-->

Animal Adventures - Half Term Fun at Chessington World of Adentures*

So it is half term and Darcy uttered those two words that all us parents hate "I'm bored" Unaware to her I have already planned to take her to Chessington World Of Adventures for their Animal Adventures week.


This year there is How to be a Zookeeper LIVE! — an interactive show where you can learn what it takes to become a Zoo Keeper and meet some of their amazing animals along the way!

Although a lot of the rides are not open, it is the perfect opportunity for younger thrill seekers to explore the resort. It is less busy so much easier to get around and the queues are much shorter. We did not have to queue any longer than 20 minutes and even better the tickets are only £15.




We got to pack in quite a lot during the day, including visiting the Sea life Centre, Zoo and Farm.  Darcy especially loved the Penguin Bay, and now wants one for Christmas....

There is actually a lot to do, so do not be put off by the lack of rides. Chessington also offers a Rainy Day Guarantee , when you book tickets on line for a specific visit date in the season, if it rains for one hour or more, they will guarantee you a free like for like return visit later in the year.


2019 is going to be a big year for Chessington with the launch of Room on the Broom - A Magical Adventure opening on 10th March. It’s another tie in with Julia Donaldson after their successful project on The Gruffalo River Ride Adventure in 2017.

As well as the new Room on the Broom – A Magical Journey attraction, there will be two Room on the Broom themed hotel rooms in the Chessington Safari Hotel. We are super excited to come back and lose ourselves in the magic!

Animal Adventures is running until the 24th February, so there is still plenty of time to plan a trip down to Chessington World of Adventures 

Are you planning a trip to Chessington World of Adventures soon? 


I am a Chessington Blogger Ambassador, I was given a Chessington Annual Pass to do this review with my family and I was not paid to do this post. If anyone would like to confirm any details in the post, please email press.office@chessington.co.uk

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter

So one of my favourite people in the world Marla, brought me tickets for Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter for my birthday/ Christmas present. She knows me so well. As I am north of London and we chose to drive. It was fairly easy to get to and has plenty of free parking.


I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed this tour, I had high expectations as I've wanted to visit the Harry Potter Studios for some time and I have to say they were exceeded. We visited on the last day of Hogwarts in the snow, all the sets were decorated for Christmas plus it was snowing.








Touring around the studio makes you realise how much effort the people have put in to make the magical world come true, It's just truly mesmerizing.The staffs were excellent and very knowledgeable, you can tell that they really enjoy working there!

I found it easy to walk around as a person with mobility issues. The only place I struggled was in the cobbled street where the shops are, it is very bumpy however manageable.

The sets, costumes,props, Hogwarts train were better than anything you can ever imagine, areas can get a little crowded but it’s expected. 



Of course I couldn't come to The Making Harry Potter and not try the Butterbeer. It was a little bit too sweet for my liking but refreshing, It's non alcoholic so children can have it too. My friends had the Butterbeer ice cream and both agreed that it was lush.


The Forbidden Forest is fantastic and The Hogwarts Castle at the end is simply breathtaking. The souvenir shop is a bit on the pricey side but that is to be expected!  

Harry Potter fan or not, I highly recommend you visit and lose yourself to the magic of Harry Potter.

How To Dress For Playing In The Snow | Cold Weather Dressing Tips*

 

Well, it looks like Winter is here to stay! and winter kids clothing is definitely a must. Unlike us adults, kids are more sensitive to change in temperature. The heat retention system of kids is not fully developed. Which makes it more difficult for them to adjust to the low temperature.

The struggle is real! Keeping kids warm while playing outside in the cold is a battle. Here's some quick tips to save your sanity and allow you all to play outside longer!

Layer up, base layer should ideally be wool, NOT cotton. Primark do really good thermal vests which wash well. After the base thin material long sleeves tops are good for laying up without being heavy. 

But, not too many layers, layering your kid with too much outerwear can actually make them colder. That’s because excess layers can cause your child to sweat, which makes their clothes wet, allowing the cold and wind to bring their temperature down

Cover the gaps, which are the wrists, ankles, neck and waist. Also long sleeve gloves are perfect as the fit over and under a coat. For the ankles long socks or tights are great for under trousers. 

Pick the correct footwear, wellies or snowboots with a deep, strong, rubber tread, are good for all types of snow, ice and slush.

And don't forget hats, gloves and scarfs, child’s head, face, ears, hands, and feet are most prone to cold exposure and frostbite.








When your sash windows look like they need repair*




If you live in London then youll be familiar with wooden sash windows.My Mum is lucky enough to have orginal sash windows however they are looking a little worse for wear and she is really hoping they dont need to be replaced. The quotes she has got have ranged from £300 per window to simply overhaul and draught proof them, (fixing the patches of rot was additional), all the way to a £3500 for a brand new double glazed hardwood sash window. 

We had mixed feedback from the companies I invited round, many suggested entirely replacing my original sash windows, its not worth the hassle of repairing and theyll most likely need to be repaired again in another five years time. Other companies quite rightly pointed out that wooden sash windows will always require maintenance and repair but have already lasted a hundred years and theres no reason they wont keep on going with a little TLC (a lick of paint every five years or so). 

Sash window repair seemed much more friendly and affordable 

This to me seemed logical, I didnt want her bias swayed by the fact its considerably cheaper and all companies that quoted were clear; sash window draught proofing has an extremely positive effect on the overall temperature. Thats good then because when its windy her sash windows rattle and cold air floods in, stopping me from ever building any kind of consistent temperature. This is also well documented by this government draught proofing factsheet. They mention draught proofing a window will save between £25-£35 per window.  

So assuming sash window repair is feasible as this London sash window company suggests, it seemed pretty obvious to me that restoration and draught proofing was a far more sensible option than entire replace. We have no reason to doubt them, their reviews online are outstanding. Not just because new hardwood double glazed sash windows are outrageously expensive, but also, it seems rather sympathetic to a building thats been standing a hundred years or more. 

So my Mum had the final quotes in, the average cost for sash window repair and draught proofing was around £500 per window, where entire replacement averaged £3000.00. This is pretty much the average price in London Im told. To my mind the only significant benefit of new double glazed sash windows would be the improved acoustic performance over single glazing. If the heat issue is resolved with draught proofing then it seems less of a concern. I know that she is not overly worried about the noise so much, this is my childhood home and we have put up with it for years. 

One London company offered an alternative solution which wasnt really appealing to me but worth a mention, they said they could install double glazing into the original frames. The cost for this process was around £1100 per sash window which seemed far more affordable than brand new double glazed sash windows but still, a lot of money and I dont think the reduced noise warrants the additional investment. 

It was quite a pleasant experience being quoted by all companies, they all operated in London. I know she will have the sash windows repaired, draught proofed, and then decorated in the summer. Now we just need to decide which sash window company to use. Its not always advisable to go with the cheapest quote, but the one you believe you felt most comfortable with and who will do an honest, quality job.

Winter Lights at Canary Wharf 2019




Over the weekend we headed down to Canary Wharf to have a look around the Winter Lights, I have heard so many good things in the past about it that I couldn't wait to see what was on offer.

For 2019 sustainability, recycling and the environment is a theme running through the works. Braving the cold, Darcy and I both loved wandering around Canary Wharf looking at the amazing light, music and interactive displays, proving that lights are not just for Christmas.

The Winter Lights Festival was lots of fun,and is perfect for all the family. We will be visiting again during the weekday rather than the weekend as it was super busy and we missed out on lots of the installations as we rang out of time.

Submergence

Submergence
Floating Islands

Floating Islands

Colour Moves

Prismatica

To visit, head to Canary Wharf from 5:00pm. The event is free and is on display until January 26, so you still have a few days to see it. Please be aware that some installations have flashing lights, and do not forget to wrap up warm!!

 

3 Alternative Oral Health Products For A Sparkling Smile*


It seems to that we live in a time where everyone is looking for natural alternatives to traditional household favourites.
We’re finally becoming aware that the planet’s resources are not ever-lasting, and it’s about time.
But the difficulty is discerning a decent alternative — do you have time during your weekly supermarket shop to sift through label ingredients and quiz staff over the provenance of products? Or can you dedicate a few hours in your busy schedule for researching information about sustainable manufacture and supply chains online?
The good news is that you don’t need to engage in any of those onerous activities whatsoever, because we’ve locked ourselves away for days preparing a hattrick of alternative health products which will bless you with a beautiful smile.
Get your chops round them right now and prepare to illuminate any room with a superbly sparkling smile.
Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Perk up your smile with natural toothpaste made from coconut oil from healthy superstore Kijani Living.
This product’s made with the most essential oils and guarantees that you have a wonderful white smile and fabulously fresh breath if used according to instructions — so slap it on before brushing for at least two minutes and remember to spit excess paste in the sink rather than rinsing your mouth — the residue left on your teeth can then work its protective magic for much longer.
Match it with a mouthwash featuring bamboo extract, chamomile extract, aloe vera juice and witch hazel water to ensure that your mouth feels soothed after brushing.
Natural mouthwashes don’t have harsh abrasives, yet still guarantee breath that’s as fresh as a mountain stream — brilliant!
Natural Facemasks
Using natural facemasks is a perfect way to ensure that your skin is in perfect condition.
And the Mega Greens Galaxy Pack from Glossier is like cleansing juice for your skin. Made with completely natural ingredients, it’ll clean your pores, calm your skin and refresh your face.
Key ingredients  include leafy green parsley and spinach to protect against environmental pollutants and Bitter orange a a super soft, exfoliant that helps balance the oils in your skin.
And the masks have been dermatologically and allergy tested, so they’re suitable for all skin types.
Bamboo Toothbrushes
We’ve been brushing our teeth in one form or another for thousands of years — it’s become such a part of part of the daily ritual that we don’t pay it much mind
However, the environmental impact of a generic plastic toothbrush is massive — it’s estimated that 3.6 billion toothbrushes are used a year and most of these end up in the sea.
So buying bamboo toothbrushes, which have much less of an environmental impact, is more beneficial to the planet.
These tend to be pricier than plastic varieties, but you can’t put a price on protecting our oceans.
That’s our list! Can you add your own alternative oral health products? Let us know in the comments section.

Bar + Block Review | Aldgate




Recently I was in charged of arranging where to go out for dinner and a girlie catch up with a friend and I knew straight away Bar + Block was the place to go.The new venue in Aldgate boasts an open kitchen, slick modern interior and is just a stone throw away from Aldgate East station on the Hammersmith & City line.



When we arrived we were greeted by a friendly staff member, before being shown to our table by our waiter who bought us some table water and a tub of popcorn. But this was not any popcorn, cooked in beef dripping and coated in beef flavouring.  It sounds a bit weird but trust me when I tell you that it works.




The drink menu is huge and were spoilt for choice, was we couldn't make up our minds. We were suggested the Salted Caramel Espresso Martini (7.99) a twist on the traditional recipe made with Salted Caramel Kahlua & Absolut Vodka, which was delicious and perfect to sip on whilst we checked out the starters.



Together we shared the Pulled beef tacos (4.95), which are new on the menu. Soft taco shells topped with pulled beef, beans with bacon, smashed avocado, tomato salsa, Cheddar cheese and coriander, and the Salt and Pepper Squid (6.50) mixed with chilli and garlic, served with lemon & garlic mayo and a wedge of lemon.



On my visit to the Kings Cross branch last year I was pescatarian, now that I am now flexitarian I knew that I wanted to try a meat dish this time. The Surf and Turf (23.95) caught my eye straight away, 8oz sirloin, topped with a lobster tail cooked in garlic butter over charcoal. The steaks at Bar + Block are aged for a minimum of 28 days and this makes the meat really tasty,the steak was medium rare as requested and was tender and melted in the mouth. I had the Creamed Sweetcorn (3.25) for a side which was rather moorish.




My friend opted for the Deconstructed Beef Wellington (28.95) which features a 10oz sliced fillet served on layers of puff pastry filled with garlic spinach and creamy truffle flavoured mushrooms, served with a rich Malbec sauce. She swapped the chunky chips for Halloumi fries which are new on the menu. I have to say I had major food envy after trying one. They are the best halloumi fries I have had to date, light, crispy and slightly salty.If you are a cheese lover you must order them, you will not be disappointed!




Did we have puddings? of course we did! For me Salted Toffee Apple Crumble, served with vanilla ice cream (5.95) – another new menu item – for my friend they recommended the Chocolate Churros Sundae (5.95) which is churros coated in cinnamon sugar, served with vanilla ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, brownie chunks, cream and chocolate toffee sauce. The Churros are normally served inside the mason jar, however my friend asked for them to be served on the side.



We ended the night with a Instagram worthy Unicorn Juice (7.99) which was almost too cute to drink, rainbow layers of strawberry purée, passion fruit and pineapple juice, Bacardi Superior Rum and a blue curaçao drizzle, topped with a candy unicorn! and a classic rum and coke.


As well as great food, we received fantastic service from Rais who looked after us for the entire evening.  He was attentive but not overly and gave us some recommendations when we couldn’t decide what to have from the menu. Everyone I saw served by him had massive smiles on their faces and I even caught him doing the floss with some kids. He is a credit to Bar + Block.

As well as dinner, the restaurant also serves breakfast, brunch and lunch opening from 6.30am till late 7 days per week.

Have you heard of Bar + Block before? check out their menu and let me know what catches your eye.

We were provided with a complimentary meal in exchange for this review but all thoughts and opinions are our own.