Leeds Castle

Rosie and I took the kids (all eight of them!) to Leeds Castle in Kent during half term.


It was our first proper visit (we went along one, cold evening four years ago to watch Frozen on the castle lawn).

I absolutely love a mooch around a Castle or historical house and I love taking in the beautiful grounds.
I always picture what It might have been like to live there during the various periods of history.

Who owns it now? How do they keep it looking so beautiful? How many bottles of wine could you store in that wine celler!? (And Leeds Castle definatly has the BEST wine celler!)

It was a stunning Autumn afternoon and we had such a fantastic day that words can not do it justice.  

I am going to let our photos explain……



Leeds Castle has lots to do for the children, not least climbing trees and finding secret dens.  

It was Halloween when we visited and they had lots of spooky activities to enjoy.  

There is a wonderful playground area, maze and lots of activities from archery to dressing up as a knight.

The children loved exploring the castle and filling in all the activity sheets they had been given.

They have been learning about British History at school so they loved reading about how Leeds Castle related to Henry V111 and the Second World War.

While they were reading about how King Henry VIII did a ‘changing rooms’ on the castle to impress and gift his wife Catherine of Aragon, I listened eagerly to the stewards who explained to me that in more recent years part of the castle was converted into a cinema and areas to entertain friends (jelous much!?). 

I have asked Mike to take me back for a romantic ‘date day’.  The strolls, the atmosphere and the stunning architecture would make a beautuful day out with a loved one (or first date?).

I have never seen such beautiful gardens and the wildlife is everywhere.  

I am looking forward to visiting again in December and enjoying the Christmas  festivities with Mike and the children.

Please share my post for anyone who might enjoy a beautiful day out at this Kent treasure.

For more information on Leeds Castle and its wonderful, seasonal treats, take a look at their website 

https://www.leeds-castle.com

Tulley Farm – Pumpkin and Spookfest

​If you live in the South East and have not heard of Tulleys Farm and their Shocktoberfest you must be living under a rock.

I last went three years ago and have heard through the grapevine it has only got better. 

I could not wait to take the kids this half term.

As usual, nothing in our house goes to plan and after getting the household ready, I ran into a small problem on departure….a flat tyre.

But, living on a farm has its perks and we usually have a back up vehicle of some description.

On this occasion it was our trusty Landrover Defender that came to our rescue.

So, an hour later than planned, we were on our way.

Tulleys Farm is a seasonal family event venue in Sussex, between London and Brighton, close to Crawley and East Grinstead.  So much is put into each event that it never fails to excite throughout each season.

Drawing inspiration from the huge halloween industry in America, the Pick Your Own Farm began developing Tulleys Halloween events in around 2002.  It has since grown from visitors of 3,500 to the mega 60,000 it is welcoming now, over the Halloween period .

As a result of its phenomenal success, they have attracted some of the best Scare Experts in the business.

By day they run a fantastic family spooky experience and by night it becomes a terrifying fright fest that, quite franky, my bladder can no longer handle!

Last time I visited at night I spent most of the evening with my face burried in Mikes back!

For a fiesty lad #georgethemenace (my two year old) is scared of everything…  Spiders, clowns, masks, people dressed up and anything small that  moves.  

As much as I enjoy the cuddles his terror brings, I knew this year it was best to leave him behind.

Also, as much as Tulleys has catered well for buggies, as us parents know, mud and prams make hard work.

Luckily my mum and dad were around and agreed to watch the two smaller boys for me.

Tulleys Farm is made up of a few different rides/experiences.

My kids favourite everytime we visit is the Horrid Hayride.

This is a tractor ride through a creepy woods where the aim of the game is to make the kids scream (and laugh).  

I’m going to be careful not to give to much away because the element of suprise and unknown is half the fun.

I will say, unlike the evening experience, the actors are much tamer during the day so that it doesnt traumatise the children……too much 😜

During the day we visited all the main attractions.

We visitied Dirty Gerty and The Witches in The Woods.

We tried to find all the ghosts in the Cornmaze.  Which, FYI, is a perfect opportunity to loose the kids for half an hour.

The Twisted Fun House, which even tripped me out slightly when I realised six little faces were relying on me to escape. 

The more I tried to find the exit, the more we were faced with psychedelic clowns!

The Creepy Cottage was the ride that my older children found the scariest. Negotiating your way around a derelict cottage scattered with terrifying props

Inbetween all the rides are food stalls serving donuts, jacket potatoes, burgers, chicken, hogroasts and coffee….plenty of coffee everywhere!

The Pumkin Patch is really something to behold and you can buy them aswell as other great Halloween merchandise at the Farm Store.

As you walk around Tulleys there is plenty more entertainment scattered around.

Spooky theatre, street theatre, puppet shows and a pertrifying play area, there is so much to do we nearly ran out of time!
There really is nothing like this around.  It is such a brilliant concept and the planning that goes into it and the volume of visitors speaks for itself.

There are a few days left…….take a visit.  

Tulleys Farm is a seasonal attraction and I am definatly visiting at Christmas. 

Tulleys Farm have also introduced an attraction called Escape Rooms. I’ve been checking it out online and it seems a team of you are locked in a room and the only way to escape is by solving a series of puzzles.  I can’t wait to give that a go

I would love to hear your opinions if you have visited.

For more information on prices and opening times, take a look at

www.tulleysfarm.com


Tulleys Farm gave me entrance tickets in return for this review. However, all my opinions are entirely honest and without influence.

Our Day at Drusillas

We have been fortunate to visit a few special attractions around the South of England this Summer.

When I have asked the kids which one stands out, Drusilla’s Park won hands down.

It has been so long since I have been to Drusillas It is nothing more than a vague memory to me.  So when I was asked to give a review of the Park I jumped at the chance.

Anyone that I have spoken to about Drusillas has raved about it, so I was really excited to take the kids.

A friend of mine, Simin, lives in Eastbourne and has an Annual Membership for Drusillas.  She has been visiting the Park for over fifteen years.  So, apart from a great opportunity to meet up with her and her little girl, I thought it would be handy to go with someone who knows the zoo and can give me a guided tour!

Drusillas Park Is located just off the A27 at Ariston.

From where we live in Warlingham (just outside of Croydon) it took approximately an hour.

The kids usually hate long journeys, but I avoided the motorways and the route took us on a lovely drive through Ashdown Forest.

I had always thought Drusillas was a small zoo.  My kids adore animals and learning about different species so I knew I would be earning brownie points on this day out.  What we actually realised on arrival is that Drusillas is so much more than ‘just a small zoo’.

The variety of play areas and rides are probably the best I have ever seen!  But, I’ll tell you all about that later.

Lets start at the beginning of our day.

Car parking was simple and you don’t get charged to park in it.  This shouldn’t be a surprise, but a few of the attractions we have been to over the last six weeks have charged us for parking.

Like most of my days out, it started with a coffee.  Coffee is my ‘mama fuel’ to help me mentally cope with the day ahead.  Not only to make sure I don’t loose one of my six children, but to make sure I can keep an enthusiastic, ‘Balamory style’ attitude throughout the day.

Imagine my delight when I was greeted with a Starbucks sign!

After my caffeine fix, it was straight onto the animals.

The children had been given some activity booklets to complete on the way around the park.

I thought they were great because they were kept simple.  The kids had to spot animals listed in the booklet and stamp it accordingly.  This meant it was easy for my younger children to complete, whilst keeping the older ones entertained too.

They could also take part in the Zoolympics Challenge.  There were various points around the park where you could test your sporting skills against different animals.

Our first stop was Iguanas and Snakes.  The smell was reminiscent of the twins bedroom, so I was keen to move on fairly swiftly, but the kids took in every fact and bit of information available to them.

The Farmyard was lovely to mooch around, George loved it and It was so informative.  The older children have been to many farms and have books on most of our animals, yet we all learnt new facts at this section of the park.

-Did you know that dairy cows produce 21 litres of milk per day?

-Did you know that Donkeys are sometimes kept as pets to keep lawns short? (yea, I suggest swerving that informative can of worms!)

-I also learned that despite how I might feel sometimes, I am not built like a carthorse and, at a push, I just about have the strength of a Serval (a giant cat)….I know!? who knew!?

You don’t it about me, but I love monkeys!!! I could watch monkeys all day!! So Imagine my delight when our next stop was the capuchins (Marcel from Friends?) Marmosets, Colobus, Squirrel monkeys and Macaques.   There were even more species of Monkeys dotted around the park.


In all the years I have visited farms and zoos, I have never encountered Bats until I visited Drusillas.
The children and I were fascinated.  We could walk through an enclosed area where the bats were hanging (literally) all around us.  I grew up next to woodland and we would see the shadows of bats regularly during the summertime, but it was a completely different experience to see them up close.

New arrivals at Drusillas this year are the Giant Anteaters, and how amazing are they! (and, FYI, nothing like ALF!)

The park has over one hundred different animal species and I am not going to go through every one, but amongst some of our favourites were Beavers, Porcupines, Sloths, Camels and Penguins.  

I loved seeing the Flamingos, (and not just so that I could use that cute sticker on Insta Stories!)

They are so beautiful and pink…. I am working on mike to let me have a flock on the farm….what do you reckon my chances are!?

Another highlight of our day was our walk through Lemurland.  This is an enclosure where you can walk amongst the Lemurs and watch them jump across your path or if you are really lucky, they might even land on you!

The Go-Wild play area was exactly as it is described…Awesome Play.  It was every child’s dream and with a separate area for younger children, it had something for all ages.

The kids spent over an hour in this part of the park.  If they had their way they would have spent all day there! 

The photos don’t do Go-Wild justice.  I couldn’t possibly get a shot with everything included!

But, there was still so much to see so we had to drag them away from Go-Wild and head for the Get-Wet water park.

Simin had text me the night before to tell me to make sure I brought the kids swimming cosies and towels.  Now I don’t want to appear a whinge, but when you are getting ready to take six children out for the day something has to give.  On this occasion I forgot the swimsuits!

Luckily, it was such a hot day It didn’t stop Libby and George from having a great time jumping in and out of the fountains and water sprays.

Go Safari! is Drusillas new attraction which only opened this year. It is an area of the park made up of three rides.  They provide perfect thrills for younger children (my two and ten year olds enjoyed them).


The Hippopotobus, The Flying Cheetahs and The Safari Train which takes you on an adventure around the whole park.

Drusillas has a great Park Maze. We all had great fun getting lost and trying to find our way out.  I kept George safely on my shoulders the entire time we were in there.  Those of you who follow my blog and Instagram will understand why! #Georgethemenace

Hello Kitty Secret Garden is a lovely area with three more childrens rides.  The exciting 25ft hooper, a ride where you are bounced up and down.  The tea cups which, need no explanation and the Kitty car ride where you go on a magical journey through Hello Kittys Garden.

Stop at Hello Kittys House.  The girls met The Puss herself, Hello Kitty, and you can indulge with a pamper at her ‘Parlour’.  Children (or adults if you so wish!) can have their face painted, temporary tattoos and hair braids (at cost).

On this occasion I was organised and took a packed lunch with us. Therefore, I can not comment on Drusillas eateries but they all appeared clean and inviting (and the coffee was great😉)

The facilities were good and you were never too far from a toilet (which is always handy with six children!)

Harrison can not go anywhere without playing a shoot-me-up game so he was not dissapointed.

And, if we hadnt run out of time they would have liked a go on the climbing wall.
Drusillas have Keeper Talks and Animal feeding at regular times during the day and they have loads of events on throughout the year.  I would definitely recommend heading over to their website

www.drusillas.co.uk

We had such a great day!  The weather was glorious, but I can imagine we would have enjoyed it regardless.

On our way home from Drusillas, Mikey asked if he could go back and ‘be a keeper for the day’ for his birthday……I am certainly going to look into it.

If I have convinced you to take a trip to Alfriston to visit Drusillas, let me know what you think.

And, as always, Please share with your friends and followers 😘

I recieved free entry to Drusillas in return for this post. All of my opinions are completly honest and unbiased.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our day at Godstone Farm

I have been visiting Godstone farm since I was Georges age.

Over the years it has just got better and better, whilst keeping hold of it orginal charm that makes me so nostalgic.

So last week, I made the brave decision to take ALL my children for a visit.

Even though we live on a farm, there is nothing like a day out at Godstone Farm.  We are so fortunate that it is just fifteen minutes from us.

Considering it was the middle of the summer holidays, it was relatively quiet, which helped me stay sane.

The farm is divided into areas that makes it easy to explore.

They have all the animals you would hope to see on a farm.  Horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, llama and cows. 

They have a wonderful selection of birds and smaller animals. Chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks, rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs aswell as a few reptiles.

Activities are ran throughout the day such as animal talks and feedings.

Have you ever watched Pig and feret racing? 

The kids loved it!

I had to giggle when the boys announced, on seeing the piglets…

‘Look mum, this pig has more babies than you!’

-yep, she looks in better shape to!

Always a magical part of the day is the barn where you can hold the babies and small animals.  

They have baby chicks of different ages, rabbits and tortoises.

 Aswell as making sure no little darlings throw the chicks across the barn, Godstone farm employees are on hand to answer any questions the kids have.

My kids loved this area, particularly George.  

Lets talk about the outdoor play area that gets even the adult visitors excited.

The playground alone is worth the enterance fee.  

(How amazing is this swing!?)

It has everything from zip wires and large slides for the older kids (and adults), to a sand pit, climbing frames and ride-ons for the younger ones.

It is perfect to plot up and have a picnic, but, if like me you are not that organised, they have a sandwhich hut serving coffee, tea, cold drinks and ice cream.

We spent about two hours here, and I still had to drag the kids away kicking and screaming!

If the weather is bad, There are also two covered play areas.  

One is a huge soft play area set up in one of the large barns. 

The other area is smaller with a climbing area and slide, set up for younger children


After wearing George out in the play area we headed to the Dino Trail.

Dotted around a path, and looking over the llamas, at the bottom of the farm are large model dinosaurs.  Each one is accompanied with facts on the animal.

With a toddler and an eight year old obsessed with dinosaurs, this was a great suprise!

Who knew that a baby T-Rex could have been born with feathers?

We ended our day in the large sandpit for younger children with a portion of chips and an ice cream.

I spent most of my time here wrestling George as he tried to take every tractor toy in the sandpit away from the other tots. 

Always making time for a trip to the shop, the boys bought some water toys to play in the sun.

Apart from all the activities, I was impressed with the general appearence of the farm.

The landscaping is beautiful, the facilities were clean and there were plenty of hand washing points.

We had a great day at Godstone Farm.  As always, it provided a fun and educational day outdoors, enjoying the great British summer.

For more information, please visit

http://godstonefarm.co.uk/

*I recieved free tickets in return for this review.

However, as always, all my opinions are entirely honest and without biased.

Our Day Out at Thorpe Park

If you are at a loose end with the kids this summer and want something that will suit all ages, from babies to older teenagers (and you) try Thorpe Park.

Thorpe Park is a large theme park set between Chertsey and Staines-Upon-Thames, at juction 11 on the M25.

Despite being just a forty five minute drive from me I haven’t been there since I was a kid.  Mike was supposed to join me, but because of his work commitments I took the kids on my own.  

Two children under two, four over six and just one adult meant I wouldnt be able to make the most of the day.  So, I dropped George and Arthur to my Mum and Dad’s and headed off with Mikey (10), Harri (10), Charlie (8) and Libby (6).

When we arrived the kids checked the map and all the many rides and gave me a summary of the ones they definitely wanted to go on. 

My slight disapointment, being a huge rollercoaster fan, (bigger the better) was because I was on my own, I had to swerve some of the biggest and best rides in the park.

Mikey was also disappointed, as he seems to have inherited my need for thrills! 

Saw, Stealth, Colossus, Rush and Nemiesis Inferno were all no-gos for us this time round. 

So lets talk about the rides we did go on.

Like other theme parks, Thorpe Park is separated into different areas, each with its own theme.

We started our day at Amity, a section of the park based around the seaside town that the movie Jaws is based on.

The first ride we went on was Flying Fish, a family rollercoaster.

After dragging Mikey and Harri on some of Universal Studios scariest rides last year, they were both up for this ‘tamer’ ride.

Libby and Charlie however, were rollercoaster novices and both tried get out of it.  

Thinking they would enjoy it once they were on it, I managed to convince them with some gentle persuasion.

They loved it!

Mikey didnt feel it quite satisfied his adrenaline need, but enjoyed it nevertheless.

Whilst in Amity, we also went on the obligatory log flume Tidle Wave and the more gentle water ride, Storm Surge.

One of my most memorable rides with the kids was ‘Storm in a Teacup’.  Maybe because I remember this ride and the Tetley men from when I was the boys age.  

While the kids were spinning the cup, faster and faster, I was watching their faces, they were ecstatic, their laughing and screaming with excitement will stay with me forever.   It is what #makingmemories is all about.

From Amity, we headed to ‘The Jungle’.  

This is where we rode on Mr Monkeys Banana Ride (a tame thrill ride for younger children) and the Rhumba Rapids, riding through the jungle river on a raft.

Whilst in The Jungle I spied a ‘Ghost Train’ sign.

Ghost Trains are my favourite kind of ride so I dragged the kids kicking and screaming towards it.

They breathed a sigh of relief when it stated at the entrance that you had to be 13 or over.  I was gutted! 

It looked fantastic, promoted as Darren Brown’s Ghost Train, I am heading straight for that on my kid-free visit!

Harri’s ride of choice was Angry Birds 4D Experience.

It was very similar to the Shrek ride at Universal Studios.   I dont want to spoil it for anyone, but it is a great ride for all the family. 

At Old Town the kids jumped on The Rocky Express, which they all commented that George (2) would have loved.  

Then, the kids hurried Mikey and I passed Samuri and Saw whilst we sulked like teenagers.

We stopped for a well deserved Whoppa at Burger King, just because it was the closest Eatery.  However, there are plenty of places to eat at the park.  They have everything from a Bar and Grill to Fish and Chips, Mexican, Kebabs, Pulled Meat and BBQ, they even have Burger King and KFC.

If you want treats they offer Donuts, Ice Cream, Slushies and lots of yummies dotted around the park.
The Lost City was the home of Mikeys favourite ride of the day….Quantum.  Judging by Thorpe Park standards it was one of the smaller rides but given that Mikey hadnt managed to ride any of the monsters, this satisfied his thrill level for the day.

Charlie and Harri however, were not so keen! Mikey ran off begging to ride again, whilst the others threatened to report me to social services for making them go on such a scary ride (I bolted out of the queue with Libby at the last minute as I knew she would be petrified).

Zodiac was a great ride, I actually managed to ride that one with Mikey as the queue was less than five minutes.

We spent the last hour of our day at Thorpe Park at Amity Beach, A large, man-made beach with shallow pools and water features.  

The weather was beautiful and It was so reminiscent of the Lidos my mum used to take us to when we were kids (none of which are open any more).

I sat and watched the four kids mess about, splash each other and have a great time.

Depth Charge is next to the beach.  It is a multi slide where you sit on a raft and ride down the slide.  The kids would have gone on this again and again and again but time was running away.

Being the unorganized mum that I am, i hadnt packed swimsuits or towels so it is just lucky we made that the last stop of the day.

I say last stop, but as every parent knows, no trip to a theme park is complete without a visit to the park store!

Loaded with badges, sweets and souvenirs, we were ready to say goodbye to Thorpe Park.

All I needed to do was remember where I parked the car!!!

For more information on Thorpe Park, their prices and admissions, head over to their website.

https://www.thorpepark.com
If you have been or do plan a day in Thorpe Park I’d love to hear your feedback.

Love Kate

Xxxx

Linking up with #BloggerClubUK

Mudpie Fridays

CampBestival 2017

Well, what an experience this was!!

On paper, this weekend was my idea of absolute hell.
Six children (two babies), a tent, rain….lots of rain, mud….lots of mud and not a tiled roof in sight!

Somehow, amongst the damp and filth, we dug deep into our British souls and managed to have a fantastic weekend (great friends and the Gin also helped).

Due to my total lack of organisation we didnt manage to secure a motorhome this year.
Instead, we opted for CB Boutique camping with a company called PodPads.

It was a six man bell tent that included a groundsheet, carpet and six campbeds with sheets.

There was enough room in our tent for our travel cot, double buggy and festival trolly.  Although, with all the paraphernalia that comes with two children under two, it was a squash in there and not much room to move around.
If the weather had been better and we could have left our bits outside it would have been much roomier.

There is a fab ‘reception tent’ where they provided us with free tea and coffee facilities and you can charge your phone free of charge.

One of the best things about Boutique camping (beside avoiding divorce while trying to errect a 6 man tent) is having the car park at a reasonable distance from your tent and being a short walk from the actual festival.

Last year, at the campervan field, it felt like a Marine assult course getting us, the five kids and a buggy from the motorhome to the festival.
Thats not meant to discourage anyone, but for us, and the ages of our children, we prefered to be closer to everything.

Next year we will head for Boutique again.  I am going to start doing my research now into what we will stay in and ill post about that over the next couple of weeks.

I would be lying if i said the weather did not affect our weekend. 
Although we all enjoyed ourselves, we didnt get to make the most of what Camp Bestival has to offer.

We tried to do as much as we could when the rain stopped, but there is so much to to do, we missed out on alot.

Having a couple of art-mad youngsters in our crowd, we headed to The Art Tent first.
The kids had a great time making dreamcatchers out of old vinyl records and cds.

Once the main acts started we headed over to Castle Field.
We rumaged for a spot like crazed fans to watch Justin Flethcher AKA Mr Tumble and then pitched up for my personal Camp Bestival highlight of the weekend…..Dick and Dom.  You’ve never know true exhilaration until you have screamed ‘BOGIES’ in the rain, like your eight year old self.

One thing that did help keep my spirits up while my Hunters were getting abused was The Alchemy Bar by Schweppes.

A Gin and Tonic cocktail bar where Special ingridiants mixed with the G&T’s added something a bit special to my already favourite drink.

So with a couple of bevvies inside us, we soldiered on.

We danced (in the rain) to All Saints, Mark Ronson, Madness, Louisa Johnson and the other amazing acts that made up the 2017 line up. 

The kids raved with Bflf in the Bollywood tent and threw some shapes at Sara Cox DJ set.

Now lets talk about the food…..oh the food!
Ive mentioned in previous posts about how much I love the Camp Bestival grub.

On the first night we had an obligitory crepe…one of the kids favourite things! Not cheap at £5 each, especially when you have as many mouths to feed as we do, but its becoming a tradition we cant resist.

The paad thai noodles are a huge hit with my little lot.  I can guarentee they will put away a portion each, no problem!!
And obvs, anything that does get left, Mike and I are ready and waiting to swoop in like seagulls on Brighton Pier!

The corn is another essential whilst at CB! I can guarentee, my instagram is always cluttered over CB weekend with gorgeous kiddies sinking their teeth into a golden, buttered corn on the cob in The Lower Kids Garden. 

Then you have Mikes playground, The Feast Collective.
This is a tent/section of the festival dedicated to different cuisines and dishes from all over the place.  Whether you fancy fish and chips or a lamb curry, The Feast Collective will sell it.
Mainly with a street food vibe, This is where i know ill find Mike if we get split up.

We tried DJBBQ pulled pork burger, which was everything i had hoped for after salivating over his Instagram over the last few months.
We tried chips, cheese and gravy which i am convinced would make the best hangover food and was another winner with the kids .
The dish of the weekend for me had to be the Indonesian Coconut Curry and dumplings…..it was the BEST curry I have ever had!

Another great thing about Camp Bestival is that you can bring your own food and drink into the grounds. 
So, as tempting as it is to just keep browsing the stalls, trying a dish ever hour, bringing your own bits will save your pennies.

The rain finally eased off on Sunday afternoon so thats when we headed to The Dingly Dell.

This is an area in the woods with a childrens park, farm animals and outdoor activities like zip wires, childrens building sites and Lizzies Way.
Now, im not going to lie, I haven’t made it to Lizzies Way.
I have been told by my other blogging friends that this is a highlight of Camp Bestival.
All i needed to hear was, in the middle of the woods, she has a mud cafe and you can make potions!!…this is enough to make sure it is our first stop on the list for next year!

Over the next couple of weeks I will publish more posts on Camp Bestival. 
I will cover more about the accomodation options, what to see, saving money and travelling there etc.

For now, the purpose of my post is to say, despite the weather, Camp Bestival 2017 was brilliant weekend, making more unforgettable memories with the kids, which, afterall, is what its all about.

The tickets for 2018 have just been released and ticketline offer a paymentplan.

You can book your tickets and pay them off weekly which I have done for last two years and it works so well.

Boutique options are not available yet but if you secure your weekend tickets, they include standard camping pitches. 

If I have managed to convince any of you to go, please let me know and we can keep in touch over the next few months and maybe even hook up over a G&T  in the Magic Meadow next year 😉

If you have enjoyed this post, please share it on your social media.

Love Kate x 

Travel hack – Flying to Florida

As seasoned travellers to Florida I like to think i am experienced at organising a great holiday there.

Given that i am usually booking for eight or more people i am particularly good at making sure we stick to a reasonable budget. 

I have just booked our flights to Florida 2018 and I’ve got to share this little gem with you.

Usually, if you fly from the South East of England to Florida you would either fly from Gatwick or Heathrow to Orlando, or Heathrow to Miami.

Unless you have air miles or you are booking a package holiday, flights are really expensive. 

Especially, lf like us you have to work around school holidays, even worse when you are paying for eight people!

So, here is my secret…….Norwegian Airlines!

They now fly direct from London Gatwick to Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale airport is about 30 minutes north of Miami and about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Orlando.

Fort Lauderdale itself is our favourite holiday destination.
The beaches are stunning, restaurants are amazing and there is always loads going on.

If however, you are heading to Orlando, the price of flights will make the drive worth while.

So….

Drum roll please…….

Return flights for the Easter holiday 2018 £450 per adult and £350 per child.
This is for the Economy Lowfare plus ticket which includes In flight meals, 20kg check in baggage allowance and seat reservation.

Gatwick is so much more convenient than Heathrow for those of us that are South of London.

Now let’s talk about the airline.  

Norwegian is classed as a ‘budget’ airline, But there really isn’t anything budget about them.

We travelled to Florida with them last year for my sister in laws wedding in Key West.

The check in service was excellent (but when flying with five children you tend to get treated like VIP….mainly to move you on as quickly as possible).

The Dreamliner plane is a new aircraft. It offers good legroom (lowfare plus) and hi-tech facilities.  

The touch screen media kit means you can order and pay for your duty free, food and drink using your tv and the cabin crew bring it straight to you. 

The kids and I were fascinated by the ‘magic’ windows that are made of smart glass and tint at the touch of a button!

The service on board was great and the cabin crew were very attentive and patient with the kids.  As all of us parents know, that can make a big difference to a nine hour flight.

If you are considering a holiday to Florida, check them out.  I’ll be sharing more posts on holidays in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami soon. 

www.norwegian.com/uk/

Let me know if you have any travel hacks when holidaying in Florida.

Love 

Kate

https://modernmum.net/2016/05/21/packing-and-travelling-with-a-large-family/

A weekend in Liverpool

Another one of my best friends turned 40 this week and we celebrated by whisking her away on a suprise weekend to Liverpool. 


Rosie is from Ireland, and when her lovely sister (who still lives over there)  contacted me about doing something special I couldn’t have been more up for it. 

I cant take any of the credit for this weekend.   

I was pregnant while it was being organised and while my intention was to take on the organisation with Jennifer,  I let the side down. 

Luckily, Jenny did an amazing job,  dispite my total lack of cobtribution! 

I told Rosie that I was taking her away for a couple of nights, just me and her. 

I picked her up in an Uber (my first Uber experience, and it was amazing).  The cab dropped us to East Croydon where we jumped on the train to London Euston via Victoria.

I loved every minute of that train journey.   Watching her face, totally clueless and out of control.  

Rosie is the ‘ mum’ of our group,  always looking after us and making sure we are OK.   It was really strange seeing her reaction, having to rely completly on me (I’m not sure she enjoyed that part of the weekend! 😂) 

At every stop I would grab my bag and tell her ‘this is it ‘, I would watch her get up, get to the door and then tell her I was joking! 

She wasn’t impressed but I found it hilarious!  

Once we were at Euston I suggested we grab some breakie at All Bar One…little did she know…. 

Rosie was greeted by three more of our girlfriends, sitting there, ready with coffees and cocktails… shouting suprise!!!

Rosie was in tears, totally overwhelmed,  but it was amazing seeing her register just how much she is loved by us all. 
FYI All Bar One do some seriously yummy breakfasts! 

Over breakfast we gave her some clues to guess where we were taking her:

 

The biggest boy band ever were from there…… She had no idea 

There are lots of Irish people there…. Nope

It had an ‘e’ in it… Huh? 

Brookside was based there…. LIVERPOOL!!


We jumped on the train, opened a bottle of prosecco and had one of the best girls chats I’ve ever had. 

During that two hours we talked about everything from relationships, bladder control,  sex and laughed from start to finish. 

The poor fella sitting next to us was pre warned when he sat down that he was in for a special journey and if he embarrases easily he should probably think twice about sitting there.

I did offer him a drink to calm his nerves! 

When we got to Liverpool we headed straight to the hotel. 


#squadgoals

The Shankley Hotel was a great base for a girls weekend.  It is right in the middle of town.  A 5 minutes walk to the station and even less to the shops,  restaurants and bars.
The hotel is lovely,  decor is fabulous with glamour being at its heart and the rooms are great. 

The main room had six double beds in it and a kitchen area. 

I’m even thinking about going back with the kids as there are not many hotel rooms that can comfortably fit all of us in.

When we entered the room it was beautifully decorated (by the Irish girls who were hiding in the toilet).  They had left out champagne,  chocolates and strawberries. 

When Rosie walked into the room two of her sisters and her best friend from Ireland ran out of the bathroom! 

This triggered another flow of tears and a few ‘c u next Tuesdays’ muttered at us.

She was blown away,  she hasn’t made it home to see her family this year and I know she was missing them terribly.  
For them to fly over and organise this weekend was a perfect present. 

The package we booked worked out at £230 each for eight of us (that includes splitting Rosies costs between us).
That included the hotel, a cocktail making class, dinner on the Saturday night,  a choice of either make up or hair to be done and Afternoon Tea.

The train from Euston to Liverpool Line Street was £85 return.

On the Friday, after we had finished the introductions (this was the first time in 20 years that rosies London friends meet her Irish girls) we headed off for out cocktail making classat The Art House.

It was like going back to Playa de las Americas when I was 17,  downing dirty ouzo shots!

It was a real giggle though and the girl that took the class was lovely.  Also, nothing breaks the ice like slut dropping and making cocktails. 

From there we headed to Concert Square and enjoyed a few more drinks and  Shisha.

The next morning the sun was at full force and with the temperature soaring we were determined to enjoy brunch and an espresso martini by the water. 

We took a cab (£2.30!) to Albert Dock and had some coffee and cocktails at Panam.


We discovered during the weekend that Londons shopping experience had serious competition.   

Liverpool has all the shops you could possibly wish for,  all within an easy walk between eachother.
I would love to go back again just for a shopping weekend! 

While in John Lewis Katie had a Charlotte Tilbury make over which resulted in some yummy purchases.

We headed back to the hotel for about 5 to have our hair and make up done, ready for the night ahead. 

I opted to have my hair done.   I love doing my own make up and am very particular about how I have it.  Also, I am low maintainence with my hair so if someone else can glam it up then it is a no brainer!
Given the scorching weather we headed up to have a drink on the roof top bar before dinner (all at The Shankley Hotel).  Watching the half cut girls dancing in the sun kicked the night off perfectly!

Our first night was fun but fairly quiet given we were all mums, and away from the kids for the weekend. It was also quite ‘studenty’ at concert square. I’m not knocking that but we like a bit of sophistication in our older age (early night anyway) so we really wanted to find the area you could go to and have a cocktail made with proper spirits and not sugar and tequila!  😂 

I asked around during the day and it turned out our hotel was on the road  where all the best bars are! 

After our dinner at the hotel we headed to  The Alchemist Cocktail Bar on Brunswick Street.

The cocktails were out of this world and  the atmosphere was great but it was a bit of an arse-ache waiting around at the bar to order our next round.   That could be out fault for sinking each cocktail so quickly. 

We had cocktails there that bubbled, steamed and even ones that come with syringes of shots!

If you like Cocktails I would definatly recommend this bar. 

The night carried on in a bar down the road where we partied till the early hours.

The difference with partying in your 30’s is rather than passing out in bed with a full face of make up and glass of wine next to your bed, we got back,  made a coffee, took our make up off, and at 3am we were putting Philip Kingsley hair masks on! 

We kicked our last day off with a perfect post party breakfast at Barley and Beans.  I don’t know if it’s because we were so hungry but it was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had! 

I went for their granola bowl and bacon and eggs.  The other girls had full English and eggs beniddict.  As you can see from the picture, we had an amazing pile of Nutella pancakes for dessert 🍰 

After a some more shopping we went back to the hotel for Afternoon Tea and a de briefing of the weekend before we said our goodbyes and headed to the station for our train back home. 


I had a great weekend! 

After having Arthur I really needed a bit of child free time to myself. I’m home, refreshed and ready to tackle (literally) the kids. 

I met lovely new friends, caught up with old friends,  partied, relaxed,  shopped and laughed.   

I laughed so much and realised how lucky I am to have such wonderful girlfriends who I love with all my heart 😘




Happy New Years……Resolutions? 

​2016 has been an exciting year for me.   My new addition, George has given me his first giggles, crawled, taken his first steps and become a fully fledged toddler.

I watch my beautiful sister in law get married on one of the best holidays I’ve ever had.

I spent a fantastic weekend in Dublin with some of my favourite girls. 

I found out we are expecting baby number 6 and started my Modernmum blog.

I just want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me and encouraged me throughout my blogging experience.😘

I have met some wonderful new people through this journey and still feel it is only just beginning.   

Looking forward to seeing you on the other side…2017! 🎊🎉

I was chilling in the bath earlier,   thinking about what my new years resolutions will be for 2017.
I’ve never made NY resolutions before (mainly because I know I’ll never keep them,  why add pressure!?) 
But this year, I feel like I want to challange myself,  to see if I am capable.   

So here it goes….   

-Being pregnant I’m not about to put pressure on myself to lose weight,  however,  baby is due in April.  By next Xmas I would like to be pre pregnancy weight. #goals

-Stop convincing myself Libby’s messy bun is an acceptable school hairstyle.   Actually start brushing and tieing it up neatly every morning. 

-Take George to more toddler groups and less coffee shops. 

-Start working at a desk rather than on the laptop infront of the TV.

-Always make sure the kids have lots of paper/supplies for homework projects.  They get so embarrassed taking in a scrappy bit of A4 when little jonny looks like Monet has done his homework. 

-With the children,  sign up to at least three charity fundraisers.

-No more dogs! 
-Always answer my mobile phone, even if I know it is cold callers, politely tell them to fuck off.

-Go out for more family walks,  such a cheap fun way to spend time together.  If we end up at the local pub… Even better!

-Stick with this blogging lark, I am really enjoying it and maybe even double my followers (feel free to share away😘)
-Get my arse into gear and make sure we have turkeys here in the summer.  Next Xmas we will be supplying your Xmas dinner) 
-Laugh more,  love more and try harder. 
So what’s your news years resolutions?  Or like me in the past,  do you just not bother? 
Happy New Year, Lots of Love
Kate xxxx

Camp Bestival 2016

My friend has been to every Camp Bestival since it started and every year she has tries to convince me to come with her. 
Now, here is the problem,  i don’t camp! My experience of tents is that they are damp and freezing when the weather is cold and like a sweat box when it’s warm.  They smell and don’t even get me started on putting the bloody tent up and taking it down! 

I have nothing but respect for anyone who can embrace camping,  especially with children! But it’s not for me. 

When you have five children in tow the aim of the game is to always plan ahead. Avoid anything that could cause Unnecessary stress!
Over the last year the kids have really started getting into music and what’s hot in the charts. 

I looked into tickets to capitals jingle bell ball, party in the park,  Justin Bieber and more,  but tickets always seem to be a minimum of £100 each. 

When you want to take four kids it’s starts getting ridiculous!
So my thoughts turned to Camp bestival,  where the tickets for children are approx £150 but you have three days of various artists plus so much more.
Another friend had mentioned she was going but had hired a campervan….bingo!!!  

After the drama of trying to find a six berth campervan to rent for the first weekend of the summer holidays with two weeks notice we hit jackpot in Hayling Island.

At the cost of £650 for the weekend,  to take the kids away for four nights, we thought is was a bargain!
It is so much easier packing a campervan for a little holiday than a car.  Food i had brought went straight into the fridge,  I made the beds up and put the cases away in the wardrobe. 

The campsite opens on the Thursday,  there is not a huge amount happening that day but food stalls are open and the Slow Motion area (pampering section where you can have your hair done,  spa treatments,  yoga etc). 
We drove down Wednesday night and pulled up at a lay-by close to The festival ready to drive straight in on Thursday to get a prime spot and avoid heavy traffic.

 
Camp Bestival is set in the grounds of Lulworth Castle in Devon. It took about  two and a half hours from where we live in Warlingham.

It is an absolutely beautiful setting that’s adds to the magic of the festival. 
Knowing Thursday was more of an orienteering day to gauge where everything is, I decided it would be the perfect day to book a relaxing massage in the Slow Motion area.

Mike and I both had a shiatsu massage which really set us up for the weekend. 
I have never had a massage on the ground in a teepee before but don’t knock it till you try it,  it was fantastic!

The campervan was equipt with a toilet,  shower and a kitchen but unfortunately the field don’t provide electric so we couldn’t use our shower. 
However,  the ‘posh showers’ they provide are really nice and as long as you pick your time right (we showered late afternoon)  there were no ques.
I can’t go through everything that the festival has to offer,  mainly because I don’t feel like we did even half of it but I’m ready to go hardcore at this festival next year!! 
The main stage is where the big acts perform.  From about 3pm the music acts are continuous.  

Our favourites are Reggie and Bollie, Jamie Lawson, fat boy slim and Katy B.

Dick and Dom from Cbbc really for the crowd going and Mike and I were crying with laughter at some of their antics!
Unlike other festival,  the main stage area never felt rammed.

There was plenty of room to set up a picnic blanket, buggy and bags and have a dance without bumping into anyone. 
The Big Top tent is where we watched a beautiful West End Kids show featuring songs from all the Disney movies, We Will Rock You and to Mikeys delight, a bit of  Arianna Grande.
The children all took part in the Brit School Workshop where they learnt dance routines.
We spent a few hours in the art tent making all sorts of models with the outerspace theme that the festival was based on, Mikey, Charlie and Libby particularly enjoyed that. 

Harri spent his time outside the tent perfecting his spinning wheel tricks! 

The kids were mesmorized by the insect circus, loved the punch and judy puppet show and although we didn’t make it to the biggest bouncy castle,  we are saving that for next year. 
We all enjoyed watching the BMX and stunt shows but, again,  we missed a few opportunities that we are looking forward to catching next year such as the wall of death and the kids climbing wall/ gymnastics.
The atmosphere feels very relaxed and safe with regards to the kids. 

I lost a couple of the kids one evening (not on purpose i promise)  and kids welfare tent called me within 10 minutes to say they were safe and with them. 

All children are given wrist bands with parents numbers written on them.

One of the managers that I spoke to when I picked Mikey up proudly told me that in all the years Camp Bestival has been running they have never lost a child for more than 15 minutes!  That is quite an accomplishment given number of families that attend.

Now let’s talk about my favourite subject…..food!
The food choices are out off this world!  
With a family of seven it can work out expensive to feed them all day at the festival. 

I would suggest packing lots of food so that you can cook breakie and take snacks etc. 
But with all the best intentions to save money, when your faced with the choices there,  it’s hard to resist! 
Chicken katsu curries, fish and chips, Dj Bbq, French crepes, Indian, Burgers (not just any burgers,  those posh burgers made from any meat you want!) 

Lobsters and shellfish,  pasta, pizza, milkshaka made with any chocolate you want, I’ve cream,  Vietnamese, Jerk, Cakes, Mike had a Ox Cheek wrap that was out of this world. 
The list goes on,  honestly,  anything you could possible want,  they catered for. 
Mike was particularly enjoyed when he saw a few of the foodies he follows on Instagram there. 
On the recommendation of our veteran camp bestival guru Katie, we made a point of going into the kids field and getting them some corn…… That went down a treat with them all and is now going to be a regular snack in our house! 
As you can probably tell, we really had the time of our lives!  

Now I’m going to dissapoint you by telling you we left early. 

We packed up on Sunday afternoon,  missing a few acts, losing out on seeing some of the other treats the festival had to offer and most importantly, the complete highlight (so I have been told)

THE FIREWORKS 🎆 

Mikey had already missed a couple of rehearsals for the production be was in due to our weekend away and missing any more could have meant losing a place in the show. 

This is just another thing I will look forward to next year. 

We spent such a magical weekend together.   The children loved it and Mike and I both agreed it was better than taking them to Disney world! 

Needless to say we have already booked for next year and can’t wait! 
FYI,  Camp Bestival provide a payment plan for tickets so that you can spread the cost a bit. 
For us to go (2 adults, for children and a baby) for four nights,  including pitch and tickets was approx £750.

If you decided to give this a go next year here are a few tips:

-The campsites are up and down some pretty beastly hills.

We must about managed with the buggy but watching some of the campers drag trollies of tenting equipment back and forth from the car park (up another hill) made me want to pour them a vodka. 

If you can afford it, look into the glamping, backstage and boutique camping.  If you have young children it would be well worth it. 

-Take plenty of supplies (milk,  bread,  crisps,  baby wipes) 

I ran out of a few bits and popped to the very limited camping shop. 

I paid £2 for a tiny pack of baby wipes (the pack I usually get free in my baby show goody bag) 

You get my point! 

-Don’t rush to the front of the main arena, it’s calmer and easier for the kids to dance about towards the back and you still have great views of the stage.

-Don’t pre judge the acts!  we were so excited about Fat Boy Slim and Jess Glynne that We were not fussed on Mr Tumble,  Dick and Dom or Reggie and Bollie yet they were our highlight!

Hopefully I’ll see you there next year…. 

http://www.campbestival.net

Rumbled! 

​So this weekend something happened that will change my sex life for the next 20 years. 


After telling the kids to ‘shhhhhhh’ for the 58th time in the six berth camper we had hired for the weekend, finally silence fell.

…..until Harrison asked loudly, in a disgusted tone:

‘urgh, are you two having  S….E……X!? Because of you are having  S…..E……X. You need to stop.  It’s just gross, with your kids here,  close those curtains,  this is grossing me out!’
😱😰😳😩😫😭
What the fu#k!? Firstly we actually were not having sex, any grunting noises had come as a result of me clambering up the shit#ing ladder to get into the coffin style bed above the drivers seats.
Secondly, the space from our bed to the ceiling was about half a foot, i could barely turn over let alone anything else!! 
Thirdly…..I was too tired 😜  
So the next morning I questioned harri on what is S….E…..X? 

His answer….

‘its when a man and lady are naked in bed, kissing and making noises’


Day three he wake up and he asks:

‘ who was rocking the caravan last night?’
I had to think on my feet.
‘oh,  i thought you were asleep (true!)  there were some naughty boys outside pushing our caravan.  Did you hear dad go out and shout at them?’
‘no, but thank God for that,  I thought it was you two having S….E….X.  i hope those boys don’t come back tonight! ‘
No fear of that son…they have well and truley got the message😒

So we are now looking for locks to put on our bedroom door and I’m trying to work out how to approach the proper birds and bee’s talk with them …..wish me luck! 

An idea for the summer holidays – Reigate, Surrey

​Mikey has had rehursals for his summer show in Reigate over the last 5 weeks so I feel like I’m really getting to know the town well. 
I worked in Reigate years ago but never appreciated what it had to offer, but then  I did spend all my free time in the pubs!
We have spent a few lovely evenings at Priory Park, enjoying the warm summer nights while the kids play in the fabulous playground. 

Libby didn’t leave the zip wire, Charlie was king of the pirate ship and the twins were having a water fight (when they weren’t hunting for pokamons).

The park is so beautifully kept with perfectly manicured flowers, paths perfect for bike riding, a lake, tennis courts and skateboarding ramp. 

It’s has the feel of a Royal garden but without the hassle and bustle of London.
We have also given some of the restaurants a go….. It’s hardwork but there has been no time to cook! 😜
Charlies favourite place to eat is The Giggling Squid, a Thai restaurant with a modern feel.

The food is stunning and I recommend the Green Thai Curry, Thai Beef Salad and Pad Thai noodles.

Charlies favourites are the pork dumplings and the paid Thai are a guaranteed win for my lot. 

www.gigglingsquid.com

We have also taken the kids to Bills which has a fabulous little courtyard garden.

The menu has something for everyone from Seabass, Burgers, Grilled paprika chicken and Salads.

The kids menu is very reasonable and the decor is great. 

https://bills-website.co.uk

Reigate also has Pizza Express, Cafe Rouge, Carluccios, Cotes and lots more lovely places to eat…. I’m working my way round! 
So if you find yourself at a loose end over the summer,  take a visit to Reigate,you won’t be disappointed.