Days Out: SEA LIFE London Aquarium

Kids love the fun things to do at the London aquarium

Our summer holidays would never be complete without a visit to the London aquarium. Ever since the Bug started his ‘day out with dad’ tradition, the fishy attraction has always topped his list of favourite things to do. Recently he has begun to identify every fast car he sees on the road, and is adamant he will one day own a Lamborghini, so this year they chose to see the James Bond car exhibition. But he couldn’t skip the aquarium, so we all went. One of the biggest highlights is watching the rays in the shallow pool. They are bizarrely …

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Is there enough support for NICU parents?

I was recently contacted by Vicki, a blogger who writes about her experiences of having her son, Elijah in NICU. Elijah was born unexpectedly with a heart defect, and suffered some complications after birth. Vicki and her husband were thrust into the life of NICU parents, and found it difficult to navigate. Here she explains what that time was like, and how she wants to help others who find themselves in a similar situation. Firstly, I have to start by saying these are my opinions, and my observations as a NICU parent. This is my story, and what was and …

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Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Family Review

Two things stand out immediately when you walk past Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! in London. First, a model of the tallest man in the world, who has always freaked me out so much on nights out in Piccadilly; and second, this awesome Mini Cooper. This year marks a rather big birthday for me, and I love my soft top Mini, but I’d be prepared to trade it in for this one. And what girl doesn’t need a million Swarovski crystals for her birthday? Once you’re inside the museum, there is no end to the OMG! moments, as you explore …

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Happier children: let them help decorate their bedrooms!

Unbelievably, there’s not much left of the school summer holidays. If you’ve already taken your holiday, filled your quota of family days out, and are looking for something to keep everyone busy in the last couple of weeks before the new school year begins, you might want to consider bringing forward that decorating project. Brilliant Kids Bedroom Designs Bedroom makeovers are a real rite of passage for children. I remember vividly making the change from neutral nursery to little girl’s pink fairy heaven, complete with princess castle dolls house and twinkly-lit den under her high sleeper. She adored it, but …

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Taking Kids to Planet Hollywood London (review)

The kids had the best time at Planet Hollywood. And it wasn't just about the food...

I have to say we’ve had the best summer. Quite apart from the weather playing ball for once (shhh…), we haven’t been away on holiday. And that’s a good thing. Instead, we’ve had a series of brilliant days out, lots of them in London. The kids, at 9 and nearly 12, are super company, pretty safe to take out in a crowd, and capable of doing some walking without getting tired. (Though I do have to carry their stuff as the day wears on). Without a doubt, one of our best days out was spent around Piccadilly Circus, visiting Ripleys …

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Travel: Why I waited 40 years to love British camping

I snuggled down in my sleeping bag, and wriggled my ten-year-old toes. I was far too excited to sleep, my Dad’s torch flicking signals on the canvas, fearful shadows urging me to stay in the tent. Joanna lay next to me, but she wasn’t asleep either. Both of us were eagerly awaiting midnight, so we could eat our Blue Riband biscuits and declare that we had experienced a real-life midnight feast. In the event, we wore ourselves out giggling well before the appointed hour, and I set my purple-faced alarm clock so we wouldn’t miss it, as we dozed off. …

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Perfect Somerset Country Cottages, and a Wedding!

There is nothing more wonderful than the English countryside. Especially on a glorious sunny day, sitting in a garden full of buzzing bees, with a glass of something cold. Except perhaps a whole weekend of it. We’d looked forward to my nephew’s wedding with the kind of anticipation that comes of receiving an invitation to an August date in the cold, dark months of Winter. We’d booked Poppy Lodge with Sykes Cottages right away, and pored over the photographs, dreaming of summer. But we hadn’t counted on such a perfect weekend – you never know what the English weather will do, …

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Shaking up Mealtimes: HelloFresh Recipe Box Review

Our Hello Fresh recipe box had instructions for quick and easy dishes like this prawn and serrano ham linguine

I have bemoaned many times on the blog quite how dull I find cooking now that I have kids. Not because I don’t enjoy food, or the thrill of creating something tasty that everyone loves. But because that doesn’t always happen, and the process of putting meals on the table day after day becomes more of a chore than a joy. Anything that makes that task easier, and more successful will always get my vote. So I was excited to try the HelloFresh recipe box. We had eight recipes for four people over the course of two weeks. Ample for …

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Dinosaur Takeover at Whipsnade Zoo

The otters at Whipsnade are usually out and on form

Yesterday we went to the zoo. The Bug turned 9, and his birthday wish was a trip to the zoo. Not a surprise. He is obsessed with animals. He longs to be the next David Attenborough, and I know better than to question his knowledge of the natural world. His school report this year said: Evan has particularly shone during science lessons on animals this year, his subject knowledge is amazing and he has enjoyed sharing weird and wonderful facts with the class. Proud mother alert. So it wasn’t a surprise that Whipsnade zoo was his choice. What I didn’t …

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How David Lloyd will Save Me From Myself

I spend all my time at my desk. I drop the kids off at school, flirt with the idea of going for a run, think better of it, and start work. I plan to run before lunch, then take a panic shower every day when I realise I have five minutes until the school run and I’ve been sitting there all day with nothing more and coffee and toast to break my focus. I’m a good mum; I switch off my laptop when the kids get home, and spend some time with them, cook for them, ferry them to their …

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Five Smart Shower-Proof Jackets

Unfortunately for us in the UK, Summer doesn’t always mean guaranteed sun. Whether you’re heading to a festival, the beach, shopping in the city or just running errands, it’s wise to always have a shower-proof jacket to hand, just in case the heavens open – because you can guarantee, if you don’t, they will! Here are five of the smartest and most stylish shower-proof jackets around: 1 – The Right As Rain Jacket by Joules This jacket is lined with soft jersey making it a snugly joy to wear. It’s also got some serious waterproofing going on, but without that …

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Easy Family Trips with Virgin Trains

Liverpool's iconic Liver Building, against a stunning blue sky

Twenty hour queues to Dover. Holidaymakers camping out like waifs and strays on airport benches. The car park of the M25, M4, and M6 as Summer starts. Motorway logjams from the moment the schools finish, until well into the following week, when seemingly 75% of Brits have finally made it to their holiday destinations. Travelling anywhere in the UK by car in the school holidays is always fraught with stress and boredom. Take the train instead! Last weekend we took a trip to Liverpool. We had a rare free day as a family, and fancied something different to our usual …

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Gorgeous BOGS Wellies (review)

We tested out our new BOGS wellies on a fun photoshoot for friends.

It had to happen, didn’t it? The great British Summer is not complete without at least a few days of pouring rain, and inevitably, the heavens opened on the one day we’d arranged a school meet up at the local park. These girls are off to secondary school in September, and though they’ve known each other since birth – their mothers met through the NCT – they’ve never been at the same school. So we sat in the drizzle while they and their new classmates hung out on swings with phones and did what girls do at this age. (Don’t …

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