Our April

Our April

I’ve recently seen a few people do the month in review Blog Posts and I love the idea. It’s so nice to have a record & see all the things you have got up to. All the little days out get forgotten so it’s lovely to look back on.

We started the month with Easter Sunday, we had dinner at my Mum & Dad’s and a park trip to burn off the millions of eggs Finn had ate.

We then had an amazing swimming lesson from Finn, which was a big turning point. He was really nervous and held onto his teacher when he first started but this was the point he slowly began to make progress and gain confidence m.

We had a trip to Bents Garden Centre in Warrington which Finn loved, there’s a fab park & a lovely cafe.

I then ended up in hospital for 2 nights with tonsillitis, I think though I was really run down. I’d been working loads & doing a lot of late nights & early starts. Luckily a few days later we went on our Amazing holiday to Costa Teguise in Lanzarote. We stayed at the HD Beach resort which you can read about here.

When we come home we met my Mum & Dad in Chorlton & went for food & a play in the park.

Another day another park visit, followed by Finn’s favourite coffee & cake.

We went to Messy Mallie’s which is about 20 minutes away from us in Buckley. It was brilliant and Finn loved painting his own money box.

After the Easter holidays we were entitled to more hours at nursery. I was sad in one way as Finn stared doing more days so we lost a day in the week together. It’s meant though that I’ve gone from doing 4/5 late nights a week to 1/2. I’ve loved the little things like us having tea together as a family & doing bath, story & bed time.

Finn’s first go at Crazy Golf, followed by a Wagamama’s.

A visit to Little Al’s Urban farm in Eastham. We love it here.

Yet more amazing swimming from Finn, he’s managing to swim now with just the woggle & not holding on to his teacher.

Finally a zoo trip, we are members of Chester Zoo so we go all the time. This time Finn played in the sand & water for over an hour.

Disneyland Paris, the best rides, attractions & shows for a 3 year old

Disneyland Paris, the best rides, attractions & shows for a 3 year old

Finn was about 27 months the first time we went to Disneyland and turned 3 the second time we were there. These are the main rides, attractions & shows he loved & were the most suitable for his age.

Alice’s Curious Labyrinth- We all loved this where you work your way around Alice’s labyrinth to get to the Queen of heart castle. The view from the top around the park are amazing.

Buzz Lightyear Laser Blast- Finn’s a big toy story fan so this was one of his favourites. The queues can get quite big so we went in this using a fast pass and during extra magic hours.

Cars quatre rallye- Finn loved the cars theming of this one, I get quite travel sick so sat this one out. Queues were normally about 10/15 minutes.

Casey Jr. – this is a lovely little train ride, It was really quiet whenever we went on this.

Disneyland Railroad- We loved this, we went all the way round the park on it and you get some really good views. You can also use it to get to the different areas of the park. It always seemed to be really busy even in quiet times but we went on first thing one morning and the queues weren’t as big.

Dumbo- Finn loved flying round on the elephant, the queues never seemed to be really big for this.

It’s a small world- My favourite, even though you end up stuck with the tune in your head for days. The queues were never massive but if you stand near here to watch the parade you get a good view for that & can then walk pretty much on it’s a small world.

Le Carrousel de Lancelot- a traditional merry-go- round, Finn really enjoyed this and there was rarely a big queue.

Flying carpets over Agrabah- this was in the Studio’s you fly on a magic carpet on an Aladdin themed rides. It can get busy.

Mad Hatter’s tea cups- this was another of Finn’s favourites, the cup of tea ride he called it. This was another quiet ride.

Orbitron- Here you can ride in a rocket, the queues for this one always seem longer than they say so be prepared to wait but Finn loved it.

Peter Pan’s flight – this is a lovely ride but can get really busy. We got fast passes for this which I’d definitely recommend doing.

Pirates of the Caribbean – I was really nervous about this one as I though Finn would be scared but apart from a few drops it was quite gentle & we all loved it. We were quite lucky to just walk on this a few times.

Ratatouille- this was another favourite of ours, it gets busy but you can get fast pass. There is WiFi in the studios so we used the Disneyland app to check wait times and managed to just walk onto this one day.

Slinky Dog- Finn loved this being a toy story fan and we managed to just walk on it quite a few times. I suffer with motion sickness and this did make me feel a bit sick.

Thunder Mesa riverboat Landing- I loved this boat ride & definitely recommend you go on this. It’s a lovely little ride round which you don’t expect & has loads of little things to look at.

Toy soldiers parachute drop- I thought this would be really scary but we all loved it, you also get a fab but quick view of the castle! It can get busy.

Moteurs Action Stunt Show- This was a massive hit, Finn’s face when lightening came out was one of the highlights of our trip.

Mickey and the Magician- This is a lovely show and definitely worth going to if it’s on, true Disney magic.

Mickey presents Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris- a fab show located on the stage near the castle. Finn loved all the Characters and them all waving.

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Erddig Wrexham

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Erddig Wrexham

We recently joined the National trust hoping to have lots of family days out. We are quite lucky that we are within an hour of some amazing National trust properties. We are also planning some U.K. breaks this year so it will be handy to take our cards with us incase there is any properties close by.

I joined by Direct Debit so pay £10 a month for a family membership, I like this option to spread the cost & knowing we can always have a free/cheap day out.

Over the Easter Weekend we decided to do the Cadbury’s Egg Hunt at Erddig in Wrexham. This is the first time we have visited and we loved it. We were with friends so had a few children in the group so just stayed in the ground. The gardens are beautiful with loads of trees, flowers & a lake. The kids loved running around and it was all really safe for them.

Our favourite bit was there 2.5 Hectare natural play area the Wolf’s Den. It was brilliant and I reckon we spent a good hour in there, we could have been there longer as well if we didn’t want to finish the egg hunt. There’s den building, loads of stepping stones, a wooden play shop, a rope swing & plenty more. They run activities in here throughout the year like tree climbing & den building so we will definitely be back to try some of these.

We didn’t get a chance to try any of the cafe facilities (except for a coffee, which was a good strong coffee) but we will definitely be trying these next time we are back as they looked really good.

We all really enjoyed the Easter egg hunt, we were given a map and had to follow the trail looking for signs of Spring. At the end they kids were all given a full size Cadbury’s egg.

We really enjoyed our visit to Erddig and will definitely be back soon to make the most of our membership.

Belfast

Belfast

We recently visited Belfast for 2 nights & fell in love with the city, everyone we spoke to was so positive and inspiring about the troubles. It was amazing to see the City’s regeneration. Here’s a few of the places we visited & my tips for exploring Belfast.

Airport Bus

We got the 300a from Belfast International airport into the City Centre. It was then about a 5 minute walk to our hotel. This was the most cost effective way I found of getting into the city centre at £10.50 each return. It took around 30 minutes.

Bullitt Hotel

We stayed at the Bullitt, which I found on Lonely Planet as one of their top picks. I fell in love with this hotel straight away with its cool & quirky decor and super friendly staff. From the minute we checked in the staff were so friendly and gave us the best tips for the area and offered to book trips for us.

We stayed in a Dinky room, which was Dinky but perfect as we were hardly in the room. The bed was so comfy & there was a big rainfall shower and a mini fridge so everything you need for a few nights away. Bullitt provide you with a bag to hang on your door each evening with your preferred time for your breakfast in the morning, they then filled it with granola & yogurt, fresh orange & a piece of fruit.

We also had a bigger breakfast one morning in the Bullitt lobby , I had Eggs Benedict & Stu had the Meaty One Brioche. Both were really tasty & the price was reasonable.

Bullitt has its own roof top bar Babel, where we had drinks one evening. The views were amazing but as it was freezing the outside area was shut. It would be even better in the summer.

Bullitt Lobby Breakfast Bullitt

St George’s market

As soon as we arrived we headed to St George’s market for lunch. There was an amazing choice of food stalls and we decided on paella & patatas bravas which were both lovely. It was the day after St Patrick’s day and the atmosphere was brilliant with a trad band playing. Definitely visit if you are there over the weekend.

Black Taxi Tour

Without a doubt the tour we did with ‘Taxi Tour Belfast’ was the highlight of the trip for both of us. We were picked up by Joe from our hotel in his Mercedes mini bus and spent a fascinating few hours going round the political murals of Belfast. Joe was so intelligent and gave us a first hand insight into the troubles and told us what it was like for him growing up in Belfast at the height of the troubles. We visited the international peace wall, falls road & Shankill Road areas. He was so knowledgeable and answered all of our questions, I think we both went with our own pre conceived idea of what happened but left with a totally different insight. We both said it was honestly one of the most interesting things we have ever done and I think if you’re heading to Belfast you should definitely put this on your list.

Crumlin Road Gaol

We visited the Crumlin Road Gaol using a discount voucher we got with Booking.com and really enjoyed our visit. It was really interesting to get an insight into how the prison used to be run & life as an inmate. Our guide was really informative and answered all of our questions.

Hop on Hop off open top Bus

On our last day we decided to do the hop on hop off bus as there was still quite a few places we wanted to see. We had another voucher through booking.com so we got it at a discount. We got off at the titanic museum, Stormont (which is well worth a look round for the beautiful views) & the crown liquor saloon. It was nice to get an overall view of the city & the guides were all really friendly and knowledgeable about the city.

Victoria Square Dome

As we got off the bus the tour guide suggested we go to the Victoria Square Dome for views around Belfast. It was free and you go up to the top floor for 360 degree views around Belfast. There was signs pointing out all the landmarks.

Mourne Seafood Bar

I found Mourne as it was highly rated on trip advisor and we wasn’t disappointed. We both had mussels and were really impressed they were so tasty & fresh. We also had sides of champ & truffle fries and really enjoyed the meal.

Chubby cherub

On our second night we visited the Chubby Cherub, we are off the Date night menu which was 2 courses and 2 glasses of wine for £29.95. We had the bruschetta & crostini to start and Meatball Linguini & herb gnocchi for main. We loved the food & the quirky cosy style of the restaurant.

Bars

We visited a few bars both on friends recommendation and ones I found on Lonely planet. Here’s a few we loved.

Crown Liquor Saloon – this pub is a national trust property and dates back to 1885. It was really interesting to see all the old style features & we had a nice lunch in there.

The Dirty Onion- in the cathedral quarter with live music most nights.

Cathedral Quarter – this was right near our hotel and there was loads of really cool bars, definitely start your night out in this area.

Duke of York- this the coolest little pub & the Murals surrounding it are well worth a look at.

Muriel’s cafe bar – Muriel’s was a few doors down from our hotel & had the best gin menu! The atmosphere was brilliant on the Sunday.

John Hewitt- a traditional pub & owned by the man who made Jawbox gin, so definitely worth a try while you’re in there.

Love & Death inc- this had good happy hour & good cocktails.

The Spaniard- a really cool rum bar, it was packed even on a Monday night.

Birthday trip to London 

Birthday trip to London 

We’ve just returned from 2 days (child free) in London to celebrate my birthday so I thought I’d share my favourite places we visited. 

Hotel Indigo Tower Hill 

We stayed at The Hotel Indigo about 5 minutes walk from The Tower of London and a few minutes from Aldgate Tube Station. I wanted to be close to the City/ Southbank area and this was in a good location. We got a good deal with it being a Sunday and were really lucky to get an upgrade, the views were amazing. The room was fairly big with a super comfy bed, amazing  rainfall shower and even a complimentary mini bar with Water, soft drinks & cereal bars (especially appreciated after sampling the Gin bars around Bermondsey the evening before). 

I’d definitely recommend this hotel for exploring this area of London and hopefully we will be able to return soon.

View from our room
View from our room
Hotel Room


Maltby Street Market 

The first place we headed to was Maltby Street Market in Bermondsey. This is a street food market with a few bars that let you eat your food at their tables if you are having a drink there. We loved it! There was such a wide variety of food and a great atmosphere. We had an amazing burrito, Gyozo from ‘ the Gyozo Guys’ & sampled some Gins from Jensen and Little Bird Gin both of which I loved. If you love street food Maltby Street is definitely one to put on your list. 

Maltby Street Market
The Gyozo Guys
Little Bird Gin
Little Bird Gin

José Tapas Bar  

On Saturday evening we went to José tapas bar on Bermondsey Street. We love tapas so I’d researched the tapas bars in the area and I wasn’t disappointed. Every dish we tried was extremely tasty & Fresh. We had the Croquetas Caseras, Mussels ,Mixed Cheese with quince & Jamón Ibérico. The portions were quite big so we found this plenty. Along with the food, two glasses of Rioja and two beers the bill come to £56 (including service charge) which was really good considering we both agreed it was some of the best tapas we’ve had both here and in Spain. It’s quite small and you can’t book so be prepared to wait but it’s definitely worth it. 

José Tapas Bar
José Tapas Bar
José Tapas Bar
José Tapas Bar
214 Bermondsey

After our Tapas we went to 214 Bermondsey, on Bermondsey Street a few minutes from José. As part of their Sunday Social offer they have a gin flight for £11 (usually £18). I’m a recent convert to gin so loved the idea of tasting different gins and guessing the different flavours in each.We had the Orient Express, you are given 3 different gins (Colombo, Ophir and Star of Bombay) and Bermondsey tonic water without being told which is which. The answers are in an envelope to be opened once you have made your guesses. It was a fun way to taste the different drinks. The staff were really knowledgable and friendly and their was a really good choice of drinks. 

214 Bermondsey

The Breakfast Club 

On Monday morning we headed to The  Breakfast Club on Southwark Street, near London Bridge. We visited 2 of their other restaurants when were in London last time so definitely wanted to try this one. There was a big queue even on a Monday morning, it was definitely worth the wait though and shows how good the food is. I had the Huevos Al Benny with Home style potatoes & Stu The full Monty, we were both really impressed. It was Definitely needed after sampling the gins the evening before. 

The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club
The Breakfast Club

Borough Market 

We visited on a Monday so Borough wasn’t fully open but what we did see we loved. There was a street food market with lots of different stalls, but we visited just after breakfast. Next time we go to London we will make sure we visit when everything is open as the range and quality of stalls is amazing. 

Borough Market
Borough Market

Monmouth Coffee 

I’m a coffee lover and quite a few people recommend Monmouth to me, I loved their coffee and the range is so wide. We went for the blend of the day and really enjoyed it. Well worth a visit if you are a coffee fan. 

Monmouth Coffee

Tate Modern

We then headed along the Southbank to the Tate to check out their new viewing terrace on the top floor or the Blavatnik building.The views across London are amazing I’d definitely say it’s must visit. It’s free to enter the Tate but their is donation points around the building. 

Tate Modern Viewing Terrace
Tate Modern Viewing Terrace
Tate Modern Viewing Terrace
Tate Modern Viewing Terrace

Sky Garden

We went to the Sky Garden twice we were that impressed by it. Once at our pre booked slot of 3pm (book a week in advance) and once in the evening where you can just walk up. Although booking for a table in the evening needs to be done in advance so I’d recommend checking out the website for the best advice on how far in advance to book. There are also restaurants that are bookable. The views are incredible and we were lucky enough to see sunset which was amazing, we then went back a few hours later to see London at night. The bar was expensive a glass of prosecco & a pint was around £16 but I think the views more than make up for this and it’s worth it as a treat. You obviously don’t have to buy any food or drink while you are there but it was a lovely way to toast my birthday. 

Sunset at Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sunset at Sky Garden
Sunset at Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sky Garden
Sky Garden at Night
Sky Garden
Sky Garden

Pizza Union

We wanted something quick for tea before our train home and after a quick look on trip advisor decided on the Spitalfields branch of Pizza Union. We loved the Pizza and it was extremely good value at around £21 for 2 12 inch pizzas, a Nutella dough ring dessert & a large Peroni. The ingredients were really fresh & both pizzas were full of flavour. The service was extremely quick as well. Definitely worth a visit if you fancy a pizza and are close by. 

Pizza Union
Pizza Union

The Enchantment of Chester Zoo 

The Enchantment of Chester Zoo 

In the run up to Halloween Chester Zoo staged a special event ‘The Enchantment of Chester Zoo’ as members we were able to attend this event for free. 

The Zoo had been cast under the spell of an evil sorcerer and it was our job to help save it. The event started with an introduction by various characters to explain what had happened and how we could save the zoo. This was brilliant and so interactive. 

We had to visit 3 animals the tarantulas, aardvarks and the bats learning a fact at each animal in order to receive some potion. At the end all the potion was added to a big cauldron and we received a certificate to thank us for saving the zoo. 

Finn really enjoyed the day, even though he didn’t fully understand the tasks he loved all the characters and it was an opportunity for us to visit animals we wouldn’t normally go to. 

The Autumn & early winter (as well as spring) are definitely my favourite times to visit the zoo as it is quieter and looks beautiful with the changing seasons. I’d definitely recommend a visit at this time of year if you can. 

Mattel Play, Liverpool 

Mattel Play, Liverpool 

We love Mattel Play, in Liverpool. We visited a few weeks ago for the second time and Finn had a brilliant time. 


It’s located on the Albert Dock and has Thomas the Tank, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam themed play areas. We booked online and entry cost £19 for the 3 of us. Each session lasts 2 hours. 


Finn’s favourite is Thomas, there’s a ball pool, a pedal operated train, large models of the engines & plenty of other activities. He loved this section and was so excited to see the characters. 


We even got to meet Fireman Sam, he came out onto the stage area and danced to the theme tune. The children could then have their photo taken with him. Finn ran straight to the front. 


Bob the builder is ideal for older children as it has more activities they can get involved in like drawing, mega blocks and hand operated diggers. Finn still really enjoyed this section though. 


Fireman Sam is the last area you come to. This has a slide, a replica shop, a fireman’s pole, a model boat & fire engine. Finn loved sitting in the fire engine and pretending to drive. 


We spent about an hour and a half there but would have happily spent the full 2 hours if Finn wasn’t tired. We visited each section twice. It is definitely excellent value for money and we will be regular visitors. 

In the Night Garden Live

In the Night Garden Live

We had an amazing day at In the Night Garden Live at the Trafford Centre. Finn was so excited as soon as we got in the Showdome, As there is projections on the ceiling of the Ninky Nonk. It ran really smoothly getting to your seats and there was a countdown to the show. The seating is  steps with plenty of room so he could move around. 


The show was brilliant and it was lovely to see how excited all the children got as the charachters came onto the stage. 


We bought Finn an Iggle Piggle teddy and a balloon which came to £17.50 expensive but probably about the same as similar attractions. 

​I’d definitely recommend booking the meet the character experience Finn loved meeting Iggle Piggle. You choose one character and the time slot  is in order of who booked first. We booked last minute so had about an hours wait. You get a text with a link  so  you can track how long is left. 

I’d definitely recomend for any In the Night Garden fans, we had a lovely day. ​

Our Favourite Days Out 

Our Favourite Days Out 

We are very lucky as close to us in Chester, we have a lot of days out and activities suitable for toddlers. These are the current places  we love to visit. 

Chester Zoo 

We live about 10 minutes away from the Zoo and are annual pass holders, we love it. We are lucky as we can pop in for an hour or 2 or spend the day there. The recent addition of Island’s means there’s lots more to discover as well. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you haven’t been. 


Chester City Centre 

I never really thought of the city centre as child friendly until I had Finn, but there’s plenty to do with kids. We like to go to the Wesley Centre which is a church with a café and a play area for children and toddlers. We also love Grosvenor Park and will have a picnic there if the weather is nice. Finn then loves to go on the swings and  we walk down to the river and feed the ducks. 


Greenacres Animal Park 

This is a lovely farm located about 15 minutes away from us. It has a petting area which Finn loves he has bottle fed a baby goat and petted a snake, owl, rabbit and a skunk. There are plenty of animals to see, a play park and a soft play area. 


Soft Play 

We love soft play centres on a rainy day. Finn is a typical toddler with plenty of energy so when we can’t get out I take him to a  play centre so he can burn some energy. He loves the slides and ball pools. There are quite a few choices near us and they often do free days in term time. 


Cheshire Ice Cream Farm 

The Ice Cream farm is another attraction we are lucky to live about 15 minutes drive from. I have done a full review of the Ice Cream farm  Here. There’s a soft play, a park, a farm, a sand and water play, mini golf, go carts and plenty more. Not to mention the Ice Cream. I’d definitely recommend a visit if you are in the area.