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Sunday, 23 November 2014

A Festive Family Day Out at Cadbury World #ACadburyWorldXmas

Today we were lucky enough to be guests at Cadbury World for an exclusive blogger day, so we could experience all the festive fun that they have laid on for their Christmas Celebration weekends, which run until December 21st.  After an early start, we arrived at Cadbury World in the heart of Bourneville where we enjoyed a welcome drink before heading off to see Santa in his magical themed grotto.

The grotto was lovely with twinkling lights, woodland animals and Christmas tunes playing as we queued.  We were shown into the festively decorated log cabin, where Santa was sitting in his fabulous chair. Freddy had been looking forward to seeing Santa and happily told him what was on his Christmas list. (The Vtech Smart Watch is what he hopes to find under the tree this year!)  The children received small gifts and we had a family photo taken.  The visit to Santa is included in the admission price to Cadbury World, which I think is really good, and photos and photo gifts can be purchased if wanted.

Cadbury World


New to Cadbury World is the fantastic 4D Chocolate Adventure, a 3D film with added special effects. We absolutely loved it!  The film gave us the experience of diving into a lake of liquid chocolate, flying in a Creme Egg air ship and riding a chocolate Crunchie roller coaster. The favourite Cadbury characters from the TV ads, Freddo, Mr Cadbury's Parrot, Caramel Bunny and the drumming gorilla starred in the show.  The 3D was great and we were so tempted to reach out at the chocolate on the screen, just in case we could actually grab it.  The 4D cinema is a great new attraction zone and definitely worth a visit.  Listening to Freddy oohing, ahhing, giggling and laughing was brilliant. It was his first 4D cinema experience and he really enjoyed it.

Cadbury World


After lunch, the children met the Cadbury Chuckle Beans, who were dressed in Santa Suits, for a photo opportunity.  Freddy always enjoys meeting characters.  They really add a bit of magic to days out.

We loved the giant chocolate Christmas tree and the exploding chocolate filled cracker that decorated the main reception area in front of the cafe.  The Cadbury Cafe does a family meal deal where 4 regular drinks and 4 hot meals costs £24.95.


Cadbury World


We then headed to Pantoland to take our seats for the exclusive pantomime, Snow White and the Chuckle Beans.  The much loved tale was given a chocolatey twist as Snow White celebrated her birthday with her best friend Muddles and the handsome prince.  But the Evil Queen had a plan to ruin the day and make herself the fairest of them all by killing Snow White with a poisoned apple. The panto included a funny rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas that involved a 'brand new water pistol' instead of a 'partridge in a pear tree' which meant we all got squirted by Muddles after every verse.  It was lovely to see Freddy and the other kids all getting involved and joining in with the story.  They boo'd the queen, shouted hello to Muddles and yelled warnings to Snow White.  It was really enjoyable and was just the right length to avoid little ones getting fed up.  After the show we were lucky enough to meet the cast and have a photo taken.  A visit to the panto is included in the admission price.

Cadbury World


We were then free to enjoy the Cadbury World Tour.  There was plenty of festive flair with decorations, trees and  staff in costumes to ensure the Christmassy feeling continued as we made our way through each zone.

Cadbury World


The tour has so much to see and do and we learned all about the history of chocolate, how it is made and the story of Cadbury. Freddy loved all the hands on exhibits and interactive activities. He likes pressing buttons, turning knobs and pushing levers!  

Kizzy loved the fact that we were each given four full size bars of chocolate and a cup of melted chocolate in the Chocolate Making zone!  We saw a chocolate making demonstration, watched the artisans at work, had a look at the production line in action, had a green screen experience and saw nostalgic advertising campaigns from years gone by.

Cadbury World


The Cadabra ride was a big hit with Freddy who loved driving around the Chuckle Beans' hometown, in a Beanmobile, seeing all their little houses and discovering the magic of Cadbury. It's perfect for little people.

Cadbury World


At the end of the tour is the world's biggest Cadbury shop filled with their chocolates as well as exclusive gifts, toys, branded merchandise and unique handmade chocolate products (there were amazing chocolate teapots, stilettos and footballs!)  You can also buy specially made Christmas hampers packed with chocolatey goodies that looked amazing.  We enjoyed picking up a few gifts for the family and because we spent over £20 we received a free teddy bear, which was lovely.

Cadbury World


We had such a fabulous day and Freddy said it was "The Best Day Ever!"  Having the extra Christmas entertainment really makes it a special day out for families looking for some festive fun in the run up to Christmas.

If you want to visit, I'd recommend booking in advance because the attraction sold out of tickets on the door by lunchtime while we were there.  Cadbury World is very popular!  A family ticket is £48.80 (two adults and two children) and under 4s are free.  This includes a visit to Santa, a gift for each child and the Christmas pantomime.

Cadbury World


Thursday, 20 November 2014

Happy 81st Birthday to my Mum

"No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you - life."

mother, birthday
My beautiful mother

I am eternally grateful.
Thank you for being you.
I love you so much Mum. 

xxx

It's a Monthly Thing - Teen Parcel #amonthlything

Being a teenage girl isn't always easy - especially when it comes to periods.  Having three daughters, I've had to see them all suffer with varying degrees of monthly misery, and other than offering a hot water bottle, a hug and an Ibuprofen, there isn't much I felt I could do to make it any easier on them. However, I have discovered that there is a way that we can put a smile on our daughters' faces and help make their cycle a little nicer to deal with each month, with Teen Parcel.

girls, periods


Teen Parcel is a subscription service, which sends girls a lovely bundle of treats 3-5 days before their period is due.  With top brand pampering beauty goodies, a sweet treat, a relaxing drink and a supply of sanitary products, the Teen Parcel will make young girls feel a lot better about what they are going through.  The parcels are delivered straight to the door in a cute pink box, which fits through the letterbox.

Teen Parcel


Inside, you will find something 'for now', something 'for later' and something 'for you', all individually packaged in pink.  

teen parcel


The service allows you to pick which type of sanitary product is included so girls can choose between towels and tampons, and also select a favoured brand, such as Lil-lets, Always, Kotex or Tampax and pick the required absorbency.  Parcels are tailored to individual girls' needs.

Pink Parcel


The black drawstring bag, which contains five tampons, is great and allows girls to carry a supply of tampons in their school bag or handbag.  There are two boxes of extra packages of ten tampons that should be sufficient to last for the month. It is an efficient way to get sanitary products delivered direct to your door and saves young girls from having to purchase them in shops, which could prove embarrassing for them. 

Pink Parcel, beauty goodies


The beauty goodies are really amazing.  Kizzy was really excited by the Clean & Clear products, the lovely braided bracelet and the Binky London nail varnish.  She was really impressed with her 'period presents' as she called them!  It even included a sweet treat and a Teapigs chocolate teabag for some comfort. Every month, different pampering products from some major brands are included in the parcels. 

The Teen Parcels are a teen friendly version of the Pink Parcel subscription service for women.  They aim to take the fear out of what can be a scary time in a young girl's life, replacing it with something more positive.  Subscriptions can be taken out as gifts, and it really is a lovely thing for a young girl to receive, making this aspect of growing up much more appealing.

12 year old Kizzy said:

"Periods aren't the best things in the world and they aren't any fun.  Having a cute package delivered every month will definitely make things easier and worth the suffering!  I like that it gives you a month's supply of sanitary products so you never run out and the fact that you get some lovely gifts to cheer you up is great.  I was pleased that the Clean & Clear beauty products were included because they are beneficial to teenager's skin.  The parcels are really thoughtful and I'd be happy to receive one every month to make me feel special if I'm feeling a bit down about things. In fact I'm going to ask if I can subscribe to Teen Parcel right now!"

A Teen Parcel subscription is just £9.95 a month, which is excellent value for what is included.  The first package comes at a special offer price of just £5.95.  You are free to cancel at any time with no obligation. You can manage your account online, adjusting the dates to ensure the parcel arrives exactly when it is needed.

Buying a Teen Parcel subscription for a young girl really can help them get through a tough time in their lives. I think they are an excellent idea and seeing Kizzy enthuse about the contents has made me see just how appreciated  a parcel through the post will be every month.  They can help make periods less embarrassing and increase young girls' body confidence.  Kizzy said it made her feel special, which is exactly how young girls should be made to feel.

You can find out more and subscribe at: http://www.pinkparcel.co.uk/teen-parcel/  You can also check out their blog for all things period related alongside beauty and health tips to keep you feeling your best.

Teen parcel


We were sent a box to review and I've been compensated for my time but all opinions are our own.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Star in your own TalkTalk Mix Off Music Video

TalkTalk’s Mix Off is a new, free app that creates amazing music videos, with you as the star! Create one of the best, and you could appear on TV!

TalkTalk are the proud sponsors of this year's X Factor and they are giving fans the chance to get close to the talent with their Mix Off app, by creating amazing music videos, which could appear during the show's ad breaks.

With funky effects and some of today's top tunes to choose from, you can go solo or perform with a friend and upload the video to the Mix Off gallery.

TalkTalk, X Factor


How it works:

Step 1: Select your track (choose from Fancy, Salute, Royals, Happy, Ghost and more) and video style (such as Kaleidoscope, Word Art or Street Art) and customise it with colour.

TalkTalk, X Factor


Step 2: Record your performance - sing along, dance like crazy, make funny faces and have fun for 12 seconds.  Lyrics show on screen o you know the words.

X Factor, Talktalk


Step 3: Mix it up by adding up to three other performances to your video.

There are some top tips on how to make a stand out video including using a plain white background, playing with camera angles and dressing up.  You can unleash your inner pop star and have a lot of fun with this app!

music video, TalkTalk, app


You can upload the finished videos to the gallery and you can watch other people's Mix Off videos. 

Find out more at http://xfactor.talktalk.co.uk/main/whatsmixoff.html, download the app at the App Store or Google Play or you can create online.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

My Christmas Wishlist App

Many children enjoy writing wishlists to inform Santa which of the must have toys they most want to find under the tree for Christmas.  In the past, this may have involved an Argos catalogue, paper and a pencil, but nowadays the process is much more high tech with the launch of the Argos My Christmas Wishlist app.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App

You simply download the free app from the App Store or from Google Play and you can begin.  The animated opening sequence features some fun characters and kids can pick a helper to guide them through the process.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App


They can personalise their wishlist, by taking a happy, festive selfie, which then appears throughout the app.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App


It is simple to browse through the best toys of the season, displayed as thumbnails, and pick the ones you want.  They are sorted by brand so if your child wants LEGO, Nerf or Playdoh, for example, they can click straight through to the relevant section.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App


Children can get creative using the virtual pens and numbered stickers to decorate the list before emailing it off to Santa (aka Mum or Dad's inbox!) They can rate their preferences so you will know which toy is their favourite.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App


The app is colourful, fun, kid friendly and interactive and parents can set a price limit and limit the number of gifts to avoid children picking too much or choosing toys that are too expensive.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App


Once the letter is sent, the designated email recipient gets an email with a colourful copy of the wishlist, with links to the toys that have been chosen so you can click through and buy or reserve direct from Argos.

Argos Christmas Wishlist App


Freddy had a go at making his wishlist.  He really liked the app and chose the cute little helper Squidge to assist him.  I limited the price of the presents to £32 and restricted him to five gifts.  He picked four toys: a VTech DigiPet, a Nerf crossbow, a Leapfrog LeapBand and an Innotab game, before decorating his list and clicking the button to send it to Santa.  It was really simple and user friendly, and he enjoyed looking through all the toys in his price range.

This app is also a nice way to send wishlists to relatives who ask what the kids want for Christmas, plus it makes it easy for them to buy direct from the links in the email.



                     

Big City Explorer - Book Review

Little ones aged 5 and over will be nurturing their future wanderlust as they read through the pages of this lovely non-fiction book by Maggie Li.  Featuring 28 great cities from around the world, each double paged spread is filled with fascinating facts including information on sights, food, sports, culture, landmarks and events.  It's an introduction to geography and allows little ones to dip in and out to find out about the world's greatest cities.

Children join the cute character Penguin as he travels through cities such as Istanbul, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Mocow, Madrid, Cairo and Amsterdam.  With very simple maps, lovely illustrations and bitesize chunks of amazing information, children will enjoy exploring the great cities of the world.

To add to the fun, little explorers can play with the real, removable working compass that is embedded into the hardback front cover. This is a great, educational book which will let imaginative children discover the world within its pages, and decide where they will visit when they grow up.

pavilion children's books


Big City Explorer is published by Pavilion Children's Books and is priced at £11.99.  It would make a great Christmas gift.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Manchester Christmas Markets

This weekend, we were among the record breaking 200,000 people who descended on Manchester city centre for the opening of the Christmas Markets.  With Ella being at university there, we parked up outside her halls of residence and walked into town.  The weather was perfect and we felt very festive as we approached the beautifully adorned, wooden stalls each selling their wares from around Europe.

The smell of mulled wine and various foods was enticing and we simply had to sample the Garlic Mushrooms and Garlic Potatoes from Provence, which were cooked in huge pans on the street and smelled so good.  It was nice to find some vegetarian friendly food among all the German sausages on offer, and the potatoes and mushrooms were absolutely delicious - so, so tasty!

The children had their first ever macaroons, hand made by the French people running the stall. Freddy loved them but at £9 a bag they will only ever be an occasional treat!  He also had a white chocolate covered apple, which we bought from a very happy Bavarian man selling various fruits on sticks that had been dipped in chocolate and decorated. They looked really pretty.

The markets have a real international flavour and a vibrant atmosphere. There were so many cool things on display from jewellery to wooden ornaments to traditional nutcrackers to Christmas decorations alongside all the food stalls and pop up bars.  It was so busy and positively bustling, which is always good to see. Ella's boyfriend is working on one of the stalls at the markets selling Lemax Christmas Collectables. We popped across to say hello.  They were doing a roaring trade and selling their stuff off much cheaper than I've seen it in the garden centres. Nice to see some well priced stalls at the markets!  It was also good to see that the pop-up bars had a returnable deposit policy on their mugs, glasses and cups, as part of an environmentally friendly initiative. 

With a visit to the Arndale Centre included in our day out, we really enjoyed spending the day in Manchester.  Freddy coped really well with the crowds and the long walk around all the sites.  My little boy is definitely growing up and getting more able to deal with situations outside of his comfort zone, which is really pleasing.

Afterwards we popped in to see Megan, who couldn't join us at the markets because she'd had friends rounds after a big night out.  We bought some vegan take out food from Eighth Day to make up for her missing the garlic potatoes! I love being able to visit my grown up kids and having two living in the same city is such a bonus.    

Christmas, markets, manchester


The Manchester Christmas Markets are open everyday until December 21st.

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