Ah spring. One moment it is warm and sunny, and the next minute the sky is opening up and leaving you completely drenched. My children don't seem to mind getting wet, but I just feel better when they're warm and dry. This week, Dubz got a new rubber rain coat, just in time for the insane amount of rain we have had in the past few days.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that I also have a yellow raincoat that I wear quite often. Dubz has been dying to get one like mine for ages. So he was thrilled when his new coat arrived from Lighthouse Clothing. Dubz is barely five, so is still very excited about twinning with his 'honey best friend' (that's what he calls me).
My children love Chessington World of Adventures. Moozles goes on the big, scary rides (with her daddy), and Dubz and I go on the gentler rides. The amusement park is about 20 minutes, in the car, from our house so we visit several times a year. Last year, I bought an Adult & Pre-schooler Annual Pass for Dubz and me. And I thought I would let you know if I found it to be good value.
First of all, the annual pass is for adults and children up to, and including, the age of five. At £60 for the pass, you would need to visit three times to break even (the one-day entry cost for a parent and pre-schooler is £21). But the pass gets you a 20% off discount off food and the gift shop, which is great. Even if you bring a packed lunch, you might still be tempted with donuts, ice cream or a cuddly toy. It helps having that extra little discount.
After I got married, I had this vision of family life - a little girl and then a little boy. But then I had my daughter, and could not envisage having another child. I had endured horrible all-day sickness during my pregnancy, and then had a c-section. I didn't want to go through that again. And we were happy. Our family of three was perfect. I loved my daughter so much, and I couldn't imagine loving another child as much. 'But your vision', Husband said. 'What about that boy?'
There were many reasons, but really, I was scared of having a son. Now, I didn't actually know I would have a boy. But I felt fairly confident. I had been certain I would have a girl first, and I did. And for some reason, I felt quite sure I would have a boy next. And I was terrified. I was afraid of cleaning little boy genitals. I was frightened of having one of those crazy out-of-control boys that one sees terrorising playgrounds. And I was worried that I could not love a naughty son as much as my angelic daughter.
We had a tough year when Dubz was two. We had to refrain from going out to eat for fear of tantrums. And then when he was three, he only ate toast for about three months. Tough times indeed. But things improved drastically when he turned four last year and then began school in the autumn. And now, we eat out at least once at the weekend. And we love trying out new restaurants.
A couple of weeks ago, we visited the Giggling Squid in Esher to try out their new menu for kids. Moozles and Dubz had never tried Thai food before. I was a bit nervous whether Dubz would enjoy it - after all, there would be no chips on standby. But we had recently tried a Taiwanese restaurant with good results, so I hoped for the best.
A 13-year wedding anniversary isn't that exciting. But then again, shouldn't every year of marital happiness be celebrated excitedly?! Our anniversary is actually tomorrow, but as it's a Sunday on a bank holiday weekend, we thought we'd celebrate it mid-week (for babysitting purposes). So on Wednesday we went to Richmond-upon-Thames to have dinner at the newly-opened Ivy Cafe.
Many people will have heard of The Ivy. They are known for their great food, but also as a hotspot for celebrities. They have recently started opening some smaller cafes in greater London so that us suburbanites can have a taste of the high life. But don't let the term 'cafe' fool you, this is a properly cool and elegant restaurant.
Forget about winter coming, the dinosaurs are coming. And they will be coming all around the UK. At Easter, we saw the first stop of the Jurassic Kingdom UK tour, at Osterley Park in London. The tour will be heading to Birmingham, Manchester, Blackpool, Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds. But I wanted to let you know if the tour is worth your visit.
First of all, you may remember that Dubz was obsessed with dinosaurs when he was two and three. He now has other interests but is still keen on dinosaurs. My daughter was not interested in going, not at all. But she actually enjoyed the visit. The exhibit has over 30 animatronic dinosaurs in an open-air setting. It feels like you are seeing the dinosaurs in their natural habitat.
Alas, I am not going on a transatlantic flight. On Monday, I attended a pop-up event for Air New Zealand. I was excited to try out their immersive flight experience, and see why they keep getting voted Airline of the Year. It turns out that Air New Zealand is full of style and comfort.
First of all, there are some seriously comfortable seats. Even the Economy seats were nice. And Air New Zealand offer Economy Skycouch - which means that one button turns your seat into a sofa (the footrest comes out to create a bigger area). My daughter has been on loads of long-haul flights and she always had trouble sleeping. Only when flights were empty and she was able to lie flat on her stomach was she able to sleep. Skycouch is basically the answer to every parent's flying problem.
Now you are nine.
You used to be eight,
And the numbers before that,
And before that, you were nothing,
Just a hope and a wonder,
And I made you and brought you to the world.
Planning your child's birthday party can be extremely stressful. But it needn't be. My daughter and son have their birthdays exactly two weeks apart, which means that I need to very organised so that I don't get stressed at the end of April and beginning of May. I manage to stay on top of everything and everything goes smoothly, so I thought I would share my top five tips for planning a children's party with minimal/no stress.
Regular readers will know that Moozles and I often have mummy-daughter days. She has always needed a little bit of extra time with me. But then, don't all children benefit from one-on-one time with a parent? Moozles has been having some friendship issues at school recently and has been feeling quite down about it. I had planned to have a special day, but then the lovely people from Travelodge invited my family for a #LiteracyLegacy visit to London. So I thought that a mummy-daughter weekend would be just the thing to cheer up Moozles. So off to central London we went for a short break.
First stop was to check-in to the hotel and drop off our bags. Then we went to Leicester Square for our Harry Potter walking tour (one of many free walking tours offered by Strawberry Tours). London has a rich history of authors, as well as being the subject and backdrop of many a book. The Harry Potter tour was an example of the literacy legacy of London. The tour was due to last 2 1/2 hours but my girl got side-tracked by Hardy's Sweet Shop after an hour and a half, and we ran off for some jelly beans. Then we went back to Leicester Square to watch Beauty & The Beast (we both loved it).