Santa at Ruxley Manor

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Yeah, yeah I know it’s only September BUT if you want to take your child to see Santa and you want it to be worth it, then you gotta get in quick…seriously all the December weekends at Ruxley Manor are already gone!

Anyway, last Christmas, Small Monkey was two and a half and showing an interest in Santa. Wooo…exciting!! The two years before that I just took him up to Winter Wonderland. It’s free, and he wasn’t getting the whole “Santa” thing anyway, but unless you get in early there can be a lot of queuing and it’s fairly rushed, I still have some cute pics though. So yeah, he was finally interested so I thought, now lads, now the fun begins and true effort is required. I tried booking Selfridges and Hamleys, granted it was October I think, so my efforts were futile. So in the end I was saved by another Mother (anuvva Muvva..hee hee) on a Netmums chat…mmm…could’ve been good old Facebook either though and heard about Ruxley Manor Garden Centre.

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From Waterloo, it’s about 55mins by car, or 1hr 20mins by public transport, which is a pain but it really didn’t seem that long. You will need to sign up online to book an allocated slot, adults are £4 each, Small Monkey’s age is £10, and the visit lasts about 45mins. Obviously, with it being a garden centre, there are fabulous Christmas grottos and displays everywhere. The miniature railway set up is just beautiful to look at, so do go and have a nose around. Oooh and they have their own resident reindeer!

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Now the fun stuff! I really wasn’t sure what I was expecting for £10, I thought “ah he’ll get a nice picture with Santa and some little knick knack at least” but both myself and hubby thought the time to get there and the £20 (for all of us) was well spent. At the entrance to the grotto we were greeted by an Elf and given the first stamp in our  “grotto passports”. After a short wait our group (it wasn’t a big group, just the right amount of people) was led through the magical doors to Santa’s grotto by……MRS CLAUS!!! Yep straight into her cosy, log cabin kitchen, where, accompanied by elves, all the children were sat down to make their very own magical reindeer feed. There was also a Jingle Bell sing-a-long where instruments were handed out, annd of course, you got your passport stamped. Well I dunno about anyone else, but I was delighted and my Monkey looked like he was enjoying himself too. Now there is a little bit of time at the end, if people get their acts together, where you can get a cheeky pic with Mrs Claus. They are quite happy to take pics but you are on a tour and you don’t want to get left behind.160911124446_wm

Through the next door, we are met by another group of extremely happy elves and we’re all asked to take a seat at the wooden tables. We were then told the story of “the Night before Christmas”. Like I said, I hadn’t a clue really what I paid for but the elves then started handing out little pouches and boxes of markers and crayons. The Monkey would be making his very own Christmas bauble. The also handed out some extra pictures for the kids to colour in too. Ah shur it was great, the elves bopped about here and there spreading Christmas cheer and stamping passports. I mean just look at his bauble…my child is an artiste! He coloured that in himself, we never touched it….yep…I am extremely proud of that bauble lads! We then gathered by the doors to meet the Big Man himself.

We were led into a room with a bench all around the edge and lots of cushions on the floor for the kiddies to sit on. Aaah, you’d want to hear the oohs and aaahs when the kids discovered who was asleep by the fireplace. Their little faces were something else lads seriously. You can’t put a price on that. Santa had a little chat with the crowd, answering questions, asking questions, you know the usual “have you been good and make sure you be good, don’t forget to put the reindeer food out and a bikkie for him” kinda thing. Of course as the kids had been so good he decided to give them all a present and OMG, the presents only came down the chimney!!! Delira!! Each child was called up individually and given their present. The kids under 3, as Monkey was, got quite a nice Christmas Elf
each but you could tell from the boxes coming down that the older kids got something more exciting, say. (On booking online, you’re asked your child’s sex and age, so the present given is suitable, which is lovely). It was so lovely seeing my little man go up to get his pressie from Santa…I think my eyes were wet. As the present giving was wrapped up…heh heh…do ya see what I did there?..the elves came back to help each child or family have their picture with Santa, stamp passports….annnd all the parents were given a BABY CHRISTMAS TREE EACH!!! We got a lovely picture in the end even though our original take got mislaid…on leaving Santa to collect our photo it gets a bit crazy. We actually got to meet Santa again as our picture had to be re-taken.

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Once the tour was done, we had a wander back to the reindeer, took in the fabulous light displays and thanked God we don’t live in an actual house with free reign outside. Have ye seen “Deck the Halls”?? I was really good too and only bought a snowman to go on my fireplace. We also spent ages looking at the miniature railway and Christmas town display…I dunno what happened to my pics of that but it was beautiful.

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So there ye go guys, if you’re in the southeast London area, I’d highly recommend Ruxley Manor to visit Santa. We really enjoyed it and look forward to going again this year.

Love Donna x

 

Dream It, Do It…home of Inspiration!

On the 20th of May, my bestie took me to Dream It, Do It as a birthday present. Nicola, a.k.a The Naked Blondie had mentioned it on Snapchat. She was hosting it along with Fiona Dillon (Hunters Lodge). I’d followed Nicola for a while on Snapchat, then stalked her out on Facebook and Instagram. I love her story and think she’s a real inspiration, after losing over 7stone and now has her own business derived from her new love of healthy eating and a bid to be happy and healthy for her son. I’d briefly mentioned to Ash that Nicola had an event coming up, that I’d love to go but didn’t really think any more about it.

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#8ambabes

It was such a nice day. Ash picked me up at 8 and we headed to the Airfield Estate in Dundrum. It was so weird being so dressed up at 8 in the morning. I text Ash before we left…are you wearing proper make up? Yep! Ah ffs!! Gimme 10mins to paint me face! Well we were going to a fashionable, motivational event, I suppose we needed faces to match. Sadly we didn’t get to look around Overend House, which Corrina from Stone Travel gave us a brief insight to. It was so weird going in and seeing  these people we only watch/chat to through SC….it was like meeting ‘slebs. One of my favourites, Sue Jordan a.k.a CherrySue was also speaking that day…delira! Ash’s fav’s Tom & Jeeny from My Nutrition Ireland were also there.

Oooh we got goodie bags filled with loadsa stuff…well we got a goodie bag and a COOLER bag filled with Glenisk yogurts, which were amazing!! After trying to calmly nose through our bags, I saw a familiar face come in…omg…omg…it was Jen from Jensgymlife. Or was it? I was used to seeing Jen in her gym gear with hair pulled back, I almost didn’t recognise her (no offence Jen). She was here just like me, to be motivated.

160611123458_wmNicola was lovely, she seemed taller on Snapchat though and her eyebrows looked well…if you follow her you’ll know of her constant battle with them…although she seems to be on a winner these days. She’s constantly cooking up a storm with some really om-nom-nom recipes, she even has own own brand of sausages! I really can’t tell you enough how much I’m impressed by her journey, if you don’t know her look her up on FB or SC. She really makes me feel like I can achieve my goals…well weight related anyway…my head is still a muddled mess regarding life goals. I’m not sure how anyone will sort through that.

 

I’d heard Nicola mention Fiona from Hunters Lodge a few times but still hadn’t

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Fiona & Nicola (pic from The Naked Blondie)

checked her out, after hearing her story, I was in there like swimwear. Sixteen years ago, Fiona and her family went from, I guess (seemingly) having it all to losing it all and she went back to basics. They moved from the city to the country and Fiona basically learned to be a farmer. She started with chickens and now has a whole array of animals including one Mahatma Gander. The woman even learned to be a bee keeper!! Fiona is the CEO of her company, she’s written the Freddy Buttons series of kids books, she reviews restaurants, she writes for Farmer’s Journal, she’s a radio correspondent, a Mammy of four…..she’s some kinda superwoman….like how would you not be inspired?

 

 

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Pic from The Naked Blondie

Now lads listen, the food, the FOOOOOD alone is worth going for! OMG!! The sandwiches were sooo yum! You got three different types on your plate…maybe bread, maybe a roll, maybe a wrap and the fillings were scrum. There were little pots of Glenisk yogurt based desserts too…all I can say is om nom nom!! There was three to choose from….I had two!! 🙂 One was like an Eton mess type and the other a banoffee effort! #salivating! During the break we got to have a mooch about. The Dotty Lemon had a stand there full of gorgeous bit and pieces, Ash won a fab mug in the FREE raffle.I took selfies with Jen  (who fyi, at

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Myself & Jen

43 is training for her first bodybuilding comp!!!). We also had a great chat with Tom and the gorgeous Jeeny, who were so nice and more than happy to take pics til we all looked great in them. These guys are so passionate about what they do, I lovvve the fact that they’re really pushing for food awareness to be instilled into children early. I don’t mean cut out all the sweets and stuff but you know, just for kids and even parents now to be aware of what we’re all eating. On another note, who couldn’t listen to Jeeny all day? I’m pretty sure the live on the borders of Tir Na nOg too!

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Jeeny, Ash &Tom

160609085322_wmCherrySue, saying Sue Jordan seems weird now, is amazing! I love listening to her, I feel like she tells me the truth all the time and there’s no bullcrap. Sue chose to bring up son, single handedly and miss out on college but that didn’t stop her. She knew where she wanted to be and she got up and got there. I actually felt a little bit scared going over to say hi, as I didn’t feel “big” enough and I don’t mean in height, but she was really nice and had time to talk to me about my little bloggy woggy and how to become a Snapchat queen (still a serious work in progress). Sue loves her beauty products and seems to be an infinite fountain of info on them….actually on a lot of things really! Her sister Corrina (of The Mammy Van) also spoke at the event and had some brilliant advice on travel (which she shares on Sue’s blog)…as she says having a “prada holiday on a penneys budget”.

Jen from Too Dolly Make Up then gave us a makeup masterclass and turned Fiona’s already gorgeous daughter even more gorgeous. Not only is Jen gas but she can wing eyeliner with her eyes closed! Jealous.com!160609085448_wm

Ooh I should also mention the only other man at our event, Keith from Wicklow Rapeseed Oil.Rapeseed oil, has a higher smoke point than most other popular cooking oils as well as being the lowest in saturated fats.

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All the gang.

Dream It, Do It ended with us all gathering around Tom so he could brown his friends with a picture of him and 50 women. I say it ended there…it didn’t, there was loads of time at the end to meet all of the speakers and take selfies. I came out feeling a mix of positive and filled with questions to myself…like what the hell am I doing? Where AM I ACTUALLY going and what to I want to achieve from the “one hit wonder” that is my life? I think if you need inspiration or an inclination that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, then I’d recommend attending DIDI, there’s alot of hope and positivity knocking about in that room. For now, I’m working on building up and being more frequent my blog, here, on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. (I tweet now and again and although I’m on Bloglovin, I haven’t a clue how it works).

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Pic from The Naked Blondie

To end the day, Ash drove us out to Bray for fish ‘n’ chips. We didn’t really need them after our fab lunch but when you’re at the seaside with just your bestie, which is a rare thing, it would be rude not to. (I know…it makes no sense when you’ve come from somewhere about clean eating! 😀 )

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#babesontherocks

Head on over to snappy chatland and check these people out ;

Nicola – Thenakedblondie

Fiona – hunterslodge

Jeeny – mynutrition1

Sue – itscherrysue

Corrina – stonetravel

Jen – toodollymakeup

Jen (gymlife) – jenser01

Tata for now peeps,

Donna xx

P.S as my phone died, Ash and Nicola were kind enough to let me use their pics too…thanks Ladies xx

 

 

 

Baby Disco!

I’m always on the lookout for fun things to do other than the park. Now don’t get me wrong, the parks never fail…for Small Monkey that is…but sometimes I’d rather not look at another climbing frame, give my bingo wings a rest from swing pushing and not try to coerce him down another slide.

Enter DJ Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco!20150629_010516-1

Omg!! Yes, this is exactly what I’m looking for. We can both have fun and boogie, yes I gotta go without the usual few sherberts but I don’t really need drink to dance. My motto, especially in London, I know barely any, probably none of these people and what are the chances of seeing them again?

I tell my friend E, mother to another small monkey E and an even tinier small monkey C, and she agrees it sounds like fun. So I book the tickets, a family ticket costs £29.60 inc the booking fee (that’s two adults, two kids). Wooooo so excited!

looking the shizz!
looking the shizz!

The day is here, Small Monkey looks the shizzle in his

pretty much how the day went!
pretty much how the day went!

funky shirt and shorts and I’ve straightened my hair and put on a dress. We head up to Southbank and meet E and her two boys, and her hubby (N) has got home in time to come also. Buggies parked up and in we go!

Inside the Spiegeltent, it’s big and round and nice and airy. Obviously it’s darker as it’s a disco but there are plenty of nice coloured lights so as you can still see and the kids aren’t scared. There are tables all around the dance floor and even a little bit of a “soft” area for babies. N has C strapped to him, E has little E clinging to her for dear life and my Small Monkey seems a bit confused. He’s not sure what to think just yet.

Dj Monski starts with Pharrell’s Happy…yep, he likes this song, this’ll be great. Nope! Still frozen. I try dancing with him. Nope! Arms up, reaching for me. I pick him up, now both E and I look like we have small children growing out of our hips. We dance like this for a bit. I chance him again as Monski is now playing a fun teddy/arms in the air/wibble wobble song. Monkey stands there and lets me move his body for the actions…this is annoying but he’s slightly smiling…I could be onto a winner. Poor E is having no success dislodging little E, who now seems mesmerised by the lights, N is sitting with Baby C, who is wide awake and looks fairly happy. Monski now plays Rock Around the Clock..Monkey wants up!! Eugh, this is not the fun day out I’d hoped and I pick him up again. He is smiling and laughing now though…maybe he’s cracking? I put him down, he has a little boogie and runs. Towards the door!!! But he stops and starts running around a pole instead, at this point little E comes running towards me and follows suit. They lure me into a false sense of security for all of 10 seconds before both of them make a break for the door!! E comes running over and picks up little E. I pick up a very angry Small Monkey. this kid is flipping like a dolphin on speed!! I have to hold him across my body for fear of headbutts. Yes…my son is not perfect, he is human and he most certainly has tantrums and by God is he having one now! Monski starts to play another fun song…oh it’s a dinosaur one…both boys like dinosaurs. Not today peeps!! Not to-bloody-day!! N takes over from E for a little bit and more valiant attempts are made to get the boys to dance…no sireeeee!!! Monski’s now playing Groove is in the Heart. I put Monkey down and he does a few steps before running off. this time though he’s content to run around the pole and throw in a few moves here and there. This will do me. Monkey’s bored now so runs back towards E, annnd I have to pick him up AGAIN!! A chipmunk version of The Cure’s Lovecats is playing. Surely to God he’ll like this…he likes The Chipmunks. Nope! Another tantrum involving some rolling on the floor follows! Lord jayzus!!! I think E’s a bit shocked, she’s never witnessed this before. He eventually calms down and I put him down, he walks of and ….praise Jesus, he starts to dance…a stompy dance!! Yay!!! It doesn’t last long annnnd he’s off running. he runs around the dancefloor….even this I’d be happy with but when I have to pick him up off somebody else’s table he throws another wobbly! I carry him back, kicking and crying like a crazy person. The hour is nearly up, thank God, and I’ve had the Time of My Life starts to play. In my head I’m thinking please baby, just do this for Mammy…but nooooooooo!! Little E is not to happy looking either so E suggests we leave now….phew…thank God!!

Outside the two boys are delighted to be free. You’d swear they’d been living in a dark cage for months!!! E suggests a SNOG…it’s nothing kinky, ye dirty divils….it’s frozen yogurt…reeeeally nice frozen yogurt too. We head over to the big pink SNOG bus, they’ve music playing. Those two little Monkeys only start bloody dancing!! By jayzus!!! They have a little run around and then they both run to each other with arms out and do a big hug!!! Aw soooooo cuuuute, but it was almost like they were celebrating their freedom from the disco….or the dancing??? Omg…maybe it was the parental dancing?? Ah who knows…but please God the footy class next week will fare better!!!

** The disco itself was actually really good, there was a good mix of music, old and new. There was special kiddie songs with actions and Monski also had two friends down on the dancefloor to dance with us.**

If you go let me know how you got on….

love

Donna x

P.S sorry I didn’t take more pics at the event…there just wasn’t time!

Peppaaaaaaaa (Pig World)

Small Monkey is turning two next week (aaaagh!! How? 2yrs already???), so we decided to take him to Peppa Pig World as a treat……..

After a fairly peaceful train journey on the 9.05, from Waterloo to Southampton Central the smiles were turned upside down. We came out of the station, the sun was beaming and all was right with the world, then we asked a cab driver the cost of getting to Paultons Park. TWENTY-TWO POUNDS!!!! YES!!!!! TWENTY-TWO FLIPPING POUNDS FOR AN EIGHT MILE TRIP!!!! FECK THAT! We’ll bus it, there’s a special Peppa bus due in 20mins, failing that a regular bus runs by the end of the lane to the park, there’s one due in 23mins. Grand job! FORTY-BLOODY-FIVE MINS LATER every jayzus bus running by us that day was a 2!!! We slunk back to the taxi rank and got a cab for £20. *sigh* (our free “staff” travel to Southampton is feeling like it means nothing now.) FIFTEEN twenty pound minutes later we’re there!

There’s guy with a “height” stick measuring kids, measure your little ones before you go as kids under 1metre are free! I have the tickets downloaded to my phone, so we just go straight to the gates, scan and we’re in. The assistant gives us a park map and a bundle of other “recycle bin fodder” . Small Monkey also gets a badge as it’s his birthday…kinda. We released the Monkey from the pram and off he runs. Aaaah thank God Daddy’s here today! A short stroll down Show Street, passing the lost kids office and there it was, the gates to Small Monkey’s favourite world! He looked a bit stunned to begin with, but came through with a whispered Peppaaa! Delighted.com!

yes I know if you follow me on insta you'll more than likely see their faces but I'm trying to limit some of their internet presence for now xx
yes I know if you follow me on insta you’ll more than likely see their faces but I’m trying to limit some of their internet presence for now xx

By God, I felt just like I’d just stepped into the cartoon. It is reeeeally well done. The colours are so bright. Everything is soooo clean, the hills, trees and flowers are just like in the cartoon. There are characters dotted about everywhere, there’s even some hedges clipped into characters or flower shapes….I hate to admit, it’s really pretty.

We headed straight for Windy Castle with Mummy & Daddy Pig peeping over

Windy Castle
Windy Castle

the top, parked the buggy up with the thousand others and joined the queue. I’d say less than 5mins later we were sitting in a “cloud” swirling around Windy Castle. Small Monkey looked a bit apprehensive clutching Daddy’s shorts but he remained cool ( gets that from me…haaa) and managed to spot Peppa Pig herself making an appearance with George. Unfortunately they were gone by the time we came down, but they do make appearances at certain times during the day.

Our next stop was Peppa’s big balloon ride, again the queue time was only a few minutes and it was a really

Balloon Ride
Peppa’s Balloon Ride

nice ride. Small Monkey seemed to be relaxing a bit now and seemed impressed with the giant “bloon” above him. Once this was finished we had a quick look at the penguins. Most of them were sunbathing but one lil superstar did come over and swim right in front of us at the underwater viewing window. Monkey was delighted seeing the “bish”…no baby, penguin…”bish”…he swims under water too sweetheart but he’s a bird, penguin…Mammy bish. Ok baby…bish!

Next up, Mrs Rabbit’s helicopters. The queue for this one was a bit longer and so all good things must come to an end. The Small One had a bit of a breakdown.

Mrs Rabbit's helicopters
Mrs Rabbit’s helicopters

Aaah the joys of the queue!! But once on he enjoyed it.

We decided to head to Grandpa’s Little Train ride next. Oh Lord God! As soon as he seen it…choo choo…choo choo…choo choo. Another queueing episode, five minutes is a lifetime in toddler years it seems. Daddy has decided the excitement of going round in a wonky circle is to exciting for him and watches from the sidelines…laughing! Still train arrives, our go, on we get and peace has returned. The Grandpa’s little train song comes on and we have a sing-along which is nice. The look on Small Monkey’s little face is the best and of course he’s not over the moon to get off.

20150625_160652_wmNext stop and I think, all of our favourites…so good we did it twice … Daddy Pig’s Car Ride. This ride has the longest queue but in the grand scheme of queueing it’s not really. The cars, of course are just like the cartoon ones and Small Monkey gets to “drive” which is brilliant. Honestly, the way he uses his hands to turn the wheel, you’d swear he was driving all his life.

Daddy Pig's Cars
Daddy Pig’s Cars

Now this is one of the rides that takes a pic as you go round…Daddy and Monkey are in the front and I’m chilling in the middle of the back seat. EH-EHHH!!! Wrong move Don! The camera flashes as we pass and I realise I’m not gonna be in the fecking pic!!! Once off, and Daddy has convinced Monkey, we’ll go again, we check out the pics. Yep! I was right! I’m not in them…well one shoulder is just visible. If I’d have sat either side I would’ve been ok….so word of warning if you’re a threesome, watch where you sit if you want to be in the pics. *sad sigh* I try to make up for it by taking Monkey on George’s Dinosaur ride. It was a bit of a battle getting him to bend his body into a seated position, but by jayzus we were having a pic and that was that…I won out! Or so I thought….I’m looking straight at the camera, a smiling lobster (it was baking boys! Baking!) and of course Monkey is looking off somewhere else…ugh…it turned out an ok pic but still….the fecking car pic!

Time for grub. There are loads of places to sit and eat, both in Peppa Pig world and outside. We sat by the Duck Pond, which has the three little ducks swimming around quacking loudly. Monkey really liked this…not so keen on the real ducks that kept wandering around under our table while we ate though! 2015-06-28 19.42.43_wmLunchwise, however, I did bring us a packed lunch. Now that might seem stingey but I’ve gone out to loads of places with monkey now and bought him ridiculously priced sandwiches and such, which he just doesn’t eat.

just to give ye an idea of what you can eat..
just to give ye an idea of what you can eat..

So I made a big fruit salad, some ham salad rolls and pasta, he ate loads and it went down a treat. We bought two bottles of tango and a fruit shoot and that itself cost five pound odd!!20150625_142452-1_wm

After lunch we had a nose in Peppa’s shop….came out £13 lighter, which actually wasn’t bad really and one poopy bum heavier. How does a small child smell so bad?? How???

One bum change later and we were sailing around on Grandpa’s Boat ride, although it just goes in a circle it was a really nice ride (apart from when Monkey tried to climb out of the boat and into the water) and Monkey loved it.

Peppa's House
Peppa’s House

After this Monkey and I had a quick look in Peppa’s house, then all three of us had our pics taken with Peppa and co in the schoolhouse. Monkey wasn’t to keen on either of these, I think he was a little perturbed by the life sized characters.

Apart from the cars, I think Monkey’s favourite bit was Mr. Potato’s playground. There are loads of different sized slides and climbing frames for all ages.

Rainbow path
Rainbow path

A rainbow path winds through it, there are tunnels annnnd Muddy Puddles….which we had to keep secret as I forgot to pack a towel. But he loved it regardless and he’s back on the slides again! It really was hard taking him away from this, I felt so guilty. But we made up for it with one more go on the cars.

Our last rides were the Trekking Tractors, which wind through a “working” garden and the Paulton’s Park Railway. Monkey and I also took a stroll through Critter Creek where we seen more “bish” and other critters.

Back outside the park, there are no waiting cabs and of course no bus service. Shur why would you have a bus service at this time of the year??? Lord God!! We walked the 10mins back down to the main road (which is actually a really nice walk) only to discover that the last buses into town were at 4.25!!! Like seriously….this is not Rhode boys!! Luckily there’s pub on the corner, Small Monkey is panned out so we make the most of a bad situation and ease the pain of having to pay another TWENTY-JAYZUS-POUND cab fare with a pint!

So there ya go, that was our trip to Peppa Pig World, we did give George’s play zone a miss just because it was to nice to be inside. Hubby and I are glad we took Small Monkey, everything was just perfect for his age. I’m also glad we went now as I can imagine it being rammed once school’s done. There was also lots more to see and do, they have rides for older kids (and adults) and there are lots of animals to see too. We only went for the day as we were staying over with family in Southampton too but you can get some 2 for 1 deals here https://paultonspark.co.uk/tickets . Obviously things would’ve been even better if we drove but….shur hey….it’s on my list of things to do!

** IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER**

If you don’t drive, do thorough research on local bus times and road maintenance (as this is what they were at when we were passing through). You may need to ring the gods of Southampton transport to see if the x7 or the x24 Peppa Express actually exists! Although the park doesn’t close til 5/5.30 the last “bus” runs into town at 4.25.

Make sure you’ve got plenty of sunscreen, the park is very open with little shade in Peppa World anyway. Hubby now looks like a lobster!

Pack a swimming costume or at least a towel and spare vest for the Muddy Puddles.

There are 10 rides throughout the whole park that have photo installations, the four in Peppa World are £8 each. They do do (hee hee …do do) a photo pass for £25 which allows you 4 pics and a digital download of each pic too. There are no atms but you can get cash back. Ooh and make sure you sit where you can be seen in pics!

There is WI-FI!!! Yay!!

Hope you found this helpful…lemme know about your visit.

Gillingham…it’s not all bad!

A couple of weeks ago I took myself and Small Monkey off to Gillingham to see the sister. We jumped on the train from Waterloo …well ya know…I had a buggy like…but anyway and we were there in just over an hour. We shared a bag of popcorn and looked out for moo moos.

Now I hear lots of people saying off putting things about Gillingham but I can honestly say I like it. I mean you see some choice looking people, but don’t you see them everywhere? Gillingham has everything I like on it’s little high street, New Look, The Works, Wilkinsons, Peacocks and Chatham is only a couple of minutes away. Anywho, I digress, after a bacon sandwich and several futile attempts to get Monkey to eat something for brekkie, my sis decided to share a little gem she’s been secreting to herself for years. The Strand.Screenshot_2015-06-15-00-25-33-1

It’s about 20mins walk from my sisters and on the way over I found a dead snake…I think!! But again, I’m straying…I’ve never found a dead snake/eel (?) before so I had to share that nugget of pointless info. 🙂 20150605_125646So we walked down through some car parks, and I was thinking  ” jayzus sis…wtf?” but then it opens out onto a big playground and green area with a paddling pool….oooooh!! We thought we’d have a look at the actual beach first, I was disappointed…it’s a pebble beach…blugh! The view also, is a fairly industrious one, so not pretty and the water along the edge looked a bit green 20150605_131006and gungey…but hey…it’s not like we were going skinny dipping.

We headed over to a small playground that had a big climbing frame and slide. Small Monkey and sis had a climb on this….it’s always funny watching an adult trying to demonstrate to a child how things are used….There was also a big sandpit with a small slide in the middle of it. Monkey only recently gathered the courage to come down a slide after spending a week with his Monkey cousins. So up he goes, has a look…nah…not doing it. Other kids then start joining in, Monkey keeps edging closer to coming down, but20150605_132103 still…nope! I think the other kids started getting impatient as on his last attempt Monkey was given a little nudge in the right direction by a curly haired lil dude. Yay!! Down Monkey goes, he stands up on the bottom of the slide and throws his little hands up in triumph…BOOOM! He gets taken out of it by Curly Boy! He does a side roll off the slide into the sand, swallowing a mouthful! Eugh! My sis is peeing herself laughing, Monkey’s looked up at me and started crying…is it wrong that I’m laughing??? He wasn’t hurt, the kid didn’t mean it and I’m pretty sure I ate at least one bucket of sand in my lifetime so ya know….Of course I go and cuddle him and tell him everything’s ok. Well it is compared to Curly Boy’s Mammy’s situation…Curly Boy is making sand angels involving alotta head tossing in the sand! Eeek!! I’d murder him! Small Monkey now refuses to go down the slide despite me squeezing my butt down it in an attempts to lure him down. (Seriously…. were slides always this narrow??) Anyway to ease the pain of his “take out” sis has come back from the cafe with some slush puppies.

It was one of the hotter days, so we head over to the paddling pool, which is a nice size, looks clean and not too busy. My sis goes and dips her feet in so Monkey 20150605_143948follows suit. He likes it! Yessss!! I whip off his shorts and tee and let him on….he loves it. It’s really lovely watching their little faces light up in delight (ooh mush…but true!) There’s loadsa kids splashing about, some with no nappies on, but I can’t see any floaters so it’s all good and as we came unprepared and Monkeys nappy starts weighing him down, it’s not long til he’s left in just a vest. Everything was going well until a little girl on a whale floatee (being pulled around most happily…haaa) by her Ma passed him. He wanted it so started following it…bless him…he couldn’t catch it…crying followed. We thought it best to exit now  while we were ahead, we’d been there long enough anyway. I dried him off in sis’ hoodie, of course applying more sunscreen…I’m only a moron when it comes to my own skin protection!

We headed up to the High St, Monkey being content to chill in the buggy and went to The Works, just for a look….one canvas, a pretty notebook, two fancy pens, a digger and a fire engine later, we head to McD’s for a treat….it’s bloody -100degrees in there…jayzus lads!!!

Anywho…that was pretty much the day apart from a cuppa tea before leaving we headed back to Londinium. I want to say though, places can be reported as crappy places, but I believe it’s what you make of it. There’s nice and bad people everywhere, there are nice places when you know where to look. Don’t believe what people say…judge for yourself!

P.S a couple of things I forgot to mention….

– there’s a paying lido, with changing rooms and small water slides and stuff too

-there’s a crazy golf course and a miniature railway which we didn’t get to experience

Annd apple juice with a hint of chilli is just not nice ( always read the small print!)

P.P.S sorry I didn’t take more pics x

Sunny Southbank

Woohoo! Flung open my curtains yesterday to be greeted by….THE SUN!!! Accompanied by his friend BLUE SKIES!!!! OMG…omg…I’m not prepared, we’re already behind (slept in)…crap…spiky legs…dammit…trousers it is.

It’s aaaages since we’d been up Southbank so small Monkey and myself graced it with our presence yesterday. As soon as I hit Southbank Centre I released him from the restraints of the buggy, and off he ran. Ugh….great stuff. I spend most of this outing using the lines “do you wanna see the boats”, “do you wanna see the water” to keep him near me. He’s not to bad to be honest, likes looking at the water, then sitting down like a little maneen to have a rest, oh apart from when he decides he wants to go back the way we came. I call him, he looks at me, I call him, he looks at me and I know what’s gonna happen, but I give him the benefit of the doubt.Why? Why do I do that, he’s off! So I’m off, prams left behind, I’m hoping nobody robs it! I feel like I’m running in a knees-up-mother-brown kinda way and I feel like a tit. I’m pretty sure my face was contorted into a lipless grimace just to top the look off. Anyway I catch the little fart, he thinks it’s funny, it’s not even that far from the pram but the distance seemed further…why do small children do this to us parents? Whyyyy?

So they’ve installed a sandpit opposite the skatepark now…thankfully small Monkey’s not interested. I kinda don’t like “managed” outdoor sandpits. I like the beach…apart from the sand that ends up in every crevice but purposely built outdoor, uncovered, unguarded sandpits concern me. I mean yes the kids love them and they’re great for us city dwellers that can’t get to a beach to handy, BUT, what happens at night when all the kiddies have gone to bed? You get late night dog walkers, cats, foxes and drunks who all think it’s a great place to have a wee….or worse, be sick….or a poop. Eughhhh, I shudder to think. Yessss I know the same could be said about beaches but they are where they are, they have no choice, you cannot put a lid on them and at least the sea comes in and washes the crap away.

Anywho we’ve reached the bit where you meet all the performers. First we meet a 20150604_144908-1guy playing an accordion, its a bit melancholy but small Monkey still has a boogie. Next 3 “acrobatic dance” performers! Omg WOW! Omg EUGH but still wow. They flip and jump and cartwheel all over the shop to some African beats. Small Monkey’s loving it…gets his groove on again…some man to move ya know! The smallest guy is a contortionist and folds himself small enough to fit into a basin. He looks like a turkey…it’s freaky being able to bend like that.

turkey guy
turkey guy

They definitely deserve the £2.50 change I give Monkey to throw in…he thinks they deserve more and wants more….jayzus! God bless you coppers!

Back in the buggy, he climbed in himself, we reach the best bit…the Giant Bubble guy! What he does with bubble solution (Fairy?) and some rope on sticks is amazing. Of course he’s surrounded by kids and we’ve just caught the end of his show but he does do a few more blows of giant bubbles which Monkey and I get caught in. Yesss! Haaa little kids, we got his last giant bubble…booya!

<3 Small Monkey <3
❤ Small Monkey ❤

We move along passing another dancer shouting about how his wife is preggers, give generously, the strange statue people and a mime artist, and head towards the grass for a sit down and a snack. Monkey wants out, so out he comes.Runs off down the green, it’s not to bad this time though, it’s kind of enclosed and he comes back. He heads up to the walkway, stops, turns and looks at me. His face scrunches up. He’s just pooped! Great stuff! I just gave all my change to the bendy guys and even if I had it I begrudge paying 50p to use a changing room, so I do the classy thing. I drop his buggy back, plop him in and change his stinky butt. I did pull the hood forward though! 😀 Bum changed, Monkey now back in pram we turn to head home and catch this guy just chilling on a bench…..

A-MAZING OUTFIT!!
A-MAZING OUTFIT!!