Some Modelling and some Digging at Willows Farm

willows farm

First of all, if you’ve read my blog before, you’d know that we frequent Willows Farm in Hertfordshire on a regular basis. It’s a great family day out, so much to see and do. They always have seasonal events running throughout year too which are lots of fun.

Coming up this month they are holding their annual Potato Shindig. We went last year and it’s brilliant! They have a great big field that they cultivate, which visitors can then dig up to reveal thousands of gorgeous fresh spuds. Each person is given a spade and bucket and is welcome to fill them up and take them home… for free!

willows farm

This year, Willows Activity Farm is marking 70 years since the end of World War II with its biggest ever Potato Shindig event, encouraging families to learn about the Dig For Victory campaign.

During wartime, a shortage of food led the government to promote the use of land such as gardens for growing vegetables under the famous ‘Dig For Victory’ slogan. To commemorate this campaign, Willows is giving children the chance learn about where their food comes from whilst enjoying getting their hands dirty digging for their dinner :)

I love this! I love the fact that Willows is marking this very special anniversary and encouraging people, children, to think about and remember those that lived through the war and of course those that fought for our freedom.

As you can see from the above photo, the publicity shots for this years event starred none other than yours truly…. that’s me and my beautiful kids right there! Dressed up as little World War 2 kids with their World War 2 hardworking Mum, digging to eat!

When I was asked if I’d like to take part in this, my first reaction was to consider if my shy boys would be up for it, when there were costumes to change into… hmm, this could be tricky! But I knew my daughter would love it and it meant getting to spend a day at Willows so of course I accepted!

On the day of the photo shoot, which took place last week….. it poured with rain! Typical, but it didn’t matter, the kids seemed excited so I had high hopes that the twins would participate.

And participate they did!

They put on their costumes without a single complaint and posed for many, many pictures. We managed to get a moment of dry weather but even when it started to rain again, they didn’t flinch! So proud…. and they looked absolutely adorable too. All of them! I even quite liked my own outfit :)

Here are some more of the photo’s that were taken that day…..

potatos at willows farm

We had a lovely time, it was a great experience so thank you to Willows and the PR team! The kids were such naturals I think I may need to find them an agent now ;)

After this, our 4 big bags of potatoes were put in reception ready for us to take home (they are delicious by the way, I’ve already cooked most of them!), while we spent the rest of the day having fun. The weather was awful so we spent the majority of the day in the indoor play area and had a yummy lunch. And of course, we couldn’t leave without seeing the animals and holding some guinea pigs!

willows farm

If you get the chance, make sure you head down to Willows for this special event, there are thousands of Picasso potatoes waiting to be harvested in the Potato Patch for those who want to dig for their own victory.

Open daily from 5 – 27 September, children can even try Willows’ new ‘Potato Fingers’ recipe – specially adapted from a dish served during the war. There’s also the new Big Dig sand & splash play area, potato arts and crafts or you can find Spuddy, the Potato Shindig mascot, performing in his own show at weekends.

For more information visit the Willows Farm website or follow @Willows_Farm on Twitter for all the latest news and updates.

Disney Infinity 3.0 at Madame Tussauds

Last week it was my twins birthday. I had been thinking of something to do with them on the actual day because we decided not to throw a party for them this year. They didn’t seem that bothered about having one and we’d been to loads towards the end of term anyway so they were all partied out!

Then, we received an invite to go and preview the brand new Disney Infinity 3.0 Play Without Limits at Madame Tussauds on their birthday and I thought, perfect! My kids will LOVE that, they adore gaming, they can try out this new game and then we get to spend the rest of the day wandering round Madame Tussauds, somewhere I haven’t been for years and wanted to visit again!

disney infinity

 

The Disney Infinity 3.0 has a special reason for being unveiled at this very famous London venue, and that is because one of the new Disney Infinity 3.0 starter console packs comes with the Star Wars playset… and Madame Tussauds has had a brand new Star Wars Exhibition running this summer, so it was the ideal place.

My twins have really got into their Playstation this year! They usually only play Minecraft though so we have been looking for a new game to buy, one that isn’t too difficult to get the hang of and one that will captivate them just as much!

I now think we have just been introduced to that game!

disney infinity

Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits is OUT TODAY and welcomes Star Wars™ to the ever-growing collection of Marvel, Disney and Disney•Pixar characters, stories and worlds. Together new heroes can join forces with characters from previous editions and embark on adventures as big as your imagination in the Toy Box!

Choose from:

  • Disney Infinity 3.0 Starter Pack (PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and Wii U), featuring the Star Wars Twilight of the Republic Play Set, the Disney Infinity 3.0 Video Game Software and Base, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker character figures, and a web code card that unlocks content for PC and mobile devices.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars Special Edition (exclusively for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3), which is the only place fans will be able to play as Boba Fett inDisney Infinity 3.0 and get the Star Wars™ Rise Against the Empire.

Additionally fans in the UK and Ireland that already own a Disney Infinity 1.0 or 2.0 Starter Pack can purchase just the Disney Infinity 3.0 Video Game Software, or the software disc with either the Twilight of the Republic Play Set or Inside Out Play Set, and use the base they already own. Fan-favourite characters, including Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo, Chewbacca; Kanan Jarrus, Ezra Bridger, Sabine Wren and Zeb Orrelios from the popular animated TV series Star Wars Rebels™; Inside Out’s Fear, Disgust and Sadness; Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse; Sam Flynn and Quorra from Tron: Legacy; Mulan and Olaf. 

disney infinity 3.0

When we arrived at Madame Tussauds we were taken to a special room where the Disney Infinity Team had set up. O and H couldn’t wait to get stuck in and headed straight for the game station! They were invited to pick characters and off they went….. into the Star Wars world! And it didn’t take them long to become immersed in game play!

disney infinity 3.0

They absolutely loved it. I’ve actually never seen them get this excited about any event we’ve been to before. As a blogger we have been lucky enough to attend many different types of product launches but usually I have to really entice and encourage the boys to get involved. Normally it’s my daughter who takes over and has to be the one to try things out. But not here…. the boys were practically in a frenzy, tripping over themselves to play the game!

disney infinity 3.0

We did manage to persuade them to let my daughter and Teen have a go, albeit under duress!

During this takeover, they switched games and characters to play the all new Disney’s Inside Out pack! They too loved it and didn’t want to stop play.

disney infinity 3.0

But my twins were back playing as soon as they possibly could! This pack was also a big hit!

If you’ve never heard of Disney Infinity before, it’s an interactive gaming platform that unlocks the freedom to create stories and play experiences starring some of your favourite characters like never before. When you place your Disney Infinity Figures on the game base, they spring to life in the game. The more you play, the more characters, buildings, gadgets will be unlocked for your adventures.

One Game, Two ways to play.

PLAY SETS – Play in their galaxy! Play through epic adventures in the world of some of your favourite characters.

TOY BOX – Create your own universe! Imagine a world where all the characters, vehicles and settings you’ve collected can come together in whatever way you want them to. Imagine creating your own crazy game universe where you can make anything happen. Mix, match and mash-upStar Wars™, MARVEL, Disney and Disney•Pixar characters together in one place!

Toy Box Expansion Games unlock additional hours of gameplay inside Toy Box 3.0. Players place a Toy Box Expansion Game Piece on the Disney Infinity Base to unlock pre-built games that instantly take them into the action, mixing, matching and mashing-up characters from across The Walt Disney Company and using unlocked toys and gadgets to complete missions.

The game was a big hit and as we were leaving, the Disney Infinity team promised to send our very own starter pack to us to play at home! Yay! How amazing is that? Not sure if O and H can wait……

But to take their minds off it for the time being, we spent the rest of the day wandering around Madame Tussauds, which was absolutely amazing!

The new Star Wars exhibition was brilliant. Here’s a few pics we took on the day….

starwars madame tussauds

starwars madame tussauds

We had a fantastic day, so thank you so much Disney Infinity and Madame Tussauds :)

I have to say that the kids asked every single day without fail, when their Disney Infinity 3.0 was going to arrive? It drove me mad…. but finally, this weekend it arrived!

disney infinity 3.0

 

Disney Infinity 3.0: Play Without Limits is being developed by Avalanche Software in partnership with Ninja Theory, Sumo Digital, Studio Gobo and United Front Games. Additional Disney, Disney•Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars™ figures and Play Sets will be announced in the coming months. With Disney Infinity 3.0, fans have the unique opportunity to play with all of the Star Wars™ characters in all of the Star Wars™ Play Sets.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Video Game and Base are required to play the Toy Box Expansion Games. Toy Box Takeover and Toy Box Speedway will be sold separately. All figures and Power Discs from the 1.0 and 2.0 editions of Disney Infinity will be compatible with Disney Infinity 3.0 in the enhanced Toy Box 3.0.

I cannot recommend this highly enough. The Star Wars game has been given a 7+ age rating but my twins have just turned 6 and I wouldn’t be at all concerned about that myself, but I just thought I would mention it.

Disney Infinity would make a perfect gift and with the all-in price for the whole starter pack as little as £39.99, it really is amazing value!

I’d better start collecting those extra playing characters to go into the Christmas stockings :)

Steffi Love Magical Dreams with Pixie Lott

steffi loveLast Friday we were invited to a very exciting launch at Hamley’s toy shop in Central London.

Pixie Lott has put her name behind the new collection of Steffi Love Dolls by toy makers, Simba. She has worked closely with the iconic Steffi Love fashion doll brand and created a gorgeously girlie assortment of dolls called ‘Magical Dreams’. They have been inspired by her own magical moments that she dreamt of throughout her own childhood!

steffi love dolls

I’d been staying at my Dad’s with the kids for some of the school holidays but made sure I was back home in time to attend this particular event, as my daughter was keen to meet the super lovely Pixie Lott again. We met her last Christmas at a Netflix event, where she very kindly posed for a photo with my girl, even though she was out with her family!

pixie lott

When we arrived at Hamleys, before the store officially opened so we could meet Pixie and enjoy time in the store before the public came in, the place was awash with pink and buzzing with excitement.

steffi love dolls

steffi love hamleys

Once the handful of bloggers and press were inside, it wasn’t long before Pixie Lott made her appearance, much to the applaud of all the young fans, including my girl!

pixie lott hamleys

Pixie told us all about her collaboration with Steffi Love and how excited she was to be a part of it. She looked absolutely beautiful, much like a doll herself… and her enthusiasm really shone as she chatted to the kids and answered all their questions!

We were then taken to a private room where we could meet Pixie one to one, have a photo with her and get our very own Steffi Love doll (which we were very kindly gifted) signed! She was absolutely lovely and we chatted for a while… she even remembered meeting us last time!

pixe lott at steffi love launch

We had a great time and my daughter couldn’t wait to open her new Steffi Love doll! Here it is…. with a fabulous signature from Pixie Lott included on the left hand side here on the box!

steffi love

steffi love doll

My girl likes the doll very much and can’t wait to add some more from the collection… she’s got her eye on the mermaid! She loves this doll’s hair and huge wings…. the button in the middle of her tummy opens up the magical wings to show their true glory! She also loves the colours and shoes!

The Steffi Love by Pixie Lott: Magical Dreams range is now available at toy stores nationwide and costs from £3.99-£14.99.  Each doll comes complete with a VIP invite code from Steffi and Pixie Lott, for children to unlock secret videos and fun games online steffilove.co.uk.

Silent Sunday – 16/08/15

pixe lott at steffi love launch

OneDad3Girls

Summer Holidays 2015, Half way Through

So it’s nearly mid August and we have done three weeks of the summer holidays. How’s it going for everyone else?

We’re having a lovely time, but we haven’t done THAT much really, to be fair.

We were supposed to go on holiday as soon as the kids broke up but for some unforeseen personal circumstances on the OH’s side of the family, we had to cancel. We were going to re-schedule something later on but realistically we have too much going on at the end of August so its not that practical.

I was initially so very envious of everyone that went on holiday. It seemed as though the whole world and his wife had jetted off somewhere hot, sunny or exotic. My FB and Instagram feeds were filled up of pics by the sea or of a beautiful pool. Urgh. Enough already!

But I’m over it now.

We’ve managed to get to the halfway point of the summer holidays and we’re having a blast right here at home so it’s ok. Really.

We’ve just gone with the flow this year and actually, even though up until the last few days it seemed like we hadn’t done much at all, the kids have been content.

Teen has been hanging out with friends, which is his favourite thing to do so I don’t need to worry about entertaining him any more. He’s more than absorbed in his own life and partying hard to be telling me he’s bored!

My younger kids are all very homely. The three of them get along brilliantly (most of the time) so they all play together and love nothing more than being in the garden, where they will spend hours playing on a warm day. I play with them too sometimes. I try to make an effort to ensure I’m giving them some quality time, even if I don’t feel like it. When we’re at home it’s so easy to become bogged down with chores or get on with other things, but I know my babies are growing up so fast and I want to make sure I’m part of it…… I want to get into their games, even if it’s just sitting with them on the sidelines to observe. It’s incredibly fascinating…. Gives me such an insight into their little world and imaginations.

The children also love chilling, playing with toys they haven’t played with for ages, or they will play with their tech. They all have a tablet each and would happily sit watching You Tube or play  games (usually Minecraft) from dusk till dawn. Of course I limit this. I even don’t allow tablets for long periods, days on end,  which is good for them.

But you get the picture.

My children don’t NEED to go out.

Yes I do take them out and it’s important to visit places of interest or have fun days out, but what I mean is, sometimes I have felt I SHOULD be taking them out because that’s what I think I’m supposed to do!

In the past I’ve taken them out for the sake of it. They haven’t necessarily wanted to go. They’ve been more than happy playing at home but I’ve dragged them out nonetheless. I’ve spent money when I haven’t needed to, on doing things they’re not that bothered about doing!

So this summer I’ve decided to do more of the ordinary.

The first week was spent at home mainly.  I was working two of the days and the others were spent either at the park or in the garden.

We dip-dyed my daughters hair, something we’ve done before at the start of the summer holidays because the dye washes out in about 10 washes, so it’s gone by the time school starts again! Realistically though it fades to nearly gone in about four washes! Her best friend has done it too and they love it, it’s a bit of fun!

dip dye kids

The second week I had some of the kids friends over. We’ve met up with friends from school at various places and my daughter had a sleepover…. One day her friend was here, then she went over to her house. We also had a day out at a local attraction.

summer 2015

In the third week we packed the car up to come and visit my Dad. He lives in Lancashire (not the part where the water was contaminated, luckily!), it’s lovely and it always feels like a holiday whenever we’re here. The kids love it. I love it. My Dad loves it. It’s just a nice place to be and I get a warm, fuzzy, homely feeling whenever I’m here. My Mum sadly passed away seven years ago now, but the house is everything about her, I feel close to her here.

I also feel like a little girl again when I’m around my Dad. Even though he’s getting on a bit (a lot), he likes to look after me while I’m here and ensures I have a ‘rest’ bless him!

We always have a great time here and plan a few days out during our stay to different places.

This time, we had a trip to the beach at Southport. The beach (Ainsdale) was absolutely gorgeous, so much better than I was expecting. The weather was good, slightly breezy but still warm enough for all the kids to have a dip in the sea! This is the stuff that memories are made of… a day out at the good old British seaside!

southport beach

We also visited Heaton Park in Manchester. I liken this place to Hyde Park but on a much smaller scale… it seems to have similar areas! Although Heaton Park has the added fun of donkey rides and a fair ground!

heaton park

We had a trip to Blackpool where we visited the Sandcastle Water Park, our favourite place to go in Blackpool, it’s ace! Full report coming on that soon!

sandcastle water park

We’ve been seeing friends and family and we’re having a great time!

Don’t want to go home…. but we’ve got another few days left here to make the most of, or just chill.

Whatever we do, we’ll be happy :)

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Silent Sunday – 09/08/15

southport beach

OneDad3Girls

Fun in the 100 Aker Wood

A real life 100 Aker Wood? Well, yes I suppose it is! And it’s right on my doorstep!

Aldenhan Country Park is a lovely nature reserve consisting of parkland, lakeside walks, a lovely little farm, a playgorund and of course Winnie the Pooh’s home!

We are frequent visitors and the kids never tire of the place.

aldenham country park

The 100 Aker Wood trail takes you on a journey through Country paths, over streams where you can play Pooh Sticks of course, then brings you out into a wide open space where the kids can run around and find the homes of each of the characters from the famous stories.

Winne the Pooh, Rabbit, Owl, Piglet and Eeyore all have homes here, then there are things like the bees nest where Pooh gets his honey, the North Pole and Christopher Robins front door to find!

the 100 aker wood winnie the pooh

aldenham country parkMy boys just heading towards the North Pole ;)

The wide open space is lovely. Perfect for the kids to run around and beautiful at any time of year.

winne the pooh 100 aker wood

After the 100 Aker Wood, we headed off to the lake. There are nature walks all around the park and lake, most of which take about an hour to complete. The lake is lovely and has plenty of ducks and geese around to keep the kids occupied for ages!

aldenham country park

On this particular occasion we decided to give farm a miss as we arrived quite late in the afternoon. We’ve been loads of times before anyway and it’s fab. There are milking sessions to observe, as well as pony grooming. Animal wise it has birds, poultry, geese, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, goats, sheep, pigs, cows and even reindeer.

There’s a lovely indoor area too with hay bales to climb on and mini tractors to ride on.

It used to be free but now it charges a small entrance fee, which has been necessary for them to be able to keep the farm running and make marked improvements. Entry to the park itself is free so this is a great place to come if you don’t want to spend much money! Always a bonus!

There’s a small adventure playground… my kids had a great time in this area. It’s the first time really that they’ve all been at an age where they can do it, or least have a go. My twins have always been a bit too small, although there is an area for younger kids too.

aldenham country park

We had a great time here, lots of fresh air AND the kids were happily worn out afterwards…. perfect

aldenham country park

Linking up with Coombe Mill for Country Kids with this post :)

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall