Dick Whittington – The best Panto!

On Saturday we were extremely lucky to go to a new Panto Performance – Dick Whittington at the Hawth Crawley.

Chloe, Katie, Jake and I arrived then went to find our seats, They had an amazing view of the stage.

I couldn’t quite remember the tale of Dick Whittington so to see this Pantomime was very exciting!

The show was non stop entertainment throughout and fully immersive experience, With a great degree of audience involvement.

I just admit I was slightly nervous because I went on my own but I needn’t have worried, Jake was entertained the whole time and he is only 19 months, my girls who are 4 and 7 we mesmerised. With the helps of some snacks.

At the end of the show we were lucky to meet the cast! The girls especially loved meeting Queen Rat aka Charlie Brooks! And Richard Brooks who plays Billy and is hilarious in the snow, They were both so friendly and signed the girls programmes.

I can honestly say this was the best Panto I have seen and I’d highly recommend booking tickets ASAP!

We were kindly gifted tickets in exchange for this review.

Christmas at Drusillas Park

Yesterday we were really excited to go to Drusillas Park in Alfriston, East Sussex and meet Father Christmas.

Chloe is 7 and Katie is 4, So completely into the magic of Christmas, Jake at 18 months is a little too young to understand but enjoys the lights and excitement.

As we walked into the most Christmassy part of the park we walked through some pretty blue lights overhead, my photo doesn’t do it justice.

All of the Father Christmas slots are scheduled so no queuing which was fantastic!

Whilst we waited we visited the Husky’s and were able to stroke them, this was a really cool experience for us and the children.

Then we went to meet Father Christmas! We were greeted by Mrs Claus and the Elves! Who were super friendly and helpful. The children were given a carrot to pass to Father Christmas for his reindeer.

As we walked in to Father Christmas Grotto it was lovely and warm and Father Christmas was asleep and then told the girls all about his reindeer, they really felt at ease and told him what they would like for Christmas. ( they often go quiet ) he was so friendly and then gave all three a lovely gift each. I won’t show it as will leave it as a surprise.

Then we left the grotto and there was a photo opportunity on a sleigh! ( To take yourself )

Next we moved onto enjoying some rides together, the girls and Jake especially loved the rainforest carousel

And of course we then went on the Hello Kitty rides, the car ride is always a winner with our three.

We then took a walk around the Zoo! The children loved seeing all of the creatures.

Here’s just a few!

If you are visiting soon, you are in for a treat.

So Christmas is now at Drusillas Park, an additional fee is paid on top of entry to see Father Christmas. He is there until the 23rd December 2019. Tickets can be booked at www.Drusillas.co.uk or as a gift idea how about buying a membership gift voucher or a Drusillas Close encounter experience!

I just wanted to add as well that next year Drusillas Park are announcing a new Jurassic Attraction in 2020 with several animatronic and model dinosaurs who will move into the park!

We were kindly gifted entry in exchange for a social media review.

Howletts – Aspinall Wild Animal Park

Today we were lucky enough to head to Howletts Wild Animal Park Near Canterbury in Kent, Howlett’s is Kent’s original Wild Animal Park having opened in 1975.

Once in the park it is clear to see that conservation underpins everything Howletts do. They work closely with the Aspinall Foundation, A conservation charity leading the way in the reintroduction of captive-bred animals back into the wild. Wherever possible they aim to return animals born at Howletts back to protected areas of their natural habitat , working with the Aspinall Foundation their Back to the Wild initiative has already seen the return of black rhino to Tanzania, Western Lowland Gorillas to Africa, Primates to Indonesia, European Bison to Romania and Spain and Clouded Leopards to Cambodia.

Rhino in large enclosure
Black Rhino

In the past few years they have released 8 black rhino, 49 Javan Langurs, 9 Javan Gibbon, 11 European Bison and over 60 Lowland Gorillas back to their natural habitat.

Deer in large enclosure
Lots of space to roam around

What is also outstanding is they protect an area in Africa roughly the same size as Kent! Something I did not know before I went. They have their own overseas projects in Congo and Gabon, Madagascar and Java.

The Park is covers 90 acres of ancient parkland is home to more than 400 animals! Which in my opinion appeared to be looked after really well, We even saw Gorillas eating a giant block of ice which they clearly enjoyed.

Gorilla eating Ice block
Delicious Ice on such a hot day!

Upon arrival parking was clearly sign posted and spaces available.

We entered via the gift shop and given a map, We then headed straight in, the girls were very excited to get walking to see all of the animals. My girls absolutely adored seeing Nusu the Elephant Calf a cheeky headstrong little guy.

Nusu the baby Elephant
Nusu was adorable

The park was very clean and pushchair friendly too.

Lions
So big in real life

There were also lots of opportunities to purchase food or drinks throughout the park, the choice was really fun too, Food like chips or pasta with your choice of topping or hot dogs/ burgers, they catered really well for vegetarians and vegans too.

My tip would be; Wear comfortable footwear, as lots of walking around the park and also to go on the climbing adventure * additional charge

The girls really enjoyed exploring the Ice Age area of the park with the giant models of animals that are now extinct. Which they had so many questions about and we were able to answer from the helpful fact board in front of each exhibit.

Extinct Mammal
Jake enjoyed pointing at this extinct Mammals
Extinct Mammal - Ice Age
The children were intrigued by the horn!

If you do go and love what you see, they have a second park called Port Lympne Hotel and Reserve. The pictures we saw for their short breaks looked fantastic and by staying there it helps support their vital overseas work.

We had a fantastic family day out at Howlett’s there is so much to see and do there all in beautifully picturesque surroundings.

We were kindly gifted our entry tickets in exchange for this review and social media coverage.

Paultons Park

Just the kind of exciting trip we needed during the School Holidays.

Paulton’s Park is a Family Theme Park situated on the very eastern boundary of the New Forest National Park, just off junction 2 of the M27 motorway, making it very easy to get to.

Our journey as a Family of five took us just under two hours coming from near Brighton, East Sussex. My Children are Chloe age 7, Katie age 3 and Jake age 1.

On arrival we were greeted by friendly Team Members directing us to car spaces, this was even when we arrived closed to 11am ( Paulton’s Park opens at 10am)

As we walked in, there were handy toilets which were needed after the drive and a coffee shop currently being built. Perfect location for it when it opens.

Paultons Park Entrance
Paultons Park Entrance

Once we had collected our tickets, we headed to the entrance. There was no wait to get in, It was clear to see that admission was well managed. On the left as you enter is the most amazing gift shop and on the right the Wild Forest Restaurant. Breakfast is served until 11:30am.

Once inside Paulton’s park you can pay to hire single or double strollers if required. We had our purchair with us on this occasion.

First of all we headed to Peppa Pig World, My Three Year old was especially excited! But my 7 year still got fully into the spirit of Peppa Pig and Co.

Peppa Pig World Entrance
Peppa Pig World Entrance

The entrance is super exciting, you cross over a little track where a train runs around Peppa Pig World.

We headed straight to the meet and greet for Peppa and George, On the day we were there Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig and Suzie Sheep were walking around the park to meet. All of the meet and greet times plus shows in the whole park were listed on a leaflet that I picked up at the entrance. There is also an app you can download, Something I will do for future trips.

Our first ride in Peppa Pig World was Grampy Rabbits Sailing Club a boat the floats round the most colourful river. The advertised wait time was 35 minutes however the queue definitely seemed quicker. We then headed for a look inside the Peppa Pig World gift shop, where there were lots of toys exclusive to the Paulton’s Park that I haven’t seen in shops.

Soft toys in Peppa Pig World
Soft Toys in the Gift Shop in Peppa Pig World
Sweets in Peppa Pig World
Gift shop sweets in Peppa Pig World
Grampy Rabbits Sailing Club at Peppa Pig World
Sailing with Grampy Rabbit at Peppa Pig World

Next we headed to The Queen’s Flying Coach Ride, again the advertised queue time was 35 minutes but did move quicker and lots to look at whilst waiting. This ride had Jake completely mesmerized! The ride felt like it lasted a while and got to take in views of the park.

Waiting to go on the Queens Flying Coach Ride at Peppa Pig World
Waiting to go on the Queens Flying Coach Ride
Queens Flying Coach Ride at Peppa Pig World
On the Queen’s Flying Coach Ride at Peppa Pig World

The park is the most child friendly that I have been to, with lots of toilets with baby changing facilities dotted around and lots of benches to sit and eat at. The Cafe’s are fun and lots of variety. Daddy Pig’s Big Tummy Cafe was a particular favourite! Especially the Chicago Town Pizza! Delicious. Chloe absolutely loved it and ate the giant slice of pepperoni pizza.

Daddy Pig's Big Tummy Cafe at Peppa Pig World

My tip would be take a picnic, but leave space for some of the delicious treats dotted around the park like Ice Cream in Miss Rabbit’s Ice Cream Parlour. There are also some fabulous quick service kiosks for hot food.

Mozzerella and Pesto Panini from the Haybarn Kiosk at Paultons Park
Mozzerella and Pesto Panini from the Hay Barn Kiosk to the side of the Peppa Pig World Gift Shop
Camper van in Peppa Pig World
The Girls loved the Camper van and me holding it with one hand!
Water fountain in Peppa Pig World
The girls enjoyed looking into the fountain

Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight is right by the entrance and definitely worth a ride, plus some fantastic views of the park.

Great views of Peppa Pig World from Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight

Once we walked out of Peppa Pig World we headed to the Lost Kingdom.

Home of the Dinosaurs!

The Dinosaur Tour Company is lots of fun, the girls loved the Jeeps, meeting lots of smaller dinosaurs on the route!

Temple Heights was super exciting and a short queue so me and Chloe ( age 7 ) went on a few times! This ride is perfect for more nervous riders.

Next was meet and eat! An opportunity to come face to face with a fearsome T-Rex! Sadly the girls were a little scared when it was their turn, However my Husband enjoyed the meeting.

Daddy with Dinosaur at the Lost Kingdom
Daddy with T-Rex

The girls also loved the water splash pad and activity park right before the Lost Kindom entrance, perfect on a really hot day.

We then headed to Critter Creek, where both girls went on the roller coaster numerous times with me, the queue moved very fast. There is also a little train for smaller children in this area too, plus the opportunity to go in the Beastie Burrow a real life creature emporium complete with fascinating insects, fish and lizards!

Roller coaster
Roller Coaster at Critter Creek

At the very end of the day Adam and Chloe watched a 4D Cinema show whilst me, Katie and Jake had a lovely walk around the beautifully kept gardens.

Our final stop was the most amazing gift shop that the girls absolutely couldn’t get enough of! So if you can save some money for a treat in there do. The girls both brought some Pez Sweet machines and Jake a soft George complete with his dinosaur.

A fabulous day was had by all, please do also have a look at my IGTV on Instagram www.instagram.com/lifestylegemz for a video look at our day at Paultons Park

Childs entrance to the gift shop at the entrance to Paulton's Park
Children’s entrance to the gift shop at Paultons Park
Umbrellas on the Ceiling at Paultons Park Gift Shop
Coolest Ceiling in the Gift Shop at Paulton’s Park

New for May 2020 is Tornado Springs, a charming desert resort town a mid west family get away like no other, treat yourself to the experience of a lifetime. I can’t wait to go back and see it for myself.

All views are my own, tickets kindly gifted by Liz Lean Pr and Paulton’s Park.

(ad) Chloe’s 7th Birthday – Beautiful Ballerina Cake

By bakerdays

bakerdays cake
Chloe loved it!

A fantastic company called bakerdays wrote to me to ask if we would like to try one of their cakes, Of course I couldn’t say no to tasting cake!

So I went on the bakerdays website to look at the options available to order.

With options ranging from age, photo to anniversary, you can be sure your occasion would be catered for. Their cakes can be delivered up to 10 days in advance of the occasion and stay fresh for up to 14 days. ( when kept in the tin )

Chloe is a big ballet fan who doesn’t know yet that one of her birthday surprises is ballet focused! So I went for the pretty ballet design and personalisation of her name and age on the cake.

cake tin
The cake came in this wonderful reusable tin

For cake fillings bakerdays offer these choices:

  • Traditional sponge
  • Rich chocolate chip
  • Lovely lemon drizzle
  • Gluten wheat free sponge
  • Dairy free sponge
  • Fabulous fruit

I choose the rich chocolate chip because I know just how much Chloe loves chocolate cake.

Cake with candles
So pretty! Seemed a shame to cut it…..
Cut cake
But cut it we did! It was so tasty

The cake was delicious, not too sickly but sweat enough and not dry at all. We were kindly gifted the letterbox cake (5 inches ) but they also do small, medium and large cakes too. The letterbox cake was plenty enough for me, my 2 girls and my baby even tried it, he hasn’t liked cake previously but loved this one!

I also received such lovely comments from family about how pretty the cake was and Chloe herself absolutely loved this early birthday treat.

Thank you bakerdays

Sealife Brighton – Day and Night

Yesterday we had the most exciting evening at the launch of new Day and Night experience at Sealife Brighton. The oldest operating aquarium in the world!

The effort that has gone into the new experience is tremendous. Sealife Brighton have spent £2.7 million on the renovation. The Day and Night experience is the first of it’s kind in the UK where visitors have the chance to view the 24-hour wonder of the coral reef as it transitions through the day.

You start heading through the arches, With lots to see and do, then you are lead into the day and night experience, the children even have their own entrance! which my girls loved, a great touch personal touch for them.

Entrance
Entrance – Beautiful arches and lighting
Children's entrance to Day and Night
Children’s Entrance to Day and Night Experience

They first of all came face to face with a rather large snake and were able to put their heads into the bubble like shapes to get a better view. Even thought had gone into the flooring which felt spongey to walk on.

When you get to day and night experience, there is a fabulous separate mini tunnel for the children, My children said they saw Nemo and Dorey!

Little tunnel
The girls loved spotting Nemo and Dorey

Next you get to the main tunnel area which has a large viewing screen before you enter. The green turtles are something else and so big! Truly amazing to watch. The girls couldn’t stop looking at them. It was so relaxing Jake even fell asleep for two hours!

Gulliver
Sea Life Centre, Brighton, green Turtles, 2019, delivery,

There is a fabulous beach interactive wave area which my girls enjoyed thoroughly and spent lots of time jumping over the waves. The scene felt very relaxing and made me want a holiday!

Beach area
Jumping over the waves

Then my absolute favourite we walked through the tunnel it really does make you feel like you are under the water, It’s fascinating watching the magnificent creatures swimming overheard and getting a really good close up.

Sea Life Centre, Brighton, green Turtles, 2019, delivery,
Black Tip Shark
Sea Life Centre, Brighton, green Turtles, 2019, delivery,

The Sealife Brighton Day and Night experience is truly wonderful and very relaxing. Do visit soon, you will not regret it and I just wanted to say what a family friendly place it is, the staff couldn’t do enough to help me when I initially arrived with the three children on my own including my baby in his pushchair.

We attended a Press Event so did not pay entry, all opinions are my own.

Drusillas Park

We were lucky enough to go to Drusillas Park over the Easter bank holiday when the weather was perfectly sunny and warm. Drusillas is a Zoo and Adventure Park with rides and lots of fun areas to play. Our children: Chloe (6) Katie (3) Jake ( nearly 1) came along for a very exciting day out.

Zoo Animals to see

Upon arriving we were able to park straight away close to the entrance, the queue to enter the park moved really quickly around five minutes baring in mind it was a bank holiday Monday too.

When we walked in the girls were able to pick up stamp books ( free of charge ) there is a stamp station next to each animal in the book, the children need to spot the animal.

Stamp when you spot the animal
Amazing Penguins
Beautiful Flamingos

On certain days the park has Characters there to meet! On the day we went PJ Masks were in residence, after queuing it was well worth it! The Characters spent a good amount of time talking to my children then posing for photos. They made the girls so happy and now they love watching PJ Masks!

Meeting PJ Masks

Next the girls were desperate to go to the water play area, it’s great because it’s really safe and there are lots of benches and Astro turf that parents/ carers can sit and watch their children have fun! Plus it’s next to the park area, which my girls loved and didn’t want to leave! We even went back later in the day. The refillable slush I think it was around £3 for a refillable cup then £1 a top up, because it was so warm she went back a few times, was definitely a firm favourite with my Eldest Daughter. We didn’t go to the soft play because it was a very warm day but have in the past and it’s an amazing size soft play area that is well looked after.

Banana Swings

Next we went to the Hello Kitty Rides, even for a bank holiday there were barely any queue’s amazing! So the girls went on the rides again and again.

Hello Kitty car ride
This ride was a firm favourite

We then went and brought lunch from the Explorers Cafe, I felt there was a good selection and a self serve salad bar which had a good selection. It came to around £22 for 4 of us to eat ( Baby Jake ate a bit of our meals and some food i’d brought with me. )

Then time for more rides, the new Rainforest Carousel, which was so beautiful and the girls loved riding on it with their Dad standing alongside their horses, Chloe (6) found the giant Elephant in front of the ride that made funny noises hilarious!

New this year! Rainforest Carousel
Giant noise making Elephant

Thank you for a wonderful day Drusillas, the girls can’t wait to come back, and are already asking me! It really was the perfect family day and I’d highly recommend to other Parents.

So much fun!

We were kindly given entry to the park by Drusillas in exchange for this review and Instagram coverage all opinions are my own. ( Instagram story’s in my highlights under ‘Days Out’ )

Shrek’s Adventure

My girls and I were very excited to go to Shreks Adventure in London a few days ago.

Children outside Shreks Adventure

I took all three children with me on the train, It was a pleasant walk about twenty minutes after  just one tube stop at Green Park ( which has lifts for access if a wheelchair or pushchair user) . I packed a picnic which the children ate overlooking the River Thames and London Eye.

Green Park Station

London Eye

Be sure to arrive at least 15 minutes early for ticket collection and to be ready for the tour.

Once everyone was gathered the most exciting and enchanting tour began, no cameras were allowed so for this reason I will just highlight what we loved about the experience.

After an exciting very interactive introduction, down a fabulous corridor,  We began the tour meeting lots of different Characters who engaged with the children, I could see my girls were completely engrossed in the mission!

Part of the tour includes a very fun ride on a bus! With all kinds of goings on as part of an adventure story!

At the end of the tour there is a exciting surprise and then the opportunity to take photos with lots of exhibits including scenes from How to Train your Dragon. 

How to train your Dragon

How to train your Dragon

We really enjoyed the tour, one thing I would recommend if travelling as the only adult in the party is to bring a baby carrier, as the tour lasts approximately one hour and 15 minutes  if your child isn’t yet walking as no pushchairs/ strollers are allowed within the tour. 

At the end of the tour there is a gift shop with lots of cool toys, I said the girls could pick one each, My 6 year old picked a baby key ring and my 3 year old choose Princess Fiona both were pretty reasonable for London prices. The key ring was £5 and the Princess Fiona was £7.50. 

It’s a really fun 4D experience and long enough to keep little minds entertained for the whole adventure, My girls really want to return soon. 

Princess Fiona and Baby

Thank you Shreks Adventure for having us and for gifting the tickets in exchange for this review.  All opinions are my own.

Rainy Day Activities with Children

So often in the U.K it rains! and I can find the thought of getting all three children out, only to come straight back in moaning and soaking wet. Also the School holidays can feel long and can’t always be doing activities that cost a lot!

So here’s a few things I like to do with my Children most are quite obvious that I’m sure other Parents do too and don’t cost the Earth! Once they’ve exhausted playing with their toys and the “Mum/Dad – I’m bored” statements begin!

  1. Baking – Before the holidays break up and I only have one child to look after I’ll make a list of what I need to buy. Then use up what’s in the cupboards making cakes and biscuits.
  2. Cooking – Decorating their own pizza’s, give them a wrap, bowl of tomato passata and different toppings to make for themself.
  3. Indoor Picnic – Make sandwiches in fun shapes using cutters, get some fruit and crisps then sit on a blanket or rug to bring the outdoors in.
  4. Crafts – I’ll go to Poundland or The Works and buy some craft activities, like painting wooden shapes for example, they absolutely love this, I’ll try to keep it relevant to the season i.e Easter.
  5. Scrap Book – You can buy one for a £1 for the pound shop and the children can cut and stick leaflets, receipts or any other bits they collect into it and if old enough write along side it.
  6. In advance I’ll book an activity for them to look forward to and attend, For Easter I have booked my Sister into a Ballet dance session Or could just be going to soft play.
  7. Making den’s – They love this, getting blankets out etc and having fun playing in them
  8. Home Cinema – Letting them choose a film and eat popcorn
  9. Bedroom Makeover – If you’ve seen my stories I prefer to do this when they are at School, So that I can get the black sack out, However when they are off it can be made fun but taking a before and after photo and explaining how much space they will have made.
  10. If all else fails and boredom from being indoors strikes then get the wellington on and get out for a walk in the rain! At least it will tire them out for bedtime…

AD My Fairy Garden

We absolutely love the My Fairy Garden range, as soon as the box arrived my girls enjoyed opening the box to find Fairy Fenn and putting together her pretty house and picket fence, We then went to the shop to buy some soil, just a small amount is needed, the girls poured out the seeds and planted them with a bit of space around each one, We then placed soil on top, they watered them a tiny bit, for the first day we kept the My Fairy Garden out of direct daylight, thereafter on our conservatory table and watered a tiny bit every other day.

My Fairy Garden
So exciting!
My Fairy Garden
Beautiful House and Garden – So simple to put together and Fenn is lovely

My girls have loved watching the My Fairy Garden pea shoots grow day by day!

My Fairy Garden
Growth happened quickly with the pea shoots

I couldn’t get over how quickly they grow, honestly each time I looked at the plant it had appeared to have grown more!

My Fairy Garden
So much growth, Excuse the shorter bits my Daughter snipped them to try!

My eldest then carefully used scissors to snip some of the pea shoots to try, She doesn’t normally like any kind of leafy vegetables but loved these!

Thank you My Fairy Garden and Wire Pr, My Daughter was even encouraged to try leafy salad and now enjoy’s pea shoots.

This is a great weekend activity with children age 3 years plus in my opinion, Great for little imaginations, My 3 year old talks to Fairy Fenn and takes her in and out of her house. Shutting and opening the little gate she is perched on.

Fairy Kitchen Garden from Interplay UK is available now from Smyths, Argos, Very, Littlewoods and many other retailers for £11.99rrp: https://interplayuk.com/products/fairy-kitchen-garden

We were sent this My Fairy Garden free of charge to review but not paid, All opinions are my and my children’s own.