Sunset Safari at London Zoo

Ever wanted to experience the magic of the zoo after hours?

London Zoo have a special after hours summer evening event running every friday until 17th July 2015, where visitors get to watch the sun go down amongst the company of many of the 750 animal species from around the world. Listen to many of the fascinating talks that are being held around the zoo, learn about the animals at special times of the evening from their keepers.

The zoo opens up at 6pm and closes at 10pm, with most of the exhibits closing between 8:30 and 9:30. Everyone needs their sleep, even the animals!

As the sun sets visitors are invited to relax at the Safari Base Camp in one of the many comfortable chairs and beds that are scattered around the Lawn, with an acoustic guitar performance providing an idyllic end to what promises to be an unforgettable evening. And if you are an adult, there are plenty of waterholes to grab a glass or bubbly or a pint of lager from (your even allowed to roam around with glass/plastic in hand)

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The middle boy and I visited the zoo on Friday 3rd July, it was a birthday present to my son as he absolutely loves animals. He was really excited to meeting all of the animals but I was a little worried that it was going to be a late night for him. I didn’t plan on staying until closing time as we had to travel back home using public transport and didn’t want to be out too late with him. I planned on leaving at about 9.

We arrived at the zoo for about 6:30 and the first place that we went to was to go and see the Lemur. The animals are in an enclosure that you can walk through so if you are lucky enough the Lemurs can come up close to you.

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As Joseph was posing in front of some of the Lemurs, one of them came right up behind him. He was a little scared at first but the Keeper told him to stand still and just let the Lemur come close. He was very happy to see them up so close and couldn’t believe he got the chance to be within breathing distance to them.

We went off through the Nightlife and Rainforest area on our way to see the Otters. We saw Fruit Bats, Mice, Rats and Meerkats.

We were very lucky to see the Otters being fed at the Otter Holt. They were very noisy and it seemed that one of them took a fancy to Joseph as she just kept screaming at him, and he was mimicking the noises back at her.

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We couldn’t wait around as we had lots of areas to cover in such a short space of time.

We made our way along the canal to ‘Into Africa’ my favourite place! Giraffes I adore them!

The Giraffes are so graceful and beautiful, with their long slender legs and smooth fur. As we stood on the bridge looking over at them, one decided to gallop over and take some feed from the basket that was just hung up on the bridge in front of us.

Hello there!

Hello there!

So beautiful!

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Just next to the Giraffes are the Zebras and Pygmy Hippos

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There are plenty of statues scattered around the zoo to pose with and play areas to explore

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Lots of photo opportunities around the zoo too

With so much to see and do, we hurried round the Aquarium and the Reptile HousePicMonkey Collage reptiles

And went off to Tiger Territory to search out some Tigers, we saw them laying down up high on a balcony in their enclosure, probably time for bed!

The next place we went was to meet the Monkeys. As we walked through the enclosure, I heard a rustle within the trees. Joseph and I searched through the leaves with our eyes and was greeted by this little dude

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He was nibbling away on some of his food but was happy enough to run down a branch to say hello to us and then run back into his hideaway amongst the branches.

We was almost to the end of our night at the zoo, but not without a visit to Joseph’s favourite mammal, the Penguin! Joseph adores these species, so we saved the best til last. It was crowded at the Penguin Beach when we got there as it was Penguin Chill Out time. There was a little show going on so we found a little spot towards the back of the pool and waited by the glass to see if a Penguin would swim by

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Just to see the smile on his little cute face was enough to last me a lifetime.

It was time to go home, the sun was setting and the sky becoming dark. We had a brilliant time and Joseph has asked to go back again next year. He told me on the way home that it was the best present ever!

There are two more dates available for London Zoo Sunset Safari 10th and 17th July. Ticket prices are Adult: £20.80 Child: £14.56

 

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Summer grape treats

These lovely little sweets treats are prefect eaten on a summers day, on their own or accompanied with some cool Ice cream.
They are ideal treats to be on the table at a children’s party. They are simple and quick to make, even the children can make them.

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What you need :

Grapes – the bigger the better
White chocolate
Hundreds and thousands
Cocktail sticks

Instructions :

First Melt the chocolate

Then place a cocktail stick in one end of the grape,  I found that the best end was the other end as to where the grape came off of the vine.

Dip the grape into the chocolate, then roll it in the hundreds and thousand

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Place onto a plate. Once all of the grapes are done, put them into a fridge to cool.

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The grapes will become nice and cool and the chocolate will set and become hard.

Hope you enjoy!  :-)

Hold on to your hats!

Travellingon the London underground and wearing hats do not go well together!

On quite a few occasions, on our family trips into the big city, the boys have had their hats blown away from the gush of wind that you get on the underground when a train is arriving or pulling away from the platform.

My two youngest boys like to wear trilby hats, especially the middle boy. Whenever he knows he is going somewhere special he will choose one of his many hats to wear with his outfit. He is one groovy boy. The youngest wears them in the summer to protect his little head which is full of blonde, thin hair.

Last month the youngest lost his hat as he wasn’t holding on to it. As we was just about to walk up the steps from the platform, a gush of air grabbed hold of his hat and blew it onto the tracks of the Northern Line at Goodge Street. We was very lucky as the station attendant went down and using a grabber, picked it up for us. The little one was over the moon and very happy as he thought that he wouldn’t be seeing it again, it didn’t even have a mark on it! The hat must have landed in between tracks.

We have learnt our lesson now, so whenever we are travelling on the underground the boys always take off their hats or hold onto them as they wait in the platforms. Yesterday we travelled into London and I didn’t even have to tell the youngest, he just sat on a bench on the platform and as he heard the train approaching and he could feel the wind coming, he yelled to everyone who was waiting on the platform “Hold on to your hats everyone!”

Hold onto your hats!

Hold onto your hats!

He knew he was being cheeky as this is what come next

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Remember next time your travelling into London on the underground, hold onto your hat! :-)

 

A day of PBs at the City of London Mile

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On the 14th June, the family travelled into central London to partake in a mile race. The race was sponsored by Amba Hotels and is in its second year. We attended the race last year and enjoyed it enough to enter again this year. One good thing about this running event is that it is absolutely free! All you have to do is register your details on-line and turn up on the day at your given start time.

I registered the whole family to run, Dad in the adult male race, Jak in the youth Mile and the two youngest boys and I in the family race. We was all sent our starts times in an email and was given the choice of collecting our bib numbers and chip a couple of days before the race. As Dad was racing in the first wave, we thought that we would just collect our bibs at the collection point in the runners village.

We arrived in good time. We had decided on driving into the City, as Dad works up there he knows on the best places to park. Dad’s race was starting at 10:30 and we got there at about 9:45. There was no queue in collecting out bib numbers, the volunteers were really helpful and very quick in finding our letters. Although the lady did say that it was huge help that I had written down all of our bib numbers, so she didn’t have to look for our names.

We found a quiet spot in a sheltered area, as the great british weather had decided to show up on the day too! Lucky for us it wasn’t a heavy down pour just a light spray, but it did rain for most of the morning.

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The boys played chase whilst Daddy warmed up. It wasn’t long before Dad had to make his way to the start line.

The race was to start on Canon Street just in front of St Paul’s cathedral. The course passes by some iconic buildings, it’s flat but has some sharp turns in it. Starting at St Paul’s cathedral you head down to the Mansion House Station where you then swoop left to the Bank of England, turning left at Bank Station and heading up Moorgate then taking the first left up towards the Guildhall then a sharp left again to Cheapside and then it’s a slight incline up Cheapside to the finish line.

We was given some inflatable batons to cheer people on in the race. You had two so that you could bang them together and make a lot of noise.

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The boys and I stood along Canon Street, just in front of the Festival Gardens and waited for Daddy to pass. We could hear the starting gun so we knew he would be running by pretty soon, in fact it was so soon that I missed him on the camera!

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We walked through the One New Change (a shopping precinct) as Cheapside was through the other side. We waited along the railings until we saw Daddy in the distance, running up to the finish line. We cheered him on and watched him cross over the finish line in fourth, with a time of 4:29. Daddy was given his medal and we all went over to congratulate him. The boys were so proud of him and couldn’t wait to give him a cuddle. Once Daddy had caught his breath back and got changed into some dry clothes, we sat down and got ourselves ready for the Family Mile.

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Daddy was running again with Joseph and I was going to run along with Oliver, but Jak was running in the Youth Mile race so he was going to watch us. We waited along New Change where a man with a megaphone called us all over so that we could head towards the start line. We was all running in the Family wave 1, so we was the first of many families to run the route that day. I believe there was 6 in total.

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Oliver was so excited, as we waited with other runners at the start line, he didn’t talk much but did say that he was going to run the whole way. Everyone was talking to him and asking me how old he was, they couldn’t believe that a 3 year old would run a mile.

The gun went off and we was running along with  the crowd, I held onto Oliver’s little hand as it was quite busy and everyone was running so fast. We passed by St Paul’s cathedral and it wasn’t long before we saw Jak cheering us on. We gave him a little wave, the fast runners had sped off ahead so we was left with some space on the road. I let go of Oliver’s hand and let him run by himself.

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I stayed close to him and constantly asked him if he was ok and if he wanted to carry on running, he just nodded his head and carried on. People were cheering him on and shouting ‘Come on Superman!’ I think it helped as each time he heard someone cheering him he had an urge of energy and his speed had a little burst in it. We had no idea where Daddy and Joseph were as they had gone off ahead at the start, they are much faster than us. Although Jak did get a photo if them near the finish line

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As we turned the corner onto Cheapside and could see the finish line up ahead, Daddy and Joseph joined us for the last 200 hundred metres

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We all held hands and ran together, we let go as we neared the finish and let Oliver cross over by himself.

Oliver finished with a time of 10:47 and Joseph in 7:47, smashing their times from last year by 3-5 minutes. We collected our medals and goody bags, which had water and sweets in for the children and an energy bar for the adults.

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We found a spot opposite the Amba Steel Band and watched the other milers run towards the finish line, we cheered everyone and even had a little dance to the music. The atmosphere was alive and fun.

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After watching all of the family waves pass by, it was time for the Youth Mile. The future athletes. Jak made his way to the start and we waited eagerly at the finish line for him. We knew he wouldn’t be up with the first children to be crossing the line but was hoping he would make it in 6 minutes. We could see him as he steered the corner onto Cheapside, was he going to make it?

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With his brothers cheering him on and his parents shouting out his name, Jak crossed over the line in 6:06. After collecting his medal he made his way over to us, he didn’t look happy! Jak had a tough month with quite a few late nights and no time to train due to his part in a theatre show and his acting in a film, so I had explained to him that he shouldn’t be upset and mad with himself for and to look at what he had achieved so far. He didn’t get the time that he wanted but he did have fun and enjoyed the day. After a little rest and a bite to eat, whilst we watched the Elite Athletes race, he was soon back to his smiling and cheery self.

We had a lovely family day at the City of London Mile, which is sponsored by Amba Hotels and can not wait until next year to enter. The city Mile for us, is about Family time and having fun. We danced to music, we got sore throats from cheering, we got tired legs from running, we raced with some lovely people and had a lovely enjoyable day. We came back with some lovely memories of our mile experience. The children have taken their medals into school to show all of their friends and teachers. The youngest wears his all of the time.

Thank you Amba Hotels for sponsoring such a lovely event! See you next year!

 

Celebrating with Thomas and Friends for his 70th Birthday

A couple of weeks ago we had a very special invite to a very special party, Thomas the Tank engine was turning 70!

The boys were over the moon and very excited to be a part of such an iconic celebration. We boarded the train and travelled into London to the British Museum. Thomas was celebrating in style in one of the most beautiful buildings in London.

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As we walked down the steps in the British Museum towards the Foyer where Thomas and The Fat Controller was there to greet everyone.

I think Oliver may have had a bit of celebrity shock, as he just stared at Sir Topham Hat and didn’t talk for a while . He just posed for a few photos with him and Thomas, I don’t think he was expecting to meet them in person.

There was lots of activities to keep the children happy, lots to see and do

There was a showing of  a Thomas and Friends episode in the auditorium on the big screen, so the boys and I went off to find some seats and settle down to watch the show.

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Down on the stage was a miniature Thomas railway, the boys had fun watching the train go round the track.DSC_0055_opt

Once the film was over, a story-teller came on stage and told and interactive story about the Thomas and Friends, she got all of the audience involved with actions and shouting. The boys joined in with shouting out the characters names, they know them all! Rusty and Dusty was making everyone laugh by chasing each other around the theatre.

After the show was finished we headed out to the face painting stall.

Joseph had a moshling

Joseph had a moshling

Oliver getting his face painted

Oliver getting his face painted

Oliver decided on getting Percy painted on his face, and Joseph went for a moshling character. They were very good, just like little artistic drawings. Once their faces were painted they ran off into the birthday crowd to show off their little painted creations on their faces.

It wasn’t long before they found the creative area, where you could draw and colour a birthday card for Thomas, play with some toys or do some colouring in. The youngest quickly made himself comfortable at the front of the table and got to designing a card for Thomas. It was craft heaven, with a selection of coloured felts, glitter, pom poms and all stuff that sparkle. He spent a long time concentrating on his card, once he finished it was put amongst the other cards, that the children made, on the side for everyone to see,

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Once he finished his card he moved on to colouring in a Thomas picture, I couldn’t get him away from the table! Even when Sir Topham Hat called out to everyone that they were going to bring out the cake, he didn’t budge! Not even to everyone singing Happy Birthday! He had to finish his picture for Thomas.

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It wasn’t until I told him that he could get some cake, Did he decide that he had finished his colouring in. He was given some delicious cake and sat down to eat it whilst watching an episode of Thomas and Friends in the theatre.

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I must say it was a very impressive cake, Joseph couldn’t believe the size of it!

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The party was nearly over, we said our goodbyes and handed over a card to Sir Topham hat, who opened it up and placed at the front of Thomas.

The boys and I had a wonderful time mingling with friends, watching shows, colouring in and eating cake. The party couldn’t have been any better!

Thank you to Grayling PR for inviting us along to the party. All pictures and words are my own. 

 

Nothing like a fun run

The weekend just passed, we visited a local country park fair where the boys took part in a children’s 1 mile fun run.

The sun was shining and we arrived in good time so we could have a little look around. There was lots to see and do like; donkey riding, stalls to visit, food to try, farm animals to look at, watch llamas race each other, a climbing wall to try, and much more. But the reason why we was there was for the children’s fun run. It was taking part after the adults 5k race had finished, so we stood around and waited. The boys had fun jumping from the log wall onto the bails of hay and they posed for a few photos too

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it wasn’t long until the children were called to the start line

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The children all lined up, As the horn went off the children set off fast. Poor little Joseph fell flat on his face into the dry grass, after only taking a few steps. He didn’t moan though, he just got up, wiped his face and off he went to catch up with the other racers.

As they passed round the corner and go off into the distance I made my way to the finish line, on the other end of the country fair. I stood there and it wasn’t not long before I saw my eldest boy come from beyond the trees and round the corner to the finish line. He finished first with a time of 5:51, he was very happy with it.

Jak coming over the finish line

Jak coming over the finish line

As I cheered on the young girl that came in second, I must admit I was shocked to see my Joseph heading towards the finish line. Not because he isn’t very good at running but because he had the fall at the start.

Run Joseph!

Run Joseph!

I was so proud of my boys, so far 2 out of 3 had finished the race coming in first and third! Joseph ran the fun run in 7:44, very impressive!

As I was congratulating the two eldest boys in their running and giving them a quick refreshment, I heard daddy cheering on our little one. A lady that we know had agreed to run along with him as I had stupidly put on sandals and Daddy was needed to pace the children through the park. I couldn’t believe it, my little three year old was running like a pro! As they neared the finish line, the lady held his hand and they crossed together.

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My little superstar and finished the run in 10:03. Daddy and I were so proud of him and his brothers for trying so hard, especially as it was so hot.

Little Oliver must have been shocked himself as he couldn’t even talk, bless him!

All of the children that took part in the fun run received a little medal

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Oliver couldn’t stop looking at it, he was really proud of receiving it and kept saying “I can’t believe I’ve got my own medal!”

We walked back to the car, past a few of the stalls and stopped by the Llamas

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Joseph particularly enjoyed reading about the animals as he is currently doing a school project on the country Chile, he couldn’t wait to go home and add the information that he had found out into his project.

It was a lovely morning.

One very happy and proud mummy signing off!

Have your children recently run in a children’s race?