Wednesday 29 April 2015
We had been to Thomas Land at Drayton Manor in Tamworth for Finley's 2nd Birthday and he absolutely loved it! When my friend, who has a little boy the same age as Finley, mentioned that they were doing toddler and adult days which were £20 I jumped at the chance. We both had a free Friday coming up and my Mum was off work so she could look after Noah. There was no way I could go to Thomas Land with both boys on my own. It was in the diary and I was very excited about my day with my eldest as we don't get that much time just us. Finley told everyone we saw that he was going to Thomas Land. He has since his 2nd Birthday got even more obsessed with Thomas the Tank and has a million and one Thomas trains, the tracks and other Thomas related toys.
Friday came and we were both so excited. My Mum & Nan turned up and Noah had his new car carrier, he was engrossed as he is into his cars at the minute, and off we set with our friends Kerri & Harry. The journey was to take about 2 hours which with two 3 year olds that don't tend to sleep at 9 in the morning it was going to be testing. It wasn't too bad but they did spend the whole journey either asking 'are we there yet?' or eating all the snacks we had packed for the day!
We were all dressed for summer and some how when we reached Drayton Manor the clouds had appeared and we were looking very out of place in our shorts, t-shirts and no coats! Luckily being the mummy that I am I had packed some extra warm clothes for Finley but not myself. I was set to freeze but was planning on keeping my coffee cup well topped up. As the toddler days aren't pre book there were queues which weren't too bad and we had our tickets and were in the park within 20 minutes. Well the boys faces as they saw the Thomas Land sign & the Sir Topham Hatt statue was amazing and so worth the travel.
Amazed at the Topham Hatt statue
Since the last time I had been there, there had been an expansion which had only opened the week before. Which included a few new rides and the Sodor Airport which housed the café.
Jeremy Jet's and the new Sodor Airport
The first ride we went on was Flynn the fire engine which you stand in a cage or sit in this fire truck. Finley and I stood in the cage and it went up and down as the ride went round in a circle. As you go up and down you can press a button which squirts water into the windows of a building that is on fire. Probably not the best ride to go on first as it got us a little bit wet! But so much fun.
Mesmerised waiting for Flynn
From here Kerri and myself needed some warming up so we got ourselves a coffee and got into the next ride queue. The queues for the rides weren't too bad and the maximum I think we waited on any of them was about 30 minutes. The next ride we went on was Captain's Sea Adventure. This is where you sit in Captain and he goes round in a circle then the boat also goes round. For someone that gets travel sick not the best of rides but Finley loved it. This was another wet ride where you can shoot other riders and people in the queue with water guns, lots of fun for 3 year olds.
It was now about lunchtime and people were beginning to go off for lunch which meant a lot of the rides didn't have queues. And as the boys have stuffed their faces with treats and snacks in the car we took this opportunity to hop on some rides.
We went on Jeremy Jet's Flying Academy, which Kerri couldn't go on as she's pregnant, so I got to be a passenger while the boys flew the plane. Just as the ride was ending I realised there was a button so we could determine how high and low the plane went! I remember doing this the last time we were there. But the boys still had a blast on it thinking they were actually flying a plane.
Next it was onto the Blue Mountain Engine ride where we could all go in the same train so Kerri and myself relaxed in the back for a minute while the boys enjoyed driving the train.
From here we were all rather hungry so we headed into the Sodor Airport café. We had decided to treat the boys to lunch rather than lug food around and to my surprise the meals weren't very expensive. While the boys enjoyed their lunch we got a few minutes peace before it was onto more rides.
Once we were all full of food and drink we went into the original part of Thomas Land and saw that Sodor Classic Cars was quiet so hopped on one of these. We went in separate cars so the boys could each pretend to drive their own cars. This is a very chilled ride and you get a photo taken half way round. We weren't prepared for the photo so we didn't purchase the photo. We did get our own though.
From here the boys had seen Winston's Whistle Stop Tours, which takes you on a monorail above the park so you can see everything. The queuing area is inside so I got some time to warm up. The boys again thought the ride was amazing as they were so up high and could see the rides they had already been on.
View from Winston's Whistle Stop Tours
As you can tell by now there was no stopping between rides and the boys just wanted to hop on them all, one after the other. Next was Bertie Bus which you sit in Bertie Bus and he takes you round and round in circles, forwards and backwards. This was another ride Kerri couldn't go on so I took the boys on this. As it started I wasn't too sure if I was going to have two crying boys on my hands but to my surprise they loved it. Every time the bus went up and round their faces were plastered with a huge smile!
And if Bertie wasn't a crazy enough ride the boys liked the look of Diesel's Locomotive Mayhem. Now this ride the boys weren't all too keen on and it showed in their faces. The Diesel's go around and nearly bump into each other and is quite fast. The boys did well not to cry but I think the next ride needed to be an easy slow ride.
Luckily just around the corner was Lady's Carousel. After having a ride on this it was straight to Harold's Helicopter Tours. We didn't have to wait at all for this and were straight on. This was another great ride to see the whole park and the boys thought they were flying Harold so were pretty pleased with themselves.
Dotted around Harold were some train models. Finley had a photo with Rosie and the boys got to have a photo with Gordon. I thought it was Thomas but I was corrected by Finley that I was indeed wrong lol.
We had now done all the rides that the boys could go on so we headed over to the track to jump on Thomas, Rosie and Percy Engine Tours. While waiting Thomas pulled up and turned around. The boys were in owe of him. It was so lovely to see as to them this was ACTUALLY Thomas.
We got to go on Rosie who took us to the other side of the park where we got to walk around Discover Thomas Exhibition and then onto Spencer's Outdoor Adventure Play.
The Discover Thomas Exhibition
The boys got some time to run around the play area for half an hour when we realised the time. It was 4'o'clock and we couldn't believe where the time had gone.
We hopped back onto Rosie again and went to the shop where the boys got to both choose a toy. This took a while but Finley decided on a Thomas Balloon, a Thomas name mat and a Bertie Bus window transfer. It was now 4.45pm so we grabbed the boys a couple of sausage rolls before heading back to the car park. As it was closing time we had a little wait getting out onto the road but once we hit the road the boys were asleep within minutes. We got home about 8 and after some time telling Daddy what he had done and a quick bath, Finley was tucked up in bed fast asleep and I'm sure dreaming of Thomas and his Friends.
Finley had a great day and so did I. It was lovely spending some time with Finley as he is growing up so fast but I did miss my little dude who I had heard had had a great day with Granny. I couldn't wait to give them both a big squeeze in the morning.
*This is not a review*
Tuesday 28 April 2015
When I was asked by Baker Days if I would like to review one of their cakes I honestly couldn't say no! I love cake so this was pretty perfect for me. All I had to do was look on their website and chose and design. How easy was this to get cake lol!
So I popped over to their website to choose my design. Well this took me a little longer than I thought it would as they have so many great designs ranging from Birthday cakes and Anniversary cakes to Sorry cakes and New Home cakes. You name it and they have a cake for it.
And within each of these categories there are so many designs to chose from. You can even send them a photo and they will put it on the cake for you. After browsing their website for a good half hour drooling over their cakes, I decided on a lovely bright cake covered in a flower print with a gift tag in the middle of the cake. The product code is 953 for anyone that would like this cake.
I sent my cake request to Baker Days with my address and I had a reply that I would received my cake very soon. Well within 2 days my cake came through the post in a letterbox sized white box (the name of the cake is a give away really) I hadn't thought about how the cake was going to be packaged as I hadn't really looked into that I was just excited about the cake! I opened up the box and there was the most gorgeous tin enclosing my cake along side some love hearts!
And also I hadn't stated what I wanted on the gift tag in the middle of the cake so the fact they personalised it with my blog name made it really special. And it smelt delicious!! It had a wrapper over it that you just needed to pull off once you had taken the cake out of the tin.
The love hearts were a lovely addition to the cake. And there was also a lovely little card.
I was very intrigued to see if the cake was in one piece. As we all know the post isn't the delicately of handled things! I popped the tin open and it had been packaged so well that it was in one piece! Perfect!
Once the cake was out the tin we obviously had to try it. So we popped the kettle on and made a cup of tea as you can't have cake without tea!
The cake was one layer of sponge. The cake was secured to the cardboard bottom my buttercream which I have to say was pretty delicious (I scrapped the remainder off with a spoon!) The sponge was a good size layer of sponge but the cake is obviously small as it needs to fit through the letter box. But it was just big enough for the whole idea of a letterbox celebration cake.
The cake was just perfect for the 4 of us. And the sponge was so soft. I had thought that the sponge may have been dry but I was totally wrong. It had the perfect cake consistency. And the icing was very tasty! The boys also loved the cake.
I can't finish without mentioning the tin that the cake came in. It will be great to use again for biscuits and cookies. It has very slight air holes around the edge of the lid which obviously helped keep it fresh while in transit. It has a lovey design on it also. It adds just that little something special to the cake.
This really is just the most perfect idea of sending someone a personalised little gift for a birthday, anniversary or to just say Hi!
You can win one of these gorgeous and scrummy cakes by just entering my competition below. The winner will receive A Letterbox Cake in any design that you would like from Baker Days website. You will have to be in the UK as they post their cakes out with Royal Mail.
All you have to do to enter is follow the instructions in the competition box below and I will announce the winner once the competition has closed next Wednesday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Click here to follow Baker Days on Facebook and Twitter.
Monday 20 April 2015
When you first find out that your pregnant your full of excitement but there is also a little bit of nervousness until you see your little bean on the screen at your first scan. Then you have all the excitement of telling people and then the growing bump. This was one of my favourite things about pregnancy and I was so proud of my bump - not so much all the water retention that came with it though!
This is the only full body photos I have when
pregnant with Finley - I look nothing like me!
Between the 12 weeks scan and the 20 week scan you start to plan what you are going to buy and if you are going to find out if your having a girl or boy. Then after this there's all the buying of baby equipment and decorating of the nursery.
We found out the sex and as soon as we knew we were having a boy it was onto planning his nursery. I couldn't wait to start decorating and filling it with baby things as this made it all so real! It was their own little space, even if they weren't going to be sleeping in it for a few months.
We started to think of themes. For a boy I think it was a little harder as if we were to be having a girl I would have gone for the whole pink with butterflies theme. I did so much research for different boy themes and also for different stickers. Neither me nor my husband are very good at art so we decided to go for stickers rather than trying to paint things. As I researched I found and fell in love with the Fisher Price Rainforest collection. And in the collection were some wall stickers. They were quite pricey at around £70 so I continued to search for other zoo/rainforest wall stickers but I kept coming back to the Fisher Price ones. I had fallen in love with them and I really wanted them for our little bundle. So I twisted Mark's (my now husband) arm until he gave in!
They arrived and they were so worth the money. I think more so now as our youngest is now in that room with still the same décor and stickers 4 years on.
We then started to think about how to paint the walls. I just thought to do half blue (the sky) and half green (the grass) and put the stickers over. We picked the paint and one weekend I went out for the day with my Mum so Mark could start the painting. The room is very small and I think I would have just got in the way.
What I came back to was AMAZING! He hadn't done the simple half and half but he had created rolling hills all the way around the room.
I cried of course.
The hormones didn't help but I was so happy and so proud. He had created a room fit for our little monkey! When the paint had dried properly, we put up the cot so we would know where to put the stickers. Then a few days later we popped on the stickers. They were so easy to put up. And they were even better on the wall.
We were now all ready for the arrival of the bump who was to become Finley!
Sunday 19 April 2015
In our house it's hard to find something that the whole family likes and will actually eat, especially when its home cooking. Sometimes I end up cooking 4 different meals on a night and there is only 4 of us in the family! So tonight I thought I would try something we haven't had before - Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti.
When I did the food shop last week I picked up some meatballs from Aldi. Their meat is always fab so I was hoping these would be too as we have never had them before. And with spaghetti and a homemade tomato sauce they were a huge hit so I thought I would share with you.
Onions (I used Sainsbury's frozen onions)
Knorr Beef Stock Pot
Tin of chopped tomatoes
For the sauce
1 tablespoon of Tomato Puree
Sprinkle of Mixed Herbs
Sprinkle of Paprika
Sprinkle of Ground Garlic
Couple of Splashes of Worcester Sauce
Salt and Pepper to taste
I'm sorry the ingredient amounts are very vague as I tend to throw in anything I have in my cupboard!
Start by putting a saucepan of cold water on the hob and bring to the boil ready for the spaghetti.
Then in another saucepan throw in your tin of chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, mixed herbs, paprika, ground garlic and Worcester sauce and bring it to the boil. Then turn down the heat and stir occasionally for about 20 minutes.
While this is cooking in a frying pan heat up some oil and fry your onions and mushrooms. Once they are soft throw in the meatballs.
Every now and then keep turning the meatballs so that they brown all over. Once they are brown add in the beef stock pot. Stir until the onions, mushrooms and meatballs are coated in the stock.
Once the water is boiling add in the spaghetti, enough for 4 people. Again I wing this and just throw as much in as I think! That is probably why I have so much left over which I then make a pasta salad out of.
After about 20 minutes, taste the tomato sauce and add in some salt and pepper. Then add the tomato sauce to the meatballs and stir. Let this simmer for about 5/10 minutes until the spaghetti is ready.
Once it is all cooked dish up and your ready to eat. This is such an easy dish to just throw together and one that all the family (mine did) will love!
Sorry about the final photo as I was so hungry I started to eat and forgot to take a picture! And the boys ate with their tops off as this type of meal is a messy one as they normally end up eating with their hands. And I am just so glad they are eating that I carry on and let them!