26 November 2015

The Little ones take tea with Santa

With Christmas fast approaching we took the chance to take some time out as a family and enjoy a Christmas experience at our local Wyvale garden centre. Wyvale offer the chance to have Breakfast or Tea with that very special man in a red suit and with it being Little 3's first Christmas and possibly one of the last where Little 1 will wholeheartedly believe in Father Christmas the date was set and we looked forward to the event excitedly.

On arrival we were seated in a special cordoned off area where the tables were laid with red cloths, napkins and crackers as well as a Christmas themed activity sheet for the Little ones, the girls were delighted to find a name sticker for them too.

They quickly set about colouring and pulling their crackers while other guests were still arriving. Drinks were filled and coffee appeared served by the 'elves' as we awaited the arrival of the special guest.

We chose to have tea with Santa (but you can have breakfast with him if you prefer). The Little ones had the choice of a hot childrens meal (you know the kind of thing sausages, chicken goujons, fish bites etc, with mash or chips and peas or beans) or a 'picnic' from the childrens counter (usually a choice of sandwiches, crisps, fruit, yogurt etc) both with unlimited squash. The girls had chosen (you have to state your chosen meals when booking) sausage, mash and beans. Shortly after seating the meals came out and it was quite a plateful but the girls did their best only leaving one mound of potato each!

At least one paying adult has to accompany the children and there was a choice of two options for Daddy and I, either a tea/coffee and cake option or a full tea, we chose the full tea, it arrived on a little stand, a turkey, stuffing, cranberry and lettuce sandwich each (vegetarian option available too), a christmas flavour scone complete with pots of jam and cream as well as a mince pie and tea/coffee. Daddy and I were completely stuffed, we had to save our mince pies for later.

When most of us had finished eating it was time for the guest of honour and the 'elves' told the children a little story of where he lived and that they needed to call for him loudly. Santa appeared to the sound of bells in a lovely red suit looking very much like the real thing. He walked around the tables introducing himself and asking the children if they were having a good time and whether they had been good this year. Little 3 who had never seen this magical figure before was totally and utterly amazed sat there in his highchair mouth open wide staring at the strange man.

Santa took his seat nearby and the Little ones were excited to take their turn to go up and meet him properly.

To keep all the children occupied while they waited their turn colouring resumed and each child was given a cookie to decorate with icing and chocolate drops, even Little 3 was given one although he proceeded to consume the chocolate drops (his first taste of chocolate) while daddy did the icing!

It was soon our turn to sit with Santa, he chatted to the children and posed for pictures then the girls were allowed to chose their christmas gift from a selection of toys in 2 large tubs. Little 1 chose a plaster of paris butterfly painting kit and Little 2 made a beeline for a little doll with various outfits to dress her in (she had wanted one for ages). The whole event lasted about 90 minutes ending with the Little ones being given a bag of chocolate coins each to take home too.

Breakfast or tea with Santa can be booked at a Wyvale near you online here and runs from now until Christmas eve but be quick, spaces are limited and sell out fast. It really is good value for money with the children's experience £9.99 (meal, cookie decorating, activity sheet, gift and a treat) and the adult full meal and drink £7.99 or £3.99 for a cake/pastry and drink mini option.

Thanks to the team at Wyvale Gloucester we had a lovely tea with Santa experience and we would do it again next year. 

The only thing I have to add is that while Little 1's chosen gift was of great quality (yes she was sat painting in her pyjamas not long after arriving home that evening, I couldn't not let her open her gift from santa could I?) Little 2's gift was not the best. The dolls head came off just taking her out of the packaging and the clothes were almost paper like too, so they didn't last the weekend. It was a pity, we did try to get her to choose something that looked a little more robust but she has been desperate for a doll like that ever since her big sister got one for her birthday last month and couldn't be persuaded by anything else. 

N.B We received Complementary tickets to attend the event but all views and opinions are our own honest thoughts. 

18 November 2015

Simple sensory play for Little 3

Little 3 has reached a really inquisitive stage recently, he is exploring everything, really looking at it and working it out and a little less quick to put things to his mouth, it is lovely to see him so interested in things.

I made him up a few simple sensory pots, to have a go at rolling and shaking and exploring, he loved them and it kept him occupied for ages.

I used a few old food storage containers with secure lids that I knew he couldn't remove and that wouldn't pop off if dropped/thrown about for safety and a couple of old milk storage containers for the liquid ones again with secure lids. You could use things like butter tubs and empty fizzy drinks bottles as long as the lids were secure and your little one was supervised throughout. I opted to use food containers as I knew they would be safe if chewed.

I filled the tubs with dry pasta shells, baby pasta stars and dry rice then secured the lids and the bottles with christmas confetti and pom poms and added water to those. I nearly used coloured water but then thought twice, it would be much easier to pick up a few pom poms bits and dry a puddle than getting food colouring out the carpet if the lids did work loose!

I let Little 3 loose with them and he shook, rattled, rolled , chewed and tipped the pots. He liked the pasta ones best, I think the water ones were a little heavy for him to hold as they were a bit wide for him to grip, I have some handles that fit those bottles somewhere I'll have to dig out so he can pick them up easier.

You'll have to excuse the fact that he looks completely and utterly shattered and a bit spaced out, he had a really bad cold and his cough had prevented him from napping that day so he was very tired and a bit grumpy too! He did enjoy his sensory pots, honest.

I managed to get one smile, poor thing looks terrible! He did enjoy his sensory play it kept him occupied for ages and he has played with them lots since. Now I just need to think what else to use, maybe lentils and cereals next.

15 November 2015

Jingle belly this Christmas with Ella's kitchen

It may only be November but Little 3 has had his first taste of Christmas dinner thanks to Ella's Kitchen, he thought it was scrummy (and Mummy did too!)

The Ella's kitchen Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner pouch is suitable from 7 months and is full of turkey with all the trimmings, potatoes, broccoli, parsnips, carrots, cranberries and even sprouts.

This year Ella's kitchen have teamed up with Save the Children to help kids in the UK, 30p from the sale of each Jingle Belly pouch will go towards their Families and Schools Together (FAST) programme, which promotes the importance of family mealtime and the positive impact this can have on a child's development.

FAST aims to build stronger bonds between parents, schools and communities to make sure children get the support they need to fulfil their potential at school and in life.

If you can't wait until Christmas day to try your little one with their first taster of Christmas dinner or perhaps you need a little something for your baby's stocking you will be helping a good cause along the way. You can get hold of a yummy Jingle Belly pouch from Boots, Asda and Sainsbury's this Christmas. 

N.B We received a sample of Jingle Belly for free. This was not a sponsored post.

3 November 2015

An autumn walk, changing times and a lot of posing

Autumn is well and truly here now, there is a carpet of yellow leaves everywhere I look and bare trees too. It is damp, drizzly and foggy here and already it is dimpsy on the school run as the darker evenings are drawing in. 

Autumn days are perfect for walks in wellington's, kicking up leaves and posing for pictures, well on our family strolls anyway. We went for a walk with Granny and Grampy the other day and the Little ones wanted to have lots of pictures taken, even Little 2 who is generally less keen to be in front of the lens, couldn't get enough of the camera and I got some lovely pictures that really show off her true character.

Since leaving rising 3's and starting at pre-school she has come out of her shell a lot, she used to be the quiet one, as good as gold and would be the first to do as she was asked to try and please me. She is still a good girl however she is becoming more confident and standing up for herself against Little 1 who can sometimes rule the roost, this means the noise level in our house has recently risen a lot!

The girls are just like any other sisters they can play a lovely game for an hour together or be bickering every five minutes depending on their mood. On our walk they were having fun hiding in amongst the trees and throwing the leaves around, giggling and jumping out together.

Little 3 while not yet able to join in with the girls games certainly makes himself heard too having learnt to clench his fists, grit his teeth and scream at full volume lately. He was jabbering away as we went for our wander, smiling and taking in his changing surroundings until he gave up and had an afternoon nap while the girls played around him.

Times are changing for us babyproofing is on the agenda. Little 3 is getting ready to crawl, the all too familiar superman pose on the carpet with grunts of effort, getting up high on his hands and drawing up his knees he will be zooming across the carpet before I know it. We have bought a room divider (our lounge is U shaped) so he can have a safe section to play in without being restricted on space away from bits of playmobil, treasured lego creations and parts of puzzles and games he is likely to suck to a soggy mess. Now just to dig out the fire guard and click the safety gates back into place and we'll be sorted, ready when you are little man.

The primary school application letter arrived for Little 2 today, it hardly seems that she will be old enough for school next year, there will be two school age children in our house, the Little Ones are growing up. I love this picture of her, my little girl, clever, cheeky and gorgeous, my middle one. 

So there you have it, a bit of a rambly ol' post really, the seasons are a changing and so are the children. For now, with Christmas is just around the corner, we are enjoying the outdoors and having family fun.

And Little 2, she just makes me smile.