How to captivate your reluctant reader: Story School at Chessington World of Adventures

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Last week we were thrilled to be invited to Chessington World of Adventures to take part in a Room on the Broom themed Story School, ahead of the opening of the new Room on the Broom attraction on March 10th 2019. The storytelling workshop was hosted by Master Storyteller, Kevin Graal, along with Binky Felstead and her daughter India, and aimed to help parents bring books to life for their children and guide parents on the most effective story time tips and techniques. Chessington recently conducted a survey, which revealed that 36% of UK parents feel nervous about reading stories to their children at bedtime. I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, but I would absolutely include myself in that 36%. ...

Where To Find The Best Snowdrops In Surrey

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Snowdrops are one of my favourite signs that winter is ending and spring is on its way. After a long winter, I love when February arrives and a visit to see the snowdrops has become one of our annual traditions. Although the best snowdrops I've come across have been at Welford Park in Berkshire, Surrey also has some wonderful spots to see them if you know where to look. Gatton Park Gatton Park in Reigate has to top my list for the best snowdrops in Surrey. The Capability Brown designed parkland is open on selected days in February for visitors to see the snowdrops. Runneymede and Ankerwycke The Ankerwycke yew is said to be where Henry VIII proposed to Anne Boleyn and each spring ...

We finally got snow!

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Ever since we moved to Surrey, we've never quite been blessed with snow. In Max's nearly 5 years on the planet, the first time he saw snow was last February, and even then we only got a sprinkling - not enough to make a snowman (or even a snowball). But we had high hopes this year when we saw the weather forecast last week - the temporary move with my parents in Berkshire came at just the right time for the snow! We went to bed on Thursday night, full of anticipation as to what might greet us when we woke up. And sure enough, we opened the curtains to a blanket of snow! We had a message from Max's school to ...

Tinpo: Inspiring Curiosity for Preschoolers

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This is a paid review post When it comes to TV programmes, I always know what is likely to appeal to Max, and without fail, it's the science-based, problem solving programmes which capture his attention. Tinpo is a relatively new kids TV programme, having first aired in December 2018, but it's already proved a hit with Max. There are 5 brand new episodes airing next week on CBeebies, and we had a sneak preview of them, which Max was over the moon about, jumping around the room, shouting "TinPO!" We were also sent a few colouring activity sheets, and it says a lot that Max, who usually hates colouring, was more than happy to get stuck in and give them a ...

Riding The Rails on The Watercress Line

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There's nothing I love better than revisiting the places that hold such fond memories for me of my own childhood. I very clearly remember our trip on the steam train on The Watercress Line, and we first took our boys last year (we'd been meant to go the previous Christmas too, but sadly Max got chickenpox, so we had to abandon that plan). When I tasked my husband with choosing an activity for us to do over the post-Christmas break, I thought his suggestion of a trip on The Watercress Line was a brilliant one. At 4, Max is very into trains, and I knew that Ben (18 months now) would love it too. We arrived at Alton, ready to catch ...

Nature Play with Willow and Wild Box

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When I was pregnant, I imagined myself as the perfect Pinterest mum, doing all kinds of crafts with my children. As it turns out, Max isn't really into crafting at all, and is far more excited to get outside and explore, or learn about how things work. When I first heard about Willow and Wild's Subscription boxes, I knew they'd tick the right boxes for both me and Max, with their focus on teaching children about nature and the world around them, with a little bit of craft thrown in too. Willow and Wild is a monthly box which fits through your letterbox, and is filled with a huge range of activities to help children learn about and engage with nature. ...

How I’ve Changed As A Parent {with Johnson’s Baby}

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This is paid collaboration as part of my Ambassador role with Johnson’s Baby Perfectionism is an impossible thing when it comes to parenting. I’ve always been a perfectionist. I was the child in school who always got 10/10, and I’ve gone through life always aiming to do my absolute best. But more than anything else, being a mum is the thing that I’ve wanted to be perfect at. I’m sure it’s something that all new parents feel - that overwhelming sense of responsibility as you realise that you are the person that needs to look after this tiny, helpless little being, and everything in you wants to be the very best parent you can for them. In that first year with Max, ...

Me and Mine: November 2018

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After a long old October, November seems to have gone by in a flash. We've started our Christmas celebrations early this year, so it feels appropriate that our November Me and Mine photos are from our trip to Lapland UK. It's not the best family photo of us I've ever seen, but it's reality - there's always one member of the family not looking at the camera! I can't work out whether Ben is looking at Santa, or at John. Lapland UK was definitely the highlight of our month. It was wonderful to make a return visit when Max really was the perfect age for it all. I hope that one day we'll be able to go back when Ben is ...

Discovering the Magic of Christmas at Lapland UK

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Two years ago we were invited to visit LaplandUK, and it was hands down one of the most magical days of my life. I've always been a huge Christmas fan - my whole family are - and it just brought the whole thing to life for me, and seeing my son utterly entranced by it all was just amazing. I've been asked by a lot of people since that trip, "Is Lapland UK worth the money?". With prices starting at around £70, it's definitely an expensive day out for a family. But I think it speaks for itself that less than two years later, I booked and paid for our return visit. I sorted the tickets when the booking window for ...

A Visit to Waddesdon Manor’s Christmas Carnival

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If you're a regular reader of Hot Pink Wellingtons, you'll know I love a good National Trust property. Waddesdon Manor has been on my wishlist for a visit for ages, but is a fair drive for us, so apart from one Tuesday a few years ago where we turned up to find it closed (top tip - visit Wed-Sun!), it's not made it to the top of our list. But when Waddesdon got in touch to tell me all about their Christmas Carnival, I knew it would be a wonderful time of year to finally make that visit. Waddesdon's Christmas Carnival is open until 2nd January, and it's absolutely crammed with festive activities. The house is all decorated for Christmas, there ...