london

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On Sunday, I got the best gift any mother could wish for on Mother's Day - a day of no tantrums. It was delightful. It was actually more than delightful. It was a miracle. To make the day even better, we went out for a delicious lunch at Bao Bao London. I feel like we're constantly going out for pizza or burgers, so I was excited to be trying out Taiwanese cuisine.

Taiwan is known for their street food, and Bao Bao delivers fresh, tasty food in a cool environment (imagine a gorgeous floral wall made for Instagram). Husband and I were initially excited to try Bubble Tea. We watch My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix and they are always drinking bubble tea. There are loads of flavours - so it was a bit overwhelming. Luckily the waitress was understanding and quite helpful. I was pleased with my choice - the passion fruit tea, with aloe vera bubbles, green tea, some ice and a little sweetness. Husband ordered a green tea as he couldn't handle all the choices. Haha.

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Every year, my family and I visit RHS Wisley to see the butterflies in their glasshouse. There is something so special about seeing more than 6,000 exotic butterflies fluttering around. And while the children enjoy it, I especially love it. It is so calming seeing all their beautiful colours and patterns. And there are such exotic flowers and plants in the glasshouse, coupled with the heat that is needed to keep the butterflies alive, that you feel like you're somewhere tropical.

Children can do more than walk through the glasshouse. Wisley have a spotter's guide (for which they ask for a £1 donation) so the little ones can looks for specific butterflies and find out their names. We have been going since 2014, and I love looking at photos from previous visits to see how much Moozles and Dubz have changed.

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How can a child be so cute, yet so infuriating at the same time? Dubz has had a rough week. He hasn't gotten enough sleep and has thrown tantrums most afternoons. And then today, after brunch, he just went a little crazy and was hitting, and sitting on the floor holding my leg, fighting his sister, and trying to sit in the middle of the road. We were out with friends, and it makes it so much tougher to catch up when you're navigating bad behaviour. And then we got home, feeling frazzled and stressed.

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Let me start off by saying that I have wanted to watch a Cirque Du Soleil show for years. But Husband always refused to go saying they were probably overrated. Last week, I was invited to the opening of Amaluna at the Royal Albert Hall and I got to finally see for myself, if the Cirque Du Soleil hype was worth it.

I won't leave you in suspense. I loved the show. I went with one of my mummy friends, who had also never see a Cirque show. And we were wowed. I wasn't actually sure what to expect. I knew there were acrobatics, but I thought it would just be one act after the other. In fact, it is the story of a mother and daughter (Miranda) who have been exiled to an island. A boat crashes and some castaways wash ashore, including Romeo who falls in love with Miranda. The couple's relationship is at first thwarted, but luckily there is a happy ending.

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The Loveliness of Fogginess

I would normally stay home on a foggy day (if there isn't any school or work). I mean, how can anyone have outdoor fun when you can barely see your hand in front of your face?! But I spent all of December feeling poorly, and spent an entire week in bed at Christmas. So on New Year's Eve Eve, I took the kids to Richmond Park. I was feeling guilty for not taking Moozles and Dubz out for fun holiday outings, plus I was desperate for some fresh air.

Regular readers will know that I take weekly walks in Richmond Park, so I am quite familiar with it. But it was so foggy that day that I took a wrong path and we ended up somewhere new. But there was no need to worry as we discovered an amazing tree trunk and a hollowed out tree. The kids had so much fun climbing around. And I didn't have to worry about us walking into a deer.

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One of the best things about Christmas is the festive days out. Everywhere you go, there are twinkly nights, big Christmas trees and general sparkliness. The week before Christmas, we went to the ice rink at the Natural History Museum for some of those holiday sparkles. If you've ever been to London, then no doubt that you've visited the Natural History Museum. It is iconic. Besides the great exhibitions, it is just the most beautiful building. So you can imagine that an ice rink next to it feels incredibly London-y (for the purpose of this post, we are pretending that this is an actual word).

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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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Last week, I had a night out at the Roof Garden at the John Lewis on Oxford Street in central London. I was invited to a Christmas party for bloggers, and I got to take one of my friends along too. If that wasn't enough of a treat, we were given the most amazing cocktails from Background Bars and delicious Scottish fare from Mac & Wild. We were then given ideas on how we could Make It Thoughtful this Christmas.

Christmas can be so stressful. Many children have lists of presents they want, which in a way makes life easier. But what do you get your other family and friends? People that you care about, but might not be too sure what they would like. John Lewis are encouraging shoppers to be more thoughtful when it comes to gift-giving. One way to do that is to add a bit of personalisation.

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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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