A Proud Mini Marathon Day

My children make me proud everyday, there is always something that either one of them has done that makes me take a deep breath and well up inside. I am proud of all 3 of my boys. But yesterday was a very special day where the whole family was proud of the eldest boy. We watched him compete in the London Mini Marathon.

It was the second time that he has had this amazing experience. He first ran it last year when he was 11 years old, read about the post here . He is not the best runner but he tries really hard to achieve his best. This year was a struggle for him as he had lost his running mojo and as much as I get telling him to go out training he just kept saying ‘yeah, tomorrow’. It wasn’t until the last three weeks that he actually began to put the time in to his training and then he started to get a little worried. On Saturday he got bit by a gnat/horsefly and straight away he had a bad reaction to it. Unlucky for Jak, the bite was on his ankle. It wasn’t long before it was swollen, inflamed and blistered. I gave him piriton and rubbed cream on the bite but it was too late to stop it from swelling, the poison had already got into the blood stream. By Sunday morning the swelling had gone down a little but it was still blistered.

Sunday morning had arrived, Jak had to be at the coach for 6:45. He was going to be travelling with the rest of the boroughs team. As I waved him goodbye amongst his friends, a tear welled up in my eye. My baby wasn’t a baby anymore but instead a young lad. I am proud of him everyday for who he is and who he has turned out to be. Running in races, achieving goals in school and his acting are just those little extra moments that make me more proud of him (if it’s even possible).

The coach pulled away, the next time I will see him will be running down Birdcage Walk, on towards The Mall to the finish line.

Jak’s race was starting at 9:09. We left at 8 to catch the train into to London, dressed up in layers to keep us warm and armed with umbrellas incase it rained we was ready to get a spot along route.

We found (what we thought to be a perfect place) along Birdcage walk, propped against the railings we waited for the under 13’s to arrive. We watched and cheered on the other boys that was passing, recognising the odd boy from our boroughs team and shouting their name to cheer them on.

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The first past us was the under 17 boys in black t-shirts, then it was the under 15 boys in blue t-shirts. Up ahead we spotted the first red t short to come along, it was the under 13 boys. We wasn’t expecting to see Jak within the first lot of boys, so we cheered the boys on and waited a couple of minutes. It is so hard to spot your child as they are all in the same colour t-shirts and about the same height. It wasn’t long before we spotted him. We shouted out his name, but he just kept on running. He looked good. He had a good stride.

I never got to see him pass over the finish line as we had a little trouble trying to cross the road. We had positioned ourselves on the wrong side of the road to the finishing line, and had to wait for a gap in the runners to get across. When we eventually crossed over, Jak was already waiting at the borough’s coach for us to pick him up. Once I had signed to say that I had collected him, we was ready to take him off for a well-earned breakfast.

One other thing that made so proud that day was how his little siblings cheered him on and the look on their little cherub faces as they saw him pass by. My two youngest boys look up to their older brother. As soon as they saw him after the race had finished, they ran up to him and gave him a huge hug.

Proudly showing off his medal
Proudly showing off his medal

Jak is a little upset with his time and was hoping that he would have done better, but to me he was the winner as all I saw out on that big wide road was him. Jak. My big boy. The boy that makes me proud every day.

Well Done Jak!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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A visit to The Sky Gardens

The sun was shining and the sky was clear, not a cloud in site. A perfect time to visit the Sky Gardens, London situated at 20 Fenchurch Street or locally known as the ‘Walkie Talkie’ building. London is a beautiful city and it wasn’t til our recent trip into the city that I realised that behind all the tall buildings and beyond the many Royal Parks there are so many delightful places to see.

Living about 35 minutes away from London makes it so accessible for us to get into and an ideal place for family day outs.

A friend of mine had previously visited the Sky Gardens and I knew as soon as I saw the photos of her visit that I would have to visit and see for myself the stunning indoor hidden gem that London has to offer. Entry into the Sky Gardens is free, Visits are pre-bookable, we booked our visit the day before but it is advisable to book at least a few day before you want to visit.

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The Walkie Talkie Building

We planned on meeting Daddy for an early lunch so booked our visit for 11:45. After going through the security down on the ground floor we was ready to embark in the lift and to travel 35 floors up to the top of the building.

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The lift went really fast and within seconds and a pop of the ears we was on the 35th floor, as we walked out through the lift doors we was greeted with the most beautiful sight. Not only was there the 360* breathtaking view of London to admire but also a gorgeous landscaped garden with a viewing area. The whole area is one big dome, spanning over 3 floors including a bar, cocktail terrace, restaurant and cafe.

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The plants on the gardens have been individually chosen to work in the particular quality of light under the roof canopy. You can immediately smell the freshness of the herbs and the ferns. The viewing terraces are naturally ventilated, As we planned to visit on a warm day the temperature within the sky gardens was warm.

We enjoyed a relaxed walk around the terraces and as we strolled round the Sky gardens we appreciated the uninterrupted views of the City.

As a family we really had a superb afternoon in London’s highest hidden gem, the boys were excited when looking out at the views. They spent a while pointing out buildings and areas that they recognised, the youngest even pointed down to the Tower of London and told me that was where his childminder lived lol.

After a stroll around the Gardens and Terraces we sat down in front of the Flowers and took joy in drinking a Latte and ate some croissants (bought in the cafe) The children found a cute little cycle to pose in front of, there were a few of these scattered around the Sky Pod area.

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We had a wonderful time and would highly recommend a visit if you Live or planning a visit to London.

Hope you enjoyed my post 🙂

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A perfect weekend in London, Top 5 places to visit

Living so close to the big City has its advantages. We are just a 35 minute tube ride away from entering the City of London and as a family we it is our prefered place to visit for a day out. There is so much to do and see, that every time we visit there is always something new that we haven’t seen before. There is something quite special about London at night-time and we often take a car journey through London just to drive over the Bridges and see the City lit up. The best bridge is Tower bridge as you get to see the Tower of London all lit up and look down the Thames towards the City.

Our top five places to visit in London are:

  • 1.  Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. This place is huge! We have taken our bikes before and cycled around the whole park, It was so nice to cycle through the park on the big wide cycle lanes safely. Summer time is the best time to visit the park as you can cool down your aching, tired feet (from all of the walking) in the Diana Memorial Fountain or you can take a dip in the Serpentine Lido. Keep your eyes peeled for all of the statues spotted around the park. As you walk over the W Carriage Drive into Kensington Gardens, you will be taken back to 1902 and get to meet Peter Pan. The statue is situated along side The Long Water. Once you have met Peter Pan the children can then use their own imagination and creative play in Diana Memorial Playground. The playground was inspired by the stories of Peter Pan to encourage children to explore and follow their imagination. More about our days out here

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  • 2. The National Army Museum. Situated in Chelsea, a 12 minute walk away from Sloane Square station, along Royal Hospital Road. Here you will find a museum that museum that moves, inspires, challenges, educates and entertains. This museum is a favourite of my boys, not only do they get to learn about the story of the British Army and its role in history but a kids zone where children explore aspects of army life from camping to clothing. It includes a dedicated soft-play space for babies, plus arts and crafts, dressing-up costumes, books, interactive toys and a castle fortress.
Photo from littlebird
Photo from littlebird

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  • 3. The Emirates Airline Cable Car. Catch the cable from Emirates Royal Dock or Emirates Greenwich. We took a ride in it from the Docklands side, it was easy to get to from the Royal Victoria station on the Docklands line. Travel across the River Thames in a glass globe and see London from a different perspective with beautiful views and sights below. To add to the breath-taking views there is also an on-board tour as part of the Discovery experience. The audio and visual tour takes you through a series of fascinating hidden stories about the sights of East London. On board, as you travel 90m up above the river, you get to see London’s most famous sights including the 02, Thames Barrier and Royal Docks. A single journey can take up to 10 minutes.

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  • 4. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Made famous for the legacy of the Olympics 2012, The olympic park is now open to visitors to explore and enjoy. In the south of the park you will find a climbing wall, adjacent to the Arena and a little play area

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In the North of the park is Tumbling Bay Playground that features rock pools, sand pits, tall tree houses, and wobbly bridges, as well as slides, swings and plenty of space to run about. It’s like a little magical, mythical, fantasy world where children can play in a natural environment and be creative with their thoughts and imagination. Read about our day out here

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Next door to the Tumbling Playground is the Lee Valley Velo Park where you get to recreate the olympics by trying out the track indoors and outdoors. My boys loved trying out the BMX track.

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  • 5. ST Katherine’s Dock. Live the marina life in London, just a short walk from The Tower of London, you will be amazed at how beautiful this place is. ST Katherine’s Dock is London’s hidden gem, the former dock has been transformed into an elegant marina with abundance of shops and restaurants. This is my sons favourite place to visit, he wrote about it here. Take a stroll around the marina, look at all of the stunning yachts, you may even get to watch one come in through the lock.

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All of the above would make a perfect weekend for us and even better if we got to stay in a Hotel, staying in the centre of London means you get to the top attractions first nd you can fit more into the day. The Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington is currently offering 50% off connecting rooms this February, March and April, providing even better value for families. (2015)

Available weekends, and every day during half term and Easter, the hotels Family Fun offer gives you the opportunity to spend quality time with your family whilst enjoying the sights and sounds London has to offer.  You won’t need to worry about breakfast either as full English breakfast is included.
This is Mumofthreemusketeers entry into Tots100 and The Royal Garden Hotel competition to win a five-star stay for the family in the hotel. 
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Great Fires of London! Fireman Sam’s Ocean Rescue DVD Experience

ACTION STATIONS! NEW FIREMAN SAM DVD ‘OCEAN RESCUE’ OUT NOW
Great fires of Pontypandy! Fireman Sam and his brave firefighter friends are back – this time tackling disasters out at sea in a series of Ocean Rescue missions. Catch the ever-dependable Sam and co in this series of water-themed rescues and see if he can save the people of Pontypandy from a variety of nautical nightmares.
We was invited along to The Tower Brdige in London for an exclusive screeening of Fireman Sam Ocean Rescue, but best of all was how we was going to arrive at the Tower Bridge!
We made our way to the Embankment, along the Thames, where we was going to go on an exhilerating RIB boat ride down the Thames. The boys were really excited as these boats go really fast. As we waited for the RIB boat to turn up, the boys were put into their life jackets. Oliver couldn’t ride on the RIB as he weighs under 2 stone, so as we waved the boys off on their exciting trip down the Thames we rushed off to catch the train to meet them there.
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The boys were certainly arriving in style at The Tower Bridge, pretending to be on their very own rescue mission out on the water, just like Fireman Sam. Speeding down the River Thames with the wind in their hair, rushing to the Tower Bridge.
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Upon arrival they were greeted by Firman Sam himself.
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It wasn’t long before we was all sitting down with a drink and some popcorn watching the movie, all eyes were glued to the screen…even the adults!
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I knew that my eldest would enjoy the RIB boat ride but I wasn’t sure that he would want to sit down and watch Fireman Sam, but I was amazed at how the movie kept his attention as much as it did with the younger children. With lots of action and fun scenes even I sat down and watched the clips. There are many people in Pontypandy for Sam and Ben to rescue but it always seem to be bad boy Norman who gets into the most trouble.
After watching a few clips we was treated to some lovely refreshments, which certainly did fill a gap. There was lovely marshmallows on a stick covered in soft pink icing, fruit kebabs, crisps, shaped sandwiches and pitta bread with dips. We certainly was treated like heros.
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Fireman Sam even made special appearances after the Movie had finished, he spent time with all the children and adults posing for photographs and joking around with them.
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We all had a lovely day at The Tower Bridge watching the new DVD, we even brought a copy home to watch again and again.
Why don’t you join Fireman Sam for the grand opening of Pontypandy’s Ocean Rescue Centre! New coastguard Ben works alongside the Rescue Team to keep everyone safe with heroics on the high seas. Mike takes on the choppy waters alone as he attempts to set up some fireworks, but they accidentally all go off at once! Meanwhile, Norman and Mandy row out to sea in search of a rare turtle – but it’s not long before they are lost, and the waves keep getting bigger. Will Fireman Sam be able to find them before disaster strikes?
RRP: £12.99   Running time:  65 mins  Stockists: Available online at www.amazon.co.uk and in all good retailers nationwide                                  
To find out more about Fireman Sam visit the website http://www.firemansam.com.
We was invited along to the event for the purpose of this post.
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A London Harry Potter Tour #NewThings

The boys and I have been invited along with a selection of other bloggers to become New Things Ambassadors, a project run by CSMA. Over the next coming month we have been asked to help inspire other families in trying something new.

Read all about the NewThings project here This week the challenge is to visit a New Place.

This week we visited London. Ok, it’s not a new city for us to visit as we are up there at least once a month but it was the fact that we visited lots of new places in London that we have never been to before. London has a vast amount of hidden treasures that we may pass every day and not know they are there.

The boys and myself are huge Harry Potter fans, like many we have read the books and watched the films, we even have a few Harry potter toys lying around the house but we have never been to the Harry Potter studio tours, as It is slightly too expensive for us to go to as a family. So we took to the internet and found a perfect website to help us out with our OWN tour of London, visiting many of the locations that Harry Potter movies were filmed.

First up we caught the underground train to Leicester Square, we exited onto Charing Cross Road.

This is where the opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was filmed when the Death Eaters swoop down over Trafalgar Square, heading down Charing Cross Road leading a trail of destruction behind.

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Next we made our way along Cranbourne Street, taking a right at the end onto St Martin’s Lane. Go left onto New Row and a little along the road we saw Hardy’s Original Sweet Shop

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Just like Honeyduke’s sweets shop in Harry Potter, Once inside this shop you are instantly surrounded by shelves that are stacked to the brim of all types of sweets. We bought a bag made up of Harry Potter themed sweets, costing £10 – not bad considering one of the packs cost 3.99 on its own! Inside is a long jelly basilisk, a chocolate wizard, a pack of liquorice wands, a pack of sherbet lemon sweets, a chocolate frog, a packet of popping candy and very famous every flavour beans.

will it be dirt, vomit or even booger flavour?
will it be dirt, vomit or even booger flavour?

Once stocked with some Harry Potter themed goodies, we headed on over to the other side of the road where we went right into Bedfordbury. Just along on the right hand side there is a passageway tucked away called Goodwins Court. This wasn’t in the Film but it has a magical feel to it with the lamps above the doorways. We must have passed this alleyway many times before but had no idea what was down it, until now!

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So Pretty!

At the end of Goodwins Court, cross over St Martins lane, veering left and head down Cecil Court. The court has such a magical, mysterious feel to it, not used in the HP Films but believed that Cecil Court was the influence of Diagon Alley. With curious antique and book shops, there is plenty to look at, most of the shops even have Harry Potter items on display for sale.

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Magic Money
Magic Money

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Next we headed on over to Leicester Square, where we walked towards Shaftesbury Avenue. This is where Ron, Hermione and Harry apparate to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and nearly get run over by a number 19 bus.

Number 19 bus
Number 19 bus

As you walk along Shaftesbury Avenue you are taking the exact route that Harry, Hermione and Ron took in the film when discussing the Theatres. A little along the road you will see an arcade with large globe lights over head

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The same route that the young wizards took as they discuss about missing Harry’s birthday.

From here we made our way towards Nelson Column at Trafalgar Square, this is where the Death Eaters launch an attack on London from the air in the opening sequences of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. 

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Looking at Trafalgar Square in a different way and trying to remember clips of the film, made it feel quite real for us.

Next we headed on over to The Entrance of Ministry Of Magic which is actually on Great Scotland Yard and on the corner of Scotland Place.

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In the Order of the Phoenix, Harry and Mr Weasley enter through the ‘visitors entrance’ which was in a red telephone box located to the left of the brown door. The telephone box was a prop that was lowered down onto set and removed once the filming had finished, there are many telephone boxes scattered around London we found some great ones on Parliament Street to have a photo taken in.

On the other corner of Scotland Place, it was used in the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part one , where the young wizards drink the polyjuice potion to get into the Ministry of Magic.

If you head along towards Horse Guards Parade towards Horse Guards Avenue, standing with your back towards the Spencer Comptons statue, you will notice that this is where the Staff entrance into the Ministry of Magic was. The entrance was in fact a ‘gentleman’s Toilet’ and was only a prop that was placed in the middle of the road.

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About to enter the Ministry of Magic
About to enter the Ministry of Magic

 

On the next part of the tour we headed to the Train Station to catch a train to Temple. Exiting the station we walked up the steps to the left and turned right. At the end of the road turn left into Milford Lane and walk up the steep flight of steps ahead along to Essex Street. At the top of the street you will find that you are on the Strand, turn left and ahead on the right hand side you will see Austraila House: Gringotts Bank. Look inside and see the magnificent crystal chandelier and the glorious marble floor. the boys said it really was Gringotts Bank!

We made our way back to Temple Station where we caught the underground train to Monument, here we headed up Fish Street Hill, crossing over Eastcheap and turning left along Gracechurch Street. Keep on walking along over Fenchurch Street and turning right into Bull’s Head Passage.

Here we found a blue optician doorway which was used in the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire as the entrance into The leaky cauldron.

leaky couldronKeeping ahead and walking into the Victorian Leadenhall Market, this was used in the films for the exterior shots of Diagon Alley.

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On the last part of our NewPlaces tour was to head to Kings Cross Station, where we was going to see if we could enter through Platform 9 3/4 to catch the Hogwarts Express to Hogwarts. We caught the Northern Line train from Bank to Kings Cross and headed to KIngs Cross St.Pancras. There was no way we could have missed where the Platform was as there was a queue of people waiting to photograph the famous Platform 9 3/4 sign. There is even a luggage cart placed against the wall, where you can pose for photo.

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Kings Cross station was in every Harry Potter Film as it was the location where young wizards caught the Hogwarts Express from to journey to Hogwarts.

We had a fabulous day in London visiting places that we never knew were there, London really is the City with hidden treasures. We saw London with open eyes and noticed how beautiful buildings were and how magical and mysterious the City really is. We had fun as a family and I enjoyed being with the children in such a wonderful City. If you’re looking for ideas on days out then why not take a look at CSMA 10 Cheap things to do with the kids.

We found all of the locations with the help of downloading the guide from www.the-magician.co.uk

We would like you to join in and share your experiences with us too, they don’t have to be the same as our challenge, they could be trying new clothes on, visiting a new country or playing a new sport for the first time, join in with the linky or just use the hashtag #NewThings

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Calling all Pirates and Princesses! All aboard the Lolli-Rodger

OOh Arrgh! Me Hearties! I’s have some amazing Lollibop news for yous all, come a little closer and listen up!
On Sunday 6th July, Lollibop will be presenting – Pirate and Princesses on The Lolli-Rodger!
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Families are invited to set sail on an amazing Pirate and Princess adventure down the Thames with fantastic children’s entertainers Sharky & George. Follow the treasure map and learn the ropes to become the fiercest pirate on the seven seas of the most enchanting princes in the kingdom.
There will be two 90 minute sessions (11 – 12.30pm or 1 – 2.30pm) starting from Butlers Wharf all the way to Westminster Bridge.

There’ll be:

  • Treasure clues
  • Pirate hat and eye patch making
  • Princess tiaras and wand decorating
  • Foam sword decorating and battles
  • Treasure Island, Pirate treasure chest
  • Water bomb canon ball catapulting
  • River bank pirate spotting (waving flags with answers to clues)
  • Awesome Pirate Princess Face Painter

Parents can hang out in their own bar with some pirate punch and an old sea shanty to keep ’em company, whilst the whole day rounds off with a rollicking kids disco on the high seas, DJ’ed by our very own Wooden Eye Willy

The Lolli-Rodger is just a little taster of what’s to come in August at Lollibop festival.
Tickets are now on sale with Ticket Master at a price of £10 each: http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/event/36004CC9D9744B66
This news is brought to as we are official lollibop ambassadors
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My favourite way to enjoy a sunny day outside

By Jak Wright, age 11

The Mad Blogs Awards are searching for the first ever Kid Blog of the Year, in collaboration with Vita Coco Kids, naturally fruit-flavoured coconut water. I haven’t written on my Mum’s blog for a while now but I am always giving her input on the posts that she writes and most of the posts are about my brothers and me. My last post was Why Bogies are good for us and i have written about bullying and making friends before too.

I would really like to be named the UK’s The First Kid Blog of the year with the Mad Blog Awards so here is my entry into the competition

My favorite way to enjoy a sunny day outside is…

Well, I have many exciting activities to enjoy when I’m outside on a hot, sunny Sunday in the August holidays. First of all I would cannonball into our large luxurious pool and have a swim. Of course I’d have to get out sometime but I would stay in there for 3 hours at least.

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When I DO get out I would spend time with my family in London at St Katherine’s dock near the Thames. I love the way the sunshine glitters off the rippling water that crashes against the gleaming white yachts creating white, bubbly foam. I love to watch the boats come in and out of the Docks and hot summer days the sun rays beam down on the chrome railings and glisten on the water. St katherines Dock really is a hidden gem within the city and even more special when your with your family and you can enjoy the surroundings with them.

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Watching a yacht come through the barrier into the dock

 

When I have an excellent school report my parents would buy me any ice cream of my choice. Of course, I choose the biggest, tastiest ice cream available. I’ve tried them all: The Knicker-Bocker Glory, The Banana Boat, The Triple Chocolate Sundae and The 7 Scoop Rainbow Flavour cone with extra extra sprinkles.

There’s nothing like sitting in a hidden gem in London whilst eating a refreshing ice cream and watching the majestic boats glide gracefully along side us, on a boiling, cloudless day. It’s always nice to walk along the River Thames, the views of the Tower Bridge and the shard are so clear on a bright sunny day.

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A place like this is always best shared with family

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St Katherines Dock is my favorite place to enjoy a sunny day outside, whats yours?

This is my entry into the Kids Mad Blog Award, hope you like it?

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