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Presents Under a Palm Tree!

I love having Christmas at home, we buy our tree, visit a Santa, see lots of friends and eat lots of food but I have always wondered what it would be like having Christmas abroad and I do think I would like to try it one year, I bet it would be brilliant. Imagine it being hot enough to go on the beach on Christmas Day!

The people at Destination2 have asked what we think Christmas abroad might be like, we had lots of fun imagining what we might expect. I would love to go to Ras Al Khaimah which is one of the seven Emirates in the UAE. My Mum went there before I was born and she has always wanted to go back for a holiday with us.

We think that Christmas would be the perfect time to go, it would be much warmer than here but it wouldn’t be too hot that you couldn’t do lots of things. I think we would be able to buy all the presents we need easily- they have a huge shopping mall which would be a good place to start and then we could visit the souk and try out our bargaining techniques to get a good deal on the rest.

I have been reading about Ras Al Khaimah and I think that would make Christmas a great time to visit, it sounds like it would be a really nice atmosphere. You could visit one of the Churches if you wanted to or you could go to the tree lighting or carol services put on at many of the hotels.

If you go at the right time you could even pop across to Abu Dhabi for Winterfest and see all the excitement going on there- I think that might be a bit like going to Winter Wonderland with Ice Skating and shows and rides.

I wonder what it would be like with so much sand at Christmas? I can’t imagine going in the sea on Christmas Day but perhaps we could build a sandman instead of a snowman! We could use shells for the buttons and eyes and seaweed for his scarf!

Lottie and I think that Santa’s reindeer might not be used to the heat so perhaps they get a rest when he gets there and he lets the camels take over pulling the sleigh. I wonder if one can do it all on their own or if he would need a whole lot of them- my Mum went to a camel farm and she said it was a bit smelly but I suppose Santa might be used to that with his reindeer!

Father Christmas dashing over the palm trees with his red nose camel!

 

We would really like it if the Palm Trees were all decorated with tinsel, lights and baubles and if the presents were left underneath them!

I don’t know what food they would eat in Ras Al Khaimah for Christmas dinner, I know you can get all sorts of things like you do in the UK but I would love to imagine it was a huge feast with a long table full of delicious foods and that it would last a really long time with lots of yummy desserts.

I know exactly what present I would like if I visited Ras Al Khaimah for Christmas- I would LOVE to go on one of the desert safaris in an open top jeep, it looks amazing. My Mum said it was brilliant and terrifying at the same time. I would send her on a camel ride which she has done twice before and said ‘never again’ about!!

I think it would be great fun to go abroad for Christmas and would love to do that one year. We had lots of fun looking at the Destination2 website  and imaging where we would choose!

Lottie wanted me to draw her a palm tree to decorate!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post written for Destination2

 

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Stepping into the Future- Our visit to Futuroscope in France

We recently got back from a brilliant holiday to France over half term. We had taken loads of books and activities to do as we expected most places to be closed as it is now off season, but we found out that although some of our normal favourite places are closed there is still loads to do.

Our favourite place that we visited during the holiday was the amazing Park of Futuroscope. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year and I can’t believe we haven’t been before- it was awesome!

The park is very modern and funky- along with the unusual buildings there are sculptures and artwork all around which you could spend ages looking at by themselves. It is also quite a peaceful place with lots of water, grass and trees. There are huge bean bags everywhere so you can sit and watch the world go by and massive garden chairs to climb up on and get settled onto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is so much to do it was difficult to know where to start. Luckily the maps and programmes detailed the times of all the shows and rides and whether they were continuous or just at specific times, these were available in English and German as well as French. If you are still struggling to know where to start you can visit a robot who will help you plan your day!

It would be very easy to spend two or three days at Futuroscope- you certainly wouldn’t get bored and one day isn’t long enough if you are hoping to do everything but you can still have a really good time if you only have a day there- we would just recommend making sure you knew exactly what you wanted to do and getting there as early as possible so you can squeeze as much in as possible.

We decided that we would concentrate mostly on the rides and pick  a couple of shows we really wanted to see as that would let us get the most done during our visit. We were lucky enough that we had all received Premium Passes and whilst these are 20 Euros a person extra they made a huge difference as they meant that you were allowed fast track access once to each of the main attractions and we would definitely recommend getting one of these if you were only going for a day as it meant you didn’t need to spend too much time queuing.

We went on lots of different rides – I won’t spoil it by telling you all of them but they were all different and some of them were really mad- one you sat on these funny seats and then realised you were in what was basically a public toilet before you shot off! In another you started by feeling like you were boarding an airplane before you got to the main part of the ride and took off. My absolute favourite though was the shortest ride but it was brilliant fun and as soon as I came off it I wanted to go back on! It was Dances with Robots and you can see from the clip below how much fun it is.

My sister was just a bit too small for Dances with Robots and she was jealous as she really wanted to go on it- she’ll have to grow for next time! There is three settings so you don’t have to go upside down if you don’t want but I think that’s the fun part. My brother and sister liked the fact that they could go and watch the ride from a viewing platform- my sister said it was like being at a disco. We haven’t been able to get the song from it out of our heads ever since!

We went to the Ice Age show, this was a 4D showing on a special Ice Age film with plenty of special effects. We also went to the Drone Academy Show which was brilliant- it was so clever what they had managed to do with the drones and bits of it were quite funny. I loved this one as I have wanted to fly a drone for ages. We had headsets that could translate the shows into English but to be honest with both of the ones that we saw it didn’t matter if you spoke brilliant French or not because you could still understand what was happening.

One of my favourite things we did during the day was visit Futur L’Expo which was an exhibition of things of the future- we planned to just pop in for ten minutes to have a look and ended up staying for over an hour, there was so much to do. The was an interactive fridge that gave you recipes, a tablet that you could use to control a robot, screens where you could be shown dressed up and waving a magic wand whist just as yourself and a 3D printer. The robot had a screen on it so you could drive off and see people and then talk to each other from the other side of the room, controlling it was really fun. The 3D printer was so clever- you could design things on the laptop and see how they would work and if you wanted to could even make and buy a 3D model of your own head!

 

We could have even gone to a night-time show too but because we had my toddler brother with us we decided we would be better to leave that until he was a bit older. We ran out of time a bit as there was plenty of other things we could have done but like I said I think next time we will go for two days. If we had longer then my Mum would have liked to have seen the magic show which we were recommended and I would have liked to go on the boats and use the water guns as well as see some of the other shows and go on the rides again.

There were loads of places to eat at Futuroscope– we did find the queues very long for food but had been told the buffet restaurant (La Table D’Arthur) was quick so when we go again we will try there, otherwise there are plenty of places you can eat a picnic if you didn’t want to loose any time. There was also lots of gifts shops so you could buy all the usual things like pens and mugs, some things specific to the Park like their characters and then they also sold more unusual gifts like science and space toys and activities so it was nice to have lots of different things to choose from.

We did find that my little brother was too young for a lot of it and whilst there was plenty for him to see and lots of play areas he could play in with plenty of space for him to run around he was a bit sad he couldn’t go on the rides (he really liked the racing cars and fire engines) so we would recommend it as being best for children over 5. Lottie wasn’t tall enough for quite everything but she did manage to do nearly all of it.

 

We would definitely recommend Futuroscope to anyone looking for an adventure, If you can go for at least two days then that would be best but if not then plan your visit well, get there as early as possible and plan to stay until late and as I said it is well worth getting a Premium Pass if you can. Lottie and I can’t wait to go again next year- I wish we had something like Futuroscope in the UK.

 

 

Disclaimer: We were lucky enough to receive complimentary passes to Futuroscope but all thought are our own

 

 

 

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Half Term Fun and a chance to win with Flip Out Trampoline Park, London E6

My cousin is really lucky- she has a Flip Out Trampoline Park near to where she lives in East London- it’s quite a long way from us but it looks great and we are hoping to go there when we visit her.

We have been reading about Flip Out, in London E6 because they are letting us run a competition for our readers  to win themselves a session! They aim to deliver massive amount of healthy, awesome fun which sounds good to me! They have huge trampolines, stunt box zones and a DJ but it’s more than just trampolines (although there is three floors of them to get started with!)

They also have twelve warrior climbing walls, I love climbing and these look awesome.  You can dual on battle beams and dive into the foam pits or test out the 30 foot slide. There is even a 100m caving system and a Ninja Warrior Course! This is definitely not your average trampoline park!

 

 

 

 

 

If we lived nearer to here I think I would be asking to go to Flip Out all the time. There’s loads of different sessions to suit everyone- Family Time, Toddler Time, Students and even an After Dark Friday Party.

Flip Out have 65 outlets over 7 different countries so if you can’t get to London over the half term then it is worth taking a look to see if there is another near you but Flip Out in E6 looks like it will be worth a bit of a journey to keep the whole family entertained over half term. My Mum thinks it might even wear us out!

If you would like the chance to win for you and a friend to visit the amazing Flip Out Park in E6 then enter our fab competition below. Flip Out will even give the winners a Polar Krush Ice Drink each to cool down with after all that bouncing too!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Summer Holiday Bucket (and spade!) List

I recently learnt what a bucket list was and decided I would write my own of what I would like to have on my ‘bucket list’ for the Summer Holidays. Although I would like my list to have a spade on it too please!

  1. Visit a beach (see I said it needed a spade with the bucket!)
  2. Do the Summer reading challenge
  3. Go to a sporting event (cheating a bit because we actually have already done this!)
  4. Use my telescope to go Stargazing
  5. Use my microscope to look at something interesting
  6. Do some baking
  7. See my friends
  8. Play lots of sport
  9. Visit somewhere interesting
  10. Help throw my sister an amazing birthday party!
  11. Have a picnic
  12. Make a new friend
  13. Do some metal detecting
  14. Visit a museum
  15. Eat something I have never eaten before!

Let’s see how I get on over the Summer. I would love to know what is on your bucket list for the Summer?

 

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Heat Holders Thermal Slipper Socks Review

We are working on getting my Mum to agree to take us camping in the Summer holidays but she isn’t keen- it was really cold last time we went and that has put her off, but I think I have found the perfect solution.

We were recently sent some Heat Holders Slipper Socks to try and they are literally the warmest, softest, most comfortable pair of socks you could ever find. I think these will be perfect to keep you warm when you are camping.

Heat holders do lots of different products including adult socks and tights but we were pleased to try the socks from the children’s range. I have a pair of R2D2 socks and Lottie has a Disney Princess pair and they are both equally warm and comfortable, we both found the sizes were what we expected them to be too.

They do loads of other options for children including Frozen, Minions, Hulk and Spider-Man. The character socks are £7.99 a pair, which seems quite expensive until you try them on and realise how much better than normal socks they are! They also do children’s socks without characters on for £4.99 which looks like a great deal.

I can see these being perfect for Summer Nights sitting outside or if you go camping or to a festival and I also think they will be brilliant for the cold winter nights so I think they will be used most of the year round. Heat Holders tell me they are 3.1 tog so it’s like having a little duvet wrapped around you feet keeping you toasty warm! I like the grip on the bottom too as we have wooden flooring and it makes it much less slippery!

Heat Holders do lots of other things too including blankets, hats and thermal clothes- I think I might have to get my Dad to order it all for my Mum and then maybe we will be able to get her back into the idea of camping again!

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Are we nearly there yet? Games for a long car journey

As we get towards Summer people are starting to get excited about their holidays. I thought I would give you some ideas of games you can play on a long journey so you arrive on your holiday without too much shouting and grumpiness!

Yellow Car

This is our on-going car game for any journey. My Mum’s friend told us about it and we have played it ever since. There is no winner and no loser (except my sister and I still manage to argue about it!) and the game never ends. Basically it doesn’t matter where you are in the World or what you are doing, if you see a yellow car you have to shout ‘YELLOW CAR’. My little brother does not yet know his colours but he does recognise yellow! The only time this game gets old is when driving past a post sorting office in France!

I went to the Shops…

This is a memory game that runs through the alphabet- the first person starts with ‘I went to the shops and brought an apple (anything beginning with A), the next person says ‘I went to the shops and brought an apple and a banana (anything beginning with B) and so on through the whole alphabet… by the time you get halfway through it gets very tricky to remember whatever everyone else has said.

I Spy…

Everyone knows how to play ‘I Spy…’ it’s the perfect game when you are on a long drive, especially on country roads where there is lots to see.

Car Bingo

My friend and I created an alphabet of all the cars we could think of and managed to cover every letter and now we both use them to either play bingo with or I spy with when we are out in the car- you get the most amount of points for a yellow lamborghini!

Twenty questions

You have to think of a thing or a person and the other people can ask up to twenty questions before they have to guess what you are thinking about.

Name that Tune

You need a spare adult in the front who isn’t the driver for this one, they just have to play a few seconds of a song and then everyone guesses what they think it is. You can do it just for fun or you can give points to how quickly the correct answer is given.

Hopefully these ideas might make long journeys go a bit quicker-we would love to know if you have any others you play in your car- especially before we go on our ten hour drive to France in a couple of months!

 

Lots of points for spotting a yellow Lamborghini!

 

 

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My Top 10 Travel Must Haves with Mark Warner Holidays’ Family Ambassador Programme

My Mum has a theory when we are travelling that as long as we have our passports, tickets and money we have everything we need. These are her absolute travel essentials and the final things she checks when we get into the car whenever we are going away. Her explanation with this is that with the passports and tickets we can get where we are going and then as long as we have some money we can buy anything else we may have forgotten.

In theory this isn’t a bad list of essentials but in practise she actually has a big spreadsheet of what each person needs for the trip and checks it all off carefully. This still didn’t stop her forgetting her hairbrush the other year and not realising until we had embarked on an overnight ferry crossing!

Mark Warner are searching for five bloggers to work with in 2017 as part of their Family Ambassador Programme. This would be so exciting and we have decided we should have a try at entering- although there will be lots of proper full time bloggers I would love to be involved and would really enjoy working with them on a child’s viewpoint.

As part of the process to find their Ambassadors Mark Warner have asked bloggers to write about their travel must haves and create a mood board. My sister Lottie and I had lots of fun with this!

I think children have different priorities to adults when it comes to travelling. I love to visit new places but also feel much more comfortable when I have just a few familiar things around me so my travel must haves are all things that make me feel comfortable and allow me to get stuck in and enjoy new experiences.

Teddies and Toys

My first essential is a favourite teddy or toy- it doesn’t matter how old you are, as long as you have a teddy you love with you wherever you are will feel like home! Lottie and I had a great time using our toys to show you the rest of our travel must haves- we felt sure they would need to have the same!

Drawing Equipment

We decided we would need to have drawing things with us- this would give us something to do on the plane, something to keep us busy if we got delayed anywhere and somewhere to make notes for me to use for my blog.

Spending Money

It’s always nice for children to have their own little bit of money to spend on holiday. I love to buy a few souvenirs and whilst my Mum and Dad treat us when we are away it’s also fun to decide carefully what to spend my own holiday savings on.

Camera

I love to take phots and it’s so nice to have them to look back at after a holiday and remember all the good things you have done. I would definitely take my camera as one of my travel must haves.

Comfortable Shoes

Even Barbie has swapped her heels for comfy trainers on her holiday and comfortable shoes are one of my travel must haves too! I love to visit new places and also enjoy playing sport so these are essential for me. We wouldn’t want Lottie to miss out on an adventure by complaining her feet hurt so we would all make sure we packed suitable footwear.

Sun Protection

Sun hats, glasses and lotion are all travel must haves even if they might seem a little boring to children. Being well covered up means we are allowed to go out and have fun so it is definitely essential. Fortunately my little brother loves wearing sunglasses and sunhats now and so we won’t have too much trouble keeping him from throwing them out of the pushchair this year!

Swimming Costumes

I love swimming and would like to be on a holiday with either a sunny beach or a nice warm swimming pool right now so I would be certain to pack my swimming costume.

Beach Toys

We could spend the whole day on the beach… swimming things and a bucket and spade and we would be set. We would spend the day making The Ultimate Sandcastle, paddling in the sea, examining the rock pools and searching for shells. Buckets and spades are on the must have list.

Bedtime Stories

A good book or a favourite bedtime story will make an unfamiliar bed feel nice and cosy. We would have to choose our favourites carefully not to make the suitcases too heavy but at least a few books would have to come with us.

Snacks

However much you like trying different foods we have found there is always a point in a holiday where you just want to eat a digestive biscuit! Obviously you need to have something tucked away for midnight feasts too!

We hope you have enjoyed our ‘top ten travel must haves’ and our entry into Mark Warner Holidays’ Family Ambassador Programme.

We would love to know what your travel must haves are… and what your children might choose?

 

 

 

 

 

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The Final Countdown

Great Back To School Traditions     

The Final Countdown

I can’t believe the school holidays are nearly over. When we broke up from school seven weeks seemed like ages but by this time next week I will have finished my first day in Year 3 and Lottie will be getting ready to start school. 

Despite having no car for the first two weeks of the holidays, after breaking down on the way to Oxford, the time has gone really quickly. On the very first day we decorated some boxes, one for at home and one for out and about, and all put ideas inside them of things to do so if we dared to announce we were bored we could pull something out to get on with (my Mum insists on telling us that her Mum always said ‘Only boring people get bored- so Lottie has taken to announcing ‘I’m boring!’) and yet despite having loads of ideas we have hardly pulled any out to use, except baking and a cinema afternoon, as we have managed to fill the time with lots of other activities as well as just enjoying being at home with our toys and friends. 

We won tickets to SportFest (AMAZING- and well worth a post to itself!) spent two weeks in France, saw plenty of friends- although there is still a few more we would really like to catch up with, did lots of arts and crafts, visited the local museum, saw some theatre at the local park, celebrated Lottie’s birthday, entered a few competitions, read lots of books- completing the library reading challenge, watched a couple of films, spent lots of time outside and are now getting excited for Lottie’s party which is coming up next week. 

I have a feeling this last week will fly past- sadly we are now doing the final preparations for returning to school, I have got new school shoes and Lottie has her very first pair, we have got all her school uniform and I have been putting off trying mine back on which I now have to do first thing tomorrow as Mum thinks I have grown again! We have a friend coming to play tomorrow and it’s off to the dentist-yuk. 

On Wednesday Lottie’s friend is coming to play and his Mum will be helping ours to get ready for the big Frozen disco party- there are lots of books to wrap and sweets to put in bags as Mum doesn’t like party bag toys so each child is getting a book, piece of cake and some sweets but she always forgets how long it takes to wrap 30+ books! We also have to set up pass the parcel, draw an Olaf to ‘pin the nose’ on and Lottie and I want to make some snowflake decorations so I think we will be fairly busy with this.That just leaves a couple more days before it all starts again. 

I will be sad to be back at school and having to rush out the door in the morning. Mum will start rushing around and we won’t get to stay up as late at night and see as much of Dad, there will be homework to do, school reading every night and I will have to start music practice again properly but I am still looking forward to going back to school. I want to see my friends and start back at football. I am also starting playing table tennis at school this year and am finally going to be starting hockey outside of school, which I can’t wait for. I am looking forward to my little sister starting school too, although she is only just 4 and is a bit scared.

We will have to make sure we really enjoy this last week… it’s not long until half term is it?!