Thursday, 24 April 2014

Bournemouth Oceanarium

We did some pretty fun things whilst holidaying at my parents home in Dorset last week. One of the things the children, Millie especially, keep mentioning is our trip to Bournemouth Oceanarium.

When I was researching places to visit in Dorset I came across the Oceanarium. After reading mixed reviews I decided to go with my instinct and go see what it was like for myself. 

I pre booked my tickets online as a discount was offered. I was plesently surprised that It only cost me a total of £11.45 for Chester and I. Millie was free because she is only 2. Another great thing about booking the tickets online was that it gave me a time frame in which to use my tickets. I didn't need to use them on a specific date, just by a specific date. Meaning if I slightly changed my plans that week it wouldn't of been a problem. I also loved the fact that I didn't need to print my tickets, only give my reference number. On holiday you are not likely to have a printer to hand, so it's great to still be able to take advantage of the cheaper online price! 

The Oceanarium is situated next to Bournemouth pier. Car parks are situated nearby as is the bus station. In fact, if you get the bus, you can walk through some public beautiful gardens to get to the Oceanarium. 

My one big concearn when visiting was what I would do with Millie's pushchair. You may remember me saying in my previous post, that sadly Craig couldn't get the time off of work so (apart from the days my parents were off of work) I was on my own with the two cheeky monkeys! When we arrived, the lovely lady on reception explained that there was a lift and I was quite welcome to leave my pushchair in the designated area or take it round with us. This was a relief, and as Millie was in such a good mood I decided to put Millie on the reins and leave the pushchair!

So we were now ready to explore the Oceanarium, both children and me were very excited! 

The first tanks we saw housed some pretty big fish! Millie was adamant they were going to eat her! She made a few people giggle by telling the fish off and saying 'don't eat me, don't eat Millie, no no'! Eagle eyed Chester looked up and spotted an fish tank on the ceiling, he was fascinated by this! 

We saw lots of fish whilst walking around. Millie of course was most taken by the clown fish (or Nemos as she calls them).

Chester and I LOVED watching the giant turtles from above and below, we spent ages just watching them. 

Chester was amazed at the size of this turtle shell on display...

We all loved watching the cheeky otters, they were playing together both in and out of the water, we all agreed we were jealous of their sea view enclosure! 

We also saw 2 very large lobsters, a seahorse, some pretty (but dangerous) lion fish, some sharks, some eels, lots of different dragons/lizards and lots more! 

We even managed to squeeze in some colouring! 

Overall I think we spent just over 2 hours in the Oceanarium, our ticket allowed us to come and go throughout the day, which makes it even more great value to money. 

We had a really lovely morning and the children have not stopped talking about it since! We will certainly be coming back in the summer, but with one change.... We will be bringing Craig, he has heard so much about it he wants to see it for himself! 

Millionaire Genie with

I have always really wanted to go to Bingo. I know some of my friends go and really enjoy it. But unfortunately it's just never happened. I never seem to have any real spare time, especially for myself, so it always gets put off.

I had never had a go a online bingo either, to me the reason I wanted to go to Bingo was to have a laugh with my friends. But recently I was asked if I would like to try out a game of Millionaire Genie on It's not a game of bingo, it is infact a slot type game. I was credited with £5 and with the jackpot being over £450,000 I wasn't going to say no! You've gotta be in it to win it as the saying goes!

Well as I am sat in my living room typing this and not somewhere exotic, I clearly didn't win the big money! But I did give it a good go! 

Reading through the instructions this it what they said.... 

You’ll see bags of gold, ancient books, emerald-eyed cobras, ornate keys and magic lamps all spinning round on the reels, but the extra-special symbols are the Genie and the girl in the pink scarf. The girl acts as the game’s bonus symbol: find three or more of her and you’ll trigger the Genie’s Palace bonus round. Here, you’ll have to make two important wishes: one decides your initial prize, and the other determines the multiplier that comes along with it.The Genie’s close-up shot acts as the game’s scatter symbol, which means that if you find three or more of these anywhere on your reels, you’re in a for a series of completely free games! Of course, the genie will have to consult his abacus first to decide just how many you’ll get, but once he’s got his maths right, he’ll unfold a scroll to let you know! Then, he’ll work some mysterious magic on the reels and conjure up the sticky wild Millionaire Genie title symbols. These symbols stay on your reels throughout your free spins, increasing your chances of landing those super high-scoring combinations!

Finally there’s that huge progressive jackpot. It’s awarded at random, so the more time you spend getting to know your new blue friend, the better your chances are of winning it! 

I read through these instructions, several times, I can honestly say I still did not have a clue! I have played slot machines before, and understand the concept of finding 3 in a row and being able to hold and nudge. This game seemed nothing like this?! 

I was excited to play though and thought I would just pick it up as I went on. 

The game was easy to load, and I could easily see that you could bet differing ammounts of money! I decided to play it safe and bet 1p, which as there are 15 tiles is 15p a go. 

The most I won in one go was £1.05, but when I did win, even the little ammounts had me excited! I suppose that is why it is so popular! 


Sadly I have to say, I still do not really understand the game, I couldn't tell you how I came to win. The game does put lines up to show how you have won, but even then I didn't quite get it! 

I think overall I would of had more fun if I understood the game more. I know how addictive these games can become, so I chose to stick to my £5 and not add anymore. 

Do you enjoy playing Bingo games?

If you do have a favourite game you can vote for it in the WhichBingo awards.

Disclaimer: I was credited with £5 to play Millionaire Genie and compensated for my time to write this post. All opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Skylanders Swap Force: Zoo Lou's Easter Adventures!

According to Skylander legend, we have Double Trouble to thank for bringing Zoo Lou to Master Eon's attention! Apparently, Zoo Lou traveled far and wide to the Seven Strange Strongholds (ancient mysterious sites in Skylanders). Whilst he was at these strongholds, he studied the wisdom and fighting styles of the Seven Strange Mages. After many years of learning and training, Zoo Lou returned to find an army of trolls had invaded his sacred homeland to mine its natural magic resources. Zoo Lou's warrior heart burned with fury. And having now mastered the enchanted art of communicating with nature and summoning animals, he unleashed his great mojo - attacking the trolls and single handedly freeing his lands once again.

So Zoo Lou is a Life Element Skylander, and after many a discussion, Chester and I have decided Zoo Lou is a bear! Chester says he has got some great upgrades, he has so far upgraded him so that he can ride a boar who attacks enemies. But he is working towards the upgrade that enables a wolf to dig up food for him when his health is low!

Last week, we took Zoo Lou on holiday with us on our trip down to my parents in Dorset, and this is what he got up to outside of his Skylander game....

The adventures started with a trip to the beach, apparently Zoo Lou had never built a sandcastle before, so Chester showed him what to do, and then made him king of the castle!

Next, we took him to the cinema to see Rio 2! Some of Zou Lou's best Skylanders friends are birds so he really enjoyed watching this film!

We went on a picnic...

But Zoo Lou ate too much food, so on the way back, he needed to hitch a lift on Millie's pushchair for a rest!

That evening, we went to a motorbike meet on Poole Quay, it was a first time for all of us, and none of us could believe just how many bikes were there!

We popped into the amusements on the way back from the bike meet...

Lastly, we took him to the farm, where he got to be with the things he loves the most... Animals...

 All in all I think its safe to say that Zoo Lou had a great time holidaying with us. But I also think it's fair to say that he needs a rest now, before going back into his Skylanders Swap Force game!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Lulworth Cove

During our visit to my parents last week, (see my Oh we do like to be beside the seaside post) we managed to fit in a visit to Lulworth Cove, and I am so glad that we did!

I had been there before, a very long time ago, and had forgotten just how lovely it is!

Lulworth Cove is on the Jurassic Coast World Heritage site in Dorset. It has a big car park, which is situated in between Lulworth Cove and Durdle Door. We ran out of time to visit Durdle Door this time, and if i'm honest, the massive hill we needed to climb to get to it, put me off with Millie in tow!! I have put it top of our list for our summer visit though!

They have a Heritage Centre, situated near the Lulworth Cove end. Its free to get in and had some really interesting displays. Chester and Millie even got to do some fossil rubbings!

The walk down to Lulworth Cove is really lovely, it has some little shops and a restaurant. A little stream too.

The whole reason the children (especially Chester) wanted to visit Lulworth Cove, was because it is famed for its fossils. Chester basically envisaged finding a complete dinosaur skelington! I think no matter how much I told him that this was not the case, he was not going to listen!

We did have a lovely time looking for fossils and just watching the world go by, it is so peaceful there.

We didn't manage to find any fossils, but the children still enjoyed it so much! Throwing stones into the sea seemed to be their favourite thing to do! 

On the way back up to the car, we stopped for an ice cream!

We spent nearly 4 hours at Lulworth Cove and had a great time. As the beach area is all rock, pebble and stone its not suitable for pushchairs, but the walk down to the beach is very short, Millie is 2 and was fine with the walk. We took a little picnic with us, but also grabbed some chips on the way down to the beach.

It was a very cheap, but very enjoyable day out, if you have little explorers I would totally recommend you visit. We will certainly be visiting again next time we have a stay at my parents!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside....

You may remember me saying a little while ago, that my parents had moved a few hours away to Dorset. Well last week, we decided to make use of this and have ourselves a little holiday! By we, I mean Chester, Millie and I. Sadly Craig couldn't get the time off of work, so he had to miss out again.

We had a really great time, Chester and Millie adore their Nannie and Grandad, so they really loved spending time with them. I think its safe to say the children wore my Parents out! They still can't get over the fact that the children have so much energy!

We did manage to fit in quite a lot, and I will be writing separate posts for some of the things we got up to as I don't think just one paragraph would do them justice!

Over the week, I realised just how much I rely on my car back home. Where my parents live, everything is easily accessible and most things are within walking distance, they are so lucky. Buses are so much cheaper than in Kent and run a lot more frequently. At home I need to use my car, and if I am honest, I enjoy using it. But in Dorset, I enjoyed leaving my car parked up and using my legs more!

We were very lucky that the weather was great whilst we were there, so we managed to spend most of our time in the fresh air! We visited Lulworth Cove, Sandbanks beach (twice!), Poole Quay, Bournemouth Oceanarium and Honeybrook Farm! We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the cinema, a picnic in the park, swimming, Poole Bike Night, a couple of trips to the Arcades, Fish and chips by the sea and some shopping!!

Phew! what a week!

So a big thank you to my parents for having us to stay! Now please excuse me while I have a rest!!!

Friday, 18 April 2014

Old El Paso REVIEW

Fajitas are featured at least twice a month on my family meal plan. I would be lying if I said we eat them because we love mexican food, because we have not really tried anything else even slightly mexican.

That is until now. Because we were sent this lovely bundle of Old El Paso meal ideas to try....

As a family we have very differing tastes when it comes to how spicy we like our food. I prefer things to be on the mild side, as does Millie. Chester likes his food to be a bit more than mild and Craig likes medium to hot. This can be difficult when planning meals, but I discovered with Old El Paso that it is a lot easier than you think to lower or raise the spice level and still get lots of flavour!

I am alway looking for quick and easy meal ideas. So we decided to try out the Extra Mild Super Tasty One Pan Rice Meal. All we needed to add to complete the meal was Chicken, and our choice of vegetables! It claimed to be ready in 20 minutes, and it didn't disappoint! It really was very simple to prepare and cook, first you cook your diced chicken, then you add your veg, your rice and your sauce and spice mix sachets along with some water. Then leave to simmer for 10 minutes!

The sauce is creamy lime flavour and we think it was a really great flavour combination. Unsurprisingly Craig said it could of done with a little more heat for him, but as a family it was a really enjoyable dish!

Its the Easter Holidays, and one of the things I really struggle with is keeping up with the amount of food Chester eats! As the saying goes, he is eating me out of house and home! So one lunch time I decided to give the Quesadilla's a go.

It says to use chicken for these, but as we had no chicken in the fridge that day, I improvised and used sausages instead! The kit includes 8 Corn Tortillas, 1 Quesadilla Spice Mix, 1 Mild Original Salsa. Again, this was ready to eat within 20 minutes! Very easy to prepare and cook. You simply add the spice mix to your cooked sausages, put your Corn tortillas into a lightly oiled pan, add a little grated cheese, once it has melted add a little salsa and your sausage (or chicken) mix. Fold over, place onto a plate and cut into generous triangles!

I was really surprised by these, as we have Fajitas a lot I just assumed that the Tortillas would be the same as the ones we use for those. But corn Tortillas are very different. Once they are cooked, although they come out of the pan quite soft, they firm up within a minute or so. The texture is really different and I really liked them. Sadly, the children were not so sure.

Old El Paso have also brought out a new range of casserole mix's and the Warming Paprika and Herbs casserole mix is on my meal plan for next week! I am super excited about that one, as you all know I LOVE my slow cooker! I am also a little nervous though as the heat is medium on this one!

Do you like Mexican foods? What spice level do you prefer?
Family Fever

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Fun in the park, complete with egg and spoon races!

Last week was the first week of the Easter Holidays for us, and it seems to of gone by in a flash! I managed to keep the children entertained everyday, with no arguments or moanings of being bored!

What a miracle! 

One of the highlights of last week for Chester, was a picnic in the park with his School friends. 

We all arranged to meet up in the park, and we couldn't of picked a better day for it, the sun was shining and it wasn't windy! 

The children soon went off to make dens with sticks and grass! I love this kind of play, they really had to use their imaginations and, for most of the time, they all got on really well and played nicely together! 

It was nice for all of us Mummies too. We got to chill out and have a catch up, whilst watching our children. It's lovely really, not only do the children seem to get on so well together, all of us Mummies do as well! I was so nervous when Chester started School, and really wanted him to make some friends and get on well with everyone, this has happened and I couldn't be happier for him. I was also nervous for myself too but I needn't of worried as everyone is so lovely and easy to talk too. I feel like we have both settled into School life really well! Phew! 

We finished off the picnic in the park with a few egg and spoon races! With chocolate eggs of course! 

So week one is over and week two has just begun! I have lots instore for this week, it's going to be a lots of fun, hopefully the weather will be kind to us as I have lots planned for outside! 

How has your Easter holidays been so far?