I Scream for Ice Cream, at Harrods

Let me first explain that I am not fancy. We are not a fancy family. We are not posh. We don’t live a high-flying life. But yesterday we went to Harrods for a bit of shopping and a lot of ice cream. I can hear you say, ‘oooh, get you’. 

 

Husband often receives a few gifts from clients at Christmastime, but he usually gets booze. This year he also received a gift card to HarrodsSo we took the kids and let them explore the toy floor. Besides loads of toys, they have giant stuffed animals and cool Lego statues. Moozles got to pick out one toy (a Princess walkie-talkie). 

Then we went to the Ice Cream Parlour. It was such a treat. We wouldn’t normally spend £30 on just ice cream. At Christmas and birthdays, I normally ask for practical (but fun) things for the kids. Next time I’ll ask for a gift certificate for a fancy department store and we can have a day out. Or maybe someone will give us a big enough gift certificate that we can buy the £30k toy car that Dubz had his eye on (bottom pic). Oooh, get us.

 

Whipsnade Zoo

We normally have a zoo visit around Christmas time. Last year our son Dubz was only seven months so we gave it a miss. But this year we went back to our tradition. We decided on Whipsnade Zoo, even though London Zoo is closer. Whipsnade Zoo has elephants, and Dubz LOVES elephants.
 
We thought we would go to Whipsnade on the 1st January since we weren’t planning to party on New Year’s Eve and we thought the zoo would be quieter on New Year’s Day. We were right. I’m not sure how much of it had to do with the day after NYE festivities, or the fact that it rained all day and even hailed at one point.
 
Despite the weather we had a fab time at Whipsnade. The elephants were in their enclosure so we got to see them up close. Walker was thrilled. We saw the baby hippo who was just born three weeks ago. Our other highlights included the chimpanzees, the turtles and spiders in the Discovery Centre and the Hullabazoo soft play centre (which I think is quite new). The soft play was extremely good. We got some respite out of the rain and had some drinks and snacks. Walker got to play in the toddler area, which was perfect for him. Moozles enjoyed the bit for the big kids. 

The soft play is next to the petting zoo. We were going to skip this bit as we have a few farms by our house, but we saw some sheep wandering around and had to get a closer look. Walker loves sheep too so we had to keep hold of him cause he just wanted to pet and hug them. 
 
We’re thinking about getting the ZSL annual zoo pass, which would allow us into Whipsnade and London Zoos. Does anyone else have one? I like the zoo being a special outing, and don’t want to turn it into a chore of going just to get our money’s worth. Then again, it would be nice to go more than once a year.
For more info on Whipsnade, check out http://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/

The Snow Gorilla

 Snow Gorilla
JugglersHuman Cannon Ball
Today I went to see The Snow Gorilla at the Rose Theatre in Kingston Upon Thames. I did not go alone. I was with my five-year old daughter and about 15 of her school friends and their mums. It was magical.
 
I didn’t know what the story was about before seeing the show, apart from the big clue in the title. And what a nice surprise to find that it was part story and part circus. The show centred around a circus, and the story took breaks to show the rehearsals. There was flamenco dancing, aerial acrobatics and juggling. There was also a clown, a contortionist and African acrobats. And of course there was a lovely talking gorilla, voiced by Brian Blessed. Brian has had quite a distinguished career but I know him as the voice of Grampy Rabbit.
 
In case you have never been to The Rose Theatre before, it’s a lovely little theatre. Fab for family shows (we have previously seen ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ there). There are normal seats, but in the front there is a floor sitting section, so you can bring cushions and sit/stretch out (which we did this time). I prefer normal seats, but it’s nice to be on the floor when you’re in a big group. There is often audience interaction at the Rose, which is nice. My daughter was so thrilled that the clown had come and sat next to us and rubbed our heads. 
 
If you’re in or not far from Kingston, try to see The Snow Gorilla. It’s a fun and entertaining show. The children oohed and aahed. They enjoyed the tricks and silliness. There was a baddie and a love story. What more could you ask for? 
 
The Snow Gorilla runs until the 5th January 2014. The show lasts for two hours (flew by), with a 20-minute intermission. Book tickets if you can.
 
 
Photos by Helen Maybanks

How do you like them chocolates?

Okay, okay, I might be going overboard with my constant usage of ‘how do you like them…’ in my post titles. I just can’t stop myself. I will try to make this the last one, but I cannot make any guarantees.
 
Anyway, this half-term Husband has taken the week off and we’re spending a few days with my in-laws in Leamington Spa. Today we went to Cadbury World. Oh, the smell of chocolate being made. Heavenly. I never knew I could feel intoxicated by just a smell. They gave us lots of free chocolate plus my mother-in-law bought enough from the gift shop to feed a small village. I say a small village, but the six of us won’t have much trouble taking down four carrier bags of chocolate.
Growing up in America, I ate plenty of Hershey’s chocolate. I enjoyed it, but didn’t realise how lovely Cadburys is. It is so creamy. I still enjoy Hershey’s miniatures or kisses, on the odd occasion. But dairy milk, whole nut, flake, crunchie and creme eggs. Oh my. Today I tried a wispa for the first time. Yum. I could eat chocolate every day. Oh wait, I do. Maybe that’s why I’m still carrying two stone of baby weight. I am too ashamed to say how many chocolate bars I’ve eaten today (okay, five).
Off to have have another dairy milk.

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins?

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins

A few days ago, I posted about my want of getting a pumpkin from an actual pumpkin patch. After extensive internet research, I found the closest thing to a pumpkin patch within a 30-45 minute drive of Southwest London. Yesterday afternoon we went to Crockford Bridge Farm near Weybridge in Surrey.

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins

Not surprisingly, I heard several American accents at Crockford. I obviously wasn’t the only American looking for a piece of home. I couldn’t even find a pumpkin in central London 11 years ago and now there’s a pumpkin patch not too far away. Amazing. Crockford even had a few shelves in their farm shop dedicated to American groceries.

Dubz enjoyed running around crazily, Moozles enjoyed the playground. I searched for the ‘right’ pumpkin. To my husband’s annoyance, I can never just buy something. I have to make sure it is the ‘best one’. But in the end, I did manage to find the best pumpkin. I think this may be an American thing as my British girlfriends seem a lot more relaxed about their purchases. Can anyone confirm or deny? 

Anyway, we had a fab day. And we will be turning our visit to Crockford Bridge Farm into an annual Halloween tradition. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

How Do You Like Them Pumpkins How Do You Like Them Pumpkins

Happy Bug Day

Earlier this week, my five-year old asked what we were doing for Bug Day. After some confused exchanges, she clarified that it was Insect Day. Aha! What she meant was Inset Day. Schools in the UK have five teacher training days per school year, taken on different days per different schools. At my daughter’s school, the inset day is normally the Friday before half-term. So, today we went to Chessington World of Adventures to take advantage of some half-term fun but with term-time lines. A grand time was had by all, I think it might become our Autumn Bug Day tradition.
 
Selfies are the only way I make it in pics
Chessington looking Halloweeny
Cotton candy (that’s candy floss to Brits) seemed like a good idea until I had to wash and brush the sticky tangles from Moozles’ hair 
Dubz’s first taste of ketchup. He LOVED it!
My husband, the bird whisperer