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Hello Autumn!

Hello Autumn! Here we are already a few days into October! Honestly just where has the year gone? It only seems like 5 minutes ago we were at the beginning of the year!

Summer feels like it has well and truly finished now. Some days there is still a bit of heat coming from the sun, but the leaves are turning a golden brown on the trees and falling one by one. The evenings are getting colder and darker a lot earlier and the mornings are darker for longer.

I’m having to pop the heating on every so often and I have changed my wardrobe from my summery dresses to winter knitted jumpers and my sandals have been replaced by comfy winter boots.

I absolutely adore the sun and the summer. I never complain it’s too hot and I love spending days out at the beach … but I do also secretly like Autumn as well. Being all cosy and warm and wearing the woolliest jumpers I can buy!I love the crunchy noise the leaves make under your feet and I love the warmth of the central heating in the house whilst the dark evening looks cold outside.

Plus …. it also means Halloween, Firework night and the countdown to Christmas! There are loads to look forward to this time of the year.

I made a start on my Christmas shopping the other day (I will be more organised this year!) and I’m noticing all the shops have started displaying a few Christmas bits and pieces.

What season do you like the most? What do you like best about Autumn?

Kidzania London

We visited Kidzania London last weekend for a Birthday treat for C. He was 5 on the Wednesday and seeing as it was his first week at school we decided to make it a nice weekend.

Kidzania London is situated in Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd Bush. We’ve never been but I have heard lots about it.

Kidaznia is basically an indoor city, just for kids. They have the opportunity to experience various different jobs and careers to earn money, have the chance to spend their earnings on fun activities or to open a bank account to save their cash.

Kidzania is pretty easy to find. Westfield is a huge shopping centre and Kidznia is situated on the first floor by Marks & Spencers. When you arrive there is a desk opposite where you hand in your confirmation. I also assume you can buy tickets there as well, as long as they had spaces for the timeslot you wanted that day. We had pre-booked our day and time slot.

You are given tickets that are like pretend plane boarding tickets. It has your name, date and time slot and various other details to mimic an actual boarding ticket. You then take your boarding tickets over to the main entrance and you are directed to the elevators and told to go to level three to the departure area.

Kidzania London

Kidzania London

I honestly didn’t know what to expect despite watching the official kidzania video on their website but I was really very impressed when we arrived at the ‘airport’

Kidzania London

Kidzania London

Kidzania London

Kidzania LondonWhen it was our turn to ‘check in’ we handed over our boarding passes and just like real life they tore the stub off and handed us back the main ticket. We were then also given our security RFID bracelet which are really detailed. The bands were all scanned to link us all together as a family. They would alarm if either of the children walked out of the city and only one parent could leave at any time, one had to stay on site – again it would have alarmed if both parents tried to leave. This allows your children to have the freedom if they are a little older to explore the city and the activities themselves whilst Mum, Dad/Carer sat in the various cafe areas inside. They had to also be removed once our session was over a little like a shop removes a clothing label with a magnet. So kids can’t remove them themselves.

We were also given a brief seeing as we have never visited before explaining how Kidzania works. Both children were handed a health and safety hair net which they had to use on activities that required them to wear headgear and they were also issued with their Kidzo’s. Kidzo is Kidzania’s currency. They were each issued with 50 kidzo’s.

 

 

 

Kidzania London

 

These can be used to pay for certain activities, you can earn more Kidzo’s from doing various jobs in the workplace or they can choose to open a Kidzania bank account and save their money (if they have a minimum of 75 Kidzo’s) and they can leave their savings in the bank to earn interest between visits. There is also a shop where they can buy small items using their Kidzo’s on the way out I believe – we didn’t do this though.

Each activity or job has an allocated amount of children allowed into each session. It’s clearly posted outside each door with the capacity of children allowed in, the amount of Kidzo’s it’ll cost or how much you’ll earn and how long each session takes. We did visit on a Saturday and sometimes we found we had to queue for more than 20 minutes for certain activities. A few times C left the queue he was in purely because he didn’t want to stand around. We all found it pretty exhausting by the end of the 4 hours with all the standing around we did.

C first opted to be a firefighter. Once it was his turn after queuing his group were all taken into the fire station for a briefing before they got called out on a ‘job’ To get to their call out they went in an actual moving fire engine. Parents were able to follow behind so we could be with them or if your children are older you can let them go off on their own.

He was taken to a place over the other side of the city where a hotel was on fire. There were also two other activity groups attending the scene too (paramedics and police) and the area was cordoned off. C and his team had to put the fire out while the paramedics paid attention to any causalities and the police made sure no-one crossed the barrier until it was safe to do so.

There were special effects to make it as real as possible with mini explosion noises and fire crackles. They also had really water hoses to put the ‘fire’ out with. C had a great time.

Kidzania London
Kidzania LondonKidzania LondonKidzania LondonNext up he chose to be a paramedic. It was a similar activity to being a firefighter – he was in a set up a bit like an A&E department – they sat and had a briefing after putting on the uniform and then had a call out – this time they went in an ambulance to the same area he went to as a firefighter only this time he was treating any causalities. At the end of his session, he was paid a wage for his work.

Kidzania LondonHe then queued up to be a shop assistant in the supermarket but he got bored of queuing because it was quite a long queue, so instead he had a go on the climbing wall. This being a fun activity obviously cost him some kidzo’sKidzania LondonKidzania LondonThe next activity he chose was to be a dentist. He earned kidzo’s from doing this and the room looked really authentic!

Kidzania LondonNext up he tried his hand at being a surgeon. He was the only one in the queue so he had the whole activity to himself! His patient needed a liver transplant, he had to put them to sleep and then using the theatre tools he had to perform a transplant.

Kidzania London

Kidzania London

Kidzania LondonLastly, he was a vet with the PDSA. Here he had to help operate on a poorly dog.

Kidzania London

Kidzania is aimed at children aged 4-14 years and although L was within that bracket she actually didn’t want to do anything once she was in there. She felt too self-conscious being that much older so next time I will just put her down as an adult (if we return before she’s 15 that is) Having said that C doubled his money by having L’s.

We had a great time, even just as an adult watching your little ones enjoy the different experiences. We will definitely like to return again one day and perhaps it’ll give C a chance to explore different jobs next time.

 

 

 

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

Yesterday afternoon we took C to a local ‘pick your own’ farm. I love strawberries in the summer and although supermarket strawberries taste ok you don’t get many in a punnet, and because C thoroughly enjoyed picking his own pumpkin last October.

We’re really lucky to have a farm literally down the road. Once we arrived we collected a punnet and went off to find the strawberry patch (there were loads!)

We had SO much fun. It’s funny how a simple little half an hour doing something so simple can be so enjoyable. I loved watching C’s rummaging through the bushes and watching his little face get all excited when he found a nice big ripe strawberry.

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

 

It didn’t take us long to fill the punnet and to be honest, I wasn’t planning on filling it all the way up but he was having so much fun.

We took our filled goods back to the little farm shop and I was expecting to pay around £6/7 for the amount we had. I didn’t mind too much seeing as it wasn’t often we did it and we really did enjoy it. But to my complete surprise, they only weighed in at £3.90!!!! I was shocked and how cheap they were – for fresh strawberries – I could even smell them they were so strong, that’s something I don’t get from shop bought ones.

I’m definitely going to get my strawberries from now on this way. They taste so much better and because the farm isn’t too far and it didn’t take us too long to pick them, I’d rather once a week pop along and pick my own. Plus it’s nice to support a local farm.

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

Pick Your Own {The Ordinary Moments}

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve linked up with Katie and Donna on ‘The Ordinary Moments’ link up.

 

 

 

Things I’m Most Looking Forward To This Summer

We are now in June … the start of the Summer has begun (well according to the gorgeous sunny weather we currently have it’s arrived) I love where we live especially during the Summer – there is so much to do and seeing as it’s the Summer before C starts school I intend on having a much fun as possible.

Here are some of the things i’m most looking forward to getting up to in our local area (in no particular order and there are far too many to list)

  1. Crab Fishing – There’s a Quay literally a few minutes drive away. We tend to go of an evening when it’s a bit cooler and the scenery is beautiful, especially when the sun is setting. We catch the crabs with crab lines and nets (using fish as bait) and then pop them back into the water when we’re finished. It’s such good fun and over the years as C has got older he’s been able to take part more and more rather than relying on us to help, so he finds it more exciting.

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

2. The Beach – Living on the South coast we are surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches. We have over  seven miles of award winning beaches, so we have plenty to choose from. Both kids adore being by the sea and i’m so pleased to have been able to bring them back home to grow up by the sea. We’ll quite often pack up the car for a day down at the beach and this year for the first week of the summer holidays a friend and I have rented a beach hut for the week! I can’t wait. Some nights we just even pop along to our nearest beach for a walk along the promenade whilst C has his bike or scooter & we stop for an ice-cream on the way back. It’s times like this, that make me feel really happy and content.

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

3. Paultons Park. I did a whole post just on Paultons Park the other day so go and check it out. C & I are season ticket holders now so we can go as often as we like. We’ve been going almost weekly recently whilst the weather has been lovely. During the Summer we will go as a family some weekends (especially to see the Paw Patrol special weekend) and with only having to pay for Mr S & L it doesn’t make it an expensive day out.

4. Hoburne Holidays. We have three Hoburne Holiday parks near to us and we have local summer membership to one of them. We have access to all areas on the holiday site including the indoor and outdoor pools. On a super hot day there’s nothing better than popping along, grabbing a lounger and diving in for a swim. Their outside pool is even heated to it makes it so much better. I hate cold swimming pools. Whilst you’re there you tend to forget your everyday life and it feels like you’re actually on holiday somewhere. It’s bliss!

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer\Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

 

5. Our Garden & BBQ’s – It quite literally has to be the best garden I have ever had. I love it when the sun is shining and all the gorgeous summer flowers are in bloom splashing colour all over the place. Sometimes I like nothing more than a day at home spent in the garden. I get C’s pool and water slide out, he’s got his trampoline and an array of garden toys to keep him occupied. Finishing off the day with a BBQ just tops it all off nicely.

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer

Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This SummerThings I'm Most Looking Forward To This Summer6. Hiring a boat. This is something we’ve done few times now and it’s a nice way to sit back and relax for a little cruise along the river (well for me anyway whilst Mr S does the driving!!) You can hire the boats out for either half an hour or a full hour.Things I'm Most Looking Forward To This SummerThings I'm Most Looking Forward To This SummerThings I'm Most Looking Forward To This SummerAs I said these are just some off the things i’m looking forward to this summer. There are so many different places we enjoy going to and lots of different activities we like. There’s always plenty to do nearby and i’m so very pleased and lucky to be able call this my home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re Going to See Michael McIntyre Live!

This morning marked the day for the sale of Michael McIntyre’s 2018 World Tour. I’m a big fan of him and I’ve been waiting for years for them to announce he’s was coming to our area (or somewhere that was easy to get to and not too far away).

Tickets went on sale at 10am  and both my sister and I were sat at the computer – her at her house on her computer and me at home on mine from 9.45 – the website page was all set and ready to go for 10.

Well …. those 10 minutes from 10 o’clock were so stressful!!!! I’ve never wanted to book something with such a high demand and seats were literally going before our eyes. As soon as we clicked on an available seat it was gone. We wanted 4 seats together as well so that was proving difficult.

Anyway, we finally managed to get 4 seats in an area we had last on our choice list and a different night to the one we had wanted BUT we’ve BOOKED. It’s not until March 2018 but I am already so excited. I find him hilarious and I reckon it’ll be so much better live.

In March of this year, Mr S and I went to see Jimmy Carr live. It was such a good night and being in the audience had a much, much better atmosphere than watching him on the telly!

Have you ever been to see Michael McIntyre live? Was it a good night?

Easter 2017

Easter Weekend …. a 4-day break that everyone looks forward to right?

Hmm, not us exactly. We only had the one day as a family to enjoy the ‘Easter Weekend’ Mr S worked all day Friday, most of Saturday and he’s back to work all day today. I worked Friday night (8-midnight) and I will also be working the same tonight too.

But that’s just how it is sometimes, isn’t it? What can you do? We did have a lovely day yesterday though.

L is away with friends for the weekend so we only had C. The weather has been so lovely recently. Saturday afternoon we took C & the dog for a walk along the beach. C had his scooter and scootered along the promenade and we ate ice-creams. Obviously, he wanted to go down to ‘look’ at the sea which 100% resulted in him getting completely soaked and having to sit in just his pants and a t-shirt in the car on the way home … but isn’t that what it’s all about?

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

 

Yesterday started the day with a small egg hunt around the house for C. He loved searching out places for those little shiny foil wrapped chocolate eggs. We then spent the morning walking the dog around our local meadows & generally being in the garden enjoying the lovely weather.

We had some family around in the afternoon (my sister, brother in law & nephew) for a BBQ, and of course, I kept the bigger egg hunt for when they were here, especially seeing as it would have been my nephew’s first one. Our garden has to be the best for egg hunts Not just becaise of the size of it but because it has lots of different paths and nooks and crannies just like you would find in the woods. I picked up a super cute Easter Egg hunt pack from Poundland with little cardboard bunny paw prints, arrows and eggs – for a £1 I was amazed at how good it was. I was able to pop them on the grass leading the way to those all important eggs!

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

Easter 2017

We still have another week of the Easter holidays so here’s to another week of no routine and days out.

What did you all get up to over the Easter weekend?

 

 

 

 

We Are Off To Disneyland Paris!!

It’s getting so close to us going now I thought I would start a little Disneyland Paris series for you. I’ll share who we chose to book with, what kind of package we picked, and things like what we are planning on packing due to us visiting in the colder months.

You may or may not know from my blog I’m a huge Disney fan ….. well we all are. Ever since my very first visit to the magic when I was 9. I have been to Disney in Paris once when I was 14 and a lot has changed since then. They have two parks now as well as the Disney Village and the packages themselves have changed a lot too.

Who we booked our holiday with:

We booked our holiday through Disney themselves. I was browsing the internet once night back in October of last year and an advert flashed up in the right hand corner of my screen. I found myself on the Disney Holidays website and played around with different dates. Before I knew it the next day we were all booked up and I totally surprised Mr S and the kids when I told them of my surprise.

Our Package:

We are going for 5 nights staying in the Santa Fe hotel and we have a 6-day pass to both Disney parks. Disneyland Park & Walt Disney Studios Park. We also opted to add on a meal plan to our holiday. I looked into this for weeks, trying to work out what would suit our family best, what restaurants each meal plan offered, I finally decided to opt for the Standard Half Board. This would give us a choice of 7 restaurants to choose from and seeing as we would only be there for 5 evening meals times, we thought that was enough choice for us. Breakfast is included in our hotel as park of the package so we haven’t paid any extra for that, however that is all changing in March 2017. I’ll explain more about this in another blog post.

Travel Arrangements:

Included in our package we had a free P&O ferry crossing. We would drive the car to the port here in the UK, board the boat for 90 minutes and then drive in France for a further 3 hours to Disney.

Being that we are travelling in February and unsure what the weather would be like for driving and boat crossing conditions we decided to book flights instead. We will be travelling from London Gatwick to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. We’ll then get transfers once we land to our hotel.

As part of my Disneyland series, I will do post on booking a holiday to Disneyland Paris. Just to help you out if you are planning a holiday there at some point. If you’ve not done it before it can all get a bit confusing and overwhelming not knowing what to choose and what might suit your families needs best.

 

Have you been to Disneyland Paris before or are you planning a trip there sometime in the future?

 

 

Chicken Katsu Curry

Katsu Curry is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. A few months ago we ate out in Wagamama for the first time. Mr S ordered a Katsu Curry and we both loved it. I wanted to try and re-create it at home and found this recipe really good.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts

Oil (I used olive oil)

Breadcrumbs (I made my own)

Plain Flour

Egg

Spring Onions – (I used 3/4)

Rice

Soy Sauce (1tbsp)

For the curry sauce

Oil

Fresh Ginger – chopped thinly (thumb sized piece)

Tomato Puree (1tbsp)

Chicken stock (500ml)

Onion – chopped (I used 1)

Rice vinegar (1tsp)

Curry powder (1tbsp)

Chilli powder (1/4 tsp)

Garlic cloves – crushed (I used 2)

Ground Turmeric (1tsp)

Honey (1tbsp)

Method:

  1. Place the chicken breasts on a board between two pieces of baking paper and using a roller pin (or similar) bash the chicken until they are around 1cm thick.

Chicken Katsu Curry2. Pop the rice on to cook whilst you make the rest of the dish.

3. Fry the chopped onion in the oil. Add the garlic and ginger once the onion is soft and continue cooking for a further 1-2 minutes.

4. Add the curry powder, chilli powder, turmeric, and tomato puree and give everything a good mix.

5. Add the chicken stock and allow to cook for roughly 8-10 minutes for the sauce to thicken.

6. Place the flour, beaten egg (with the soy sauce) and breadcrumbs on three separate plates or bowls. Using one chicken breast at a time, coat it firstly in the flour, then the egg and lastly cover in the breadcrumbs – repeat with all four chicken breasts.

Chicken Katsu Curry7. Heat a frying pan with the oil and once it reaches a hot temperature add the chicken breasts. Cooked until the chicken is thoroughly cooked.

8. Using a hand blender, blitz the curry sauce in the saucepan, until it’s smooth.

9. Slice the cooked chicken into slices and serve it with the rice and drizzle with the curry sauce. Add the spring onions to the dish just as you serve it.

Chicken Katsu Curry

 

It tasted absolutely gorgeous. It’s definitely something I will be making again.

Have you tried Katsu Curry before? Let me know if you give this recipe a try.

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Traditions

Christmas traditions. it’s something I’m sure most households have over the festive period, what everyone does though depends on the individuals and what they had when they were growing up. Here are some of the Christmas Traditions we have in our family. Most of them are ones I had a child but as the years have gone on I have added a few of my own and now every year we enjoy doing them.

Christmas Films.

As soon as December begins I can’t wait to start watching Christmas Films. C is at an age now where he’s really starting to enjoy sitting down all snuggled on the sofa to watch a film. Some of the favourites in our house is Home Alone, Miracle on 34th Street, The Snowman, The Santa Claus ( you know the original featuring Dudley Moore) and C has been enjoying Arthur Christmas this year.

Speaking of films, what better way to watch Christmas films than on an Ultra HD 4K TV Panasonic. 4K TV has a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, more than 8 million pixels in total, which is four times the number in Full HD (1,920 x 1,080). Watching TV on a 4K TV will give you amazing quality and a crystal clear picture for all those fantastic films to watch over the festive period. The 4K experience will no doubt soon be the norm amongst broadcasters as the BBC have started trialling programmes in this format. Here is more information about 4K tvs.

Advent Calendars.

At the start of the month, we obviously have advent calendars – they both usually end up with a couple each because family members get them and for the last few years I’ve been using a re-useable one for each of them. I pop a little treat inside each day with a special one for the 24th December.

Christmas Traditions - What We Do Each Year.

Christmas Tree.

We put our Christmas tree up the first weekend of December. The whole family gets involved. We have Christmas songs on the TV and once Mr S and I have worked our way through sorting the branches out and the dreaded lights we then leave the actual decorating of the tree to the kids … whilst I usually sit back and take a ton of photos of them. I have to say they do a pretty good job of it as well. It’s finished off with a little train that goes around the bottom …. something I have wanted for years.

Christmas Traditions - What We Do Each Year.

Christmas Traditions - What We Do Each Year.

Christmas Tree Decoration.

Every year we add a new decoration to our tree – for the past 4 years, we’ve had them personalised with our names and the year. It’s lovely getting them out of the loft each Christmas working out how old the children were on the year certain ones were purchased. This is only a tradition we started a few years ago but it’s a firm favourite now and one that we will continue to do every year.

Visiting Santa.

We always go to see Santa in his grotto every year – this year we are going a local garden centre and they’ve even got real reindeer. I try and get a booking as near to Christmas as possible. This year we’re going on Sunday so it’s exactly a week before Christmas.

Message from Santa via PNP.

If you’ve got children and you’ve never done this it’s a must! Honestly, it’s brilliant and every year creates a new video and it’s even personalised too.  All you have to do is add the details and await your email from Santa.

Christmas Eve Box.

Ever since L has been born I have always bought her a new pair of pyjamas. They used to be on her bed waiting for her after she was out of the bath on Christmas Eve, but about 4 years ago I changed it into a new tradition of a Christmas Eve box. I usually make them up a box of goodies containing new pj’s, some hot chocolate & new mug, a new book to read before bed for C and a novel for L, some reindeer food, and usually some sort of Christmas art for C to do during the day. I give them their box in the morning on Christmas eve.

Reindeer Food & Treats for Santa.

Before bed on Christmas Eve we scatter some food on the grass outside for the Reindeer and in the front room on a little table we leave a plate of goodies for Santa …. this for us usually entails a glass of milk & some cookies. We also leave a carrot out especially for Rudolf too …. he needs his vegetables on such a busy night!

What Christmas Traditions do you & your family have?

 

 

#Blogtober2016 Day 5 – What I Wanted To Be ….

#Blogtober 2016 day 5 is all about what career I had planned as a child.

I think the first job I remember wanting to do when I was grown up was to be an air stewardess, although these days they’re called cabin crew I think.

I was lucky enough as a child to visit a fair few places and I travelled quite a bit on a plane. I would sit fascinated watching the cabin crew go about their job.

I’ve always loved airports as well, and when I was younger I used to go over to Heathrow’s roof gardens with my grandparents to watch the planes take off and land. I remember one year going over with them for the opening of the new terminal two – I was as happy as anything sat there people watching – wondering where they were going on their trip – was it for business or pleasure? To be honest i’m still the same now, when i’ve ever had to go to the airport to collect someone i’ll quite happily sit there for ages just watching everything and everyone … i’m a bit of a plane geek Haha.

I did apply to Virgin for my work experience at Heathrow when I was in year 9 at school. My grandparents lived 5 minutes away from Heathrow so I would have been able to stay with them for the two weeks. I got a lovely reply from them saying they weren’t able to offer me anything because they left opportunities like that for schools in the local area. I was living 100 miles away so it was understandable.

Would I still want to do the same job now I am an adult … no I wouldn’t. I still love airports and planes but I wouldn’t want a job as cabin crew. I think it’s a pretty lonely job, I follow someone on Instagram who is one and she flies long haul, spends a day or two alone in a hotel room sleeping off her time differences to get up and do it all again back home .. and put up with the jet lag once again. I would hate to be away from the family for days at a time too. That said I wouldn’t say no to her perks!!! She will quite often get to take her family and friends to all sorts of destinations, how cool what that be. They get to fly business class too.

What did you want to do as you were growing up? Are you doing that job now?

Blogtober2016