Autumn at Alexandra Palace

alexandra palace autumn 2014Andy and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been parents on every one of our wedding anniversaries, for the 1st one Seren was just over a week old, for the 2nd one we did manage to escape both to London for lunch and for a night away to the Suffolk / Essex borders where we had got married and for the 3rd one we had a day at the Harry Potter Studio Tour whilst I desperately tried not to be sick through ‘morning’ sickness. This year we celebrated with a family day out to kick through autumn leaves in the park at Alexandra Palace. We were planning to head down to Highgate Woods but were having car problems and decided that the most hassle-free public transport option with the girls was to get the train to Aexandra Palace. The Palace (known affectionally as Ally Pally) was built in the late 19th century as a centre for recreation and entertainment, it became home to the BBC in the 1930s. There is still a BBC presence there today as well as an ice rink, exhibition hall and pub. Sadly, 40% of the building is in disrepair though a regeneration programme is in the planning.

We’ve been a few times before with Seren, primarily to go to the softplay place in the park there, Little Dinosaurs. As softplay places go, it’s pretty good though always very busy. Anyway, we managed to avoid it on this trip due to some sneaky parental behaviour but don’t judge us too harshly, we did do some other fun stuff.

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En route from the train station up the hill to palace we found a couple of tree trunks to clamber on. Seren said that they were “steep” whilst she was climbing over one of them, her language skills seem to be going through another noticeable explosive phase. We went round to the back of the palace to the playground and watched some college students filming themselves rapping and dancing before playing.

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After that we were getting hungry, so dragged Seren out of the park to walk over to Muswell Hill for lunch. We walked back round the front of the Palace and took in the views and looked up at the BBC mast. You can just about make out the shadowy City of London in the photo below.

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We went to Giraffe for lunch, I think it’s a pretty good compromise between somewhere that is child friendly but serves decent food (and cocktails!). I had the veggie Heuvos Rancheros along with a green smoothie and both were excellent.

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We walked back to the park avoiding the aforementioned Little Dinosaurs, popped into garden centre and picked up conkers along the way.

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Before heading to see the deer.

alexandra palace autumn 2014 alexandra palace autumn 2014 alexandra palace autumn 2014Then making our way back to the train station to beat the commuter rush.

www.alexandrapalace.com

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Ideas for a Pre-Schooler Halloween Party

Are you holding a Halloween party this year? Seren has invited a couple of friends round for a Halloween get together. I think we’ll keep it fairly fun and on the lighter side of Halloween with witches, bats, cats, spiders and pumpkins. I’ve been searching for party inspiration and in my fantasy pre-schooler Halloween party we would:

Halloween-Invites | Little Star And Me

Cut out bat (1. tutorial from All You) or pumpkin (2. tutorial from Martha Stewart) shapes to make cute invitations. Or order these invites online (3 and 4 from Not on the High Street). Or go with a halfway (haunted) house option by getting some templates to download from Etsy (5 and 6). I’m loving the stripey tights look this Halloween!

Halloween-Decorations | Little Star And Me

Decorate the house with sparkly cats (1. from Sainsbury’s) and spiders (2. from Tesco) and hang these stripey tights Welcome and Boo signs on the door (3. from ASDA and 6. from Matalan). We would blow up a few balloons (4. from Waitrose) to play with or perhaps even grab this fun Spooky Boots party pack to keep things simple (7. from Party Pieces). If we had time to spare we could cut out our own bat decorations and make a little haunted street (5. tutorial from MADE).

Halloween-Costumes | Little Star And Me

Dress up of course! Baby Imogen could wear this cute bat print onesie (1. from Marks and Spencer) or I could spend a bit more on this cat face sleep suit (2. from John Lewis) which she could easily wear after Halloween. If she was a bit older then a toddler spider costume (3. from ASDA) would be really creepy! Seren would want something girly with at least a touch of pink so this witch’s costume (4. from Tesco) would be ideal. For less girly guests then skeleton glow in the dark pyjamas (5. from Tesco) which could be worn afterwards could be a good idea. Or I could match the sisters in cat outfits with Seren in this fabulous dress (6. from Not on the High Street). Mummy would need to get in on the act too perhaps with a little witch’s hat fascinator (7. from ASDA). We would pick up a face paint set with our grocery shopping (8. this one is from Ocado but most of the supermarkets have them) and follow these tutorials (9. tutorials from Tesco) to paint some little faces.

Halloween-Activities | LS&Me

Kick things off gently with these colouring in templates (1. downloaded from Tesco). Or make biscuits using these pumpkin shaped cutters (2. from Not on the High Street) and this yummy recipe. We could up the mess factor with Halloween inspired sensory bug slime spaghetti play (3. from The Imagination Tree).

When all the guests have arrived we would move onto party games. Netmums has a great list of game suggestions which lend a spooky side to old-fashioned favourites such as What’s The Time Mrs Witch?, Pin the Tail on the Cat and Pass the Pumpkin.

Halloween-Eats | LS&MeWork up an appetite it’s time for party tea! I would try to avoid too much sugar early on so offer some goulish savoury options first such as veggies with a dip served in a scooped out pumpkin or squash (1. recipe from The NapTime Reviewer) and bandage style pizza (2. recipe from Green Plate Rule) and sausage rolls (3. recipe from Aldi). We would then follow up with jack-o-lantern orange jelly (4. recipe from Tesco) and spider cakes (5. recipe from Sainsbury’s).

Have a disco to round things off. We would dance to Michael Jackson’s Thriller, the classic Monster Mash and theme tunes from Ghostbusters and The Adams Family.

Trick or Treat | LS&MeBefore having our own little Trick or Treat fun and grabbing a bag of treats to take home. These personalised bags (1. from Not on the High Street) are adorable or how about a Halloween twist on the traditional stripey sweetie bag (2. from Not on the High Street)? I’m really taken with this novelty treat bowl (3. from Tesco)! There’s a huge variety of Halloween treats at the supermarkets such as Chocolate Pumpkins (5. from Waitrose via Ocado) or a Maoam Halloween Mix (6. from Ocado). Or for special little tricksters, lollies with glow sticks (4. from Not on the High Street).

If you are on Pinterest then check out my Halloween board for more ideas.

Happy Halloween! 

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Vitalise Women of the Year Event

women-of-the-year-awardsI’ve never really spoken about my work-life-world here, mainly because this is a space to talk about my mumma-life-world and and also I’ve been on maternity leave for the last 6 months anyway. But sometimes worlds collide and last Friday I got to step back into work mode when I attended the Vitalise Women of the Year Lunch & Awards at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham. I was invited by my boss who was up for the Business Woman of the Year award (and won, hurrah) and it was great to catch up with her and some of my colleagues (and absolutely wonderful to have 4 hours of solo travel to read and drink coffee).

women-of-the-year-awards women-of-the-year-awardsThe lunch (which kicked off at 10am with a shopping event and ended at around 5pm so the term ‘luncheon’ really does not do it justice) is an annual charity event to celebrate women’s achievements. This year’s supported charities were Vitalise (who provide respite care for disabled people and their carers), Alzheimer’s Research UK and Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer. Two awards are presented, the Business Woman of the Year award I already mentioned and a Woman of Achievement accolade which was awarded to Claire Lomas. Claire is a former event rider who was paralysed in a riding accident 7 years ago. Since then she has undertaken significant challenges – such as completing the London Marathon using a robotic suit – to raise awareness and fundraise for Spinal Research. She has also got married and had her daughter Maisie. Her biggest challenge is to be able to walk again and I was impressed at her positivity towards achieving this goal. The video showing Claire’s journey and her acceptance speech on stage brought a tear to my eye, she is powerful example of strength and courage over adversity.

women-of-the-year-awardsThe whole event was empowering and I felt inspired as a business woman and mum to two girls who will hopefully grow up to feel like the world is theirs for the taking and that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to. The speaker programme was of a high calibre. We heard from Dawn Elson, Head of Engineering at Gatwick Airport, who is committed to encouraging girls to take Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths subjects at school, Baroness Debbie Stedman-Scott, CEO of employment charity Tomorrow’s People and Lord Digby Jones, patron of Ladies Fighting Breast Cancer.

Lord Jones laid down three actions for the audience (which was 99% female by the way) to achieve over the next year:

  1. To engage in, and encourage other women to engage in, the democratic process, specifically the upcoming General Election
  2. To go into schools and inspire teenage girls to pursue their career goals
  3. To give a helping hand or sympathetic shoulder to any woman we know or meet who is suffering or being held back due to problems such as domestic violence or FGM

I, along with the rest of the audience, committed to do these things so watch this space!

The day was the longest I had spent away from Imogen and, of course, I felt a bit wobbly about that but she was absolutely fine. The hotel kindly provided a room I could express milk during the event. Andy took the day off work to look after the girls and they all had fun, messing about in the garden and making biscuits.

www.womenoftheyear.org.uk

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Sisters | October 2014

sisters-october-2014After nervously preparing Seren for Imogen’s arrival, it’s been wonderful to watch the special relationship between these sisters develop. I spent some time yesterday with both girls cuddled on my lap and Seren telling me that Imogen was her darling. There have been a couple of blips, principally in the early days when Seren was prone to new sibling induced tantrums but these have calmed down lately.

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As soon as Seren gets up in the morning, she wants to see Imogen and ‘coochee coo’ at her. Imogen repays her with beaming smiles. If Imogen is crying then Seren will tell me to pick her up and give her milk. She will say to Imogen “it’s OK baby Imogen, your mummy is here”. Imogen saves her best smiles for her sister and I’m sure the reason she rolled over so early is that she is super keen to catch up with big sis. She’s trying to crawl now when she’s on her tummy, head raised, arms and legs flailing and making very frustrated noises.

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Seren is mostly a little too enthusiastic with her cuddles and we tell her over and over to be gentle. The one person that doesn’t grumble is Imogen, who shows no distress at being dived on by Seren. During a long car journey recently Imogen was crying and Andy and I were trying to soothe her from the front seats with no luck. As soon as Seren started to coochee coo and sing to her, the crying stopped. They share a special bond that we aren’t part of and I’m excited to see how it develops.

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The Poppy Line | North Norfolk Railway

the-poppy-line-holt-to-sheringham-north-norfolk-railwayBefore we started the journey home we decided to take the trip on the North Norfolk Railway (known as the Poppy Line as it winds through fields of poppies) that we hadn’t been able to a few days earlier.  After we had packed up our car and said goodbye to Cate at Barnhouse Cottages, we set off to the western terminus of the railway at Holt. The station is a mile away from the town itself and is a good place to start out on your train adventure, as it has its own car park (£1 donation), a little museum, miniature railway (seasonal) and cafe to keep you busy whilst you wait for your train.

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The day we travelled, the timetable alternated between steam and diesel trains. We were hoping to travel on the steam train and luckily the next train to leave Holt was the iconic Mayflower steam locomotive built in 1948.

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Before we boarded the Mayflower, we popped into the museum which is run by enthusiastic volunteers and tells the story of both the railway and of William Marriott who built the railway in 1887 and ran it until 1924. There was a children’s quiz to do but Seren was a bit too young for that. I found the exhibits interesting though and enjoyed looking at the railway memorabilia.

the-poppy-line-holt-to-sheringham-north-norfolk-railway the-poppy-line-holt-to-sheringham-north-norfolk-railway the-poppy-line-holt-to-sheringham-north-norfolk-railwayThe journey from Holt to the eastern terminus at Sheringham takes around 25 minutes and we stayed in our seats to do a return trip (well apart from the toddler needing a dash to the toilet at Sheringham). During the journey Seren enjoyed looking out of the window at the coastal countryside and seeing the sea appear as well as drawing trains and aeroplanes on her mini drawing board. Imogen enjoyed people watching and playing with a mini windmill. As well as the ticket inspector, a friendly railway volunteer comes around to chat to the passengers during the journey.

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Back at Holt, we drove into the town to find somewhere for lunch. Byfords was much recommended by Barnhouse Cottages. We weren’t sure exactly where it was (you realise how reliant you are on 3G phone connection and Google maps when you don’t have it!) so when Andy sat on a wall to feed Imogen, Seren and I went off to look for Byfords. We were gone a while so Andy wandered off to find us, cue a comedy of missed meetings down the various alleyways of the Georgian town. When I told Seren we had lost daddy, she replied with “Oh but I liked daddy!”. We found him eventually and Byfords too.

byfords in holt

Byfords is a cosy cafe, deli and hotel situated in the town’s oldest building. Apparently Kate and Camilla visit there when in this part of the world. Despite not being royalty, we were well looked after, the service was attentive and the food pretty good too. I opted for kedgeree (tasty, but I’d give the poached egg on top of it 5 out of 10), Andy had a pasty and salad and Seren choose a pizza from the kids’ menu. The pizza was huge, she ate about a quarter of it and we took the rest of it with us for the journey home.  Seren was absolutely thrilled with the pizza box, “is this for me? I can take it home?” she said then carried it (somewhat precariously) all the way to the car.

A windy day at West Runton
Cromer, North Norfolk
Day on the beach at Sheringham, North Norfolk
Barnhouse Holiday Cottages, Norfolk

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A windy day at West Runton

West RuntonOn our last full day in Norfolk we went to West Runton for another beach day. The village of West Runton is a bit more off the beaten track than Sheringham or Cromer. I think it might be my favourite beach out of the three we visited, it was quieter and backed by a cliffside as opposed to an artificial sea wall.

West Runton

The weather was colder and greyer than earlier in the week but it would take a lot more than a chill in the air to put a nearly three year old off of a beach visit. We parked at the beach’s car park then stopped at the beach cafe (the only shop / cafe serving the beach) to stock up on essential pink fishing nets, sandcastle flags, balls and coffee for mummy.

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We had brought a picnic with us so had an uninterrupted few hours of rock pooling, paddling, sandcastle building and playing with the ball before lunch then more of the same beach activities. Other beach goers were wrapped up in fleeces and walking boots whilst Seren donned her swimming costume (at her own request). The wind had brought out kites and a hang glider and we enjoyed watching them and waving at the hang glider.

West Runton West Runton West Runton West Runton West Runton West RuntonWe saw a little fishing boat come in and a trailer tow it across the beach.

West Runton West Runton

By mid afternoon I had a wind induced headache so we packed up and went to the cafe again for more coffee. We took a table next to the fish tank, home to Harry the Hermit.

west-runton West RuntonAs we got back to car, an older couple getting in to the car next to us spotted our buckets and spades and said they had wondered who on earth would be making sandcastles in that weather. Our nearly three year old of course.

Cromer, North Norfolk
Day on the beach at Sheringham, North Norfolk
Barnhouse Holiday Cottages, Norfolk

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Cromer, North Norfolk

cromercromerFor our second full day we headed to Cromer. Cromer is an old fashioned seaside town complete with a nostalgic inducing Grade II listed pier and a decent stretch of beach. We parked in a ‘stay all day’ type car park right opposite the beach so we didn’t really get to see anything of the town itself. The pier is home to the Pavilion Theatre which offers a mix of variety shows and tribute acts. It’s also a popular spot for crabbing in the summer months.

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No such excitement for us though, we walked down to the end of the pier to look at the sea and back to the shore. I showed Seren that she could see the waves through the boards but she didn’t seem too concerned (my sister always thought she might somehow fall through the cracks). The sun was shining and after the obligatory pier photo we sat down for a coffee or ice-cream.

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Then we settled on the beach for more paddling and sandcastle building. Cromer beach has more pebbles than the beach at Sheringham so Andy or I had to carry Seren over the pebbles to get to the smoother sand by the edge of sea. Seren and I spent quite a while running in and out of the waves!

cromer

Having worked up an appetite it was time to find somewhere for lunch. Coming off the pier earlier the aroma of fish and chips from No1 Cromer enticed us to investigate further. It was a wise decision, the restaurant is owned by Norfolk-born renowned chef Galton Blackiston and takes pride in offering locally sourced produce, including potatoes grown on their own farm. The food was indeed very good, we found the service to be friendly too and were pleased with the presence of baby-changing facilities. Not long after we were seated, Seren was given a sea themed colouring sheet and crayons to keep her busy while we chose what to eat. Andy and I decided on traditional cod, chips and mushy peas whilst Seren went for cod bites. The kids’ meals are all served in a bucket and spade which you get to take home – a really lovely touch!

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After ice-cream, which Imogen looked longingly at, it was time to head back to the car and back to our cottage.

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Seren totally crashed out when we got back allowing us to have some quality time with the small one.

Day on the beach at Sheringham, North Norfolk
Barnhouse Holiday Cottages, Norfolk

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Day on the beach at Sheringham, North Norfolk

sheringhamAfter a late start due Imogen being up in the night, we enjoyed the coffee, juice and eggs that had been left in our Welcome Pack for breakfast. We then decided to head to the nearest beach which was a couple of miles away at the seaside town of Sheringham.

Sheringham SheringhamWe parked up in carpark behind the high street, loaded up the buggy with the girls and many, many, many necessary items for a few hours out and headed off to find the beach. We stopped at the first touristy shop we came across to buy a bright pink bucket and spade. Seren wanted to come in with me to pay the lady behind the counter herself. “I’m going to build a sandcastle” she proudly declared. ‘You’ll have to find some sand first” replied one of the other customers. I panicked thinking I’d brought us all to a shingle or pebble beach that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun for a two year old. “Hold on let me work out the tide times for you” said the lady behind the counter as she picked up a timetable of the North Sea’s comings and goings. Phew, we were in the right place after all and the fact that the tide was only just going out made me feel better about our late start.

SheringhamBy the time we arrived on the beach at around 11am we were the first people down there. We found some rocks to base ourselves on, I sat to feed Imogen whilst Andy and Seren raced off to paddle in the sea followed by the aforementioned sandcastle building. Andy takes this really seriously and fortunately Seren has tamed the destructive tendencies she had on our last beach holiday. Though it was cloudy, it was warm enough for swimming costumes. The clouds betrayed how hot the sun actually was and we didn’t put on enough sun cream.

Sheringham Sheringham SheringhamAfter a couple of hours we went in search of lunch and found the much recommended Funky Mackerel cafe for coffee, pizza, fishcakes, a famous flapjack and a sneaky 5 minutes of Wifi.

Funky Mackerel Cafe SheringhamWe decided to catch a steam train to Holt and back again on the Poppy Line (officially known as the North Norfolk Railway) but Seren was most upset when we didn’t turn towards the beach again. Andy and I looked at each other, shrugged and and agreed to go back to the beach for more paddling and sand construction.

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After another few hours we headed back to our cottage via Sainsbury’s for provisions and Boots for After Sun cream (bad mother!).

Barnhouse Holiday Cottages, Norfolk

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Barnhouse Holiday Cottages, Norfolk

barnhouse holiday cottagesIn the middle of September we had a lovely four day break in North Norfolk. A sort of continuation of Andy’s 40th celebrations and if it hadn’t been for that then I’m not sure we would have got away this year. I certainly didn’t relish the prospect of travelling with such a young baby and with me being on maternity leave again, our holiday budget is pretty much non-existent. But we found a reasonably priced mid-week break at Barnhouse Holiday Cottages via Baby-Friendly Boltholes and I’m so pleased we took the trip.

If you haven’t come across them before, Baby-Friendly Boltholes is a UK-based travel website bringing together an array of child friendly holiday accommodation in the UK and abroad. The properties they offer not only provide suitable sleeping arrangements for families but go the extra mile providing necessary yet difficult to pack baby equipment such as sterilisers and high chairs and helpful bits like toys and books too. Now we’ve got two car seats in the back of our car, we needed to travel as lightly as possible!

During my search for a suitable place, I homed in on Norfolk as I’d never been before and it was a reasonable drive from north London. The three Barnhouse Holiday Cottages in East Beckham are owned and managed by the Partridge family who live in the Barn House next door. Cate and Fergus and their four kids escaped from London five years ago to start a new life in rural Norfolk. So they certainly understand the needs of a family with young children on holiday and the list of items they provide is pretty exhaustive! Though not all of the items listed were provided in our cottage by default so if there is anything you couldn’t live without then I’d double-check before arriving.

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The couple gave us a friendly welcome, both in person and with a cute hand made welcome card. They had called us just as after we had set off as the double Phil & Teds buggy that came with the cottage wasn’t working properly. They offered us their Bugaboo Chameleon instead which worked out better for Imogen I think and we were able to pop back home for our Bugaboo buggy board for Seren. They gave us a bottle of Prosecco and some chocolate to say thank you! On top of the usual wine, biscuits, bread, butter, eggs and milk that they leave for guests.

barnhouse holiday cottages

Seren was absolutely thrilled to find a Peppa Pig DVD in the cottage! And enjoyed playing with the toys, particularly the building blocks and a little farm set. We were able to encourage her to go and find something to play with when she woke up in the mornings.

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The kitchen is well equipped with cleaning products, child friendly plates, cups etc and baking equipment to make cakes or biscuits on rainy days. We tended to eat our main meal out at lunch time (hmmm fish and chips!) and ate cheese on toast type things for tea. We stocked up on provisions at Sainsbury’s in Sheringham on our second day.

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We stayed in the one bedroom Salthouse Cottage, which kept the costs down for us I think. We had no problem sharing with the kids as Imogen is still in our room anyway (a travel cot was provided) and I was sure Seren would frequently end up in our bed what with being in a strange place. We did play musical beds a couple of times during the week. Imogen didn’t seem to settle well at first and would be wide awake at 3am, not hungry or upset just wide awake. Seren then woke around 6.30am – until we realised that the remote control on the bedside table was to close the blinds in the Velux windows and she slept for a bit longer!

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There is a small courtyard garden outside of the cottage, shared with the cottage next door and each cottage has a little table and there’s a BBQ to use as well. And twinkly fairy lights that come on the evening! Just off the courtyard is the family’s own garden which you are welcome to use. Seren had a lot of fun exploring that and climbing up to the treehouse with my help.

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We were lucky with the weather and managed to get to the beach each full day of our stay and had a sunny trip on the Poppy Line steam railway the day we left. I’m going to write about our adventures over the next couple of days so check back tomorrow for more!

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Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park

Peppa Pig World

A couple of Sundays ago we took the girls to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park as a birthday treat for Seren. We managed to keep it a surprise for her until we got there too! The night before I packed her Peppa Pig bag with some of her Peppa Pig toys and a Peppa Pig magazine for the journey (and trying to limit shopping demands!). We put the girls in the car at 7am in their pyjamas all cosy under blankets thinking they might go back to sleep. Imogen did (hurrah), Seren didn’t but enjoyed reading and playing with her Peppa Pig things. By 8.30am we arrived at Winchester services for a car picnic breakfast and a much-needed coffee for mummy.

Peppa-Pig-WorldPeppa Pig World opened at 10am but by the time we arrived in the car park at Paultons Park at 9.30am it was pretty busy already! We had bought our tickets the day before which was a little bit cheaper. Children under 1 metre high in shoes get in for free but my tall girl is 99cm without shoes on so we had to pay for her. We entered the park then got in the queue for Peppa Pig World next to the flamingoes (which is the back way, there are two entrances and that one was a bit quieter).

Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride

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Once in the park, Andy and Seren went straight into the queue for Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride whilst I sat down and fed Imogen. They didn’t get on the ride until 10.30am which worried me, such a long queue for first thing in the morning, what would the rest of the day be like? However, they had got to the front of the queue when Seren needed to go to the toilet. The ride attendant let them back in at the front when they got back though. As you would expect, the toilets are very child friendly, with little seats set inside the grown up ones and small sinks too.

Anyway, Andy and Seren enjoyed the ride and got a good view of the rest of the park.

A Note on the Queues 

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The big downside of the day for me was the length of the queues. Though I guess that is what you get for going on a very sunny Sunday! There were things that could be addressed to speed things up; two cars were out of action on Peppa’s Big Balloon Ride, there was only one attendant working on some rides so they had to get people both off and on and there was no attempt to get people to car share. Andy and I took it in turns to take Seren on the rides so there was only two of us in a car that sat four or five. We would’ve been happy to car share if it meant speeding up the queue though I guess not everyone would want to. That said, Seren didn’t mind queuing too much and she was kept amused with magazines, stickers, taking photos, people watching, ride watching and looking at the displays. We alternated rides with the play areas and lunch or snacks.

Grandpa Pig’s Boat Trip 

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Next it was my turn for a ride! Seren and I went on Grandpa Pig’s Boat Ride. This was a short queue of about 10 minutes. Lots of splashy fun and Seren didn’t want to get off.

Daddy Pig’s Car Ride

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The longest queue of the day, just over half an hour at 11.30am for this popular ride. Perhaps the wait was due to Mr Bull digging up the road! After the initial disappointment of not being in the pink car, Seren enjoyed this ride and loved being in the driving seat whilst I sat in the back.

Peppa’s House 

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Next we had a break from the rides and popped in on the Pig family just as they were making pancakes for breakfast. Seren was mesmerised watching them move and speak.

Mr Potato’s Playground, Muddy Puddles & Lunch
Then it was Mr Potato’s Playground for a run around for half an hour. No buggies are allowed in the playground and Imogen was asleep so I walked round with her. Then Andy and I swapped and I changed Seren into her swimming costume for the Muddy Puddles splash pad area! This was one of Seren’s highlights, she kept running over to me giggling saying “I’m SOAKING wet mummy”.

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I absolutely couldn’t get her to leave and she also seemed to be fully aware that if she sat under a fountain I couldn’t come and pick her up! So Andy and Imogen (and the buggy, we “sneaked” it in, sorry) came to join us and we sat down on a picnic table to eat our lunch. I’d stocked up on Peppa Pig branded jelly and biscuits to include in Seren’s lunch and brought her Peppa Pig bowl and cup from home.

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Windy Castle 

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After lunch we were ready for another ride and Seren and I got in the 20 minute queue for Windy Castle. This is a another ride that goes high up I and I didn’t like it at first! Trying not to betray my fear I asked Seren if she found it scary. She replied saying she didn’t, she is braver than me.

George’s Dinosaur Adventure 

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Next it was daddy’s turn again to go on a ride, so Seren and him joined the long queue for George’s Dinosaur Adventure. I think this was the second longest wait of the day at around 30 minutes and I took myself off round to the back of the ride to wait for a photo opportunity. The ride is on the edge of Peppa Pig World and I went over to see the meerkats and ducks in Paulton’s Park. This was a much quieter experience than the hustle and bright coloured bustle of Peppa Pig World. After their ride they joined me on a picnic table and we all had drinks, snacks and mingled with the ducks (who liked the grapes). Imogen woke up and was in a happy mood.

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Grandpa Pig’s Little Train
By this time (around 3.45pm) the park was emptying out and we all joined a short queue for Grandpa Pig’s Little Train. Imogen’s first ride!

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Meeting Peppa and George
Next up we went to the School House for the 4pm meet and greet with George and Peppa. We had briefly seen them earlier and managed to shake hands with Peppa but it was super busy and I thought if we came back at 4pm it might be quieter – it wasn’t. It didn’t matter though, daddy and Seren were patient, and got to shake hands with George and Peppa.  The characters were very good at saying hello to everyone and stayed around for a good 20 minutes. This was a real highlight for Seren! I stayed in the background with Imogen in the sling (she prefers alternating between that and her buggy if out all day). It would have been good to see more of the gang too, I think Candy Cat and Suzy Sheep make seasonal appearances.

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Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter Flight 

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By this time we were all flagging. There was one last ride to go on and we gave Seren the choice of queuing for that or going back to the play area or trying the soft play. She wanted to go on the ride so off she went with daddy whilst I got a yummy strawberry milkshake from Daddy Pig’s Tummy Cafe.

George’s Spaceship Playzone

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Our daddy was super jealous of my milkshake so we headed back to the cafe to get one for him too. Seren saw George’s Spaceship Playzone next door and ran in. It was just before 5pm when the park is supposed to close but we got a good 20 minutes of play and nobody chucked us out. Seren loved the long slide and Imogen went into the baby area for her first soft play experience and got to have a bit of a stretch and roll around.

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Then it was time to say goodbye and set off on the long car journey home. Which was awful! Seren was fine and mostly slept but Imogen would NOT settle, the traffic was terrible and I spend 3 hours leaning into the back of the car so she could suck and hold my fingers.

We had a great day though, we will definitely go back again when Imogen is old enough to enjoy it too. I would look at staying over next time and getting a two-day ticket as we didn’t really see any of Paultons Park and that looks like fun too.

Peppa Pig World 
Peppa Pig World
Paultons Park, Ower Nr Romsey, The New Forest, Hampshire, SO51 6AL
The park opens every day from the end of March to the beginning of October then is open for weekends and school holidays during winter though closes completely in January. 

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