Diggerland Kent #CountryKids

Monkey has been obsessed by JCB’s of all sorts for almost as long as I can remember.  He’s forever digging, dumping and constructing – both in the living room and the garden!  I discovered Diggerland a couple of years ago. But as the two nearest sites were still a 2 hour drive away, knew that we would need to wait for Monkey to be a bit bigger to make a trip worthwhile.  As much as he loves all sorts of machinery, get him close to one and previously he has shied away.  Fear has taken over, but over the last few months, my 5 year old Monkey has really grown in confidence and I could see it was time to show him what Diggerland Kent had to offer.

There are currently 4 Diggerland sites across England – Kent, Durham, Yorkshire and Devon.  We decided to visit the Kent site in Strood, near Rochester and as luck would have it we picked a wonderfully sunny day to visit.

Diggerland Kent

We arrived at 10.30am , and parked up in the ample car park, then it was off to have some fun.

Diggerland Kent

My first impression was that the park seemed smaller than I’d expected, and I’d hoped we would find enough to occupy Monkey for the day.  I really needn’t have worried.  We only left at 4pm because we knew we had a 2 hour drive home, and Monkey had school the next day.  He had arrived in his version of heaven and he was intent on making the most of it!

Diggerland Kent

Virtually everything inside is free to go on as many times as you like.  The only additional charges we could see were for the Dodgems, little sit on diggers and some coin operated rides for little ones.  These were all charged at £1 if you wanted to make use of them. Monkey wanted to sample every possible digger during the day and this was his first ever go on a Dodgem – he loved it.

We were all surprised by the lack of queues, we might have had to wait 5 minutes to go on one of the big excavators, but that’s nothing compared to some theme parks we visit.  It meant that Monkey got to try everything he wanted and could return to favourite rides.

Each ride has information at the gate with minimum height restrictions and information about the machine. Monkey is a tall 5 year old and was tall enough to operate pretty much all of the vehicles by himself, but he decided he wanted his Dad to go with him.  So considering Daddy P is not small, they provided that there really was room enough for 2 on the seat once buckled in!

So what’s included?  It really is digger heaven.  You can go on little mini diggers to test out your skills.  Dig for treasure, scoop the ducks or knock down skittles.  You are given operating instructions on each ride once you are buckled in and Monkey and Daddy P had no problems sussing out what to do.

The Dumper Trucks were a big hit, after instruction you steer your truck around the tracks.  Can you tell it was a hit.

Back to digging – with two sizes of excavators and a number of each sort to try.  The boys got plenty of time to hone their digging skills and over the day they went on again and again!  Another hit.

The Digger Den provides a soft play area – we didn’t go inside, but it was nice to know it was there if needed.

Diggerland Kent

There are picnic tables dotted around Diggerland Kent but if, like us you aren’t that organised, then The Dig Inn provides a range of hot and cold meals along with drinks.  You can buy children smaller versions of hot meals but there wasn’t a sandwich lunch box option, which I think is a shame.  Monkey had a cheese bap and Daddy P and I both had a cheeseburger and chips.  All were well presented and tasted good.  The staff were really friendly, which is something that really stood out for us. Everyone seemed genuinely interested in making sure you were having a good day (and no, they didn’t know we were reviewing). There are toilets in The Dig Inn and another block close to the entrance/exit.

Once you’ve had enough of digging why not try driving the Robots.  You even go through some great muddy puddles as you steer around the course.

Monkey was certainly feeling more confident, we looked at the Groundshuttle ride and I honestly thought we stood no chance of getting him on it.  Wrong! We all went on together and he enjoyed it so much he went on again with Daddy P.  It was great fun, being whisked around the field, you don’t go up high in the air, but we all had a giggle.

The highlight for Daddy P was driving us all round a course in a Backhoe Loader, again Monkey was tall enough to do this himself, but he wanted to enjoy the ride.  A staff member comes along with you and gave Daddy P instructions before he set off.  We all returned in one piece!

Diggerland Kent

Other rides include the Mini Tractors, Spindizzy, Joyrider, and the Safari – Mummy I can see a Rhino!

We had all enjoyed our first experience of Diggerland, and Monkey was chuffed to receive his Digger Driver certificate as we left.  A nice little touch.

If you pre-book tickets, adults and children over 90cms are charged at £16.00 each, children under 90cms are free.  There are a number of family ticket options too.  To pay on arrival the tickets go up to £19.95.  I had a comment on twitter after our visit, saying that was expensive.  But actually I don’t agree. We had a unique experience, it’s almost certainly Monkey’s favourite trip out ever and how many people can say they’ve driven around in JCB’s all day without working on a building site?

February 2016 will see the opening of Diggerland at the Evesham Country Park and we are really looking forward to it already.  It’s closer for us and I can see it becoming a favourite place to visit for Monkey.

For more information about Diggerland and the various locations pop over to their website.

disclaimer:  we were given free entry in exchange for an honest review

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Tasty snacks from The Co-operative

When we were kids one thing I really do remember about shopping trips with Mum, was going to The Co-operative shop in Farnham.  Unlike most of the other shops we went into, this one was never a chore.  Why?  Well, if my brother and I were lucky we would get to collect the Green Shield stamps and put them in Mum’s book, ready to save up for something for home.  This was in the days of big tills with proper buttons, a little receipt and saving stamps.  Of course times have changed but whenever I visit our local store, I smile to myself with childhood memories.  But I digress, today’s post is all about some rather tasty snacks from The Co-operative.

Tasty snacks from The Co-operative

 

We’ve all enjoyed trying these tasty snacks from The Co-operative.

Daddy P was particularly keen to work his way through the various fruit and nut mixes, especially when he discovered that some of them also contained chocolate buttons!  His particular favourite was the Jaffa Fruit & Nut mix – containing raisins, hazelnuts, orange flavoured white chocolate buttons and milk chocolate coated raisins.

Monkey’s favourites have definitely been the Triple Berry Rice cakes which are coated with yogurt.  I have a feeling these may become a regular feature in our weekend snack box.

For me, it has to be the Spiced Ginger flavour Popcorn.  I can see me becoming quite addicted to that.  It really is delicious, I won’t be sharing it though!

So if you are looking for some snacks for the whole family, the tasty snacks from The Co-operative we’ve been trying out get the big thumbs up from us.  So why not check out their ranges in your nearest store.

Let me know what you think, if you do.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items shown and a voucher in exchange for an honest review

 

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Professor Scrubbingtons – review and giveaway

I have a muck magnet for a son!  Some days when Monkey comes home from school I take one look at him and now he needs marching straight up to the bathroom. Mud, food, pens, paint, you name it and it will be shown somewhere on Monkey’s body and clothes.  I know that it means he is having fun, but wow, what a mess one little boy can make. Professor Scrubbingtons recently sent us a lovely set of products to help Monkey get clean easily!

Profressor Scrubbingtons

Professor Scrubbingtons offer a range of products aimed specifically with children in mind.  We received the Hair & Body Wash, Shampoo, Condition, Hand & Face Wash (all in 150ml bottles) and a 50ml Roll On Deodorant.  The products contain at least 95% natural ingredients and are paraben and SLS free, for those with more sensitive skins.

The Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair & Body Wash are designed with lids so that children can easily dispense products themselves.  I’m aware that a 5 year old Monkey needs to start taking care of himself a little more. One of the downsides to having an only child, I do tend to do everything for him, I have the time.  But he is starting to get more independent and especially with swimming lessons, it’s much easier if he can wash himself in the showers.

You pull the lip of the cap down, squeeze the bottle and a small amount of product is released.  The products are meant to foam in the hand, but we found they came out rather runny, and the liquid would run through Monkey’s hands before he had a chance to use it. But I’ve been able to wash his hair (and I’ve tried them on mine too) with them and they lather well and leave the hair feeling soft and lightly fragranced.

Professor Scrubbingtons

The Hand & Face Wash has been a big hit, with the larger pump dispenser, it comes out as foam and Monkey has found it really easy to use.

As Monkey is only 5 he doesn’t need Deodorant yet, but I like the idea that Professor Scrubbingtons has designed one with children in mind – free of alcohol and with an easy to use bottle.

Each item shown is available from the Professor Scrubbingtons website for £5.00 per product, and they have deals available too.

disclaimer:  we were sent these items in exchange for an honest review

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I can offer one lucky reader the chance to win the set of Professor Scrubbingtons products featured, worth £25.00.  Just complete the Gleam form below for your chance to win!

I also have a reader discount code for you all! Use BM20 to get a 20% discount off your order.

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Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 26th June 2015 at midnight.

Professor Scrubbingtons kids toiletries set worth £25

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Moomins on the Riviera – giveaway

Moomins on the Riviera

There are some books and characters that are timeless in my opinion.  In Friday the Moomins on the Riviera is released in cinemas across the country through Vertigo Films.

We join the Moomins, Snorkmaiden and Little My as they leave Moominvalley and head to France and the Riviera. Their adventure takes them to a whole new world. Snorkmaiden falls for a local playboy, Moominpappa decides to become ‘de Moomin’ and poor Moominmamma wonders what has happened to those she loves.  Will they all return to their senses?

Based on Tove Jansson’s famous comic strips, Moomins on the Riviera uses hand drawn animation to bring the classic family to life.  The film is U rated and runs for 80 minutes.

To celebrate the release of Moomins on the Riviera I can offer one reader the chance to win a goody bag containing:

1 Moomin Plush Toy (either Moominmamma, Moominpappa, Little My & Snorkmaiden)
1 Cinema poster
2 T-shirts (small + either medium or adult)
1 Pudsey DVD
1 Allstars DVD
1 Unbeatable DVD

Moomins on the Riviera

Complete the Gleam form below for your chance to win this great goody bag.  Good luck!

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Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 1st July 2015 at midnight.

Moomins on the Riviera

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Paul Lamond Travel Games

We are going to be out and about with friends over the bank holiday weekend and then we’ll be on countdown for our trip to Spain.  I’m really lucky that Monkey has been fairly easy to entertain to date whilst travelling, but new ideas are always welcome. That’s where Paul Lamond Travel Games come into play, quite literally!

Paul Lamond Travel Games

I decided to put the Paul Lamond Travel Games Are We There Yet? and 50 Fun Games for on the Go to the test during our 2 hour drive to Diggerland last weekend.  On Sunday’s Daddy P is around and does the driving, so it leaves me free to entertain Monkey more freely.

Are We There Yet? is a travel game aimed at children aged 6+, but a 5 Year Old Monkey played this game with me easily, I just had to help with the words on the cards.

Paul Lamond Travel Games

The game is based on I Spy and can be played with 2 or more players. There are instructions with the game and 100 playing cards are included.

Basically you pick a dealer and decide how long the game will take.  Then 5 cards are dealt to each player face down. Each player checks their cards and then looks out for the items, when spotted, they shout out and hold the card up for all to see.  Points are awarded and a new card is taken from the pile.  The winner is the player with the most points at the end of the game.

We did find some of the cards a little tricky as we spent most of our journey on the motorway, but Monkey loved the idea of it and we will definitely be playing this game when we are on our travels.  Priced at £3.99 I think this is a great travel game to keep the kids amused.

Next up, we tried 50 Fun Games for on the Go.  This set of games is aimed at children aged 5 years and over, although we found some of them were a bit too old for Monkey at the moment.

Paul Lamond Travel Games

This set would definitely work well when travelling by plane, where you haven’t got a constantly changing landscape for play referencing. There are lots of observation type games to b played, as well as counting, story telling and rhyming games.  Our favourite from our car journey was Car Safari – we had to spot different animals along our journey, each were given points, and the winner had the most points at the end of the trip.  That was a real winner.

I can see this set of games being something Monkey grows into over the months ahead as we go on more adventures and priced at £4.99, it will come in very handy.

So if you are looking for travel games to keep the kids amused over the holidays then I’d certainly recommend checking out the range from Paul Lamond Travel games.  I’ve included my Amazon affiliate links below for your reference.

disclaimer:  we were sent these games in exchange for an honest review

 

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Jus Rol into Spring

Life has been really hectic here recently.  Monkey’s had a few issues at school, he’s been grumpy.  We had the saga with our internet connection which put me so far behind with reviews that I’m still trying to catch up. Daddy P is rarely around, and quite frankly when it comes to dinner time cooking, I’ve had very little imagination.  I needed a bit of a boost on the inspiration front and I found it with Jus Rol into Spring.

Jus Rol into Spring

Jus Rol, the pastry people have created a whole host of recipes which are freely available on their website.  They asked me if I’d like to try one of their Spring recipes out and when I had a look through the selection I was, quite frankly, spoilt for choice.

Knowing how much Monkey loves pesto, I decided to try the Chicken and Pesto Tart.  The recipe was really easy to follow and quick and easy to make.

You can find the whole recipe here, but once the chicken was cooked, it only took 20 minutes to bake the tart before dinner was served!

The verdict – empty plates all round, and it was so easy to put together, it made my life easier too. I quite fancy trying the Spiced Moroccan Lamb Filo Pie next.  What would you try?

disclaimer:  we were sent some vouchers for Jus Rol in exchange for an honest review.

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Green fingered Monkey

We had some successes in the garden last year and some disasters!  Monkey grew some lovely cucumbers, our apple tree gave us our first 4 home-grown apples and we had wonderful sunflowers again.  But not everything in Monkey’s garden grew.  We gave him part of our garden to turn into a veg patch, Daddy P dug in a load of compost, Monkey planted his seeds, and waited.  He watered the plot religiously but sadly all we got was one tiny radish.  The soil here really is rather dire.  So this year we are taking a slightly different approach as green fingered Monkey tries to grow some veg in pots, as well as his sunflowers. The plan was also to grow cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers in our greenhouse.

We received a few sunflower seeds last month from Supalite to get us off to a start.  We’ve had a sunflower growing competition for a few years now, Monkey always seems to win. Uum.  We always start them off in a pot on the kitchen windowsill.  This year we were given a tip to soak the seeds in water for 24 hours before planting.  Over the last few weeks we’ve watched as the sunflowers have started to sprout.  We now have 4 seeds sprouting up and will be planting them out in the next couple of days.  monkey has already bagged the tallest as ‘his’.  We will have a Monkey, Mummy, Daddy sunflower as normal, but this year we will also have an Elspeth sunflower, in memory of Jenny’s daughter.

Next up for green fingered Monkey were our cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. We’ve planted the seeds in our propagator and cleared a space on the kitchen windowsill.

Green fingered Monkey

Before long our cucumber seedlings were sprouting up well and needed moving on.

Monkey helped me re-pot them and then Daddy P watered them and put them in the greenhouse.  When we went to check on them disaster (or Daddy P) had struck and we’ve since lost the lot.  No cucumbers for us this year.  I think my Greengrocer husband over watered them.  He has now been banned from touching Monkey’s veggies!

Green fingered Monkey

So we now have our peppers and tomatoes ready to re-pot and then they’ll go into the greenhouse.

Green fingered Monkey

We planted radish, carrots, sweet peas and spring onions seeds into containers on the patio a few weeks back and now these are all sprouting up and we need to thin them out and replant.  That’s our job for this afternoon after school as the sun has decided to make a welcome return.

Green fingered Monkey

Green fingered Monkey is going to be busy helping me in the garden over the coming months as we water our plants and watch them bare fruits, vegetables and blossom.

Are you growing anything with your kids this summer?

disclaimer:  we were given 5 sunflower seeds to assist us with this post

 

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Fathers Day crafts from Baker Ross

June is a going to be a bit of a frantic month here.  We’re away at the beginning of the month and then I’ll be getting organised for BritMums, I’ll actually be away for most of Fathers Day so Monkey is taking his Daddy out for the day – special male bonding time.  So needing to be ahead of the game, we’ve been organised with Fathers Day crafts from Baker Ross.

Fathers Day crafts from Baker Ross

We love Baker Ross as you well know, their kits always contain lots of fun ideas for kids to get creative and Fathers Day is no different. From bookmarks to desk tidies, photo frames to cards, Monkey will certainly be spoiling Daddy P this year.

He set to work straight away with the Fathers Day Bookmark kit which comes in a pack of 4 for £2.99.  He decided that Red was going to be the best option for Daddy P and got busy with his sticking.

It’s lovely to watch Monkey these days with his Baker Ross sets, he needs far less help.  I can just sit back and watch him having fun.

The Toolbox photo frame kit comes in packs of 4 for £3.96 and I was sent on a mission to find a photo of Monkey with his Daddy.  Once picked and fixed to the back of the frame with sticky tape, it was over to Monkey for embellishments.  He used some of the stickers from the kit and added more from the Fathers Day Foam Sticker set we received (120 for £2.99).

The Car Wooden Desk Tidy kits come in packs of 3 for £3.45.  The pieces slot together with no need for glue and can be painted, drawn on or in this case stickered!

We obviously couldn’t forget the all important Fathers Day card, but Monkey decided he’d save colouring this in, until nearer the time.  I’m pretty sure the Racing Car card will be the one picked in this household!  The pack comes in a set of 8 cards with envelopes for £1.99.

Fathers Day crafts from Baker Ross

Fathers Day crafts from Baker Ross have come to the rescue here and we are officially sorted!  Hope Daddy P likes his presents.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review

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Me to You giveaway with Characterwise

Today I have a lovely Me to You giveaway with Characterwise, who are offering one lucky winner the chance to win this rather cute 12″ Tatty Teddy holding a square cushion with “Happy Birthday” wording.

Me to You giveaway with Characterwise

This lovely bear retails for £25.00 and is just one of a whole host stocked by Characterwise, along with cards, stationery and homeware.  Well worth popping over to their website if you are looking for a character gift.

For a chance to win this Me to You Teddy, please complete the Gleam form below – good luck!

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Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 24th June 2015 at midnight.

12″ Tatty Teddy with Happy Birthday cushion worth £25

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Koalapak – arts and craft delivery packs

I’m always looking for ideas to entertain and amuse Monkey at the weekends if we’re not off having an adventure and we were recently sent a great set of activities from Koalapak.

Koalapak

Koalapak offer a range of arts and craft packs which are delivered to your door every month.  You can choose from a set containing one-four different projects, costing from £3.95-£16.95 per month.  The sets are aimed at children in Key Stage 1 and 2 and we found them perfect for a 5 year old Monkey to complete, with minimal assistance.

What’s in it Mummy?

Koalapak

Our pack contained a number of different crafts, all centred around birds, which was great as Monkey and I both love feeding our birds.  Each pack comes addressed to the recipient, Monkey always loves receiving things addressed to him.

Koalapak

We were having a quiet day at home last Saturday after a busy week at school and it was the perfect time to try out some of the activities from Koalapak.  Monkey was eager to get to work, and it was great for me that everything we needed was included.  I was also impressed with the quality of the various items and the quantity.  We had more than enough glue and paints and they came in resealable pots. Result.

He was off!

He had a wonderful time, painting and decorating his bird box and polystyrene birds and eggs.  Each instruction leaflet gives an indication of the time required to complete the activity, items required (all supplied) and level of difficulty and whether an adult might be required to assist.  There is also information on what children are actually learning or skills they are developing through the activity.

We tackled the bird feeder together and made a much better job of this one than we have in the past.  There were lots of extra lolly sticks included in the pack so we may well make another feeder or use them for other craft ideas.

Surprisingly the bird mask was the biggest hit of the day.  Not one for normally wanting to wear masks, I thought this activity would either be left, or wouldn’t be worn.  What do I know!

The mask has been a massive hit and the beak idea is brilliant, simply but effective and I have one very happy little boy.

We also received a fact sheet about birds to broaden Monkey’s knowledge.  All in all, I’ve been really impressed with this set, as I’ve already mentioned, the quality is excellent.

You can also arrange for a set to be sent to someone as a gift which I think would work really well. For more information pop over to the Koalapak website.

disclaimer: we were sent this set in exchange for an honest review

 

 

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