Mind The Gap – Travelling on the tube with children

Travelling on the underground in London can be daunting for any adult who has never done it before. It can also be very stressful, especially during the busy rush hour, but it needn’t be if you prepare your self.

Living on the outskirts of London means that we travel into London a lot of times. Sometimes we go after school during the week to get to auditions and other times we travel on a weekend just for a day out. We are so used to travelling during the rush hour that it just seems natural to us. There are some stations and routes that we will avoid at the busy times, which may mean walking through the streets to get to the next station  but they are never that far away from each other.

Travelling with a baby or young children across London can be every adults nightmare, It can also be very challenging but it is definitely possible and enjoyable.

Here are some of our tips on travelling with children on the underground

  • Grab your self and Oyster card or if you can use your phone or bank card if cantactless is set up on it.

-Children under 11 travel free on the tube, overground, DLR , TFL rail and buses if they have a 5-10 Zip or travelling with an adult (under 5 travel free)

-Children aged 11-15 can travel with a Zip oyster photocard. They travel for free on buses and trams and get a reduced rate on all other TFL service

-If you’re visiting London and travelling with children aged 11-15 who haven’t got a Zip Oyster photo card, you can still benefit from reduced rate travel for them. You can get a discount set on an Oyster or Visitor Oyster card that will allow them to pay as you go at half adult-rate for up to 14 days.

Apply for these cards online prior to visiting

  • Remember always to tap in and out at the stations on the yellow card reader with your card. If you manage to walk through a barrier without tapping out after your journey, you will be charged the maximum fare
  • Plan your route. Take a look at the underground map online or download an app. We find the app to be very useful, not only does it tell you if there are any delays on any of the routes but it also plans your route for you and tells you how long each journey will be.
  • Grab a map at the station and give to your child to look at and study. When on the train tell them your destination and see if they can work out the route.
  • Try to avoid travelling during rush hour. With commuters moving around the city, expect the trains and stations to be overcrowded between 07:30 and09:30 in the morning and between 17:00 and 19:00 in the evening. This said, I have also found some stations on particular routes in zone 1 to start getting busy at 4.30.
  • When travelling with babies, try taking a light fold away buggy/stroller or use a sling. It will make your trip a lot more easier
  • Be prepared to walk up lots of stairs. There are also lots of escalators to use.
  • When using the escalator stand on the right as people walk up on them on the left. Keep young children in front of you.
  • Take a look on the map for step free access stations. Sometimes its easier to travel to your destination by using the nearest step free station and walking the rest
  • If you are travelling with more than one child, tell them that as soon as you get off of the train and on to the platform to wait against the wall. Platforms can become extremely busy. You don’t want to be dragged along with the crowd not knowing what direction you actually want to go. We always wait against the wall and then look for the way out sign or where to go for the next line.
  • I know it’s scary but I have always told my children that IF they ever get left on the train to get off at the next station and wait on the platform against the wall for me to get them. I also tell them that if they get off of the train without me to wait on that platform and I will come back for them. This has never happened to us, but the trains do get very busy and sometimes a small child could become disoriented within a crowd of people.
  • Tell your children to always wait behind the yellow line until the train has stopped.
  • If there are two adults when travelling, always have one at the front and one at the back when walking through the stations and even through London streets. Think of a sandwich, keeping the children in the middle. I travel with my three children, who are now 15, 10 and 6. It is always me first and my eldest last.
  • Walk around London from one station to the next, instead of going by tube. For example; although travelling from Oxford Circus to Piccardilly Circus can take a few minutes on the train, it does only take 11 minutes by foot. Think of all those lovely shops and building that you will see.
  • Carry water with you. The trains can become stuffy and hot, especially in the summer. Also have a snack in your bag.
  • If you are going to be on the train for a while, play some games with them to keep them occupied. We like to play the station alphabet game or I-Spy
  • When standing on the platform waiting for the train to approach, wave to the driver. they always wave back and the children love it.
  • Use the wider ticket barriers, they will have much more room for the family to get through. They are marked with a blue wheelchair symbol and normally have an attendant close by.

Remember where ever you go in London; on bus, tram, tube or river boat to enjoy your self. Have a great trip and Mind the Gap!

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Do You Want To Build A Snowman? – A Cute Little Food Gift For The Children This Christmas

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I was searching through the internet trying to find a fun food gift to give to the children in school. I didn’t just want to give them chocolate, I wanted to give them something that they could do by themselves.

I found this fun marshmallow snowman on google images. What a great idea to give to the children at Christmas, which would also be ideal for birthday party treat too.

You will need:

  • Three marshmallows (I found Halal ones for the children that was Halal)
  • Two iced eyes
  • Three mini coloured chocolate Smarties for the buttons
  • A Matchmaker stick for the twig arms broke into to two pieces
  • An Iced carrot for the nose
  • A strawberry lace for the scarf
  • A couple of white chocolate buttons to use to glue it all together

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Now all you have to do is construct it and build your snowman!

To present the snowman I bought some cellophane treat bags from Hobbycraft and made up a little label on word and then stuck it onto some card. Finally I stapled the label to the bag. As an added little gift I sellotaped a packet of fake snow on the back (I did emphasise to the children that the packet of snow wasn’t food and that they must show their adult first)

These fun little treats would be a cute little gift to find inside a stocking. I handed them out to the children in school and they loved them. Our elf on a shelf brought them to the boys and they immediately wanted to build their own snowman. It kept them occupied for a few minutes and they got to eat their little creation after

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Fancy trying one yourself? Download the lable below

The snowman was not my idea, I found a picture online and adapted it to my own version. 

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Make Your Own Real Fruit Winders

Looking for a way to get your children eating more fruit? Than these fruit winders made from fruit are just the way to do it.

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Made from only fruit-with no added nonsense-not only do they taste good but are also healthy too.

I am always looking for different foods to add into the boys pack lunches, as sometimes they can get stuck in a rut with asking for the same foods every day.

Although they are easy to make, with only two ingredients, they do take quite a bit of time to make.

Ingredients:

  • Fruit + banana
  • Honey (if you want a sweeter taste)

Step 1 : Choose your fruit – We chose Mango and Blueberries. What ever fruit you choose you will need a banana to add to it. We used 1 large mango for one and 250g of Blueberries for another . Using a food processor, combine the fuit together until its a mushy consistency

Step 2 : If using a fruit that has seeds in it, you can use a sieve to remove them now

Step 2 : Place the mixture into a pan and boil away until it reduces to lamost half of the amount and you are left with a thicker puree. You should be able to draw the back of the spoon through it and the mixture will not fall back into the gap for about 3-4 seconds

Step 3 : Pour the fruit onto some grease proof paper and baking tray. Level it out as much as you can, so that it cooks evenly, Smoothing it as you go.

Step 4 : Place the baking tray into the oven a very low heat for about 4 hours. We have a fan oven so out them in for about 3 hours at 80f. Keep checking the fruit as you don’t want it to burn. You will notice that the texture begins to change and it becomes to look like leather

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Step : Touch the fruit and it should feel a little tacky. Turn off the oven and leave in it to cool down

Step : Remove the fuit and cut it into strips with the grease proof paper still attached. Roll them up and your ready to eat them.

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Just unravel them when your ready

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They really are very juicy, chewy and delicious. My children love them. From one mixture you should get about 15 strips.

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Support Save the Children this Christmas Jumper Day

This year, Save the Children’s annual Christmas Jumper Day is taking place on Friday 15th December ’17.  Millions of people up and down the country; colleagues, school children and friends will be adorning a festive knit so that they can help the charity do whatever it takes to make sure the world’s forgotten children get the chance to have a brighter future.

The fundraising idea began back in 2012 and has since seen millions of people join in. It has since become a quintessential British Christmas time tradition. We will, as previous years, be donning our festive jumpers. The children will go to school and I to work in our tackiest jumper. But not forgetting to donate £2 each to the charity here

Not only will people be donating to make the world better with a sweater but they can also help raise even more money by buying products as gifts.

Companies such as; Selfish Mother, WHSmith, Ellas Kitchen, Arsenal FC, Kurt Geiger and Ikea have all jumped on board and are offering to give donations from the sales of certain products.

Save the Children do whatever it takes to save the lives of children. From the first moments of life, they work to get children the healthcare, food and water, safety and education they need to survive and thrive. Save the children’s pioneering helps give children, no matter where they’re born, the chance to fulfill their potential.

Selfish Mother have created a range of Christmas Jumpers, in their FMLY store, that no only look good but do good too. The designs feature unique and festive slogans. £50 adult and £25 child, each offering 50% donation to Save the children.

WHSmith will stock two Christmas Jumper day Bears called Bruno and Benji. The bears are sporting their own festive jumpers that were designed by competition winners Holly aged thirteen and Phoebe aged nine. Retailed at £4.99 with £1 being donated to Save the children

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Ella’s Kitchen are selling a Jungle Belly Christmas Dinner. This festive pouch is created for tiny taste buds and includes organic turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings, so little ones can enjoy Christmas dinner with the rest of the family. For every pouch that is sold Ella’s Kitchen will donate 30p to Save the Children.

This Christmas Ella’s Kitchen is selling a Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner.  This festive pouch is created for tiny taste buds and includes organic turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings (even brussels sprouts), so little ones can enjoy Christmas dinner together with the rest of the family. For every pouch purchased Ella’s Kitchen will donate 30p to Save the Children.
This Christmas Ella’s Kitchen is selling a Jingle Belly Christmas Dinner. This festive pouch is created for tiny taste buds and includes organic turkey, potatoes and all the trimmings (even brussels sprouts), so little ones can enjoy Christmas dinner together with the rest of the family. For every pouch purchased Ella’s Kitchen will donate 30p to Save the Children.

 

To help raise funds Arsenal Football Club have created a range of festive knits for all the family, which each carry 20% donation to Save the Children. Even pets and little ones can join in as they have Baby Christmas Sleepsuits and jumpers for dogs

Arsenal Players Swap Their Kit For A Knit In Support Of Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.  Pictured Granit Xhaka
Arsenal Players Swap Their Kit For A Knit In Support Of Save The Children’s Christmas Jumper Day.
Pictured Granit Xhaka

Kurt Geiger will donate 10% of the purchase of any Kensington bag sold between 22 November and 24 December

This Christmas, Kurt Geiger will donate 10% of the purchase price of any leather Kensington bag sold in Kurt Geiger stores and kurtgeiger.com between 22 November and 24 December 2017 to Save the Children.
This Christmas, Kurt Geiger will donate 10% of the purchase price of any leather Kensington bag sold in Kurt Geiger stores and kurtgeiger.com between 22 November and 24 December 2017 to Save the Children.

Ikea have launched, third year running, a range of soft toys designed by children for children. The FULL purchase price from the sale of each toy will go to Save the Children.

Now in its third year, IKEA has launched a range of soft toys designed by children for children. The full purchase price from the sale of each toy will go to Save the Children UK, to support children to fulfil their potential through education and play.
Now in its third year, IKEA has launched a range of soft toys designed by children for children. The full purchase price from the sale of each toy will go to Save the Children UK, to support children to fulfil their potential through education and play.

Who doesn’t love a mince pie? To celebrate Christmas jumper day LEON will be selling mini mince pies in support of Save the Children. The mince pies will sell for £1 with a 20p donation.

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In support of Christmas Jumper day, Save the Children have created a range of kitsch tote bags. These feature tongue in cheek imagery of three festive cats and dogs; CHIBBY the Cat, DUCHES the bulldog and CHESTER the westie. Retailing at £6, all proceeds go directly to Save the Children.

In support of Christmas Jumper Day, Save the Children have created a range of kitsch tote bags. These feature tongue in cheek imagery of three festive cats and dogs; CHIBBY the cat, DUCHESS the bulldog and CHESTER the westie. Retailing at £6, all money goes directly to Save the Children.
In support of Christmas Jumper Day, Save the Children have created a range of kitsch tote bags. These feature tongue in cheek imagery of three festive cats and dogs; CHIBBY the cat, DUCHESS the bulldog and CHESTER the westie. Retailing at £6, all money goes directly to Save the Children.

How will you be supporting Save the Children this Friday?

No payment has been received for this post.

 

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Why this Christmas Is a special one!

It’s been just over a year since I was admitted into hospital to have a tumour removed. I spent a lengthy 8 weeks in hospital, not knowing when I would be home or if I would ever get better. The weight dropped off of me -For many reasons; I was nil by mouth, I was sick every day, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink and I was depressed. I was sick of seeing the same four walls around me, I spent hours and days crying and feeling sorry for myself. I got into such a rut that I felt that there was no need for me to be here anymore. The doctors had no answers as to why I was so ill, the surgery went well but the after effect was not so good. I was being fed by TPN, a tube that entered into the main artery giving me the nutrition that the body was missing. My weight plummeted to 4 and a half stone.

My Christmas day was spent waking up on a ward to having my blood taken and my blood pressure checked. There was no waking up to the sound of my children running around all excited because they had seen that Santa had been in the night and left them some presents to open. I had no morning hugs or kisses. Instead I heard the noise from the squeaky wheels of the breakfast trolley being wheeled through the wards. The Nurses drawing the curtains and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. How could it possibly be merry if I didn’t have my loved ones around me?

I had been promised by my surgeon that I could have day release from the hospital to go home and see my children, but it didn’t go to plan. There were different doctors on call and they refused to let me go home because I was too weak.

My Family visited later in the day and I tried hard to hide my disappointment from them. I was crying inside. The pain inside was far worse than any I had ever felt. Tears stung my eyes as I watched my boys walk out of the ward.

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This year is different.

I have come so far in the past year. I have gained all of the weight back and the muscles in my legs are slowly returning. I have been back at work full time since April and I treasure every second I have with my family.

This year It’s not about the presents and what we buy each other. It’s about us all being together, having fun and enjoying each others company. Material things are nothing compared to time and Love.

Yes, we will still have presents. How could we not? But opening them with us all together In our new home will be extra special.

I have asked my boys what they want for Christmas and all I get in return Is ‘You Mum’

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So this year that is what they will get!

Mummy at home with them.

I am looking forward to waking up to three very excited children and hearing their voices as they run around the house searching for signs that Santa has been. I’m looking forward to drawing the curtains myself and looking out of the window. I’m looking forward to sitting down amongst the mayhem and thanking my lucky stars that I have been given more time to spend with my family.

 

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*Promotional Giveaway* Win Paw Patrol Sea Patroller

Calling all Paw Patrol fans…

Nick Jr.Uk have released a new PAW Patrol Pawsome Missions game where children can embark on adventures with their favourite PAW Patrol characters. In the game, children can create their own avatar as themselves as they look in the real world and get to work alongside Ryder, choosing their physical appearance and outfits. Children explore Adventure Bay by walking around, completing missions, meeting characters, collecting paw points and roleplaying a day in the life of PAW Patrol. The gamers also use the Pup Pad just like Ryder in an immersive 3D digital world, collaborating with different pups for specific quests.

Children  can develop their problem-solving skills in an exciting and playful manner while exploring Adventure Bay Nickjr.co.uk/PAWsome

Nick Jr.Uk is also airing a new PAW Patrol Festive Special on 11th December at 5pm. In the must-see festive special titled “The Pups Winter Wonder Show”, Cap’n Turbot’s performing penguins are set to star in the Adventure Bay Snow Show until Mayor Humdinger penguin-naps them! Now Tracker and the PAW Patrol must make sure the show goes on.PAW_Patrol_322_Scene_17

To celebrate this brand new PAW Patrol festive special AND recently released adventure game, Nick Jr.UK is offering one of my readers a chance to win A PAWsome Paw Patrol Sea Patroller, which has been voted as one of the 12 ‘must-have’ toys for Christmas by a range of UK newspapers.


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The Sea Patroller uses drop-down wheels to transform from ship to land vehicle, to take pups on new and exciting missions!

  • Moveable crane and attachable cage
  • Use flashing lights and sounds to keep the Adventure Beach safe, and the life ring launcher to rescue anyone in distress!
  • There’s room for all Sea Patrol Light Up Pups aboard the Sea Patroller (additional figures sold separately)
  • For compatible Sea Patrol Pups and vehicles search 160948 (Each sold separately)
  • Contents: Sea Patroller, Ryder’s Rescue ATV Vehicle, Ryder Figure, Exploration Platform, Octopus, 2 Life Rings, Anchor.
  • Batteries required: 3 x LR44

To be able to win this PAWsome prize enter the rafflecopter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions

  • UK entries only
  • Winner will be drawn at random from Rafflecopter
  • Entrants must be 18 or over at time of entry
  • There will be one winner who will receive a PAW Patrol Sea Patroller worth £55.99
  • The winner will be contacted via email
  • Winners are required to make contact within 28 days, if a winner fails to respond a new winner will be selected
  • There is no cash alternative to the prize stated, the prize is not transferable and no part or parts of the prize may be substituted for other benefits, items or additions
  • Contact details will be passed on to PR
  • The giveaway will close at midnight on Monday 11th December 2017
  • Invalid or incomplete entries will be disqualified
  • Mumofthreemusketeers accepts no responsibility for the delivery of this prize
  • Prize will be delivered within 30 days following notification of win

Visit www.nickjr.co.uk to play the PAWsome game.

This is a promotional giveaway. No payment has been received

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Pass the Pigs for Xmas Competition

Pass the Pigs logo

Christmas is coming! It’s that time of year when family get together and enjoy each others company. A time for fun and probably a game or two!

You’ll be snorting with laughter if you play with these piggy games for Christmas.  The original party animals, Pass the Pigs, use hilarious pigs for dice. Weird but fun. Will you roll a sider or start makin’ bacon? Having fun with friends, on the road entertainment, or just chilling out – the game is on for every pig in the parlour!

Pass the Pigs points
Fantastic fun for the whole family, Pass the Pigs is so easy to play. Simply throw the 2 piggies up in the air and see how they land. Compare the pigs landing positions with your scorecard and earn points, the first to 100 wins.

Pass The Pig Party_cards

Pass the Pigs comes in a handy travel case, pop into your bag and you are ready for a game anytime, so if you are traveling to see family it’s the perfect entertainment on the go.

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  • Hours of fun are guaranteed with this exciting Pass the Pigs game. Perfect for taking on the road, the Pass the Pigs game comes in a handy travel case, so there’s never a dull moment to be had!
  • Pass the Pigs is a game of skill for 2-6 players, it comes with a handy carry case, 2 pencils, 2 pigs and a pocket-sized score card.
  • Suitable for ages 3+ and available for £9.99rrp.

Pass the Pigs Party is ideal for when you want to play with family and friends at Christmas.

Pass The Pig Party_master

  • The version for party animals! Now there are EIGHT pigs in the game to play with. Roll your piggies to try and be first to match the position on your card, get bonus points if you do it on your first go! Be the first to rack up 100 points.
    • 8 small plastic piggies (four pairs)
    • Deck of 30 cards
    • Carry case
    • £14.99rrp.

Competition:

One lucky winner can win both games ready for Christmas. Enter via Rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and conditions

  1. Competition closes on 8th December
  2. Winner will be notified by email and given 1 day to reply
  3. Prize is sent out by PR
  4. Contact details will be passed on to the PR before 10th December in order for the prize to be sent out
  5. Winner will be chosen randomly by rafflecopter
  6. UK entries only

Social Media Tags:

Instagram: @passthepigsofficial,

Facebook: www.facebook.com/passthepigs,

Twitter: @PassThePigsGame,

Website: www.passthepigsofficial.com

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