days out

It doesn't feel like Christmas until I have been to The Rose Theatre in Kingston. Every year they put on an amazing Christmas show, and they never let me down. I wasn't sure if they were going to be able to top last year's A Christmas Carol, especially as this year they chose a play you wouldn't expect to be on for Christmas. This winter sees the much-beloved book, The Wind in the Willows, brought to life.

I won't keep you in suspense - The Wind in the Willows was utterly mesmerising. Mole is lonely and abandons his life of cleaning and doing mole things. He goes in search of adventure, and meets Ratty, who gives Mole a boat ride and their adventure begins. The staging was simple but effectively conveyed the areas of the river and Toad Hall. They even manage a ride-able motorcar for Toad, who is fond of wild joyrides.

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Autumn to Winter in One Week

December in London can be a strange month. You can be getting ready for Christmas while the weather feels quite autumnal. And then in just a week's time, winter has arrived. I thought I would share some photos which were taken in the space of one week. The top being the first photo, and the last two from a week later. We start off with green, orange and red leaves on the tree, and the leaves that are on the ground are crunchy. Then there seems to be more leaves on the ground, and they're mostly brown. There is frost and ice, and everything still looks quite beautiful though different to how they once were.

The photos were all taken in Richmond Park, where I go once or twice a week for walks with friends. I always mean to remember to bring my SLR, but I forget. The photos were taken with my iPhone 6, which has such an amazing camera, and makes me look like a better photographer than I am.

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Fun and Father Christmas at Willows Activity Farm

It's that time of the year, and if you have small children, then your thoughts are probably on Father Christmas. Maybe, like me, you have had a couple of bad experiences. Maybe FC was really young, or skinny, or else he looked like he was still drunk from the night before. Spare a thought for us when we had the Santa who was all three. *sob, sob* Anyway, it is such a relief when you find a good-quality Father Christmas. And it es even better when it turns into a fun family day out.

A couple of weekends ago, my family and I drove up to Willows Activity Farm for fun and Father Christmas. And we were not disappointed. First of all, there are loads of Christmassy activities. We started with the 3D Sleigh Ride film. which the kids loved. Then we went on to 'Create a Cuddle' where Moozles and Dubz each made a cuddly husky dog. Afterwards, they wrote letters to FC. Moozles is eight, so was able to write her own. Dubz needed help, but he was thrilled to be able to post the letter in the special red post box. We actually received replies from Father Christmas a week after our visit, which was a lovely touch.

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5 Reasons To Visit York

I love living in London, for so many reasons. But one reason is that is makes travelling around the UK extremely easy. Although my family and I often drive to many of our British holiday destinations, we sometimes prefer the ease of the trains. I had been wanting to visit York for ages, and when I discovered that there was a direct train from London, I knew that we should head there for a mini-break.

In August, Husband and I packed the kids off to their grandparents' house and we headed to York for a mid-week break to celebrate my 41st birthday. We had a glorious time. We ate lots of lovely meals, drank plenty of delightful cocktails and saw so many beautiful sights. I thought three days would be adequate for seeing this city. But I was mistaken. Husband and I have already discussed returning to York - next time with Moozles and Dubz. There's still so much more to see. But I thought I would share my top five favourite reasons to visit York.

1. Beautiful Architecture

5 Reasons To Visit York

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Festive Fun at Taste of London 2016

There are definitely some perks of having both children in school. Today, for instance, when I spent the day at the Taste of London food festival with two of my mummy friends. None of us had been to Taste of London before, and all we knew was that there would be a lot of food.

We discovered that Taste of London is more than just eating lovely food. There are amazing chefs offering live demonstrations as well as cooking classes. We were lucky enough to attend the AEG Take Taste Further class with Steve Brown. Steve showed us how to make Christmas dinner in 30 minutes. While he took care of the turkey (obviously), we made cranberry sauce and sauteed carrots and parsnips. And then we did something crazy.

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A Day Out At Odds Farm Park

You know how I love a good family day out?! Sometimes we get bored of the same old places, so it's nice to travel further afield. A few weeks ago we went to Odds Farm Park in High Wycombe. It was our second visit to Odds Farm, and this visit was even better than the last.

We went on a beautiful, sunny Saturday. We arrived at 10am, when the park opened, and expected it to be heaving. But attractions outside of London and Surrey are often less busy. Maybe because other counties have more attractions on offer? I just don't know. I do know that Moozles and Dubz were able to run around on the playgrounds easily without queuing for anything. They rode on mini tractors, jumped along monkey bars and fed animals without any delay. We also got to try out their maze, which we really enjoyed.

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Chessington Safari Hotel

If you live in London or Surrey, you will have heard of Chessington World of Adventures. It is a fab theme park that also has a zoo, aquarium and petting zoo. Last year we went for Howloween, their cool Halloween celebrations during the October half-term. As part of our visit, we spent the night at the Chessington Safari Hotel.

We wouldn't normally think to spend the night at a Chessington hotel (the park has two adjacent hotels: Safari and Azteca), as it is only a 20-25 minute drive away from our house. But as we were offered a room for our review of the theme park, we thought it would be a great idea to check out the amenities. My children love staying in hotels, but a hotel that is decorated in a spooky fashion is even more exciting. They also loved that they had a little nook for their beds AND A TV. Husband and I enjoyed our comfy double bed and the complimentary WI-FI.

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October Half-Term in London

There is so much to do in London. If you're planning a mini-break or a day visit this half-term, I have noted some fun family outings. For you Londoners, you could even visit all these places. I have sneakily added a Surrey attraction because if you live in south London, Surrey is a breeze to get to.

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Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave LIVE

Who doesn't love Quentin Blake? Besides his gorgeous illustrations for Roald Dahl books, he has written and illustrated a fair number of books. And one of his books, Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave, has now been made into a fun family show. If you're not familiar with the Mrs Armitage books, she has a few adventures - on the road and on wheels. And her ordinary but extraordinary adventure surfing a big wave does not disappoint.

We went to see Mrs Armitage and the Big Wave at Watermans arts centre in Brentford. It is such a lovely venue, with a restaurant, cinema and theatre, and parking. The play consisted of two actresses who took on the roles, along with a screen as the background. The show is recommended for children up to eight years old. My four-year old and eight-year old both loved it. Moozles and Dubz thoroughly enjoyed the 60-minute show. Not only was it entertaining but it sparked their imaginations.

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Walking My Worries Away

I have had one of those weeks. You know, the ones that make you drown your sorrows in gin and chocolate?! Except I am taking a break from sugar so I needed to find a replacement. So I've gone on a couple of walks in Richmond Park with my mummy friends. The fresh air, lovely scenery and sunshine have lifted my spirits. Plus it always helps to talk things out with your friends. Free therapy, no calories consumed and loads of calories burned. Noting better than walking your worries away.

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