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MSC Cruises – Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.

On Wednesday 4th October I was very excited to have been invited to #BlogCampOnBoard hosted by Tots 100, and MSC Cruises, on board the MSC Preziosa cruise liner. I had never been to a blogging conference before let alone on a cruise ship, hence my excitement.

The MSC Preziosa was going to be docked in Southampton for the day so this gave us the chance to explore the ship as day guests as well as attend various blogging sessions if we wanted to.

When I arrived at Southampton docks it wasn’t hard to spot where I needed to be. The Preziosa was absolutely beautiful and that was from afar. I couldn’t believe the size of her (not surprising seeing as she has 18 decks, 14 of which are for guests). The sun was already shining and it got me excited to get on board and explore what she had to offer.

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

We had to pass security just like a passenger would and present our passports, even though we weren’t actually going anywhere we were still treated the same. It was interesting having never been on a cruise before to see it was just the same as traveling through an airport. It looked just like airport departures with security and the departure lounge.

Once we were escorted to board the ship we were once again asked to show our day passes and present our passports to the security team on board – the level of security is really good and definitely makes you feel at ease and feel safe on board.

Once all the checks were in place we walked into the breathtaking main atrium of the ship. It is absolutely beautiful. Everything was so shiny and sparkly and so very grand. The spotlights and lights in the ceiling reflected onto the tiled floor below. There was a beautiful piano situated in front of a generous seating area whilst being encased by a Swarovski crystal staircase. The grandest staircase I have ever seen in my life. Each step has been embedded with the crystals and costs a whopping €8-10,000  – yes that’s right each step! I felt privileged to have walked down them and I can only imagine how glamorous it would be walking down them in a ballgown. There were two glass lifts which gracefully carried guests between each floor.

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.

Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.

Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.

Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

We were taken from there into the ships Platinum Theatre, which can seat a whopping 1,603 passengers. It was absolutely huge, far bigger than anything I have been in on land and this was on a ship!

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

MSC is a family-owned company and that really showed. They have thought of everything and cater for children from babies through to 17 years.

Seeing as we have such a large age gap (L is 14 & C is 5) I was keen to find out how they could both benefit from the kids clubs and I wondered if they could cater for both of them. I was surprised to find they could.

The children clubs are split into five groups:

  • Baby –  3 years
  • Mini – 3-6 years
  • Juniors – 7-11 years
  • Young – 12-14 years
  • Teen – 15 – 17 Years

Kids can join in as little or as much as they like. Daily schedules are delivered to cabins each day with a forecast on the following day so you have plenty of time to decide what they would like to do. The clubs are open 9am – 11pm and your little cherubs can be taken for their breakfast, lunch or dinner if you wanted the staff to take them. You can even leave them on board in the clubs if you fancied the odd day off exploring an island when the ship is docked. The activities in each club depend on the age but they can range from talent shows, cooking, arts & crafts, discos, DJ/sports/technology programmes … there’s plenty to do.

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC

MSC also offers a new baby laundry service for families traveling with children aged 0-6 years so you don’t have to over pack on luggage. How cool is that? We all know as parents accidents and food mishaps can happen. But on board with MSC you don’t need to worry. They have also partnered with Chicco & Lego to bring fun and educational toys and equipment on board for their little passengers.

I know both of mind would love the facilities on board especially the swimming pools, waterpark and water slide!!

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Indoor pool with a retractable roof Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

 

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Indoor pool with a retractable roof Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC

Once we had finished the welcome and briefing in the theatre we were split into three groups. The first thing my group did was have a tour of the ship. We weren’t able to see the entire ship because of time restraints before lunch and the ship currently had passengers on board so we weren’t able to see in any cabins. MSC has however provided some photos of the cabins to show us what they would typically look like.

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC

The MSC Preziosa is a beautiful ship, she was christened by Sophia Loren in Genoa Italy. Sophia is the godmother of MSC Cruises. The ship’s length is 333.30mt, she weighs 130,072 tonnes (WOW!), she can carry 4,345 passengers which are accommodated over 1,751 cabins (45 of which are suitable for reduced mobility passengers) and her average speed on the water is 18 knots (although she can reach 24,21 knots!)

To keep you occupied on board the MCS Preziosa has:

  • 3 outdoor pools – one of which is an infinity pool & one indoor pool with a retractable roof, so if you are sailing towards better climates then you can experience the ‘outdoor’ pool vibe.
  • Doremi Castle – a water playground for kids
  • 120mt waterslide wrapping itself around the outside of the ship.
  • Fully equipped panoramic gym (where better to work out overlooking the ocean)
  • MSC Aurea Spa – 1,700m of beauty and wellness offering a range of treatments and expert masseuses.
  • Onboard shopping boutiques selling handbags, jewellery, perfume and even cameras and camera equipment.
  • Platinum theatre – seating 1,603 passengers hosting a range of different shows almost every day of the week.
  • Sports and bowling alley (yes that’s right, an actual bowling alley on a ship!!!)
  • 4D Cinema
  • F1 Simulator
  • All night Casino
  • Wide choice of live music in a choice of different bars and lounges
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo courtesy of MSC

The MSC Preziosa has an impressive 8 restaurants on board so there would be plenty to choose from.

  • The Golden Lobster restaurant
  • L’arabesque restaurant
  • Galaxy Lounge
  • Panoramic a la carte restaurant
  • Maya & lnca buffet (open 20 hours a day)
  • Eataly & Italia themed restaurants
  • La Locanda international wine bar and pizzeria
  • Le Palmeraire (Private gourmet restaurant for Yacht Club passengers)

MSC Yacht Club.

This is an exclusive area for passengers wanting that little bit extra on their cruise. This club is offered on seven of the MSC ships – MSC Preziosa, MSC Divina, MSC SplendidaMSC Fantasia, MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview. It’s the best way to discover various destinations. Included in the MSC Yacht Club you can enjoy these special privileges:

  • Private swimming pool and sun deck
  • Private concierge reception
  • 24 hr butler service
  • Prestige luxury suites
  • Panoramic top sail lounge
  • Luxury experiences from mini bar, meals, refreshments and drinks
  • LePalmerair restaurant
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
MSC Yacht Club private pool and sun deck. Photo courtesy of MSC.

After our tour of the ship, we were taken to the Golen Lobster restaurant for our lunch. We had either a choice of food from the 3-course menu or we could help ourselves to the buffet. I decided to go with the buffet and enjoyed some cold meats, salad, potatoes and some fresh bread. I also opted to choose some dessert from the buffet because quite frankly they all looked amazing.

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

The staff at lunch couldn’t have been more attentive. They were constantly making sure we had water in our glasses and topped up wine if glasses seemed empty. We had the choice of still or sparkling water and red or white wine. For those of us who didn’t want to drink, soft drinks were on offer too. As soon as plates were empty they were being taken away so the tables were kept clean and tidy.

After lunch, there were a few blogging sessions to choose from so first up I decided to pop along to one that Alison Parry was taking all on Podcasts. I found this really interesting and informative and who knows maybe sometime in the future I might just embark on podcasting. The second session was all about metrics with Sally Whittle founder of Tots 100. We had an interactive game to play for a bit of fun and a good way to find out how Tots 100 work.

After all the blogging sessions we had a Q&A session with the lovely MSC staff whilst sipping on cocktails. They answered some pressing questions us bloggers had about cruising with MSC and help us with any information we didn’t already find out from the day. They told us how they are planning to accommodate British passengers on board by providing kettles in the cabins with the famous Yorkshire teabags (my favourite tea!) They also answered queries bloggers had about children traveling on board with medical issues and how the staff would be able to deal with this.

I then took the opportunity to quickly pop off for one last wander around the deck to take some last minute photos and take in the beauty of the ship before we disembarked.

MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Some of the gorgeous cakes on offer to buy with an afternoon coffee.         Photo © It’s a Blogs Life
MSC Cruises - Spending The Day On Board MSC Preziosa.
Photo © It’s a Blogs Life

Before Blog Camp on Board, I don’t think a cruising holiday would have been something I would have booked as our family holiday, but I was surprised to see how many families and children were on board and how many facilities were on board to keep children entertained. It is definitely something I would now consider.

MSC have 16 ships, two of which sail from the port of Southampton – the Preziosa and the Magnifica. This is a huge selling point seeing as Southampton is only half an hour away and it would save the worry of flying out to a destination to board a boat and no baggage allowances to worry about either!

A huge thank you to MSC for welcoming me on board for the #BlogCampOnBoard conference and also to Sally at tots 100 for organising it all.

If you wanted to find out more information on MSC Cruises, you can check out their website for more details.

 

Disclaimer – I was invited onboard the MSC Preziosa as a day passenger to attend Blog Camp on Board, however, all thoughts and opinions on the ship are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa – Orlando, Florida

If you’re planning a holiday to Florida and are looking for family accommodation then I can thoroughly recommend the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa, as a perfect place to stay on your holiday. By doing some research we come across these perfect apartments within a hotel environment.

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

Having only been built in 2006 and had some refurbished work carried out in 2017, there are 495 apartments spaced out over 5 buildings, which consist of either private one, two, three or four bedrooms, sleeping from 1-10 people.

Each apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, a jacuzzi bath in the master bedroom, flat screen TV’s in the living area and all bedrooms, a living room with a sofa bed if extra sleeping space is needed, a washer and dryer and also high-speed internet. They have absolutely everything you might need for your Orlando stay.

I don’t know about you but when we go away being a family of four the washing soon builds up. I liked the idea of being able to pop a wash on every few days to a) save it all building up for when we got home and b) It saved us a lot of luggage weight not having to take 2 full weeks of clothing away because I knew we could wash, dry and rotate clothes whilst we were there.

I also liked the convenience of some days making stuff in the kitchen for us, especially breakfast. We tended to have breakfast in the apartment and make up some snacks and bottles of ice water to take to the parks. On the days we had off from visiting the parks I wouldn’t mind cooking us something in the evening. I tend to get a bit bored of eating out for two whole weeks so making the odd ‘home’ cooked meals didn’t bother me at all and it was actually nice some nights.

We had a two bedroomed apartment. It included two bathrooms, two toilets and two separate bedrooms. Bedroom one (the master) had a huge king sized bed, a Jacuzzi bath, a separate shower and a toilet. There was also a large walk in closet/wardrobe which housed a fairly decent sized safe, and in the bedroom itself we had a chest of drawers and a flat screen tv. The beds in the resort are amazingly comfy. There’s loads of space as well because the beds are massive.

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

The second bedroom had two twin beds, a wardrobe and chest of drawers and next to the bedroom in a separate room a bath & shower combination, sink and toilet.

The lounge/dining room had plenty of seating, a flat-screen TV, a table in the centre of the sofas and the dining room had a really lovely big circular dining table and 6 dining chairs.

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

The kitchen had a cooker, microwave, kettle, toaster, coffee machine, fridge/freezer, all the crockery/glasses/cutlery/pots and pans you would need and in a separate cupboard, there were a washing machine and dryer.

The outdoor swimming pool “The Pirate Plunge Pool’ features an excellent Pirate Ship which has a water slide. It’s even been built into the shape of a seahorse! There is a poolside bar so if you fancied a drink, snack or ice-lolly in the sun, sat down by the pool you could.

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

 

We found the Lake Buena Vista Resort perfectly located for the Disney,  Universal & Seaworld Parks and also for restaurants, shopping and supermarkets. DisneyWorld resort is only a short 10 minutes drive, Universal & Seaworld were 20 minutes and Walmart is literally a few minutes drive across the road. The resort also offers shuttle busses to all of the theme parks too.

They have three restaurants on site as well. Pizza Hut Express, Lani’s Lanu pool bar and Frankie Farrell’s Irish Pub.

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

The resort is also next to the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, so plenty of shops to help that all-important shopping day!

The Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa have their very own ‘Reflections Spa & Salon’ on site so if you fancied a little treat and some time to relax then you don’t have to go far and if you are feeling more energetic (if you’re brave after a full on day at the park) you can make use of their fitness centre too.

Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa - Orlando, Florida

I would definitely choose to stay there again and I have recommended the resort to anyone who’s been looking for recommendations on places to stay.

Have you ever stayed at the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa?

All featured images are supplied courtesy of Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa.

 

 

Paultons Park Family Theme Park – Review

We are so lucky only living 30 minutes drive away from the UK’s number one family theme park. Paultons Park family theme park is situated near Romsey in Hampshire. With 0ver 70 attractions it is also the home of the Worlds only Peppa Pig World.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park is opened from February through to the middle of November. Paultons Park then operates their Christmas themed event from the middle of November until the end of December. All of their opening times can be found on their website.

On arrival, you will notice there is plenty of parking and after a short walk, you will come to the main entrance where you will find toilets, the tickets booths and the turnstiles to enter Paultons.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Once you’re through the turnstiles you will be in the main entrance to the park. On the right is their main restaurant ‘The Wild Forest’ and to your right is the Big Toy Shop (which also leads to the exit and the car-parks)

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

After you walk through the entrance you enter the courtyard and to the left if the information centre where you can purchase season tickets, hire strollers and have any questions answered if you have any. It’s also a good idea to ask here where the ‘lost and found’ is situated. They offer labels for you to stick to your child with a contact number should you become in the unfortunate position of loosing a little one during the day.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

The Courtyard then leads you off to different parts of the park for your day of fun.

Paultons is a family focused park allowing family members as small as pre-walkers right through to teens and above to enjoy the day out. I have L who is 14 and C who is 4 and both of them really enjoy having a day out here. There is plenty to do for all ages and we can easily be in the park from opening until closing and sometimes still never get round to see everything – there’s so much to do.

There are three main areas to Paultons Park – there, of course, is the most famous Peppa Pig World, then there is the Lost Kingdom and lastly Critters Creek.

Lost Kingdom was only opened in 2016 and I can honestly say being regular visitors over the past few years we were really blown away when we visited the Lost Kingdom for the first time. This dinosaur themed land has amazing 3d theming and animatronics with music playing to suit the theme. We were really impressed with ‘Alive’ which was home to a rather scary looking friend!

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme ParkPaultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - ReviewPaultons Park Family Theme ParkPaultons Park Family Theme Park

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

C’s favourite ride in the Lost Kingdom is by far The Flight of the Pterosaur. It’s the only leg suspended coaster in the park. He’s such a daredevil.

One thing I noticed was how many toilets were positioned around the park. You don’t have to ever walk very far to find one and also the same for food huts. Perfect for a drink, snack or an ice-cream on the go.

Critter Creek is a really colourful themed area with plenty to do for all ages. There is the family roller coaster ‘Cat-O-Pillar or for the smaller members of the family they can always jump on Professor Blasts Expedition Express. I went on this recently with my nephew and I couldn’t help but admire how well the gardens are kept and how pretty all the colours of the flowers are that are planted. All over the park the gardens everywhere are really well looked after making the walk round to each area a really pleasant one.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

I was there today and since my last visit, they have welcomed some new Japanese Gardens. It makes a lovely edition to the park and somewhere to have a little stroll though on the way to seek out our next adventure.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

 

Peppa Pig World is a whole entire section over one side of the park and for that reason I have decided to do a separate post on this.

Other than the three main themed areas there are lots of other rides in the park. They have a beautiful traditional carousel, the wave runner (featuring a dingy boat and water), a pirate ship, the raging river log flume …. this will most definitely leave you wet, the edge, the Cobra, Sky Swinger and many many more. You can check out all the rides and attractions on their website.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

 

If you happen to be visiting the park during the summer they currently have a live beach themed show running every day and different intervals. It’ll be worth checking the website or at the information points in the park to check out the times when you visit.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

We found it a perfect time to lay out the picnic blanket to haver some lunch whilst we watched the show. The kids loved having a bit of entertainment keeping them occupied whilst they ate. It’s very interactive with characters, lots of music and dancing. It’s fun for everyone.

Here is C today having a photo with Manta.

https://paultonspark.co.uk/attractions/rides

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

If you are interested in the history begins Paultons Park there are several posters around the park with lots ion history information – certain dates and photos are all added. Also if you have time take a walk to the Paultons water mill. It’s worth the lovely walk across the lake.

https://paultonspark.co.uk/attractions/rides

https://paultonspark.co.uk/attractions/rides

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

 

It’s not only just rides and attractions Paultons have to offer – there are lots of bird aviaries, home to many different types of birds and prey, penguins where at certain times of the day you can sit and watch them being fed, giant tortoises .. just to name a few.

I could literally go on all day about Paultons Park – we have loved visiting here yearly and C & I now have season tickets so we’re making the most of going as often as we can before he starts school. We’re making the most of the low term time queues. I highly recommend a day out here. You won’t be disappointed I’m sure.

Even on the way out through the shop, the theming doesn’t disappoint.

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

Paultons Park Family Theme Park - Review

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas at Marwell.

We were thrilled to be invited along to experience Christmas at Marwell recently. The day before our arrival the kids were really excited when we received an email from the elves at Marwell the night before our arrival with a special poem:

ONE MORE SLEEP

For Christmas as Marwell there’s one more sleep

A special memory to treasure and keep

Whilst in bed I mustn’t peep

I’ll close my eyes and start counting sheep

And when I wake we’ll make our way

To Marwell Zoo for a fabulous day

Meerkats squeek and penguins bray

I wonder what dear Santa will say …

Christmas at Marwell
Photo courtesy of Marwell

C wanted to wear his Elf Christmas jumper & Santa hat. He also chose Elf to come along with us for the day. So all wrapped up with our scarfs, hats and gloves we headed off.

Christmas at Marwell

Our time slot to see Santa wasn’t until 14.45 but we had full access to Marwell as part of our ticket so we arrived around 11.30 to make time to enjoy the rest of the park.

On arrival we were greeted at the entrance and was told to be either back at the gift shop for 14.30 to collect the train to Marwell Hall, or alternatively we could make our own way there.

Christmas at Marwell

First up we headed to the little gift shop & coffee shop just inside the entrance for some much needed hot chocolates and made a note of where the train station was for later.

We made our way round the park stopping by the Penguins, Giraffes, Cheetahs, Zebras, Rhinos .. to name but a few. We stopped by Cafe Graze at lunchtime. Cafe Graze offer full hot meals, from roast dinners right down to sandwiches and drinks. It was nice to be able to sit down in the warm for half an hour.

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

After lunch we sat and let C play in one of the play areas for a little bit – he enjoyed the climbing and sliding whilst we sat watching him freezing cold from the benches.

Christmas at Marwell

Before we knew it, it was time to make our way back to the gift & coffee shop so we could wait for the train to take us to Santa.

We weren’t waiting too long because the train arrived on time. We all piled on and off we went. The first stop was the Giraffes – if you didn’t fancy walking round the park like we did you could choose to get the train to various drop off points. Once we had stopped at the Giraffes the driver announced the next stop was Marwell Hall and Santa. C’s face lit up when he heard that!

As the train pulled up outside Marwell Hall I couldn’t help but think it was something like out of Downton Abbey! The house was huge and so very beautiful. There was a huge Christmas Tree outside and there was an Elf waiting to greet us at the door.

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

We were led into the foyer which was decorated from top to bottom in Christmas decorations and in the corner the biggest tree i’ve ever seen. We were offered mulled wine and blackcurrant for the children and mince pies whilst we waited for everyone to arrive. There was somewhere to hang our coats and we were told they would be waiting for us at the end of our experience. It was nice to not have to carry them around with us.

There was a big TV screen with a list of people who were on the naughty and nice list – the children had fun looking out for their names. They were both delighted to see they were on the nice list.

We then had a poem read out to us from a very happy and excited Elf whilst we waited for Mrs Christmas to come and get us. He was such a great character and made everyone laugh.

We then followed Mrs Christmas to her story room, the corridor was decorated with sacks of reindeer food and lots of little paw prints of various woodland animals showing us the way.

We entered a lovely room where Mrs Christmas sat down and read the children a story – they all sat on little foam tree stumps and were encouraged to take part in the story with various actions and songs. Underneath their little cushions was a surprise for them to fine at the end in keeping with the story. It was lovely.

Christmas at Marwell

After the story we waited until the Elves in the next room come calling for us – we were taken in and the children each had a place at a table to sit and make edible Christmas Trees. This was the last stop before they got to see the important man himself!

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

One by one the elves called each family, and we were then taken though to see Father Christmas. He greeted them both by their name as they walked in which was a nice touch. He sat them down either side of him and chatted to them both about what they would like for Christmas. Seeing as L is 13 he knew she was acting the part for her brother, so what I thought was nice was he had a little laugh and joke with her. There was a professional photographer taking photos but they didn’t mind us taking our own too.

Christmas at Marwell

Christmas at Marwell

They both received a present from Santa before we left and we went through to the final part of the experience. This is where you collect your coats, view and buy any photos you want to. There was a dancing penguin there to entertain the children too.

Christmas at Marwell

We decided to buy one of the photos the photographer had taken – just one of Santa & C, L didn’t like any of the ones she was in so she wasn’t keen on us getting any with her in .. teenagers eh?. Each print cost £7 and not only did they print one there and pop it in a Christmas at Marwell frame we were also emailed a digital copy too. Seeing as most places you only get the printed version I was impressed they gave you the download too.

Christmas at Marwell

Seeing as we were the last family they held the train back for us until we were ready. We were escorted out by some friendly elves and on we jumped for a ride back to the main entrance. By the time we had finished our Christmas experience the park was closed so we were driven to the main gates.

We had such a lovely day and would like to thank Marwell for inviting us along.

Disclaimer – we were invited as a family to Marwell for their Christmas experience but as always my posts are of my own opinion and all thoughts are my own.

 

 

 

Beets Blu – A Heart Rate Monitor Review

Beets Blu –  A Heart Rate Monitor Review

I was recently contacted from a company called Beets Blu asking if I would like to review their heart rate monitor. Seeing as Mr S is a Plasterer I thought he would be the prefect candidate to review this. Plastering is a very physical job, working at a continuous pace for several hours, so I thought it would be a good exercise in monitoring his heart rate over a long period. The day he reviewed the monitor was a particularly busy and strenuous day.

First of all the monitor comes with a strap which you attach to your chest, to pick up your heart rate. The data is then directly transmitted via bluetooth through bluetooth smart wireless technology to a variety of devices, which collates data to a variety of apps on your smartphone. You can check here to see if your device is compatible and also the range apps so you can see your results.

Beets Blu a heart rate monitor review
This is what is included in the box.

Getting Started

To get started, the strap is fully adjustable, so adjust it to a length that feels comfortable for you whilst wearing the device. You can then attach the device by using the poppers shown in the photo below.
Beets Blu a heart rate monitor review Beets Blu A Heart Rate Monitor Review

It is advisable to slightly wet the electrodes prior to making contact with the skin, the device will only work once it is connected to the electrodes and they are in contact with your skin.

Mr S found the strap to be somewhat uncomfortable to wear around the chest. Being a plasterer requires plenty of movement with your arms and shoulders and this caused the strap to rub against the skin. He did find wearing it slightly lower (just below the chest & above the stomach) was far more comfortable though, and he was still able to get a continuous accurate reading.

As I mentioned there are alot of different apps you can use with the monitor. For the purpose of this review Mr S downloaded the ‘BB Utility’ app. To get started it asks you to enter if you are male or female, your height what you weigh in kgs.

Beets Blu - A Heart Rate Monitor Review

 

Beets Blu - A Heart Rate Monitor Review

 

The Beets Blu App doesn’t offer any more information other than the current heart rate and offers no graph or hindsight records of what has been recorded. This doesn’t matter though as plenty of other third party apps for both iPhone and Android which connect to the device allow you to record your activity offering much more important analysis and information from your workout including Apple’s health kit when using iPhone.

In summary, the device seems consistent and accurate and in conjunction with all the other third party apps that you can use to collate the information should be suitable for most people’s needs.

*Disclaimer – I was sent this Heart Monitor for the purpose of this review, however this is an honest review, all thoughts are my own and they are a true reflection of what I think.

 

 

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

I was recently contacted to ask if C & I would like some clothes from the MotherCare website for a Mothercare boys clothing review. I was given a set budget and honestly thought I would just about manage one or two items of boys clothing for the price. Surprisingly having always assumed Mothercare clothing was on the more expensive side, I was really delighted to be able to receive an entire summer outfit for him. Whilst I was browsing their site, I noticed a variety of clothing that I liked and would happily have chosen. I had been wrong about their prices – Mothercare clothing is really affordable and attractive looking clothes too.

Delivery didn’t take long incidentally and I received the items via a courier one evening. I was keen to get them unwrapped to see the clothing and assess the quality. Inside the parcel I discovered the items individually covered in plastic and on their hangers (super handy to have extra coat hangers for the wardrobe)

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review
Mother Care Boy’s Clothes Review

 

I received a hooded jumper in age 4 – 5 which retails at £13.00.

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review
Mothercare boy’s hooded jumper
Mothercare Boys Clothing Review
Mothercare Boy’s clothing

Beach Sublimation Print T-Shirt in age 4-5 which retails at £6.00

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review
Mothercare T-shirt

 

Lastly a pair of cargo shorts in age 4-5 which retails at £10.00.

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review
Mothercare Cargo Shorts

First of all the hooded jumper is perfect for the summer months because it’s not too thick. On a cooler day or even a summer evening it would be perfect to accompany any outfit.

In addition the t-shirt is C’s favourite – he’s a big lover of the beach so to have surf boards on the front and back makes him super happy. Furthermore the colours really accompany each other well.

Finally the shorts are really lovely – they have an elasticated waist and even though C isn’t 4 until September these fit him perfectly. I normally go for trousers or shorts with an adjustable waist however the cargo shorts don’t come with one. Instead the elasticated top they do come with helps make a snug and adjustable fit. There are two pockets on the sides with nice brown buttons to give the shorts a bit of character. Additionally what I do like about the shorts is that there are no buttons to do up on the waist, there is a little button for detail but you don’t have to use it to wear them. In summary this is Ideal for a little boy who likes to dress himself and is very independent on the toilet.

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

I had a very willing model to show them all off perfectly.

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

Mothercare clothing for boys

Mothercare Boys Clothing Review

 

 

I am really pleased with everything we received. Clothes shopping in Mothercare is definitely something I will be doing in the future.

*Disclaimer – We were sent these clothes in exchange for an honest Mothercare Boys Clothing review. All thoughts are my own and they are a true reflection of what I think.

 

Tried Tested Linky

 

 

 

 

Ultimate Camping Guide 2016 from Halfords REVIEW

I’m into my thirties and I have officially never been camping before. It’s something that if i’m honest hasn’t interested me in the past but I have to admit this past year or two i’ve actually began to change my mind. The closest holiday/break i’ve had to camping has to have been staying on a holiday camp in a static caravan. When I was younger we holidayed many a time in various holiday parks all over the South of England and the Isle of Wright. I’ve got lots of fond memories of the kids entertainment & clubs, the swimming pools and the caravans themselves. We’ve taken L on a few when she was younger as well and she really enjoyed them.

We’re absolute beginners at camping and we don’t even own a tent yet so when I received “The Ultimate Camping Guide 2016” from Halfords I realised it was all we need to help us figure out what there is to know, where to go and what to buy for our first camping trip.

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The handy guide is perfect sized and packed full of information. From tourist hotspots , cycle events, campsites and events on eight areas of the Uk & Wales from as far as Scotland to right down on the south coast in Cornwall & so much more. It’s easy to read, with pictures and good descriptions to help you choose where you would like to stay.

The guide also has handy hints and tips on various things like how to keep children occupied whilst you’re away, a beginners guide to camping, the do’s and don’ts for newbies, picking the perfect tent, camping recipes and so much more. I will find the check list at the back of the book really handy when it comes to buying our camping equipment.

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Seeing as we’re newbies i’ve been looking at what kind of tents are available and i’m really surprised at how many there are to choose from. Ideally we would get a pretty good sized one so we don’t feel like we’re all on top of one another.

Mr S & L are both really keen on giving camping a go too so I am delighted. Whether it will be for us time will tell but you have to try these adventures don’t you? I know C will adore it because he’s such an outdoors-y kind of boy …. he would quite happily play outside in all weathers.

Do you go camping? What are you favourite things to do & favourite places to visit? Do you have any tips for us?

This post was in collaboration with Halfords

 

 

Mr Nutcase Personalised iPhone 6 Case Review

Pic Monkey1

 

I’ve had my iPhone 6 for just a little over a year now and up until recently I have never had a case for it. I use my phone all the time and although I was super careful with it, I was always worried I would scratch or damage it by mistake.

When Mr Nutcase asked me if I would like to review one of their personalised iPhone 6 phone cases I was delighted. Not only for the fact I could keep my phone safe but I could choose the design myself and personalise it to how I wanted.

I found their website really easy to navigate and really easy to use. The process was step by step and I didn’t have any problems finding my way around. Once I found the section for iPhone 6’s, I chose the ‘Full Wrap Around Premium Edition’ case. The next step was to choose the type of layout I wanted for my case & to then upload the photos I wanted to use. I was able to upload them direct from my laptop, Facebook or Instagram. I could add text, clipart or add colours to the background as well. At each stage of adding something I was able to see what it was going to look like, giving me some sort of idea wether I wanted to add or take anything away.

Mr NutCaseMr NutCase1

 

Once I was happy with my design, I clicked on the ‘buy’ button which enabled me to preview the case, rotating it so I could see all of the sides & to make sure I was happy before I went ahead to purchase.

Mr NutCase2

You are able to pay for your case either by card or Paypal, and this particular case had free delivery. Once I had placed my order I was impressed with how quickly it took to arrive.

When my case arrived, I was very impressed at the quality of the printing. The photo had printed out really well and the colours were perfect. I also liked the way it fits nice and securely to my phone which is a relief because i’m not worried about it slipping off.

I have been using the case for a while now and it’s daily in and out of my bag or my pocket and i’m still impressed at how good the case looks. There isn’t any light scratches or marks on there at all. It’s a strong sturdy case with no chances of it bending or breaking.

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I will definitely be purchasing products from Mr Nutcase in the future, seeing as we all have phones in our house & because they also offer a range of other personalised products as well such as mugs and laptop cases.

*Disclaimer I was sent this phone case for the purpose of this review, however all the opinions, words and pictures are my own. The full wrap around premium edition case retails at £19.95.

Scruffs Workwear – The Red Classic Parka (Review)

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Seeing as Mr S is a plasterer his work involves a mixture of both inside and outside work. Luckily so far this Winter the weather has been fairly mild but since Christmas the temperatures have certainly dropped!

The timing couldn’t have been more prefect when we were offered to review a coat from Scruffs. Scruffs have a great range of men and woman workwear and safety footwear.

We were kindly sent ‘The Red Classic Parka‘ coat, which is made from hard wearing fabric making it fully waterproof, perfect for the Winter and working outside.

It is fully padded and has a number of handy pockets situated all over the outside and inside of the coat, all of which are different sizes and some of them are rather deep. There are nine of them in total inside and out and they either have a zip or a velcro closing.
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Additionally there is reflective detailing on the coat and on the edge of the pockets, this is useful considering the dark evenings are still drawing in before Mr S finishes work.

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The Classic Parka has a large detachable hood with a removable fur trim. The hood does keep out a lot of the winter elements, however it could possibly be just a little bit smaller. It is so big it does have a tendency to cover your eyes and hang lower than you would perhaps like. But on really windy days it could be just what you want!

 

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When wearing the Classic Parka there’s no chance of feeling cold anymore, Mr S whilst working outside has benefited from it’s thermal capacity and it has protected him from the biting winds when wearing it on our walks down the beach with the dog on the weekends.

The Classic Parka is well made using durable fabric and extra padding on the elbows using ‘Cordura’ fabric which is extremely hardwearing.

The Classic Parka has an RRP of £79.95 inc vat

 

Disclosure: we were sent the Classic Parka for the purpose of this review post but all of the opinions are my own.