Crafting with Epson & Disney

So the summer holidays are officially upon us and like many parents I’m keen to make sure we have lots to do. Yesterday whilst big bro was at gym club me and my mini me did baking for the first time with our gorgeous personalised baking set, you can check out some pics of that on my instagram, it all went surprisingly well!

As Florence is turning 3 in October I thought it was time we went to our first blogger event together so a couple of weeks ago we trotted off to the Disney Store in London for a meet up with Epson in conjunction with the new film out this summer Finding Dory. We were met by Elsa and her a lovely crew who had put on a lovely breakfast and then spoken to by Bobbie from Disney who explained they were always keen to make sure parents had a great new film to look forward to. Disney had hooked up with Epson for this to offer even more great ideas for things to do with the kids over the summer period. (Did you know most parents run out of ideas after 3 weeks and on average spent £1500 during the summer holidays?!?) Neil from Epson then took the stand to explain how the world of print had declined in recent years but Epson had come up with an innovative package to ensure users didn’t have to worry about how much they printed, how colourful the subject was or how often they printed. Introducing the Ecotank printer….

 

IMG_0144.JPG

The best thing about this printer is it comes supplied with ink to run it for 2 years and when one bottle needs replacing they are only £8… In comparison a normal printer would consume 70 cartridges over this period!

The lovely Alice from More than Toast then stepped up to demonstrate how to make some ‘dorygami’ 🙂 and explain that with the new printer safely installed at her home it was a great tool for the kids to find pictures to print and colour in and how she didn’t have to worry about printing pages that were full colours or other such worries that we all had with our old printers. She also found that whilst sitting and doing these crafting things with her little ones that they tended to just chat and reveal lots more about their lives than if asked specifically about one thing. This resonated a lot for me especially trying to tap into Zachys feelings about mine and his dad’s separation so this is definitely on the agenda…

Once Alice (and Neil from Epson) had created their wonderful origami whales the rest of us bloggers were set to work on making some great crafts. There really was some truly fab creations (most bloggers had no kids with them btw..) Flo and I on the other hand set to work on the 0-3yr market and she did a fab job of making some great pictures that she was super proud of 🙂

We had such a fab day and I can’t wait to try out this fab new printer and go to watch Finding Dory so keep your eyes peeled for all that exciting stuff to come 🙂

signature

Linking to :

A Cornish Mum

That Friday Blog Hop

Fancy a trip to the shed?

Like most mums (and dads) I’m always on the look out to do something different and exciting with the kids to keep them occupied, have fun and if possible give them some educational value so I was delighted when I learnt about the opening of a new shed in West Wickham, Kent.

A shed?! I hear you cry!

It’s not any old shed though…. Set up by Regan Anderton, author of whatiatelastnight.com and food editor for Kent Life Magazine, The Cooking Shed is an adult only or adult and child cookery school right here on my back door step.

Launched on 7th May this year, Regans idea was to set up a relaxed and homely environment where you can spend time one on one with your little one (3 years plus) or in an adult only class to learn how to cook healthy, home cooked food. She had realised that the age old premise of passing down knowledge generation to generation had skipped quite a few of us in our manic day to day lives and wanted to help people to get back in the kitchen and cooking from scratch with quality ingredients (that she sources from quality locally businesses).

I was fortunate to attend an adult and child class with my eldest Zachy (5 1/2 yrs), to learn how to make chinese steamed buns. I didn’t have a clue where to start! Upon arrival you immediately feel like you’re at the seaside entering in to a fresh, well laid out and prepared classroom. Along with 3 other mum/child pupils we all popped on our super cute Cooking Shed aprons and  were given some background into asian flavours and chinese cuisine before Regan demonstrated the first part of making our buns. Knives suitable for small people were provided so everyone could get involved with chopping and scraping and the children got really stuck in, anything with a knife is going to be a winner for my boy!  Once Regan had finished her part of the demo we continued to work hard making our dough, getting our hands all sticky and gooey whilst hers cook so you can try a bit at the end. No you don’t cook yours there and then – its even better! Once you’ve finished making your buns or whatever else you go to the shed to learn about, you get to take them home and have them for dinner! PLUS there is enough for a family of four! WIN WIN!

So not only have you had a great time with your little one doing something different, fun and educational you don’t even have to make dinner later on!

I can’t recommend the experience high enough. Regan is thoughtful, educational and fun and more importantly you know she’s passionate about food and sharing her wisdom.

So if you want to learn to cook anything from asian to italian, from shellfish to chicken find out more and get booking at www.thecookingshed.com !

 

Rainforest Cafe Review

So far we’ve had a pretty chilled summer holidays. Given the fact I’m still working and of course the great british summer, it’s tricky to go full on with days out but last week we took a visit to London to the theatre (more on that in another post) and visited the Rainforest Cafe afterwards.

I’d popped in here last year and stayed just for a drink in the bar as there were no tables available to dine but Z had loved all the animal noises from around the ‘jungle’ and sitting on the bar stool that are shaped like the legs and bottoms of various animals, giraffes, zebras, lions, complete with tails. With that in mind I’d tried to book online the previous week but it was showing up as fully booked so we took a chance and walked in hoping that they would have some tables on stand by and for once it actually paid off 🙂

bar stools

Experience

One of our party had had a birthday a week before so they gave her a big birthday sticker and showed us to our tables. We were sat by a big monkey in the trees that freaked the kids out first of all when they saw his eyes move but soon calmed down when we told them it was just pretend. Shortly after when it started jumping around and making monkey noises another freak out ensued but after the initial shock they both enjoyed it immensely every time it went off!

  monkey

There are different animals all over the restaurant including bigger monkeys and elephants that move and make sounds at set intervals plus a thunder storm here and there. There is a brilliant ‘pond’ with fish ‘swimming’ on the floor that move when the kids step on them and of course the delightful character Cha Cha, a giant frog that cuddles all the children.elephants

The childrens ‘Rascals’ menu is £12.95 which includes a main, dessert and drink and although a lot more expensive than your normal high street childrens menu you expect it due to the experience surrounding you. Adult meals range from £10-£20, my friend had a prawn linguine and I the pulled pork burger. With some ‘experience’ restaurants the food can suffer but overall it was of a good standard and the portions were a great size and taste.

IMG_3071

The staff were attentive and accommodating, replacing a spilt childs drink and providing our birthday girl with a rendition of Happy Birthday from our fellow diners whilst standing on a chair with a candle in her dessert 🙂

Overall

The kids thought it was magical and really enjoyed it and lets be honest thats what it’s all about isn’t it?

7/10

IMG_3068

signature

Diggerland Review

Located in 4 sites across the UK you can visit Diggerland in Kent, Yorkshire, Devon & Durham. Its the only place where children and adults can ride and drive real diggers!

I must admit having reservations about going to Diggerland, I mean it really is a boys thing isn’t it?!?!

You’ll be pleased to know, it’s not. I loved it!

Activites

Zachy is 4 1/2 and literally didn’t know what to do first. I thought it would be lots of diggers to ‘dig’ on but there are several rides to go on as well. Including Spindizzy, Skyshuttle and Groundshuttle with the latter being my favourite 🙂 (you were thrown around in this one)

IMG_5279

IMG_5306

IMG_5367

Additionally there are lots of diggers to dig in the ground, trucks, mini landrovers, go karts, mini tractors and a cute Diggerland train.

IMG_5298 IMG_5373 IMG_5315 IMG_5320 IMG_2070 IMG_5290

Now here come the really scary bit. The kids are actually allowed to drive FULL SIZE dumper trucks, diggers, 4 x 4’s and JCB’s!!

IMG_5378 IMG_5392 IMG_5402IMG_2068

If that wasn’t enough there is a soft play, bouncy castle, and a nice climbbing frame/ slide etc to play on.

IMG_5295

Overview

Forgive me for the amount of pictures but it really is good to see all the different rides and trucks to drive. Zachy absolutely adored it with the key phrase of the day being ‘This is soooo awesome mummy, i want to stay here forever!’

You can visit Diggerland for parties and have the use of a private room with lunch. You can book additional ‘experiences’ (additional costs apply) including JCB experiences, formula JCB racing, dumper truck racing and monster digger experiences.

The get the most out of the day your little one needs to be over 90 cms high. Those under this height are free of charge.

Although it is quite dear in my opinion it’s no more so than other theme parks and with it being a smaller park and with not as long wait time for rides its a definite contender if you decide to visit a theme park as it will keep you busy all day without feeling rushed.

Zachy”s official rating: 9/10

Find out more and book your tickets here: http://www.diggerland.com/

signature

LarabeeUK

A Day Out with Thomas

Always looking for ideas of kids days out?

Recently we visited Thomas, yes, the one and only, Tank Engine.

There was a lot of anticipation of the big event so we were up and out early doors. We attended the event at Kirklees Light Railway in Yorkshire as we were visiting family in the area at the time and were very lucky they had discovered it was on the same weekend.

Activities

On arrival there was lots going on:

Platform rides on your favorites including Mavis, Toby the Tram and Thomas

(a quick back and forth out of the platform and back again).

t3

 t2

Platform Ride - TObyt1

Face Painting in an old train carriage

Face Painting

Donkey Riding

Donkey Rides

plus a bouncy castle and activity centres that offered the chance for children to colour in pictures and make crafts!

The staff were in Thomas uniforms and the Fat Controller was striding around looking stern (which he was – but that’s another story!)

7The main ride runs from Kirklees to Shelby around a 15-20 minute journey. Our train was actually pulled by Douglas rather than Thomas which was a little bit of a disappointment for  our eldest but seen as Thomas was doing a platform ride it was ok and meltdown was narrowly avoided!

Additionally, a note to take heed of,  we went to a ‘light railway’ so the trains and carriages were on the miniature side, this isnt made overly clear on the website although it does mention it.

Their promotional video shows a normal size carriage so make sure you choose the relevant venue if this is the option you would prefer.

8thomas2

Overall

Zachy enjoyed the day and even his little sister now plays with his trains and picks up his books to read so I would say overall it was a success. Honestly for the cost of the ticket, a lot was included as all the above was at no extra cost and you could easily make it a whole day out with everything on offer.

Each venue offers different activities and different prices so check out their website for more info: http://www.dayoutwiththomas.co.uk/

 

signature

Family Fever
toddlerapprovedtuesday

“The Gruffalo said that no gruffalo should. Ever set foot in the deep dark wood.”

We adore the Gruffalo and Gruffalo’s child in our house and read them all the time.

Although I’m at work this half term 😦 After a lot of hint dropping, then blatantly asking in front of Z, kindly Grandma and Grandad took big Z to the Gruffalo’s child trail at Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest in Kent.

I’ve been meaning to go since they did the first round of the Gruffalo last year and meaning to go all winter to the Gruffalo’s Child, with it ending at the end of February I was over the moon that he got to go.

Once you arrive there is an activity pack to buy (only £2) where you have to go and spot the pictures around the trail and write down the letter to spell out the word, a picture to colour in and other fun goodies plus the bestest sticker ever (Z’s words!) He soon ditched his scooter with Grandad in favour of walking around spotting everything and having his picture taken with the big man himself…

IMG_1381 IMG_1382 IMG_1384

Once I finish work this week we have the Circus to look forward so I look forward to sharing that with you.

What are you up to this half term??

 

signature

Family Friendly Restaurants; Zizzis.

I’ve written this post for #ToddlerApprovedTuesday hosted by @LaraBeeuk & @3princess_1dude and #Tried&Tested hosted by @Lollinski and @familyfever

Both great linky’s because you can often find inspiration for products, toys, days out with your toddler/pre-schoolers and that’s a thumbs up in my book!

This week I’m writing about our trip to Zizzi’s. I have always had good experiences at Zizzi’s and in my younger kid free days I was  a real frequenter with friends and a voucher code! Now those days are gone it’s a real treat to go out as a family to eat so it’s important that the kids have as good a time as we do.

Atmosphere

The restaurant was busy and buzzing and I was glad we booked – a great tip for anyone when you have kids in tow so you aren’t left waiting whilst they whine or scream (Zachy & Flo’s usual understandable tricks!)

Food

The Bambini kids menu is superb, in fact I think they have a better one than us adults!

Starters : Carrot, Cucumber and dough sticks

Main : Pizza or pasta and you can order some side of vegetables if you had a mind to.

Dessert : Ice cream AND a Chocochino

All for £6.75!

Mr Zachy was very pleased with his food and was even given another pot of crudités later on in the meal when he was still peckish! (Growth Spurt!!)

For smaller tums like Flo they offer pasta and a doughstick for £3 – How can you go wrong?!

zizzis

Entertainment

Zizzi’s have a lovely children’s menu sheet they hand out with plenty of colouring space associated to italian food and the cooking area of their restaurants, hams, onions and garlic hanging down etc. They also provide excellent Crayola Twistable Crayons. Both Flo & Zachy enjoyed these immensely and it kept them busy for a long time.


zizzi3 zizzi2

Overview

It was a really great experience, the kids were busy colouring, their food was fantastic and served promptly. The staff were very attentive and spoke with Zachary directly rather than overlooking him and remembered his name. Its the little things…

Overall I would highly recommend Zizzi’s for a family friendly meal.

Where have you been that you can recommend?

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday
We're going on an adventure