keep asking when we are going back, so no doubt we will be down there again at some point before the end of the holidays! We had a great day out at Bluewater, first at the Cinema to watch Disney Planes 2, which Chester and Millie deemed 'awesome'. Then at the lovely Pizza Express for the best meal out as a family we have had in ages, food was fab and the children behaved themselves! Next up was Chester and Millie's first horse riding lesson, and they absolutely loved it! Thankfully they have not asked for a pony just yet but I fear its only a matter of time! We finished the week off with a trip to the park two days in a row to meet with Chester's School friends! Was great to catch up with the Mummies and for Chester (and Millie) to play with friends and burn off energy in the park, not forgetting swapping their world cup stickers! So actually week 2 was a lot more action packed than I would of liked, but nether the less it was great, the children had fun, and thats all that matters.


Week 3 has been more chilled out, as I think the busy week really took its toll on the Children. Not only are they tired, but they are grumpy and starting to become naughty. I think these things go hand in hand to be honest. So I have tried to keep everything to a minimum. We started week 3 with another trip to the seaside! This time Sheerness, we took a picnic and the children paddled in the sea. That was until I realised there were Jellyfish in the sea and quickly got out! We caught a Jellyfish in our bucket and the children were fascinated. I have only ever seen Jellyfish in aquariums or abroad so was it was interesting for me too. Chester of course questioned why the Jellyfish was not pink, anyone who has watched Finding Nemo will know why he asked that. We made our own pizza which the children loved. We had a day of shopping at Ashford Outlet. Then we had a couple of days of staying in and watching movies. Including the Lego Movie, which prompted some Lego building fun! Lastly, we have been too Chatham Dockyard. Its a favourite of ours, so much to see and do. Plus your ticket gets you in all year so we can enjoy the different exhibitions and holiday activities all year round. This visit was the commemoration of WW1 exhibition, Chester drew a picture for the memory board, its a submarine, a German soldier and an English Soldier. So he had taken on board what he had seen that day!


So we are now entering week 4 and it is going by quicker than I thought it would, lots to still look forward to including our holiday! As I mentioned before, blogging has slowed right down in the Summer so I can enjoy spending time with both of the children. But if you are on instagram you can follow me on there, where I will  be posting pictures of our Summer adventures daily!

How have your Summer Holidays been so far?

Monday, 11 August 2014

Moshling Collection Plush toys, review & giveaway


A couple of weeks ago, we popped along to Bluewater and stumbled across a fun looking Moshi Monster area. Chester, a massive Moshi Monster fan, was very happy! He got to meet Diavlo, get a 'tattoo' and a mask. It totally made his day. 

Since then these Moshling Collection Plush toys have arrived in the post....



As you can see Chester was VERY happy about it! The plush toys give another play dimension to the small plastic figures he is used to. The Moshlings he received are; Iggy, Mr Snookums, Jiggles and ShiShi. Most of you will know about Millie's baby Panda obsession, so with ShiShi being a Panda, Millie just had to have that one for herself! 


Just like the plastic figures you get a special code. The ones on these moshlings unlock their character in-game on Moshimonsters.com. This was (according to Chester) totally awesome!  



The Moshling plush toys have an RRP of £6, I think an acceptable price considering the enjoyment the children have already had out of them, and the fact you can use their code for your online game. They can be found in Clintons, Smyths Toys superstores and all good independent toy stores. Both Chester and Millie love the Moshling Collection Plush toys, I can see a new Moshi obsession coming on in this house!

So, how about a giveaway?! 

The lovely people at Carte Blanche have kindly given me a bundle of 4 Moshling Collection Plush toys, to give away to 1 lucky winner. All you need to do is fill in the rafflecopter below. There is one mandatory entry and then you can gain extra entries if you wish, however, they are not mandatory. The giveaway will run until Midnight on  25th August, all terms and conditions can be found on the rafflecoper form.

Good Luck everyone! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway “SuperLucky
Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

Saturday, 9 August 2014

We shopped til' we dropped at McArthurGlen Ashford!

Living in Kent, we are very lucky to be only 20 minutes away from McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in Ashford.



If you didn't know, McArthurGlen is the European leader in designer outlet retailing. They bring consumers their favourite brands at 30-70% less everyday. Not only do they offer a place to shop, they also have a wide variety of places to eat and a play area to keep the kiddies entertained. So, as we found out today, it really is an all day shopping experience!

Today, we were invited for a day out at McArthurGlen Ashford. My sister came along with me and I decided to bring the children as well, as they needed to be fitted for new shoes. I was a little worried about taking the children, as I know how easily they can get bored on a shopping trip.

When we arrived Millie was asleep (a rare occurrence these days) so we let Chester have a play around on the lovely play area. It was the perfect mix of climbing frames and slides for both younger and older children. It was nice to use it as a bit of a bargaining tool as well. If the children were good, they could have a play in the play area at the end too! If you pop into guest services, they have a treasure hunt, where you have to look out for animal stickers in store windows, if you manage to find all of them you can pick a prize from the lucky dip! They also have McArthur cars that you can hire out for £2, this all makes the shopping trip that bit more exciting for Children.


I arrived with a small list of things I needed to buy; trainers for me (mine are literally falling apart but I love them), shoes for Millie, trainers for Chester, and possibly School trouser for Chester.

With 70 stores to choose from, we were spoilt for choice! We started by looking in Hamleys, we then headed into The Works to keep the children happy and purchase some all important Loom Bands! They had a fantastic offer of 3 packs for £2, plus they had coloured s clips and a loom board too. I also made use of the buy one get one free offer on the School English and Maths workbooks, perfect to prepare Chester for year 1 in September!


We had Chester and Millie's feet measured on the Clarks ipad fitting experience, Chester thought it was totally awesome that an ipad could measure his feet!



We browsed around a few more stores, making sure we brought some yummy Lindt chocolate to keep up our energy! Some of the discounts were just incredible, in French Connection for example, they had dresses down to £19.99 from £139!

It was then time for Lunch. They have a variety of counter service eatery's such as Mcdonalds and Harry Ramsdens. Then they have a cafe, a Wagamama and a Pizza Express. We chose to eat in Pizza Express as we know it to be very child friendly. We met with Jon, McArthurGlen Ashfords Marketing Manager, so it was a great chance for me to quiz him about the outlet over lunch! Let me tell you, there are some big plans for the Ashford outlet, including a multi story car park, which I think is a fab idea! I also found out that the Abercrombie & Fitch store, which opened last year, was the first of its kind to open in Europe, and it has since paved the way for openings across Europe. Chatting to Jon, its clear that the McArthurGlen group are constantly checking the market and making sure that they are meeting the demands of the public.


Lunch was fab, the staff were great with the Children, very patient with them, even when they were getting a bit noisy by the end of our meal! Chester was given a 'winner' sticker for finishing all of his dinner, that totally made his day! I was surprised to hear that last orders are taken an hour after the shops close, so after a long days shopping you can sit down and enjoy some scrummy food. I have made a mental note of this, so that Craig and I can go back and enjoy a child free trip and a meal out one weekend!

We continued our shopping trip, sourcing out bargains, both children managed to get new shoes/trainers, Sarah managed to get some beautiful Wellington Boots in the Croc shop for a bargain £11.99. I sadly didn't find any trainers that I liked, but thats not to say there wasn't plenty to choose from, in fact I was amazed at the amount of choice. But our biggest bargains came from our favourite shop, GAP. They had a lot of 30-50% off sale items, which made for some great buys. But on top of that, we had a 30% off for this weekend voucher (including sale items) by being signed up to the McArthurGlen newsletter (so well worth signing up). So I bought a jumper and 2 t shirts for Chester, a hoodie and a dress for Millie and a top for me, saving a massive £56.68 and only costing £40.26. AMAZING!

One other thing that really impressed me about the outlet were the toilet facilities. They were amazingly clean, plenty of them dotted around. But the icing on the cake, for Millie, who as you know has recently finished her potty training, was the family toilet within the toilets. They had a full sized toilet alongside a child sized toilet. Millie was so happy that she could sit on a 'big girl toilet' all by herself, it was a nice little touch.


We ended up spending nearly 7 hours at the outlet, so its no surprise that by the end the children were getting very tired and grumpy. My sister and I were exhausted, so they must of been shattered! We let them have some time in the play area before heading home, it was only fair!



Some of our bargains...


We had a great day, with some fantastic bargains. With ample parking right in the heart of the outlet and wide walkways, which make it very pushchair friendly, I would certainly recommend that if you have a McArthurGlen near to you, to go and give it a visit. The locations can be found on their website here. This particular one in Ashford is only 37 minutes on the train from London, with free shuttle buses to the outlets front door!



I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. We were given a £100 voucher to spend at McArthurGlen Ashford and provided with lunch at Pizza Express for the purpose of this review.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Coffee Coffee!

I can almost guarantee that anyone with children aged 5 and up will be saying the title of this post in a Mordecai and Rigby from Regular Show style! At least, I hope so, I mean I can't be the only one that has to watch this every day after School?!

Anyway, onto the important stuff...

I love coffee, really love it. I would love to say that its what wakes me up in the mornings, but sadly I am the worst morning person ever, so I barely have time to make sure the children are fed and dressed in the correct attire, let alone drink a cup of coffee!

If we are at home, my coffee time is when the children are in bed. Its my time to chill out, snuggle on the sofa with a large mug of coffee and a good biscuit or two three. Before this year, at home I would just have a regular instant coffee, but at the beginning of the year I treated myself to a Tassimo coffee machine, so now only the best will do!

This is my coffee drawer...



 please tell me its not just me that has one?!

 I really love strong coffee, but I also really love flavoured coffee. My favourite flavour combination at the moment is salted caramel, so when making up my Caramel Macchiato I do add a sneaky drizzle of caramel sauce and a pinch of salt. Although it doesn't come close to my Starbucks favourite, its very yummy for 'homemade'.



I also have a very weird (so my husband say's) love for cold coffee! I can't drink things that are too hot, so often I will wait for them to go cold before I drink them! My Tassimo is perfect for this because, unlike a kettle it doesn't seem to make my drink boiling hot, so it means less time to wait for my coffee to reach my temperature perfection!

Curry's have written this very interesting post about our growing love for coffee. I would have to agree with most of it. I loved the mention of the latte art, its something I look forward to every time I visit a coffee shop, however I have never had the confidence to try it at home!

Over the years we have become a bit more spoilt for choice when it comes to coffee. Where as I used to be satisfied with a instant coffee, I find myself craving more adventurous and flavoursome coffee's. The Gingerbread Latte that Starbucks have every Christmas period is undoubtedly my favourite. I would love to recreate that at home so that I could have it all year round! I think its the smell that makes it so wonderful, it takes me back to my favourite place on earth.... Walt Disney World! Everything has that warming, sickly sweet smell there!

How about you, do you love coffee? Do you have a favourite flavour like me?

This post was written in collaboration with Curry's.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Horse Riding!

Ever since Millie had a ride on a pony at Chester's School Fete, she has not stopped going on about ponies and horses. She really loved it.

So my Friend kindly arranged for Chester and Millie to ride her friends Horse yesterday. We took our other friends children with us and it was a really fantastic morning.

They got to brush Missy (the horse) ...



They got to feed her...


and then they got to ride her....



Both Chester and Millie loved it. They both listened to instruction and did exactly as they were told. Millie didn't stop smiling the whole time she was on Missy.

So I think I better start looking for a Pony Club for Millie, and maybe even Chester! More Expense!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

An impromptu trip to Herne Bay!

Last week, I told you our Summer Holiday plans. Basically our plan is to have very little plans! We have, so far, had a great time by going with the flow and not sticking to a schedule!

On Saturday, when Craig go home from work, we decided it would be nice to have an evening at the seaside! Rather than our usual 15 minute drive to our nearest beach. We decided to drive the half hour to Herne Bay. We hadn't been down there this year, so fancied a change. 

To our surprise, when we arrived, we discovered that the pier had undergone a transformation. It used to house a big building, I think it was a gym. But that has been taken down, and it is now back to being a traditional pier! There were a couple of fair ground rides and stalls. Chester headed straight for the Helter Skelter, which was only £1 a go or 2 goes for £1.50, so he had 2 goes!


They each won a cuddly toy on the hook a duck, Millie has become particularly attached to her dog, which she has named Dave!


Then we headed off of the pier and into the arcades. We changed our £1 coins into 2p's and had lots of fun seeing if we could 'win' some more. With the added bonus that most of the 2p machines also spun a wheel for winning tokens whenever you placed a coin in the slot!


We were all starting to get a bit hungry by then, so strolled down to the Chip Shop, its a must when visiting the seaside isn't it?! Brought our chips and went and sat on the beach.


The Children were happily throwing pebbles into the sea, so Craig snuck off to buy ice creams! Their faces when Craig came back were a picture!




By now it was getting late, so we took a slow stroll back to the car, making time to stop in the newly refurbished play area on the way!


When we got back to the car it was getting dark, the children loved this as it meant they has been able to stay up late! It was a truly wonderful evening out. Sometimes the impromptu plans are the best, aren't they?!

All aboard the potty training bus!




As you know, Millie is now fully potty trained, thanks to a little help from Huggies. So I thought the following information I received recently might be of use to you, if you are considering starting the potty training journey.

Are you thinking about potty training your little one or are you already in the process and would like some expert support and advice? If you would like to help your little one learn how to graduate to undies, look out for the HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® potty training bus which may be coming to your area soon.
As part of a nationwide campaign HUGGIES® Pull Ups®, the potty training experts, will be touring the UK in an iconic American yellow school bus to bring their expertise to life with experiential events specifically designed to provide parents with the reassurance that potty training doesn't need to be a time of contention or anxiety.

HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® potty training expert and psychologist Emma Kenny says: ‘Potty training is a significant milestone in a child’s development and it can seem like information overload for parents working out the best approach for their toddler – but it needn’t be an arduous task thanks to HUGGIES®.
‘Come and visit the team on board the bus and find out how to spot the signs that your child is ready to begin potty training, as well as tips on how to tackle setbacks and get toddlers dry during the day and at night-time too.’

While the team offer visitors support and advice, youngsters will be kept entertained on board the bus with a special mini-bathroom splash play area, a mock up Disney® inspired bedroom and designated section for parents to take a photo of their child as a memento of their visit to the bus.

The team will be on hand throughout the day to answer any questions parents may have and give out free samples, stickers and reward charts to help kids and parents through the potty training stage.
For further helpful tips and advice throughout your child’s potty training journey visit www.pottytraining.co.uk.  

HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and Pull-Ups® Night-Time potty training pants are designed to encourage independence and with special features to teach kids about becoming dry. Make potty training more fun and easier with HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and HUGGIES® Pull-Ups Night-Time.

Dates confirmed so far are below, with more being added at the end of the summer so I will update with more information as soon as I can!

6th August – Cleethorpes
8th August – Sheffield
9th August – Stockton