A family day out at Kew Gardens

Friends playing at Kew Gardens

Our friends

I once had a conversation about family with my mother-in-law. She is a lady who sets great importance in family. To her, family takes precedence over everything. I get it – my own mum (and goodness gracious my Dad!) would have been the same, if I’d let them get a word in edgeways. And yet, I argued with her; I think that as generations have moved forward, as children have flown the nest further afield than they once would, there is a new kind of reliance on friends. Where once, mine and my husband’s mothers would have almost moved in after the birth of my first child, to do my washing, cooking, and let me sleep, it was friends – closer geographically – who offered a different kind of support. Friends couldn’t offer the hours a parent perhaps could, had they lived nearby, but they offered us untold emotional support, and helped us through the early years of parenting. We couldn’t have done it without them.

Friends and family at Kew Gardens log trail

The Log Trail at Kew Gardens

It was with friends (the Mammasuarus family, to be precise) that we visited Kew Gardens this week, with the express purpose of joining in with Samsung’s 100 Days of Family. As Samsung launch their Galaxy K Zoom phone they are “celebrating the diversity of the modern British family life” by inviting 50 families from across the country to tell their unique stories through the lens of the Galaxy K zoom’s professional grade camera. And we’re giving away tickets for a family of 4 to THORPE PARK RESORT so that you can create your own day of family fun. Just scroll down to the Rafflecopter gadget to enter the draw.

Knowing that there would be fabulous photo opportunities, I decided that the new family features at Kew would be the perfect showcase for what the camera could do, and what better family to spend a summer day with than Annie’s, the first good friends we made through blogging.


A family day out at Kew Gardens - log trail


Kew Gardens have installed a new area called the Log Trail. Aimed at inspiring children to discover, and linger longer in trees and nature, it features a climbing and balancing course made entirely of storm-felled trees from the estate. It was intended to take 3 years to complete, but the recent storms have been turned into an advantage – lucky the staff at Kew are enthusiastic designers and don’t mind putting in the hours!

Family Fun at Kew Gardens - the log trail

Each tree type is engraved and there is so much for children to learn as they leap, crawl, and balance their way through the course. Have your children ever climbed on a gum tree?!

Family fun on the Log Trail at Kew Gardens

 Log trail sculptures at Kew Gardens

As well as climbing, there’s crawling, and photo opportunities. I’m told Annie’s children fight shy of the camera (too much lens pointing from their mum, I fear) but Ozzy couldn’t resist joining in with my two for a ‘holey tree trunk’ medley.

Hollow tree trunk on the log trail at Kew Gardens

Hollow tree trunk

As well as the Log Trail there is so much more to a family day out at Kew Gardens. Next up was the Barefoot Walk, a feature which child-focused bravado saw me embark on, as I feared the worst. In fact, I loved it, and it was my children (and Annie) who talked me out of plunging through the muddy bog!

More family fun at Kew Gardens - the Barefoot Walk

And the fun wasn’t over. For £3, children can take part in an hour long Lotions and Potions workshop over the summer. We learned about the healing properties of comfrey, and made and took home a small pot of what GG labelled ‘Ouch Cream.’ It will be well-used!

Lotions and Potions workshop - making Ouch Cream at Kew Gardens

One of the things I’m enjoying about the Galaxy K Zoom is the suggested pro features. As you go to focus a shot, the camera will suggest some effects you can add, before taking the photo. No more basic Instagram filters required!

One of the numerous pro suggestions on the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom

So, there’s lots to do on a family day out at Kew Gardens. But, if you’re a flower-friendly adult, do you still get to check out what you went there for? Totally – look at this:

Flowers at Kew Gardens

After a morning discovering Kew Gardens from the children’s point of view, and a picnic, Annie and I were able to explore the gardens and greenhouses.

Waterlily house Kew Gardens

Provided, of course, that we stopped off to climb every single likely-looking tree. I’d normally be switching macro and zoom lenses on my DSLR to get shots like these, but the Galaxy K Zoom did a great job of getting the shots I wanted. It has a zoom lens built into the back of the phone, which elicits quite a lot of interest from passers-by, I can tell you!

Climbing trees is obligatory at Kew Gardens

And dotted around the estate we came across the most delightful little features to inspire our young families. I’m still getting to grips with the numerous options on the Galaxy K Zoom, and remembering to select a focus point slipped my distracted mind a few times! I’ll keep you posted over the summer as I learn about my new camera phone.

Cuddly trees at Kew Gardens

All of these images were taken on the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. Annie has posted some of her photos here, and whilst I’m always in awe of her pictures (we have the same DSLR) I think these stand up really well. And they’re from a phone camera! I know my iPhone couldn’t have done this good a job.

So, are friends the new family..?

To win your own day of family fun, simply complete the options in the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway ends at midnight on 17 August, and the random draw will be made the next day. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Kew Gardens costs £16.50 per adult, children go free, apart from the workshop, which is £3, bookable in advance.

We were given free entry to Kew Gardens, as well as a free Lotions and Potions session, for the purposes of review. We were also given a Samsung Galaxy K Zoom for the purposes of review. I suspect GG will be hankering after its ownership very soon. All opinion, editorial, and images are our own. 



93 thoughts on “A family day out at Kew Gardens”

  1. Ideally it would be nice to have a combination of the two, a mum or MIL who just lets you rest and bond with the baby and friends on tap for advice.
    Choosing between the two though, I’d say friends as they’ve been through it more recently and will understand just how darn tired you are!
    Ps. That crochet tree is awesome!

  2. Ahh! I’ve just been editing my photos from this day out 🙂 Happy times – that log trail was fab wasn’t it?
    That zoom bit on the Samsung certainly caught my eye – so nifty – and I love the different angles you’ve gone for too!

  3. Currently shopping around for a new phone as I write this so will definitely be adding that one to my list to look at. I think my close family are really special (obviously) but I enjoy spending time with good friends probably as much as i do with wider family. x

  4. I think if family are close then they can be great. My mum was invaluable in the early days after having N, she only lived 7 miles away, and the OH’s family are all within 1.5 miles of the farm. But my mum’s now gone.

    My friends are great, but my friends who’d do anything for me are 2 hours away. I’ve other friends nearby who’d help out and are great, but I find working really loses out on the friendships. My NCT friends were brilliant in the first year, but I’m the only one back at work full time, while they continue to build stronger relationships and I’m left behind. Luckily we have the OH’s family nearby, although I do feel that it’s always us doing the asking – they never ask us to help although I’ve offered. We’re very different to a lot of modern families in living near by.

  5. My family – I lost a lot of them when I was quite young so the small family I have now and my new little family means everything to me now x

  6. Well, to be honest, we live far away from family now and hardly have any Close family relatives here. The everyday life is made smooth and the engaged most times (I should say, almost all the times) with friends. And they are the one who has been supportive during those tough times. I was in the same situation as you. Though I had my parents and in-laws visiting us after my first child, for the second one, we couldn’t bring anyone and I was all by my own.

    As you said, though I didn’t have anyone for 24 hours support except hubby, friends were very supportive and helped whenever they could. So, Friends are our family now and I do feel the same way, even when visiting family in India. More than the help from the family, there has been always been support from the friends. 🙂

  7. I’m lucky enough to have family living pretty close, but as my parents are getting older, it’s friends I turn to in a crisis now.
    Kew looks fabulous, love the photos and the inspirational log trail & lotions & potions workshop!

  8. I LOVE your blue nail varnish! And I’d have been right there with you, jumping into the muddy bog. This looks like a glorious day out. 🙂 And, to join in with the competition: it’s friends, all the way!

  9. Oh how wonderful Helen, sounds like you had a great day with Annie and all the kids. Kew looks fabulous, its been on the list of places to visit for a while. Love the photos, the Galaxy K Zoom sounds like it performed really well and has some much needed functions too. A great alternative to carting the SLR around! We’ve been talking about going to Thorpe Park since the bionic arm mended, don’t think its very far from us.

    We have little support from family in terms of looking after POD as they’re based in Suffolk, Devon and Herts. When she was born, some of my NCT group were amazing (we’d just moved to Guildford from London so we didn’t know anyone). I have absolutely no idea what we’ll do when POD starts school next year x

  10. Great place for photos. I have my DSLR most of the time, but if I am at the beach or I am in the mood to just run around and be crazy with Josh I use my phone, and because I use it so much I went for the Nokia Lumia, the one with the excellent camera on it, which is where all me Instagram pics come from. Yes I am addicted to Instagram hehehe

  11. I think it is a bit of both, but depends on what your family are like I guess. I am lucky in that respect, but appreciate it is different for everyone.

  12. i rarely see or go out with anyone who isnt my immediate family. i hardly bother with most of my related family except my mom and occasionally my sister. tbh i dont need anyone else other than my hubby kids and my mom!

  13. My Mum was my best friend but sadly we lost her in 2006. I trusted her like no other person on this earth. Its a bit of a mixture for me these days, I have family who have really betrayed me and friends who have been so marvellous…Plus Ive had many toxic friendships. I keep myself very much to myself now x

  14. I think family is massively important, but our close friends are just as important. We spend a lot of time with both which is pretty amazing. We fill our weekends up with people and happiness. 🙂

  15. My family are 10,500km away so although they are very important to me and we Skype all the time I can’t get practice support from them, so friends become a second family 🙂 xx

  16. I have a fridge magnet that says ‘God chose our family, thank God we can choose our friends’! Seriously, though, as my friends’ children are much older than mine and my sister’s, when it comes to doing things with the kids, it is my family that I spend time with, and we are lucky enough to be able to support each other when it comes to childcare. I love my friends too, though, but they are the people I spend ‘grown-up time’ with.

  17. Depends on whether you are close to members of your family. To me a few very close friends have always come out on top over family when I needed them.

  18. For me close family play a big role in our lives, friends are important but family are always there for you no matter what.

  19. No, I don’t think friends can replace family. My family live a few hours away, but they are still very important to me

  20. Lifelong friends are almost part of the family, but in general friends may come and go. The family bond will always remain.

  21. I think it’s nice to have a mixture of both, we are lucky as we have a lot of family close by, but I know some of my friends have moved away from family so friends are the new family for them.

  22. family is so important to me, i love my friends i do but they just cant be compared to family for me. my dad passed when i was young so my mum was all i knew, when she and my step dad found out about the abuse i sufferd they were there through it all. i just couldnt have told friends that…but when i went through a bad relationship but there was another set of circumstance my friends were invaluable. my son is an only child and i have no intentions of having moe soon but hes 5 and so my friends a appriciate as they always include him regardless of the majority of them having more than one child

  23. Both are super important. Though I think today more families live apart from each other, so day to day, friends are of more importance to help you through the madness!

  24. Iv been lucky with both, have amazing friends and amazing family, but there is only one true friend i could class and trust like family, and i will never love anyone as unconditionaly as my boys..and my boys hubby and my mum love me unconditionaly..so i guess family wins for me xx

  25. Because my parents had both died before I was married, and my mother in law was not impressed her son married a woman living and working in London so has refused to visit our home I was heavily dependant on friends and I must say they have been wonderful. Under other circumstances I know my Mum would have loved to have had and been involved with grand children but alas it was not to be.

  26. I definitely think everybody needs a bit both in life! Love my family but I love my friends too. Most of my friends I have I am really close too.

  27. I’m very lucky because my family are my friends – my mum and dad are a huge support to me and we have a great time together – same for my niece she is the best of company – I also have 2 very close friends who I class as family too 🙂

  28. Sadly both mine and my husbands parents have passed away so its just us and our children but I am really grateful that we have some really good and very close friends without the we don’t know how we will cope when times get tough for us.

  29. Both friends and family are massively important to me and my life and I value them both equally, I see a couple of my friends as family as I have known them all my life 🙂

  30. both in a way as i have a very lovely close family and such close friends that i class family as iv known then so long and be lost without any of them
    so i value all of them so much i couldnt choose

  31. I wish we could all be one big happy family! Will always be fiercely protective over close relatives, although can enjoy company of friends just as much…i married my best friend so he is now my family…

  32. In my opinion if you have not got your family & friends you don’t have anything. You don’t pick your family and no matter what you will always love them but you do pick your friends

  33. My family is really small. No brothers or sisters or cousins and I lost my mum a few years ago so I am very close to my friends! (of course my husband, dad and 2 year old son are my world though)


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