Chessington World of Adventures – family day out

Chessington the all around family day out.

As a child I have some fond memories of family days out at Chessington World of Adventures. So it is great to add to those memories by taking the pickles all too.
A few years ago we were invited to attend the launch of the Azteca Hotel, we had an amazing time and ever since I have wanted to return with the whole clan. Now we have our Merlin Annual passes, top of myself and most of the pickles theme parks to visit was Chessington.
After a rocky start to the holidays with the man of the Family breaking both of his wrists, I wasn’t sure if we should still go as he wouldn’t be able to go on any rides and could be bored. But seriously what was I thinking, after taking a good look at the website, I saw there was shows for him to watch and tons of animals to see.
So we set off along the M4 on Wednesday, loaded up with a hearty picnic and waterproofs well it is British Summertime so rain was forecast.
After several toilet stops, we arrived just after 10, I thought being the first week of the school holidays it would be packed but I was wrong, the park was pretty quiet, with most ride queues only being between 5-10 minutes.
We downloaded the Chessington app, which was really helpful, to keep an eye on queue times, showtimes, closest toilets (essential when your taking a recently toilet trained toddler), a map of the park and where you were in the park, plus planner to help you keep track of all the things our family wanted to do on this visit.

What did we do and see?

So going back to those childhood memories of mine, a firm favourite has always been the Bubbleworks and as it is closing in September we hot footed it there, we will be returning later in the summer hopefully once Faryl’s plaster is off for him to ride it before it closes.

Then we had a rest and a snack watching the sea lion show, next to the sea lion bay is the Land of Kings featuring Tigers, Lions and Gorillas. The lions were pretty sleepy but always for the pickles to see the sheer size of them close up. As we got to the Tigers one came out had  a wander around and the pickles followed her to the top of her enclosure, where she stretched out to bathe in the sunshine. We could watch the cheeky gorillas for hours on end, seeing the silver back get a little bit irritated by the young gorillas and beat his chest, then Aliza, 3 was so excited and proud that one of the baby Gorillas came to the glass and high fives her, definitely the highlight of her day.

I have seen the adverts for Pandamonium and have to admit I wasn’t so sure but, the kids were captivated and loved the interactive, entertaining show. Plus the baby Panda was pretty cute.

We headed to the sealife centre, definitely more interesting for the older pickles than the Little Pickles that were more interested in just dashing through until they found Dory, which the did and briefly looked at before racing off again.

We stopped for a picnic, but then it obviously started to rain, so we had to decamp and shelter under a tree finishing our picnic before the rain passed and we continued with our day.

My favourite animals are Giraffes so I couldn’t miss Zufari, the bumpy truck ride to see, Zebra, Rhinos, Giraffes and Flamingos.

chessingtongirafffe
Chessington – Giraffe

We donned our poundland ponchos and got soaked on the Dragon Fall, a complete must for a family day out at a theme park.

Then we did some other rides including Tomb Blaster, Scorpion Express (The Baby’s first roller coaster) and finally myself and the 3 oldest girls braved the Vampire ride which I remember from my childhood and it was just as heart racing as ever.

So what did we miss?

Things we missed the Penguins of Madagascar show,  Temple of Mayhem, Dragon’s playhouse, Canopy Capers and Jungle Bus plus several smaller rides. So plenty more to explore on our next trip plus you can never have enough goes on Zufari and of course the Bubbleworks before they close.

Plus all the rides Faryl missed out  whilst waiting with Grandma sporting his plaster cast duo!

What did we eat?

We took a bumper picnic like we always do on a day out, full of plenty of bottles of water and snacks as walking 16,000 steps (yes that’s what my iPhone told me) needs lots of energy.

We only brought the odd coffee and slushy from a kiosk on this visit but next time we will hopefully take advantage of our 20% Merlin Annual Passholders discount and fill up at one of the parks restaurants before our long drive home.

Kids verdict?

On the way home the kids actually said a huge Thank You off their own backs (no prompting, that is like a huge parenting win in itself). Then went on to say that Chessington was the best theme park they have ever been to and can’t wait to go back, so off to find my diary and schedule a date to return.

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PAW PATROL: PUPS AND THE PIRATE TREASURE – Review

Faryl (5) is a huge fan of Paw Patrol and when he gets his turn with the zapper, he heads straight to Nick Jr to find an episode of Paw Patrol, to see what Ryder, Chase, Skye and the rest of the patrol have been upto.

But I think we must have seen them all by now, so when Faryl heard that there was an all new DVD, he was excited to give it a try.

We snuggled down after school one afternoon to watch the 6 new episodes, Faryl was hooked and mesmerised by the patrol’s mystery adventure to search for Pirate Treasure. In the last week we have watched it a couple of times and he’s sisters Jolie (6) and Aliza (2) are loving it too.

The DVD lasted about an hour and half in total, but you can just watch one episode at a time. It also includes a Video Storybook. With a U certificate you can be reassured that the it is suitable for the whole family.

Paw Patrol: Pups And The Pirate Treasure is available to buy from Monday 14th March, just in time to treat your Little Pickles over the Easter Break, well there’s nothing better than an duvet day, with some cracking DVDs and popcorn to chill out over the holidays.

PAW PATROL: PUPS AND THE PIRATE TREASURE -Review

 

LIST OF EPISODES

  1. Pirate Treasure
  2. Ghost Pirate
  3. Save the Bay
  4. Save a Goodway
  5. Pool Day
  6. Circus Pup

Disclaimer: We were offered a review copy to watch and post an honest review on our blog.

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Extremely Good Fun Comes To Swindon

Fun-loving locals are in for a real treat with the opening of a brand new Extreme Trampoline Park in Swindon this week (1st February 2016)

The new 1,100 square metre park is the second of its kind in the UK and follows the launch of the Better Extreme Sports Facility in Barking, London last summer. It is operated by GLL, the charitable social enterprise that runs the facility under its brand name, Better Extreme.

Offering state-of-the-art equipment including a main court with foam pits, extreme dodgeball area, basketball, fidget ladder, slack line and performance walls, the trampoline park will provide a fun haven for children and adults alike.

Youngsters of any age are welcome and trampolining is a great way for kids to let off steam in a safe and supervised environment. Older teens who enjoy extreme sports can build up their confidence with support on hand if required, while adults can pit their skills against each other in activities designed to test their abilities to the max.

SwindonTrampoline

The facility can also accommodate birthday parties, company team building days and adult only parties

The trampoline park is situated within Swindon’s Link Centre complex and the site which includes an ice rink, swimming pool, gym, cycle studio and 3G pitches now offers the most comprehensive range of sports and leisure facilities in the town.

Commenting on the launch, Jamie Ross, Better Extreme National Sports Manager said: “We’re thrilled to be opening this park, which uses the latest state-of-the-art trampolining equipment which we sourced and imported from the USA. We’re hoping that it’ll become a real destination for the region, attracting visitors from across the South West.

“Trampolining really has something to offer everyone, from children, to extreme sports fanatics, to businesses who’re looking for a unique company away day or team building environment.”

The new Trampoline Park will be open from 1st February 2016.

Initial weekday opening times will be from 4pm – 9pm and weekend opening times from 11am – 6pm on Saturdays and 10am-4pm on Sundays. From 15th February opening times will extend to daily sessions of 10am to 9pm.

Prices start from as little as £6.95 and include concessionary rates. A reduced adults entrance fee of £7.95 will run during February 2016 (normal price £9.95).

For more information visit www.extreme.better.org.uk

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Toilet Training a 2 & a half year old

Toilet Training a 2 & a half year old

So, nearly 3 weeks ago my, not so, little boy decided to take off his nappy and asked to use the potty.  Well if that’s not a cue to start toilet training, I don’t know what is.  So I quickly armed myself with all the tools required: Potty, toilet training seat (purchased for 50p at one of our Little Pickles Markets?), pull ups & pants.  No-one told me I’d also need never ending patience, lots of stickers, reams of kitchen towel & tubs of bicarbonate of soda!  I’m often very guilty of expecting too much of my toddler.  He picks new things up very quickly on the whole so I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that he has a new task completely sussed & often forget to reassure him a few miles down the track.  So after 2 weeks of very few accidents, using a ‘grown up’ toilet with ease & pull ups only at night, I smugly thought we’d cracked it.  

How wrong I was.  

2 days into the third week and we seem to have taken a large backwards step.  After a completely dry weekend, we now seem to be experiencing several wee related accidents a day (poo is whole other story!); next to the potty, in the middle of the room and most upsettingly on the sofa, certainly anywhere but in the potty! Now, anyone who knows me, knows I’m not particularly house proud, it’s not horribly dirty or anything but I think the expression ‘lived in’ is the polite way of saying it’s not a show home. However, the faint smell of wee that now seems to permanently linger in my house is rather unpleasant. The sofa has taken the brunt of it today, hence the extensive use of kitchen roll to mop up and the bicarb to hopefully soak up the smell and work its magic (I’ll let you know if it works!).

I did remember not to get cross with him but did forget to say lots of encouraging words whilst wondering what it is that’s set him back from the amazing progress he’s made so far. Toilet training seems to be one of those major developmental milestones that we expect our children to master quickly and then be forever competent. Yet why would it be any different to learning to walk & talk? So with that in mind I reminded myself that tomorrow is another day & perhaps I will put up a reward chart even if it is only to remind myself to encourage, praise & reward my awesome little man who is undertaking this huge milestone in his toddler years.  

Emily G's Little Pickle trying out the potty
Emily G’s Little Pickle trying out the potty

My advice…be patient, sign up to anyone offering free pull up samples (they seem to be twice the price of normal nappies), don’t push it if it turns out they’re not quite ready, be prepared for accidents, take spares of everything everywhere you go & remember that this a big deal for them too!

Written by Emily G, Tidworth, Amesbury, Andover and Salisbury Market Organiser

emilyg@littlepicklesmarkets.co.uk

 

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Eating Out with the Family – Lydiard, Swindon Beefeater Review

We love to eat out with the family, event though it can be a challenge. I think it is very important for children to experience what it is like to eat out, choosing their own food and learning table manners. But family restaurants with activities for the Little Pickles are always a draw, even if they only provide a colouring book to keep them entertained whilst waiting for our order.

I have to admit I haven’t been to a Beefeater for quiet a few years, I think when Tegan my eldest pickle was a baby so that’s about 13 years (crikey I’m old!). So was looking forward to trying it out.

For a treat the Grandma, Me and the Littlest Pickles Faryl, 4 and Aliza 2 headed to the newly refurbished Beefeater at Lydiard, Swindon.

The restaurant is just off the M4 so very accessible, with plenty of parking, it is pay and display but this can be refunded when you pay your bill in the Beefeater. So can be great to visit on a family day out, celebratory meal, shopping trip or stop off on a longer journey.

Beefeater Welcome

On arrival we were greeted by a polite waiter and shown to our table, it was early on Friday lunchtime when we arrived but soon got busier as the time went on, with a mixture of families, couples and business colleagues eating.

They were quick to bring us a highchair for Baby Pickle, we were given a kids Mr Men menus, activity books + crayons, full menus and the lunch menu.

Beefeater Menu

The kids menu was pretty impressive with a wide selection of starters, mains and desserts to cater for even the fussiest eater, as you can swap any of their sides.

They was a great selection of food, Grandma had nachos and Aliza joined her with the kids version, but to it was pretty large for her, but she made a serious dent in it. Faryl had garlic bread and I had Garlic prawns which were lush.

Beefeater Food

For main the kids both had one of their all time favourites sausages and mash, which was plenty for them, Aliza aka Little Miss Hungry woofed it down and Faryl ate most of his too.

Grandma had a steak cooked exactly how she requested it and she assured me it was lush.

I had a burger served with skinny fries and coleslaw which was yum and very filling.

We then had totally scrummy desserts to blow the diet right out of the window, oops!

Decor Beefeater

The decor in the newly refurbished restaurant is very modern with oranges and grey, a real hit with me as that is the colour of our living room. The colour scheme creates a relaxing homely feel, perfect for a family meal.

Beefeater are revamping lots of their restaurants across the country so visit their website for full details of a restaurant near you.

We were offered a free family meal at The Beefeater, Lydiard Park for our honest review.

Us at Beefeater

Written by Jessamine Hislop-Newton, Mummy to 5 Pickles, Founder and Owner of Little Pickles Markets

Facebook www.facebook.com/littlepicklesmarkets1

Twitter www.twitter.com/mrsmummypickle and www.twitter.com/littlepicklesmk

Instagram @mrsmummypickle

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