Friday, 9 December 2016

A joyful visit to Webbs of Wychbold

Third time and still a joy to behold! With that I am referring to the brilliant and magical Webbs Christmas ice rink and grotto experience.
As L has grown into a more independent sponge, it made this years visit to Webbs much different to the previous times. L seemed to be much more responsive to lights, animals and people. This year had real life reindeer greeting you at the entrance, they were caged but it was excellent to see the beautiful creatures in person (I personally have never seen a real life reindeer), so it was great to touch them as they brush past the fencing. They add that extra excitement before you get started on what Webbs has to offer..
We opted to start with skating which was a good idea in hindsight, previously L has not lasted particularly long on the ice. We put our ice skates (L also had a small dual in line ice skates) and
trotted or tentatively made our way to the ice, oddly L did resist the idea of sitting on the skating aid  (can be hired for additional £5) but with the help of my husband, she did end up sitting on the aid and off we went. 

Things to remember: the skating session lasts 45 minutes, skate hire is included in the price. The price vary depending on a day and time, click here to check.
I must say that without the banana skating aid, neither myself or my husband would have made it around the rink (once). We are not avid skaters so do find ourselves clung to the edges of the rink, the aid makes you seem like a pro when skating, so I would definitely recommend having the aid if you are not confident in your ice skating.

The rink was excellently lit and its usual large presence at Webbs, you can't miss it! Loud music allows you to hum along whilst skating, assuming the cold air has not taken your breath away!
We lasted about 30 minutes on the rink, L did show signs of restlessness (trying to jump off the aid was a good indication), so we ended the ice skating which was a great experience. Then trotted off to the cafe.

Unfortunately this year did not include the hot chocolate and muffins, but we still got a chocolate muffin (yummy) anyway!
We took a short look around Webbs in general, taking in the sheer size of the Christmas department.

Wow is all I can say, so much to see, ranging from lights and decorations to small coves sleighs which you can put your little one in and take a quick Christmas snap! A beautiful and inspiring part
of Webbs, which definitely gets you into the Christmas spirit.
Next up the grotto (£9.99 for 1 child and 1 accompanying adult) - now we have a pretty good idea of what to expect, as we have been to Webbs grotto in two previous years. However, you could immediately tell that it was slightly different this year, in the sense that a queue formed in a small star lit entrance.
The door opened and we were let into an elf helper room, which had lots of seeds in bowls on each table and portraits of Santa's reindeers. The elves explained that L and the kids were to fill a bag full of seeds and food for the reindeers (this is a new Christmas trend for little ones). So L filled the bag up with seeds and the elves sealed the bag for us to take home (and popped a label on the bag), nice touch!

Next up, the elf workshop, in this room we were given an empty plastic bauble to fill up with paper streamers, fluffy balls and stickers to put on the outside. As L has never done any art and craft with her daddy before that was a bit of a special moment for them too. 
After just few minutes of waiting we were invited to recognisable room from previous years with beautiful Christmas decorations (some of them you can purchase in store) and in few minutes to see Santa himself. This year L seems to feel differently about Santa, she gets all excited and can talk about him and what she wants for Christmas but the moment she sees Santa, she freezes and starts crying, this is exactly what happened at Webbs grotto. 

We did manage to take few of own own pictures but opted not to buy professional photo due to not so many smiley faces. This year gift warehouse (free gift included in a ticket) didn't disappoint, L picked dolly, my husband picked a balloon set and I picked doctor set, the latter in the end was what we have eventually chose to take home and of course few more memories to remember!

Disclaimer: I was offered to visit Webbs of Wychbol for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Bayard children's magazines review and competition

Few months ago just before L started nursery I have bought her a little treat- children's magazine as a  way of praising her for being a good girl during settling in sessions. The more magazines we bought the more interest L showed in cartoon characters she sees, stickers, colouring activities and of course a toy attached to the magazine, so it became a bit of a tradition. 

A week ago or so we were introduced to a different type of magazines for children which cover most ages and interests called Bayard magazines.

"Bayard magazines respond to parent’s desire to share human values with their children, to offer them opportunities to express their creativity and discover the world.Bayard children's magazines are more than books! Fun, interactive and educational magazines for kids aged between 3-12".

Little ones aged 3-6 can enjoy "Story Box" monthly magazines, which include picturesque stories, educational information about animals or other things and lots of games and puzzles. 

"Wonder with Whizkid introduces children to science and answers their questions about the world, with clear pictures and explanations.

Picture stories and comic-strips with great adventures and endearing heroes (SamSam, Little Brown Bear, Polo and more!) children will easily identify with.

Animal World
introduces children to a new animal every month with a beautiful picture and simple captions.

Games and fun activities stimulate children’s creativity and observation skills".

As this is the most age appropriate magazine for L I was really surprised by the paper quality of the magazine, all pages including covers are much thicker than magazines you can buy in supermarket. It seems more suitable for educating your kids in entertaining manner without spoiling the fun with adverts of different services or products, what I do miss though is a little treat- a plastic toy. Little L really enjoyed looking through the pages and listening to her daddy read the magazine.

Little girls and boys aged 6-9 will be very surprised to see a cute mini magazine called "Adventure Box", which included illustrated stories of different genres, puzzles and games, comic stories and educational articles about nature. 
Even though these magazines might be "old" for L but I found that she was as interested to look through the pages as with other 2 different Bayard magazines.

With "Discovery Box" aimed at kids ages 9-12 your little one will find science and history articles as well as comic stories and some arts and craft activities and much more. 

Each magazine is valued at £5.50 which maybe a little but pricey for some parents, but you can also subscribe to the magazines online or via the form included in the paper copy. To give you an idea of pricing, you can subscribe for 6 months for £30, for 12 months for £50 and for 24 months for £90. 

I have also an exciting opportunity to win two six month subscriptions to the magazine of your choice (Story Box, Adventure Box or Discovery Box) all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below (the competition ends on 26 December 12am):
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Friday, 2 December 2016

Review: Portable North Pole Magic Pass

For the passed 2 years I have been lucky enough to collect some Christmas related keepsakes for L. As L grows older she understands and remembers more which makes special occasions like Christmas a little bit more magical. 

For this Christmas I have teamed up with Portable North Pole to create an ultimate personalised keepsake message from Santa.

"Portable North Pole (PNP) is an online platform used by Santa and his elves to send personalized video messages and calls to the people you care about most anywhere around the world".

The service is partly free ("Greeting from Santa", "Birthday wishes") and partly paid for (Magic Pass worth £9.99), which makes it "attractive" for any budget. 
PNP can also be downloaded on mobile phones or tablets via iTunes or Android app store free of charge.
"The PNP mobile app features access to the Free and Premium videos, exclusive games, synchronization with your own account on the web and much more".
I must admit I felt like a kid in a toy shop, I just didn't know where to start, which option to try first, but as my pass is valid until October 2017 I have plenty more time to play with all options and maybe treat my a family member or two to a lovely surprise!

As L is getting very impatient about receiving her gifts for Christmas and talks about it all the item I have personalised "You special gift is ready" video.

To personalise the video I added L's name and nickname, her date of birth (there is an option to add more children) and photo, the wishlist could also be personalised by the type of the gift expected and it's photo, you can also add details of your child's relatives and their pictures and of course the message you want Santa to pass onto your little one regarding their behaviour. 

Once your video is created you will receive an e-mail confirmation and a reminder that video can be viewed via a mobile app too. Lastly message can be sent to yourselves or your relative's e-mail address, edited if need be and saved in HD to watch at your own convenience.

Portable North Pole offers a great variety of options for videos and calls which will make any Christmas and even birthday a big day to remember. PNP this year have included a new feature for mobile app users- reaction recorder which is a lovely way of capturing that initial reaction. Reaction recorder could be a safer option for those little ones who are feeling a little bit shy in front of real Santa but in the comfort of their own home can potentially enjoy the call more. 

If you want to support your experience with a physical gift PNP offers a variety of gifts that can be purchased at John Lewis.

It may take you a while to find that perfect video or call but remember with the Magic Pass you don't have to restrict yourself to any time limits!

Disclaimer: I was sent the item mentioned above for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.