Sunday, 4 December 2016

Speke Hall and Father Christmas

I have been to Speke Hall a handful of times, once with the younger two and once on my own with a friend and her two children, she told me that she really recommends the Father Christmas; I tend to go to Grottoes that friends have recommended.  When I got home I had a look at it and the price because that is always a factor in it, figured out when the best date would be for us and booked it for us.

We got to Speke Hall just after 12 to go and look around the house for the Victorian tour first before we went to see Father Christmas, there was a small queue but it moved really quickly, Kacy stood next to us saying "You can't have a Victorian house tour in a Tudor house" (don't you hate know it alls?) The house was stunning, it was the first time any of us had been in this house, the girls got a map to find reindeers along the way, Kacy being her stroppy preteen didn't want to do it at first but it didn't take her long before she joined in, literally the first one we found she joined in (kids! especially preteens).

The place we visited on the tour was the courtyard, which was the perfect place to get my new place Selfie

Selfie
Selfie
 In most of the rooms the girls found the Reindeers which meant it kept their attention all the way around the house. The reason behind it being a Victorian Tour in a Tudor house is because the Victorian's used the house so that they didn't have to build their own. The people who brought it never actually lived in the house they just rented it out until one day it was left to go to ruins, they think they might have died.

Victorian house tour
Victorian house tour
At the end of the house, the girls got the opportunity to make sugar mice and all they asked was for a 50p donation, it took 5 minutes to make, the women who ran it made it fun and easy for the children.

The girls sugar mice
The girl's sugar mice
We had about half an hour to spare before seeing Father Christmas so it was time for a hot chocolate which was so nice, the house wasn't that warm. The girls got a five minute play in the park before it was time to queue up, at the front of the grotto was Mrs Claus who talked to the girls about what they wanted for Christmas and gave each of the children reindeer food and told them what to do with it.  Father Christmas was fantastic with the girls, interacted with them, he convinced Summer to stand next to him (she was scared of the magic fire) and that he would keep her safe.  Because she was being so brave she got to help hand out the presents, you can see the excitement and joy in the girls faces even Kacy who doesn't believe about seeing Father Christmas.

Girls seeing father christmas
Girls seeing Father Christmas

I would highly recommend Speke Hall Grotto, I don't know if all the National Trust Grottoes are the same but the girls loved it and that's the main thing.

Christmas World Of Glass

If you follow me on Instagram or have read my latest blog with what we have got planned this month, you will know that we have been to World of Glass a fair few times and the girls love it.  As soon as I found out they were doing a Christmas one I eagerly waited for the email to say we could book tickets, I was telling a couple of the Mums from school about it and they loved the idea and booked on too.

We arrived and managed to get around one table with the adults on small chairs (work that one out), Lynne who does the craft sessions went through what we could do, the younger three got a plaque and a little angel, the older 3 got one glass bauble each and Kira got to decide whether she wanted to be younger one or an older one, she decided she wanted a plaque and a angel like the younger ones.

There was several options of what we could copy onto our baubles/plaques, Kacy and Summer choose Christmas trees but slightly different designs, Kira chose a Reindeer.  Everyone had a fantastic time drawing the outline onto their baubles or plaques, then it was time to decide what colours you wanted to paint, you do two coats on to them - the first one is a really thin layer.

World of glass
Having loads of fun
After we have done the first layer, Lynne came over and gave us our next craft to do which was do a card, where again you could draw the picture first, then paint it with a very thin layer.  Kacy picked a snowman, Kira a penguin, Summer a Christmas pudding and so that we didn't end up with all the same pictures I had to do a bell - you got less choice with the card, because you had to make sure they fitted in your window.

While we waited for the paint to dry we could do other crafts from, colouring in, reindeer making, wreath making, Christmas tree sticking and all sorts of crafts, the children never got bored. The time flew and it was soon time to do the second coat of paint and stick the glass to the cards.

More fun
Having more fun
I didn't take as many pictures as I would've liked due to joining in with the fun, which is more important.  Everyone had a fantastic afternoon, this is our third visit to the World of Glass and we will definitely be doing the craft session again in February.




Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bellz Game Review

As a family we love playing games, when we were given the opportunity to try out a game we have never heard of before it was a no brainer.

The girls were so excited to try it out that I didn't get a chance to take a picture of the box before they ripped it open.

All ready to play
All ready to play

This game is so simply to play and in the same instance so challenging,  you open up the pouch and that is your arena it comes with 40 Bellz in 4 different colours and 3 different sizes.

You all pick a colour and then using the magnet wand you try and get a string or a cluster of the same colour bells, if you pick any other colours up then your turn is over, the first player to get all 10 bells wins the game.

Both ends of the magnet wand works, the large end is a more powerful magnet for when you want to get a long chain of Bellz, or a small end for the tricky Bellz.


I wasn't that good at the game
I was not that good at the game
As you can see from the picture above I wasn't that brilliant at the game, we all had so much fun playing Bellz that I forgot to take pictures of us playing it.

So easy to tidy up and put away, everything fits into the pouch and zips up, it's small enough that you can put in a drawer. It would be fantastic to take away with or even to distract children at a restaurant while waiting for the food.

So easy to store
So easy to store

*We were given this product for our opinions and photos*

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Our December's Plan

December is a busy time of year for everyone, getting the few last items for presents or starting to buy presents, seeing family or getting out and about.  It's the one time of year we as a family are usually not that busy or we miss out on doing things because we leave it too late BUT not this year I am determined to do things we have missed out on.


As usual we will do ELF on the shelf breakfast and they will get up to mischief throughout December.  I didn't get round to write up what the Elf got up to last year so this is on my to do list this year. You can read about our first Elf breakfast here, last year I tried hard to hopefully get Kacy believing in the magic again and all she did was roll her eyes at me so this year I will step up the game again.

If you are a regular reader you might have seen that in the summer holidays we went to the World of Glass and had a fantastic time, we did it again in the October half term and yes we love it that much I have booked for us to go again for the Christmas theme and have paid for me and Daddy to do it too.  We have got some friends coming along with us as well which will make it extra fun for the girls. You can read about it here and find more information here 

This is when we went in the Summer Holidays
This is when we went in the summer holidays 
In the same weekend I have just booked the girls to go and see Father Christmas, I love going to ones that people have recommended to me, We are heading to a National Trust place Speke Hall, We have been there a fair few times and love it we don't go as often as we'd like because Spirit can't go everywhere. They are decorating the house into a traditional Victorian theme christmas, you can listen to carols in the Great Hall and enjoy a festive meal in the restaurant. Tip for you - it is booking up extremely fast for the National Trust Father Christmas so book now so you don't miss out.

The weekend the 10th and 11th I am in Manchester for a proper girly night with two special friends, we are staying in a hotel so we can all have a drink and going to go around the Christmas markets and a proper good catch up, we try and plan something every year but we leave it so late to organise it that it never happens, I'm really looking forward to this weekend.

The Friday the 16th is Kacy's 11th Birthday (can we stop time?!) she has now decided she doesn't want anything she has asked for (well she does) and she wants her bedroom decorated instead so we have said yes to this.  We have warned her it wouldn't be happening till at least February when the weather warms up.  On the same day it is the start of the EYFS school play, I can't wait to find out what Summer will be.   On the Sunday we are busy as well, Summer and I have a got a friend's joint birthday party then it will be Kacy's Mad Hatter's tea party - she has planned it to a T - she has invited the friends she wants to come and told them what she wants them to dress up as, she has arranged her outfit, we just need to sort her waist coat out.

Kacy loving the hat I have brought her
Kacy loving the hat I have brought her
The weekend after is Christmas Eve I am not sure what we are doing. It is the first time in a long time it has fallen at a weekend, due to going on Christmas day for lunch we can go and do something fun, I would love to take the girls to a Christmas Panto but I don't think we have got time.

Have you got anything exciting planned for December

Monday, 7 November 2016

Labyrinth Board Game Review

As a family we love playing board games, I try and find different ones so that all ages can play but sometimes this can be hard with the big age gap between Kacy and Summer.  I had look at Labyrinth a fair few times in the shop and wondered if Kacy would like it but never got round to buying it due to buying games for all of us to play.  When we got the opportunity to review it I thought it would be a perfect time for Kacy to have one on one time with Daddy and I.

Labyrinth Game
Labyrinth Game


As we were setting the game up, Kacy mentioned that someone had brought it into school last year and no-one could figure out how to play it, so we read the instructions a fair few times so we knew what we were doing.  After getting our head around the instructions it was really easy and we got started.

setting the game up
Setting the game up

Contents:

1 Game Board
34 Maze Cards
24 Object Cards
4 Playing pieces

Object of the game:
Search the Laybrinth for your magical objects and characters by carefully moving through the constantly changing maze.  The first player to find all their objects and characters and then return to the starting square is the winner.

Preparation:

The first time you play it, you carefully remove the maze and the object cards from the stamped cards, and shuffle the maze and object cards extremely well, with the maze cards you make up a random maze. One maze card will be left over; this will be used during the game for moving the maze pathways, also deal the object cards to each player till they are all gone, keeping them face down,  Each player chooses a playing piece and put it on the same colour starting square.

How to play:

On your turn, look at the top card in your stack without showing it to the other players. You now have to try and get to the square showing the same pictures as on your card.  To do this, first insert a maze card and move your playing piece.  The youngest player goes first and play continues in a clockwise direction.

Shifting the pathways:

Along the edge of the board are 12 arrows. When it is your turn you must choose one of the arrows and then insert a maze card, which will push out a maze card at the opposite end.  The card that is pushed out remains on the edge of the board until it is inserted elsewhere during the next player's turn.  A maze card cannot be pushed back in at the same place as the previous player pushed it out. (this bit got a bit confusing and we couldn't remember where it had come out of so we used the last playing piece and put it where the maze piece had just come out of. )

Players must make a move within the maze when it is your turn even if you can't get to your character card.

This game is so much fun, each time you play it, it wouldn't be the same - it could last 20 minutes to a couple of hours you just never know.

In full Swing
In full swing 
All the way through it looked like Kacy was going to win, but Daddy actually won and Kacy lost with me in the middle, Kacy wasn't impressed.

If you're looking for a board game for your little ones for christmas I would highly recommend it. Its for ages 7 plus.

*we were given this game for our own views*

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Biggest Adventure to Date

Nanna, Auntie Kristine and I spent months planning, booking and saving for our biggest adventure yet, but would also be a surprise for all of the girls. About a month before we went, I ended up telling Kacy, me telling her "I said so" wasn't good enough reason for her not to spend her money and she knew that I was not telling her something, she is too quick for her own good.

The Plan;
Thursday: Drive down to Farnham, see Granny and spend the afternoon with her.
Friday: Harry Potter Studio first thing and then to go out for a meal with Granny, Great Auntie Susie and Great Uncle Alan
Saturday: National History Museum
Sunday: travel home

A good tip for you if there is a certain date and time you want for Harry Potter Studio Tour, book it there and then so you don't miss out, when I went to book it for the Friday they were fully booked and the only time they had was the Thursday at 6:30 and with not wanting to miss out I booked it.

The Actual Plan;
Thursday: Nanna, Grandad, Auntie Kris leave at 9:30 to drive to Granny's check into the hotels, and then drive to the Studio Tour. We leave at 1pm and drive straight to the Studio Tour.
Friday: Spend the day in Farnham
Saturday: National History Museum
Sunday: Travel Home

It got to the day before and I told the girls to make a bag of toys for in the car and pick out some clothes, the younger two didn't even ask why! I was surprised by that.

On the Thursday morning Daddy found out that we needed two tyres agh! Not what you want to hear before you go away, so I rang around seeing if Kwikfit had the tyres in stock, they did. Before I headed off to the garage, I took Spirit to the kennels which I hated, if we could've taken her we would have done. Then I went to spend two hours sat there waiting for the tyres to be changed, while texting Daddy a list of things I thought of that needed to be done. I finally got home then quickly cleaned Archie out and cleaned Harriet's toilet then it was time for lunch before we all got into the car.

Lets fast forward 5 hours:

We got to The Studio Tours, Kira was that surprised she didn't know what to say or do; she just sat in the car speechless, then a couple of minutes later Nanna, Grandad and Auntie Kris turned up and the girls ran to them and gave them big hugs, the younger two again didn't know they were coming.

As we turned up an hour early we went inside and got a bite to eat, the restaurant was expensive but the portions were massive for the price, we even had time to go into the shop before we did the tour, we spent a small fortune.

The tour was absolutely amazing, you get to see where they filmed it and how the filmed it, all the little things you didn't know or didn't see in the film. You get to fly a broomstick, you get to see the props they used, how they filmed different parts of the film, you can have wand lessons, you don't get rushed round, you can take the tour at your own leisure.  I don't want to ruin it by showing you all my hundreds of photos I took, so here is the first photo that was taken.

A photo posted by vicky lawless (@mummy3plus1dog) on

You have got to try the Butter Beer which Nanna and I really liked, Kacy on the other hand

Kacy trying Butter Beer
Kacy trying Butter Beer

Forward on to Friday, we spent the day in Farnham with Granny, showing the younger two Farnham. Kacy comes to Farnham at least twice a year to spend a week with Granny.  One thing we went to show them, which even I didn't know, was Granny's first house, she has moved a lot around Farnham. While Auntie Kris and Grandad did their own thing, we all went to Farnham park, which is new and it was fantastic! It was all made out of wood and had a little castle in the middle, the girls had a fantastic time letting off some steam. It was soon time for lunch in Kacy's favourite place to eat, which was the church, we headed back to Granny's then it was off to a garden centre and Auntie Susie and Uncle Alan joined us. It has been 8-9 years since I have been to Farnham and I loved coming to this garden centre and looking at the animals, it has changed so much, nothing like it was when I was a little girl!  In the evening we went out for some tea with the whole family which was fantastic again, it has been years since we have all been together.

Saturday, we got up extremely early to head into London, we ended up stopping in Waterloo to grab a McDonalds breakfast, we got the tube to the museum and we joined the massive queue, we actually found out it opened at 9:30 in the half term but it said 10 on the website, a women told us it was 40 minutes wait, but thankfully it was only 20 minutes. Whilst in the queue we got a kids book and in the back was a map which Kira loved telling us where to go (I spent longer in the queue for the cloak room.)

The younger two first time on a tube
The younger two's first time on a tube
Rather than trying to please everyone in our group we split up, Grandad and Auntie Kris, Daddy and Kacy, Nanna, Kira, Summer and Me (some how me and Nanna got the worse end of the deal). The first place we went to was the Dinosaur section which was amazing - there was so much to see, Summer loved it up till we saw the T Rex that roared and moved.  Next stop was where Kira wanted to go and that was the Volcano section, Nanna took Kira around this section mostly due to me have a screaming Summer due to a noise from the back of the room where they had a earthquake simulator, Kira loved telling us all about it and what she had learnt in year 3.

We all meet up for lunch and told everyone what we had seen and done, worked out what everyone else wanted to look at and worked out times and went off in different sections again, with Summer still being frighted of the noise I took her to the Creepy Crawlies section, while Nanna took Kira to the Mammal section, At first she was very unnerved but soon realised it was fun, there was no big noises and lots of things to see and do, including going into a life like massive termite mound.

Some Photo of our day
Some photos of our day
We all meet back up, I had promised the girls they could go on a ride if they were good, which Nanna, Auntie Kris and I went on to with one child each.  We then jumped on the tube to go to the M&M shop which was good but wouldn't be in a hurry to go back again.



We got the train back to Farnham and went to Granny's for fish and chips and then the hotel for bed, it had been a long but fantastic day out, we all can't wait to take them back to London but to see other sites.

We had a fantastic couple of days away and can't wait to go on our next big adventure.

Friday, 21 October 2016

3D Ravensburger Puzzles By Kacy Aged 10

We got the opportunity to review four of the 3D Ravensburger puzzles. They were a unicorn vase, an owl jewellery stand and two vanity boxes, an owl and a unicorn one. They were all aged 9+ except for the owl jewellery stand which was age 8+. 

Owl 3D puzzles
Owl 3D Puzzles

Unicorn 3D Puzzles
Unicorn 3D Puzzles
I found the perfect opportunity to try two of them out with my best friend K, I did the owl jewellery stand while K did the owl vanity box. First, we got all the pieces out and arranged them into piles of tens facing downwards so we could see the numbers. K found it easier to build the first layer and then added it to the base, then she went from there but the instructions said to build on the base. However, I found it easiest to just follow the instructions.

Me and K building the puzzles
Me and K building the puzzles
This isn't something I would have bought but me and K had loads of fun, we just needed some help when it came to putting the puzzles onto the bases. Here are the finished products:

Me and K
Me and K
The unicorn vanity box and unicorn vase were made by Kira and her best friend,A, they needed a lot more help building.They had loads of fun building it but as before they found it easier to build a layer before adding it to the base. Here is the finished product:

The unicorn puzzles
The Unicorn Puzzles


We all had loads of fun building these puzzles and it's made me want another 3D puzzle.

*We got given these puzzles to review, all the photos and opinions are our own*