Thursday, 27 October 2016

Skylanders Academy launches exclusively on Netflix!

So if you haven't noticed already, we are a bit Skylander crazy here! Chester has been a fan right from the very beginning, back in the days of Spyros Adventure. He is a big collector of the characters, and has always used them not only for the game play but also for imaginative play. Now Millie is a little older she is also showing a very keen interest in the game! 

One thing we have always said is that Skylanders would make a great TV programme. We were invited to London on Monday to a Skylanders event, and whilst there we were lucky enough to see our dreams become reality! 


Yes, that's right! Skylanders has been made into a TV programme! How amazing is that?! 


The series, named Skylanders Academy, is going to availible exclusively on Netflix. Season One has 13 episodes at approximately 20 minutes per episode. Based on Activision Blizzards pioneering video game franchise, the show follows the heroic adventures of Spyro, Eruptor, Stealth Elf, Jet Vac and Popp Fizz as they travel the vast skylands universe protecting it from evil doers. 

Now, we were extremely lucky enough to get an exclusive screening of the first episode, and let me tell you, it was awesome! It is everything we had hoped it would be. Millie found Kaos hilarious, some of the things he said were good enough to entertain me too! Chester loved getting to know the characters personalities a bit more, and all three of us agreed that it was very humorous. The adults in the room recognised some famous voices including; Justin Long (DodgeBall), Ashley Tisdale (High School Musical), and Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad). It has been written by Eric Rogers (Futureama) and to me that explains the well placed humour! 

Chester, Millie and I will certainly be watching the new series on Netflix. It starts tomorrow (28th October 2016). If you are a Skylander fan then this programme is for you! 



Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Our fun Family day out with Emirates!

Craig and I both work full time, and with Craig working every Saturday and both children having football every Sunday, it's very hard to enjoy a day out all together. On Sunday though as it was the beginning of half term we had a football free day and certainly made the most of our family day out! 

When we were asked if we would like to come and visit the Emirates Aviation Experience the geek in me was very excited! Craig is a mechanic so is always interested to find out how things are put together. However, Craig is also very scared of flying! Its always a struggle to get him to agree to a holiday that involves flying. Its something that really upsets me as I really love holidays and adventure and desperately want to take the children on more foreign holidays. So my main excitement for the day was that the whole experience may alleviate Craig's fear! 

We are very lucky that Greenwich and the O2 area is only a 40 minute car journey for us, and actually by the end of the day I questioned why we didn't visit the area more often!


When we arrived the children were very excited, they could see the Emirates Air Line cable cars in the Sky and were fascinated! But more on that later, the first part of our day was a special treat for Craig! He had half an hour flying a simulator A380 plane. It was amazing! The simulator experience is for up to 4 people but only people of a certain age can actually be a pilot. Craig was Captain and Chester was asked to be co pilot! Millie and I were given seats behind, and felt included in the whole experience. The experience is 30 minutes and in that time Craig and Chester managed to take off from 3 different airports, and make successful landings 3 out of the 5 attempted times! I was secretly hoping that it would help to cure his fear, and whilst I don't think it has completely done this, I do think it has helped!


Walking around the exhibition there was lots to keep the children (and adults!) entertained. Through an interactive game we learnt how the airport staff work together to turn a plane around quickly and efficiently.



We watched a video in the surround cinema with a moving floor, which showed how luggage goes from check in to the plane. 

We sat in real airplane seats and had a play on the inflight entertainment.



But saving the best until last, we got to get up close to a Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine and see how it works. I must admit that some of it was a bit too mechanical for me, but Craig was fascinated!




We probably spent about an hour in the exhibit area and although we had seen and done everything, we had to peel the children away! They would have been happy to stay in there longer! 

The next adventure for our family day out was a trip on the Emirates Air Line cable car! Chester and Millie were very excited about this! Sadly Craig bottled it at the last minute as it was a bit too high for him! I think he had visions of it swaying about in the wind, but it wasn't like that at all! It was a really calm ride, we could see for miles!



It was roughly 10 minutes each way so we had plenty of time to spot the landmarks. Chester was very happy that he spotted Olympic Park. Millie and I were very happy to spot the Golden Syrup Factory haha!



We were also very lucky to see two planes come in to land at City Airport, I think that was the highlight for us! 

The capsules were big and could seat around 8 people comfortably, I saw a couple take on a pram which was no issue at all, so very family friendly. The Cable Cars run from the terminal at the O2 to a terminal very close to The Excel, which also makes for a great DLR and other tube connections.  

Whilst we were in the area we also popped into the O2 for a meal and had a look around some of the exhibits. We spent a full day in Greenwich and came home exhausted but happy! Chester and Millie are already asking when we can go back!  

For more information and prices for Emirates Aviation Experience and Emirates Air Line please take a look a the website here.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Keeping the children entertained over half term!

We really love family breaks here, whether its short weekend breaks exploring parts of the UK we are yet to discover, or longer faraway holidays, I can always be found planing our next adventure! 

Booking.com has just announced the findings of a global survey of over 22,500 children aged 5-15 years old to find out exactly what makes their family holidays amazing. Half term holidays are now upon us and many parents in the UK, including myself, are planning how to keep their little adventurers happy. So with the recent findings, Booking.com may have found an answer to avoiding those half term holiday nightmares!

From fast Wi-Fi and the chance to take cool social media photos, to the bounciest beds and staying up late, children from around the world stated exactly what they prioritized on their travels. Plus, Booking.com has also found the top destinations for each want. Take a look at this infographic below, the results may just surprise you! 



As you can see the findings highlighted Greece, Brazil and the US as among the top rated destinations for children this year. I personally am not surprised by the finding. Greece is a very popular family destination, I know several families who spent summer holidays there. Those of you that know me well, will know that the US and more specifically Florida is a favourite with our family. If we could we would go every year! And as much as I am not a huge fan of spending holidays glued to technology, the last time we went to the US it did come in very handy to share our photos with family and friends back home! Not to mention being able to let Millie watch her favourite show (at the time) Peppa Pig, when we returned to our hotel room for a rest! 

Adrienne Enggist, who is the Director of Product Development at Booking.com, explains how they are on a mission to get things right for families: “Spending time away together is an important part of family life, but we understand that planning to keep all the children happy can be hard. At Booking.com we’re on a mission to match families with their perfect choice of holiday and we offer an informative bank of guest reviews, handy filter functions and easy booking of over one million diverse properties to help them do just that.  Whether it’s finding a great place to stay near to the coolest outdoor pursuits, most family friendly restaurants or even the bounciest beds you can find it in just a few simple clicks on Booking.com.” 

I have to say, I have actually browsed Booking.com and am super impressed with how easy it is to find what you are looking for, the filters are set up for just the right things and gave me confidence to look into family trips. The reviews are really handy and just what you need to read to decide if it's the right booking for you. So if you are looking for last minute ways to entertain the kids this half term I would certainly recommend taking a look! 

Friday, 21 October 2016

Millie's first (half) term at School!

I can't believe that Millie has already been at School for 6 weeks! Right from day one she took it all in her stride and has loved every minute of it so far!



At first it was all about exploring the unknown, settling in to a new routine, and making new friends. She did all three of those things so casually as if it was already the norm. I thought that the School day would tire her out, but it hasn't. She has really enjoyed doing all of the things her big brother does, and she loves assembly! Making new friends was an easy one for Millie, she is such a sociable child. One of her best friends is in her class, and that is really lovely that they are going to go through School together. But it's also very nice that Millie seems to have surrounded her self with lots of new friends, mostly boys, which I am not surprised at. I myself get on much better with boys than girls!

But then it moved on to be all about the learning. It will never cease to amaze me how quickly children pick things up. Millie was very lucky that her Nursery workers were fantastic and gave her a head start with phonics. But since starting school those 6 weeks ago, Millie has picked up a whole new vocabulary. She seems a bit more grown up (which of course I am sad about) and she has already gone from not being able to read to now being able to recognise simple words in her books!

A few weeks in she was chosen as Star of the Week and got to take home the Class Lion, and she has even picked up her first certificate for good work!

Outside of School, Millie has taken up Football! It's really no surprise that she asked to do this, we spend so much of our time following Chester's football that it is pretty much a way of life here! But again, she embraced it and absolutely loves it, even in the rain!


I am so proud of how well she has adapted to School life, I am so happy for her too as I know how excited she was to start School!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Chester turns Eight!

Things have been pretty hectic here recently, and over the coming months I shall share all of our crazy family updates. But for now, I want to tell you all about Chester's Eighth Birthday last week!

Chester is at that age where is kind of still wants a party, but it needs to be cool. He is also at that age where he has a select few close friends. So after much thought he decided on a Trampolining party with his football team buddies and a couple of classmates too. We are lucky where we live, as the new trampoline craze has meant that we have two big trampolining centres close by. We chose to go to Soar as they do a great party package and spectators are allowed on the walkways inbetween the trampolines to take pictures. As a blogger, that was a massive plus!

Well they had a fantastic time!

Ducking and diving....




Bouncing into foam bricks...


And even battling it out on the beam!




It was all topped off with Slush Puppies, Pizzas and cake! What more could anyone want?!



It really was an awesome party, and Chester was so grateful to all of his friends for joining him. Millie is now planning her party and of course it is also going to be trampolining!

On his actual Birthday, a School day much to his disgust! He was very excited and got up super early. By early I mean 4:15am! He was so happy to receive the new goal keeper kit for his beloved Crystal Palace, amongst lots of other lovely things! Naturally, my football mad Chester requested a Crystal Palace shirt cake, and I think I did pretty well considering I am an ametur!




All in all it was the perfect Birthday for Chester. I am so pleased he had such a great time!

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Num Noms Wacky Bakers!

We love a challenge here, and recently we were sent some series 2 Num Noms and asked if we could create a recipe inspired by the Num Noms flavours.



For anyone unaware of Num Noms they are small figurines which look and smell like food! They are what I would call pocket money collectible toys. The idea is that you choose your base, add a Nom and then a Num! Both of my children love baking, both in reality and imaginative play so Num Noms, with over 5000 combinations, are the perfect platform for their imaginations!

Now onto the recipe creation. I left this in the hands of Millie and her amazing 4 year old imagination! She took this role very seriously and mulled it over for a good few days. She wanted to keep the theme to the flavours we received, she thought about making a strawberry and blueberry crumble, and for a while she thought about grape sponge! But then she remembered that our particular set are from the Freezie Pop collection, so decided to do something she could freeze!

We decided to create some Magical Mocktails;

I chopped up some strawberries and grapes into small chunks, then Millie helped to place them into Ice Cube trays.


We then poured Tropical Fruit Juice over the fruit and placed the trays in the freezer.


Once frozen I (with a great deal of effort!) got the ice cubes out of the trays. Millie and Chester were then given a glass of water each and a mocktail stirrer (a chopstick for all you spoilsports)


They then added the ice cubes and stirred until melted! Magically the water turns into a yummy tropical mocktail with fruit snacks!




The tropical Magical Mocktails were a big hit here and very easy to make!

Do your little ones collect Num Noms? What Wacky Recipe would you make?!




Sunday, 11 September 2016

Dear Millie.....






Dear Millie,

As I write this, you are upstairs trying your hardest to go to sleep. It's extra hard for you this evening because you are so excited about your new adventure tomorrow. 

You have been waiting for this day for such a long time. You are ready for it, in my head I know you are. But in my heart I am struggling to come to terms with the fact that my little baby, my cheeky little Millie Poppins, is old enough to start School! 

I hope that you enjoy School as much as you think you will. You are such a confident, happy, smiley little girl, and you love to learn. You are an adventurer and you love to play, especially imaginatively. You are so proud of the fact you can write your name, and other letters too. You 'read' a picture version of the Ugly Duckling yesterday, from listening to that I am pretty certain you will love reading as much as I do!  

You are strong headed, just like your brother! You know exactly what you want and what you need to do to get it. But you must learn how to control this, your brother has learnt the hard way. I know he wouldn't want you to go through the same School experience as him. 

I know that your recent tantrum phase is caused by frustration. By your brain needing a little more stimulation. I hope that by going to School, you will no longer feel the need to tantrum over the slightest thing. You will be occupied enough to be distracted by the smallest of annoyances. 

When tomorrow comes, I know that you will be a confident, happy, care free, little girl walking into that classroom. I will walk away with a tear in my eye. But it will be a happy tear. I am so happy for you, and even though I won't be there, I will be thinking about you all day. Wondering who you are sitting next too, how you have managed with your School dinners, if you have managed to see your brother. 

I really hope that you find your place in your classroom quickly, and that you don't loose your cheeky sparkle or your panda loving enthusiasm. But most of all I hope that your teachers can see the kind, caring, panda loving little girl that I see every day. I hope that they suss out what you are about pretty quickly, and that they will know when you need cuddles and when you need a reality check! 

Have fun little one! 

Lots of love
Mummy xxxx