Cineworld

Going to the cinema is expensive, isn’t it? Well at Cineworld, it’s not. At weekends, they have Movies for Juniors. The films are recent, but not quite the latest releases. Perfect for my two. £1.50 per ticket, (adult and child), and it’s only £1.35 if you are a member.

There are loads of films on over the summer, I have a couple already in my wish list!

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The other biggest expense is food at the cinema. Cineworld sell a Munchbox, which is great value at £2. (£3.25 with all other films). They are more than enough, and my two will often share their popcorn with me. But never their Capri Sun, and certainly not their magic stars!

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Find your local Cineworld here

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Egmont Books – Happy Street

I am a bit of a bookworm, and it’s a love that I hope to pass on to my children. And when we received two books from the Happy Street range, we all fell in love with them.

We started with the Cafe book. It looks like an ordinary children’s story book, and follows a lovely interactive story about a cafe. The 4 year old is desperate to learn to read, so the lovely word labels inside were really helpful for her. When you get to the end of the book, it opens out in to a play scene. One section is perforated, and contains some little characters to build. This is not at all fiddly, and really easy to do.

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When it’s built, the play scene is surprisingly sturdy. And the characters are well designed, even the backs of them are not blank!

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After they had played with the cafe for a while, I broke out the Toy Shop. Exactly the same format, and it meant that they had one each to play with.

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Now, unfortunately for me, the 4 year old is not daft. It has not escaped her attention that the range contains a supermarket and pet shop too. And I have to admit that the four of them lined up together would look pretty cool. And she has already started adding her own toys in to the mix, these books make a great backdrop for any story.

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The 3 year old has asked if Father Christmas can bring the other two books, but I am not sure I can wait that long!

We really enjoyed these books, and they kept the kids entertained for hours. And then the next morning, these books were the first thing they both reached for. I think they would be ideal for travel too. Just a small book to fit in their travel bag, but they open up in to a whole world of play. I wish I had some of these for our recent 9 hour flight to Florida, they would have entertained them quietly for ages!

Happy Street Books

Go Kids Soft Play

There are two reasons why I love Go Kids soft play. The coffee and the wifi. There are hundreds of reasons why this is the kids favourite soft play!

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This week, they joined forces with 2 other 3 year old boys and took over the baby area. They are never allowed in, as it’s normally full of 1 year olds. But this week they seized the opportunity. It’s a lovely big area with lots of soft building blocks, and baby activities. Perfect for 4 year olds 😉

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And then we have the toddler area. Aimed at up to 4s, it’s also great when you are 34. I don’t tend to go in this bit with them anymore, but when they were 1 and 3, I would often be found in the ball pool. There is a brilliant chute that sucks the balls up in to a net, and a rope that releases the balls back, often taking people by surprise. It has a lovely little wavy slide, and a high up tunnel that makes a perfect lookout.

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Then we have the junior area for up to 12s. We only ever visit term time, weekdays, so my 4 year old is often the oldest child in there. It has a 6m drop slide, but this is always sealed off when we are there with littlies. The 4 lane wavy slide has fond memories for me. When I was 2 days overdue with the 3 year old, I hauled my fat bum down this slide over and over, hoping to entice him out. I am surprised I never got stuck climbing through to get to the slide! I think it worked though, as he appeared the next evening.

Anyway, this area is massive. Absolutely tons of space for them to run about and have fun. But the seating is positioned so that you still get a good view.

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As well as the junior area, there is also a sports section and a quad bike section. Both are firm favourites with my two.

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A couple of years ago, we held my 4 year olds second birthday party here, and really enjoyed it. There are a few different types of party to choose from, and the staff are great at hosting!

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As you might see on the above leaflet, Go Kids also hosts baby and toddler classes, but we haven’t tried any of them. Baby sensory, sing and sign, Caterpillar music and Bumps & Beyond. I have seen some of these held in the sensory room, almost enough to tempt me in to having another baby!

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Also, starting Tuesday 3rd July, the first Tuesday in every month is a monthly event for kids with disabilities and their carers. 6-8pm. I have seen this being promoted on Facebook, definitely worth passing on the info if you can!

Chester Zoo

It’s been a glorious week this week, and where better to spend some time than Chester Zoo? We actually have annual passes for the zoo, so we visit often, spending just a few hours there each visit. They have over 11,000 animals in 110 acres, which is a lot when you are only 3 and 4.

As we have our tickets already, we just go straight to the turnstiles. If you purchase your tickets online, you also get Fast Track Entry, and if you purchase 7 days in advance you get 10% off ticket prices. So definitely worth checking out their website in advance.

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So of these 11,000 animals, in our 3 hour visit, we probably saw about a third of them. There are loads of different animals though, and it would take forever to list them all. But I do like taking photos.

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Our favourite though, has to be the butterfly house. You can watch the butterflies close up as they feast on bananas and citrus fruit. And if you are lucky enough, they will even land on you! They also have the Puparium, a glass fronted case where butterflies and moths emerge from their pupae.

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Do I sound like I know what I am talking about? I don’t. I have absolutely no idea. Although I can tell you what a warthog is, unlike the couple in their thirties who thought it was a bear. Anyway, you needn’t worry about knowing things, as Chester Zoo is really educational. They have lots of signs around the animals, and lots of interactive things for the kids to get involved with. Last week we saw a tiger skin and tiger skull that the kids could touch.

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Lots of things are aimed at smaller children as well, like viewing points at the right height.

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Or a playground to let off some steam.

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There are plenty of picnic tables around the zoo, you will never struggle to find a spot to sit down. Or Junes Pavillion has a couple of different counters selling various foods. The pizza there is delicious. We actually sat outside on this trip, and were accosted by some ducks looking for sandwiches. One to avoid if your 3 year old is afraid of the ducks. (Really)

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Relatively new to Chester Zoo is the option to order a picnic. You can either pre order, or it can be bought on the day. We had already eaten, but I had a look and the food looked delicious. Even for a fussy vegetarian like me. Next to the picnic food is an ice cream parlour that sells the most amazing ice cream. I had a blue slush, but I sneaked some of the 3 year olds “bubblegump” ice cream and he nearly never got it back.

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Something that is on my to do list is the Waterbus. £2 for adults and £1.50 for children age 3-15. A 15 minute trip through the canals, it looks tremendous fun. Maybe next time!

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We do make us of the monorail though. With two littlies, it’s great for giving their little legs a rest. Again, £2 for adults and £1.50 for children age 3-15. But at least you get somewhere with the monorail unlike the loop of the Waterbus! Very handy for getting back to the exit when you finish your day by the lions!

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CBeebies Land Review

As a Mum to a 3 and 4 year old, CBeebies has seen us through some long days. So when Alton Towers announced they were giving a makeover to an old, dated section of their theme park, it couldn’t come soon enough. The kids actually loved this section before, the rides were good. But they were in desperate need of a refresh.

CBeebies Land opened on 24th May, smack bang at the start of half term. And when your children haven’t started school yet, you avoid places like this like the plague. As soon as the bigger kids were back, we loaded the picnic in to the car, and off we went.

CBeebies Land itself is actually inside the park, so your ticket will get you in to CBeebies Land itself, and the rest of the theme park. There are a few other attractions for preschoolers, so don’t limit yourself to just this Land. Sharkbait Reef by Sea Life is a fairly recent addition, and a firm favourite with my two.

The entrance to CBeebies Land is just a short walk from the entrance. In fact, it couldn’t have been designed better with little legs in mind.

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When we first arrived, the queues were around 20 minutes. By lunchtime, they were around 30. As we left, they were around 20 again. Which is not bad considering it has only been open a week.

Moving on to the rides (because that’s all you are interested in, right?)

The In The Night Garden ride was first on my 4 year olds list. And it seemed we weren’t the only ones. The queue was the longest of them all, but it actually didn’t feel too bad. There are little activities to keep the little ones entertained along the way, and they are always looking out for the next activity. Although the section by the giant xylophone was not particularly enjoyable when a rampant two year old unleashed his talents.

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Right next to ITNG ride was Justin’s House. Again, we were kept amused by tv screens showing Justin’s House shows. A certain amount of people are allowed in, and you fill your bag with balls. Then you erm, shoot them at random strangers. I didn’t quite get this, but the kids enjoyed it immensely

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The Numtums ride has always been a favourite of ours. It’s a simple premise, you sit on a numbered car (we had to have 3 and 4), and the ride spins slowly. Even the most lightweight of us all can handle this pure, clean fun.

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The other biggie is the Postman Pat ride. Again, the queues were anticipated by Alton Towers, and there were activities along the queue. And to my shame, I failed miserably at the x ray game. A good change to this ride was that the two adults can sit comfortably in the back of Pats van. Previous years have certainly been a struggle. You do a loop of Greendale, and have to complete various missions along the way. The 3 year old didn’t really get this, but the 4 year old relished getting them all right.

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Mr Tumbles sensory garden is a fantastic place to get away from the hustle and bustle of it all. There are some simple challenges along the way, some amazing smells, and you even get to learn a couple of signs along the way. Although the hardcore amongst us all will have been signing “butterfly” for the last 3 years anyway.

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Walking around, there are plenty of things to see and do. The 3 year old had a go at hula hooping…

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And the 4 year old enjoyed seeing the handprints of her favourite characters…

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There were plenty of photo opportunities, Charlie and Lola cut outs, and even a Postman Pat van doing the rounds.

This continued in to the Big Fun Show Time area. A great picnic spot, with plenty of shows to entertain the kids. We watched Mike the Knight, and then joined in with the Nina show.

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But even when there were no shows on, there was plenty to entertain the kids. Bowling, horse shoe throwing, bean bag tossing.

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I wanted to show you the park map as well, because I don’t tend to use them. I get one on my first visit, and commit it to memory. But I realise not everyone is as strange as me.

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In brief, CBeebies Land is a perfect day out for 3 and 4 year olds. And I suspect the hundreds of two year olds we saw enjoyed it too. My two loved it so much that we are planning to go back before the schools finish for summer!

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