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Visiting Legoland with 365 Tickets*

Last week Darcy and I visited Legoland Windsor as guests of 365 Tickets on the hottest day of the year! 365Tickets are an online retailer of tickets for lots of the UK’s biggest and most popular attractions, sightseeing tours and exhibitions.

First thing first I have to say about Legoland it is massive! I had no idea how big it was going to be. We travelled by car from North London and it took just over an hour.
Our first ride was the Spinning Spider ride, as the queues were really short. Think spinning teacups with spiders, we really enjoyed the ride and it is perfect for nervous children.

Darcy spotted the Jolly Rocker which is similar to Chessington World of Adventures Black Buccaneer.



We let the kids blow off some stream at the Castaway Camp, which is a playground area with climbing frames, nets and more. There are also a few picnic tables around the area which is perfect to have lunch and a breather during rides.



The longest ride of the day was the Balloon School, a balloon ride which offers views of the park. You can pull the gas valve cable to life the balloon higher.


We also got to go on Laser Raiders which is based in an ancient temple. You use laser guns to shoot your way through a labyrinth, full of evil mummies, traps and skeletons

Our favourite ride was Ninjago the ride, part of the Ninjago, It uses '4D' effects of heat, smoke and wind, along hand gesture-activated motion detection. It is such a good ride and once again brought out Darcy's competive side.
We were knackered by the end of the day, so we got the Hill Top train back to the start of the park.



We are already making plans to attend LEGOLAND Windsor again. This time we will be definitely getting a two-day ticket, as we didn't get a chance to go on all the rides we wanted to.
Tips and Hints
I would recommend downloading the free LEGOLAND Windsor app to your smart phone before you arrive at the park.  The app provides details of wait times, stage show times and more importantly, an interactive park map. 
If you are not the only responsible adult and your children are different heights. I would recommend splitting up for a while and doing rides separately.
Take swimwear and a small towel. I totally forgot to pack ours so we were unable to take advantage of the Drench Towers which is the UK's biggest splash park.
If you can afford it, pay extra for Q-BOT, It works like fastpass at disneyland Paris (except no paper tickets involved), you pay per person using the Q-Bot and a deposit for the fob. It cuts down on your queuing time which is perfect in the summer holiday period when it's busy
Bring water bottles, there are water foundations around the park, which is perfect for the hot weather or if you are looking to save a few pennies. As the drinks are a little expensive.
If you are put off going to LEGOLAND due to the price of the tickets... don't be!!. It's totally worth it and thanks to websites like 365tickets you can find the perfect deal to suit your budget.


I have to say the LEGOLAND staff we came across were friendly and polite especially in the heat. They looked like they enjoyed their work which radiated when they spoke to customers.
LEGOLAND Windsor we will be back for Halloween!!

6 Reasons Why You Need To Visit Italy*

We are so fortunate that there are so many destinations to explore for every budget. One of these being Italy.  Italy is a must-visit country, and one of the most-popular destinations in Europe. Italy features on most people travel bucket lists because the historic cities, snow-capped mountains, delicious cuisine, pristine coastlines and endless museums.


I visited Italy as a child and for my next trip there, i intend to appreciate more than the endless variety of gelato! 


Wine tasting in Tuscany is on my bucket list. Chianti, Brunello, Super Tuscan,Vino Nobile, Vin Santo, Vernaccia are some of the most famous Tusan wines. I would also love to stay at one of the beautiful Tuscan coast villas with a private swimming pool overlooking beautiful view over the Tuscan countryside.

Today I am sharing with you 6 reasons why I think you also need to visit Italy, so here we go:



Sights

 
Depending on what part of Italy you visit, there’s something for everyone. Rome is beautiful no matter when you visit! Ensure you walk the streets and get a little lost, you never know what views you might find. Enjoy a gondola ride through the canals of Venice during the day for a fun-filled family outing.

Experience a new way of exploring a city. Take a picture of yourself holding the leaning tower of Pisa. The tower took 344 years to build and despite many attempts by engineers to stabilise the structure, it still leans to this day. For the more sporty type, take a trip to the slopes for fun-filled adventures in the snow. You should also visit the Duomo in Milan to admire the stunning architecture

And of course there are the beaches, Tropea is perfect for a family day out and has a stunning coastline. And don't forget the lively beach clubs in Marina Piccola where all the beach clubs have restaurants where you can people watch with a glass of wine.

Language

 
Italian is a beautiful language so make the effort to learn a little Italian before you arrive. Either use Google translate, download apps such as Hellotalk and Memrise or even watch Youtube videos for your holiday prep. Most Italians will be able speak English but knowing a few simple words and phrases will not only will help you get around but also shows you respect their local culture also

Even if at the very least you only master “hello” and “thank you”, knowing a little basic Italian can go a long way.



Culture
 
Italians possess one of the best lifestyles and quality of life of any European country. They are very family orientated, generous and hospitable. Italy is celebrated for it's simple, relaxed way of life, warm personal relationships and time for others.

We cannot talk about Italy and not bring up football. They have some of the best teams in the world Juventus, AC Milan, these are just a few of the most famous names you’ll hear. Whilst in Italy, try to attend a football match and embrace yourself in the atmosphere.

The Carnival of Viareggio is a carnival event held annually in the Tuscan city of Viareggio and considered among the most renowned carnival celebrations in Europe. Each year the Carnival attracts more than 600,000 spectators gathered to watch the grand parades of large floats in papier-maché

And there is the fashion, world reknowned designers such as Emilio Pucci and Donatella Versace are amongst the most prominent in their field. The rich and famous flock to Milan for it's Fashion Week (the Autumn/Winter event is held in February/March  and the Spring/Summer event is held in September/October)

 

Food

 
A large part of the Italian experience is without a doubt the food. Italians love to eat (but don't we all?!). A great tip is to try no to eat at any restaurant named after a monument, city or famous artist as these are usually geared toward tourists. The best way to eat in Italy is to eat where the locals do. The focus in Sicily is on seafood, Piedmont has many creamy French-style dishes, whilst cuisine in the Tyrol region has a considerable Austrian influence.

Make sure you experiment with different dishes, meats and cheeses. No trip to Italy is complete without having a Gelato,  No matter where you are in the country you will not be disappointed with the vast choice of flavours! It’s the perfect treat regardless of the weather. And always go for the local wine, it's delicious and cheaper.

Weather

 
The best months for visiting much of Italy is from April to June and then mid- September. Temperatures are comfortable, reaching highs of 30 degrees. If you are not a fan of the heat avoid August as that's when temperatures reach their highest for the year.

Short flight

 
Most cities in Italy are less than a 3hr flight from the UK, which is perfect if you are looking for a weekend city break, travelling with kids or suffer from chronic illnesses which make travelling for a long perio.

 
Because Italy is a popular destination, there are many deals and cheap flights available throughout the year.

So, have I tempted you to visit Italy?

BACK TO SCHOOL REVIEW & GIVEAWAY WITH MY NAMETAGS

I cannot believe how organised I've been with getting Darcy ready for school in September. I have already got some of her school uniform which I shared with you last week. It looks like I will be avoiding the back to school panic in September. (fingers crossed)



So let me tell you more about My Nametags, they offer a range of products; coloured stickers, coloured iron-ons, black and white iron-on and black and white stickers.


The website is so easy to use. In the Text section you can write the name you would like. The design section is where you can choose a little picture to go onto the sticker, after that you select a background of your choice and then proceed to the checkout. You can personalised your labels with up to 3 of texts. Which means as well as your child full name you could include a telephone number.

I allowed Darcy to pick the colour and rainbow. She loved being involved in the design process.

The labels come in a handy storage envelope, which is perfect for tucking them away safely till you need them again. One sheet contains 56 name labels which is more than enough. They peel off as easily as stickers and you just place them straight on to the item. No ironing, no sewing, no writing, just quick and easy.

My Name Tags stickers cost £11.95 plus £1 postage for a sheet of 56 stickers. I think they are really good value and I will be ordering more in the future for when I have to replace Darcy's uniform.

Enter below to be in with the chance of winning a sheet of 56 Name stickers.

How would you design your My Nametags labels?

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Amazing Gifts to Mark Important Milestones*

On the journey of life, we hit many important milestones along the way from our very first steps and our first words to graduation, getting married and having children. Along the way, we love to celebrate these milestones with the important people in our lives, our well-loved friends and family. When these important individuals hit their special milestones, we want to celebrate with them too and what better way than to offer an amazing gift that will stay with them for the rest of their life.  

 
Baby’s Firsts 
There are plenty of things to give a child for their first birthday to celebrate the precious occasion, from monogrammed clothing and comforters (such as blankets and teddies) to longer lasting gifts like initialed silver spoons and custom furniture. At that age, they are likely to be fairly heavy-handed with their gifts so if it’s something for baby to have, make sure it’s age-appropriate and durable, otherwise make sure the parents know it’s a keepsake present 

Leaving Secondary School
Leaving Secondary school is on the biggest moments between your teen years and becoming an adult, the first step on your journey of life. Gifting for a Secondary school graduation is much easier than when the kids were small as you can trust they are going to show more care to their present. Leaving school going on to further education will likely want gifts that can make their life easier, good-quality headphones, tablet/laptop or gift cards to their favourite takeaway. Stationery is always a necessity or a portable charging pack for charging their all-important gadgets when away from their Uni accommodation. 

University Graduation 
The last time many people will graduate from educational entirely, graduating university with your degree is a huge deal and marks your last jump into adulthood before getting your first proper job. Marking this very special occasion is often done with luxury gifts to celebrate their hard journey and a job well done. Beautifully crafted watches or high-quality silver bracelets, like those offered by Tateossian here https://www.tateossian.com/tatgbp/bracelets/puresilver make for an excellent jewellery keepsake. High-quality metallic jewellery, given enough space, can be engraved by jewellers with their name and/or graduation date to offer a more personal touch.  




Marriage 
Marriage is a huge event that involves two families coming together and starting a new life together. For the happy couple, it is a momentous occasion that they are likely to remember for the rest of their lives and getting a gift to remember their special day will be gratefully received. Monogrammed gifts add a nice, personal touch to the receivers and monograms can be added to numerous items including his and hers; glasses, towels, slippers and robes. There are spectacular personalised gifts available too, including night-time star maps that detail the night sky on the date of their wedding on canvas to hang on the wall.  

New Baby 
When a couple welcomes their first child into the world, it is possibly one of the largest events in their lives and a joyous occasion for both families involved. While it is a huge occasion, it is normally a new baby that receives all the gifts and the new mum and dad get left to the wayside. Consider sorting them out some meals that can be frozen for reheating through later or offer to babysit one night so the tired parents can have a date night. Alternatively, why not gift a nice bottle for each mum and dad of their favourite drink so they can toast their new family member. Should you want to buy new baby a gift, consider a small trinket to mark the occasion and then ask mum and dad what they need in the way of supplies, to make life a bit easier.  

Of course, milestones aren’t the only reason to give special gifts, there are plenty of reasons to give to the treasured people in your life, if even just to make them smile. Not to mention, when you’ve got a great gift to give, it’s exciting to wait for their reactions! So, don’t delay, have you got any important people in your life celebrating milestones soon? Or maybe you can just get ahead and start planning the types of special gifts you can give in the future. Happy gift giving!

Top holiday destinations for new parents *

As a new parent, you may find that you don’t always have time to enjoy time together as a family. So, when the holiday season comes around, you need to make the most of it! 
But which places are best for babies and toddlers? With the help of Babythingz — a leading UK supplier of cute cosytoes for prams and buggies — I have found some of the top child-friendly holiday destinations for you to choose from, as well as a selection of tips and hacks for travelling with your little humans 

The Algarve  
You can reach Portugal’s popular Algarve region in around two-and-a-half to three hours by plane. So, if you think your little one can handle the journey, treat yourself to a holiday abroad! 

As such a popular holiday destination for Brits, the Algarve region has plenty of child-friendly resorts, hotels and activities that will suit kids from newborn to toddler. There are lots of waterparks around the area featuring sections for babies, although we recommend choosing some of the calmer towns that may better suit your young family — such as Praia de Luz, Cascais and Alvor 

Cornwall  
The safest bet when it comes to child-friendly destinations is to stay within the UK to cut down your travelling times — beneficial if your little one is fussy or easily aggravated. So, how about Cornwall? The Cornish coast in south-west England has a pleasantly warm climate and is one of the country’s most beautiful, peaceful and exciting spots. 
Here, you’ll have a choice of relatively-secluded cottages to book, which is ideal for young families that have crying babies or playful and loud toddlers! Try to go for accommodation that offers you and your family space but is still within walking distance to activities to keep children entertained — like the beach. In Cornwall, you can visit Newquay Zoo and the Minack Theatre, which is based in Porthcurno and features comedy puppet shows for kids. 
  
Disneyland Paris  
Who doesn’t love Disney? Although this destination may be best suited to kids around three years old and over, all children will enjoy the colours, lights and characters of Disneyland Paris. Plus, you have a collection of great, family-friendly Disney hotels to stay in, which will make travelling to and from the park much less stressful!  I took Darcy for her 3rd birthday, and we stayed at the Sequioa Lodge which was lovely and opted for half board.
Like the Algarve, the capital city of France is only a short air journey away from the UK, which makes it a great holiday choice if you’re travelling with babies or excitable toddlers. At Disneyland Paris, you have a wide selection of shows, rides and attractions designed to captivate and entertain babies, toddlers and adults. Wander through Wonderland at Alice’s Curious Labyrinth, go up in the air on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, enjoy the bouncing Slinky Dog Zigzag Spin ride, or book to meet Mickey Mouse himself! 

Scottish west coast 
Similar to Cornwall, the Scottish coast is a stunning place to enjoy a holiday — although, it may offer a slightly cooler climate than Cornwall! Visit here, and you’ll have your choice of child-friendly hotels and quiet chalets to choose from.  
If you have an infant as well as older kids, the Scottish west coast is perfect. You don’t have to head abroad for beautiful beaches — the Scottish west coast is peppered with gorgeous coastlines. Head to Sanna Bay, which features white sand and turquoise water, or take a family cycling trip to take in the incredible landscape of Glencoe.  

Tenerife  
Trust your toddler on a long flight? Then try Tenerife. After a four to five-hour flight, you’ll land on one of the most popular islands in the Canaries and a place where there’s no time difference — no need to spend time and effort getting your little one adjusted to a normal sleeping pattern! 
Many hotels offer on-site childcare should you and your partner want to head out alone at some point, or you can all take a scenic walk up Mount Teide or give a few organised water sports a go. Tenerife has a fantastic climate for children as well — not too hot, little rain and practically no humidity, which will make sleeping easier.  

Tips on travelling with kids  
Even getting to and from the car can be a challenge when you have a baby or toddler in tow. So, what can you do to make travelling on holiday less of an ordeal? Here are a few tips:  
  • Give yourself plenty of time: if you’re late, you’ll stress yourself out and a fussy child will only add to the anxiety. So, start your holiday on a positive note by setting off early.  
  • Have plenty of toys on hand: from the car ride to the airport to the plane journey itself, make sure you pack your child’s essentials — toys and games. Preferably, opt for quiet games that are best suited for public transport.  
  • Think luggage: packing all the essentials for a baby or toddler can add a lot of extra weight to your luggage, so cut down where you can by opting for a lightweight buggy and travel-sized toys and sanitary products.  
  • Check your booking: make sure you verify that the hotel is child-friendly with plenty of amenities for kids. 
  • Comforts: don’t forget the little things that soothe your baby, like their favourite soft toy, blanket or even type of food. They may just help calm them down during long car rides.  
  • Be careful with baby food and milk: you can carry baby milk and baby food through airport security in containers over 100ml, so make sure you prepare this before setting off.  
  • Check in online: minimise the airport hassle by checking in over your laptop or phone prior to your day of travel.  
  • Discuss the journey: if this is the first time your child is taking a long-distance journey, make the event seem positive and exciting by chatting them through what will happen — this may make them less apprehensive, especially if you’re flying.  
Hopefully, this has inspired you to take that family holiday you’ve always wanted to go on this year! Bear the above tips in mind to help make the journey just as good as the destination, too.