17 July 2018

5 Top Summer Camping Essentials

This run of good weather just keeps on going and with the British weather being so fine at the moment it’s definitely time to get a camping holiday organised for the family. The hubby and our son have done quite a few camping trips now and have learnt a thing or two during their adventures. So to help you out on your next camping trip I’ve put together this little list of top 5 summer camping essentials to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Big Tent
Let’s start with one thing you’ll 100% need especially if you’ve got the kids with you. A nice big tent! It’s definitely worth spending a bit of time investigating which tents will suit your needs most and also it’s worth spending a bit of money here too. If you’re camping with the kids you’ll want a tent that’s reasonably fuss free, easy to set up and has space so you’re not all bumping into each other. I’d suggest looking at some of the inflatable air tents as they’re quick to go up and surprisingly sturdy.

Sleeping Bags
Definitely invest in good sleeping bags. Sometimes the summer ones seem cheap and tempting but it can get quite cold at night in a tent so purchasing a good sleeping bag is key. Make sure and get something for ground cover as well, such as a blow up bed or thick foam mat. These will help keep you off the ground and feeling warmer in your sleeping bag at night. If travelling with the kids you can even get a double sleeping bag to share so it’ll keep you both cosy and you’ll be able to keep an eye on them.

Camping Chairs
It might be alright for the kids to sit on a picnic blanket for hours but if you’re like me and get a bit sore and stiff after a while it’s a good idea to have some camping chairs on your trip. There’s loads of different kinds available but I find a good fold-able chair quite comfy and you can pick them up at a reasonable price from lots of different shops or online. The fold-able ones are normally light weight as well so easy to carry even for the kids!

Camping Food & Stove
Depending on where you camp there might not be a lot of options for eating out nearby and half the fun of camping is surviving in the wild and cooking your own food. With this in mind it’s good to purchase a stove and some camp food to take along with you. There’s a lot of stoves out there that are quite cheap to buy and come with some kind of pot to cook your food in. I like using the Wayfayrer food pouches for camping and they boil up in a pot nicely. Plus they taste like real food and the kids enjoy them. It’s worth noting that during the hot summer weather camp fires aren’t advised so a stove is a lot safer option. We don’t want any accidental wild fires!

First Aid Kit
No matter where you go or what you do someone always ends up hurting themselves and when you’re in the middle of nowhere it’s a good idea to keep a little first aid kit handy. I like to make up my own in a plastic lunch box and include things like plasters, small bandages, micropore tape, pair of scissors, calpol, midge repellent, insect bite & sting cream, sudocrem, painkillers, tick remover etc. It’s good to be prepared, at least I like to be anyway.

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

15 July 2018

Review: Orchard Toys Superhero Lotto

If you're looking for some new games to keep the kids busy this summer holiday then you've got to check out Orchard Toys. They've recently released some lovely new additions to their collection and the kids have been sent one to test out. Here's a little bit about Orchard Toys for those of you not familiar with the brand: "Orchard Toys started out around a kitchen table making blocks and stencils for a local nursery school. Now, over 40 years later, we ship to over 50 different countries around the world and are recognised as a leading manufacturer of educational games and puzzles both in the UK and globally.

We are proud of our British roots, and still design, produce and pack all our products from the market town of Wymondham in Norfolk. With a reputation for quality and durability, we pride ourselves on creating products that can withstand the wear and tear of little hands, whether this be at home, in a childcare setting or in schools."

As you can see Orchard Toys are a super British brand who care a lot about their products and the children that use them. They kindly sent Logan and Harlow their brand new Superhero Lotto game to review so here's what we thought.

First thoughts from myself are the excellent colourful inclusive packging the game comes in. It's a sturdy box with a boy and a girl superhero on the front and lots of helpful snippets on information and pictures on the back. A quick scan over the box from my 8 year old and he knew how to play this game right away. The 3 year old can't read yet but after explaining the rules and how to play she got stuck right in.

As the name suggests the game is a fun superhero matching game which features two levels of difficulty for younger and older players. Perfect for my two with their big age gap. There's 4 superhero boards, 24 item cards and 1 instruction leaflet included in the box. To play you simply click the superhero boards together, choose if you want the easy or the harder side to play, spread out the item cards face down on the floor and you're ready to begin. Each player then takes it in turn to select an item card, turn it over and see if that item matches anything on their superhero board. For the easy side of the board it has the 6 items all pictured for you. On the harder side it has a photo and a list of stats at the top and 6 blank item spaces so you've to use your brain to work out what items go with which superhero. Great for working that grey matter.

This game is suitable for ages 3-7 and for 2-4 players. It's great for developing matching and memory skills, encouraging observational skills and helps to promote discussion. Children really do learn through play and Orchard Toys games are so good at helping that learning. We really do love their games and have a stash of them in our house.

Both Logan and Harlow really enjoyed the Superhero Lotto matching game. With Logan being that bit older he found it quite easy but still loved to play and Harlow really enjoyed finding all the items and matching them to her board. She was even feeling generous and helping me to fill up my board when we were playing together, how kind.

Superhero Lotto retails for £7.75 and I'd highly recommend for all those superhero lovers out there. It's bright, colourful and perfect for little hands to play. It's compact as well so makes for an excellent travel game. We recently took it on holiday with us up North to keep the kids busy.

We were sent this product in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

13 July 2018

The Three Sisters Bar do Fringe For Bairns

The Edinburgh Fringe is almost upon us and if you're like me and trying to stop the kids killing each other then you need to get yourselves along to the Three Sisters bar in Edinburgh's Cowgate for some free fun at their Fringe for Bairns events. Yes you read that right, totally FREE fantastic fun for all the family.

From Sunday 29th July to Wednesday 1st August the Three Sisters have some brilliant fun packed days full of lovely activities for the kids. As I mentioned the event is totally free but if you do happen to enjoy the performers there's an opportunity to give donations on the day however it's not required - just a nice thing to do if you want to.

Here's a taster of what's on the agenda;

Sunday 29th July
9am-12am- Frozen Sing-a-Long with Anna & Elsa
12am-2pm- Fairy-tale Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter

Monday 30th July
10am-12am- Lego Games, Lego Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter
12am-2pm Bricks 4 Kidz - Glasgow, Scotland

Tuesday 31st July
10am-2pm- Animal Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Painter
10am-2pm- Petting Zoo

Wednesday 1st Aug
10am-2pm- Superhero Animal Themed Arts & Crafts, Magician, Balloon Modeller, & Face Paint

The Three Sisters have also partnered with Scottish Autism as they'll be hosting free kids cinemas every Sunday throughout the fringe bringing you Disney classics, cinema snacks & special guests. How amazing is that! These events are of course very relaxed and child friendly so if the kids wants to jump around and sing along it's totally OK. It's all about the kids having fun at the end of the day.

Cinema Shows - start at 9am;

Sunday the 29th July - Frozen Sing-A-Long with Anna and Elsa

Sunday the 5th August - Live Action Beauty and The Beast with Belle

Sunday the 12th August - Brave Cinema and Kids ceilidh

Sunday the 19th August - Moana Cinema with Moanna

And since the kids might get pekish (when do they not!) there'll be plenty of different street food stalls available so no one will be going hungry at #Fringe4Bairns. I'll be there with my two on Monday 30th July so if you see me do pop over and say hello. Hopefully I'll be able to talk if I'm not refereeing fight number 1,289 for the kids!

8 July 2018

Review: Strictly Briks Brik Tower

I'm always looking for new ways to keep the kids busy and occupied with their little hands. It means they're less likely to use them on each other! Recently I've noticed we seem to have an abundance of Lego in the house but not many toys or accessories which we can use to play along side it. This is where Strictly Briks comes in. They provide a wonderful assortment of accessories compatible with Lego, Mega Bloks, Tyco, PixelBlocks, KRE-O, or K'NEX Bricks etc which gives tons of opportunity for exciting play.

The kids were recently sent some of their lovely products to try out and when they spotted the Strictly Briks Baseplates plus stackers they couldn't wait to get stuck in. The particular pack we were sent contained 6 baseplates and 50 stackers. Each baseplate measures 10”x 10” so a decent sized square. The first thing the kids did was build a tower with the baseplates and stackers. It reminded me of a multistory car park and Harlow filled up each section with Lego and a different array of toys.

Logan was really impressed with the size of the tower and thought it was great he could lounge on the sofa and play at the same time. Both the kids found it easy to stick Lego bricks and figures to the baseplates and loved using other toys on it as well, especially Harlow. She really enjoyed placing lots of her little toys on the Brik Tower.

The baseplates and stackers pack we were sent retails for £21.99 on Amazon at present and if you like the look of the Strictly Briks products there's a whole host of sets to choose from. There's rainbow plates and stackers, a basic briks bag, circle and half circle base plates, road base plates, there's clear base plates etc. The list really does go on. A quick search on Amazon and you'll be able to see what's available. The good thing about Strictly Briks is that all of their products promote creativity and learning through building so the fun never stops.

These stackable baseplates make building vertically quick and easy and take creative building to the next level. Overall myself and the kids found this Strictly Briks product very sturdy and easy to use. For the price it's a decent add on to any Lego, Mega Bloks, Tyco, PixelBlocks, KRE-O, or K'NEX Bricks type products and definitely adds another dimension to the type of play.

We were sent this product in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

7 July 2018

6 Outdoor Toys you need in your garden this Summer

With the sun set to be shining for weeks to come and the schools finally out for Summer I can see there's going to be a lot of garden time for the kids on the horizon. It's not often us folks in Scotland get to enjoy such amazing weather so whilst us Mums, Dads and Grandparents soak up the rays why not keep the kids busy in the garden with these 6 top outdoor toys from what2buy4kids. And of course make the fun even sweeter by entering my 10% off discount code at the checkout - BRENEWS218

Sky Zoom Copter
I totally loved these when I was a kid and at £5.99 they're a bargain garden toy to play with. Suitable from ages 6 upwards kids will have great fun flying the Sky Zoom Copter outdoors. This outdoor helicopter has a rip cord launching mechanism so batteries are not required. It's simple and easy to use and can provide hours of entertainment.

Nick Baker's Bug Safari
My daughter loves beasties and bugs and this bug safari set for ages 5+ makes an excellent toy for budding animal lovers. The set allows kids to get the perfect view of a range of different creatures and you can use the kit to capture different mini-beasts then observe them before setting them free once more. Kids will love seeing how many different creatures they can find in their own garden or at the park, making this a gift that’s both educational and lots of fun. RRP £13.99

Bump n Go Bubble Train
This cute little engine is perfect for the younger kids in the family. Suitable for ages 2-4 years this amazing little train not only makes it’s own way around, cleverly avoiding obstacles but it even blows bubbles as it goes. Train sound effects included. Simply fill it with the bubble solution and what it release a continuous stream of bubbles from the chimney. RRP £16.99.

Soak 'n' Sling Balls
Add a twist to the usual water balloon fight with these soak n sling balls which can be used again and again. The colourful sponge balls absorb lots of water so make great toys in the paddling pool too. You get 2 balls in each pack and at £2.50 they're the perfect price!

Dinosaur Pop Up Play Tent
It's so hot in the sun at the moment that this fab pop up play tent is perfect for hiding in the shade and letting their imaginations run wild. Kids will love going on a dinosaur adventure featuring a wonderful Jurassic-inspired scene, the tent’s highlight is a fearsome T-Rex and Pterodactyl. It's easy to assemble and can be popped up at a moment’s notice to provide a fun play environment indoors or outside. RRP £27.99 and if dinosaurs aren't your thing there's always pink, blue, fairy, knights castle, space rocket or pirate designs to choose from.

Sand Cupcake Set
Talk about taking sand castle making to the next level! This cute little sand cupcake set is an amazing accessory to add to any garden sand pit. I know my daughter would go crazy for this. At £10.99 it's a fair price and kids will love making sandy cupcakes for their teddies to pretend eat. Simply fill the cupcake mould with sand before adding a cupcake topper, then ‘bake’ in the sun. With four separate moulds, kids can make cupcakes for the whole family.

4 July 2018

Celebrating 3 Years of Breastfeeding

In January of this year I finally stopped breastfeeding my daughter. She’d just turned 3 and her little teeth were getting a bit too much for me so I decided it was time to stop and finish our journey. I felt quite sad about it all but also had a sense of achievement around it too. I never intended to breastfeed for so long but it some how just happened. It’s probably down to the eagerness and strong will of my toddler and me being a lazy bum and letting it continue. She was happy though and I wasn’t at all bothered that we were still going so all was fine.

As I said I stopped shortly after her birthday in January. I was dreading the bed time meltdowns of not having the boob however she’s actually been ok. A couple of times she’s cried to be breastfed but a quick cuddle and some kisses has made everything better. The only issue now is a new bed time routine. Before it would be a snuggle down to feed on mummy and daddy’s bed before one of us lifted her into her own bed for the night. This was fine as it worked but with no longer feeding it needed to change slightly.

So now after Harlow puts her pjs on it’s straight to her bed with at least 3 stories before the lights go out and she makes us sing her some songs. Usually wheels on the bus and incy wincy spider. For a while she was happy with this and would go straight to sleep but now she wants us to lay down beside her in her bed. If the other half or I don’t do this is seems to be a complete battle and crying fit for the whole night! That worked for a while but now nothing really works. I’m being a completely bad mum and giving her the iPad to watch Moana or Frozen for a little while and that usually sends her to sleep. I’m not sure if the lighter nights are making bed time more difficult as well. Let’s be honest, it’s not dark at all is it. Even with black out blinds and curtains it’s just not keeping all the light out. If you have any tips for bed time then do send them my way as they’ll be much appreciated. You think you have the bed time routine cracked then it all changes. Nightmare!

Breastfeeding really did help me lose a lot of the baby weight (and more) that I had gained during pregnancy and now that I’ve stopped I’m having to watch what I’m eating again. It’s so hard though and I often find myself pigging out so I’ve put some weight back on. We can’t have it all though can we (I wish). If I could possibly lose a stone or even half a stone I’d be quite happy. Well I say that but then is anybody ever really happy with their weight or the way they look? My clothes are getting tight though so I do need to calm down on the food or take up exercise.

I’d love to hear your extended breastfeeding journeys and how you’re getting on so please do get in touch. You never know I could always feature you on the blog.

2 July 2018

Review & Giveaway: Ultimate Cars & Space Number Crunch Books

This month Carlton Books have sent Logan two new additions to read and review for them. As you'll know from previous posts we're mad book fans in this house and any new book for reading is an exciting prospect. Space Number Crunch and Ultimate Cars arrived on our doorstep in record time and Logan seriously couldn't wait to dive in. The day these arrived he was actually having quite a tricky day to himself so these two books cheered him right up.

Fancy flash cars seem to be a thing of beauty and wonder among the young kids at school and Logan's definitely interested in them himself. He's always watching YouTube videos or scrolling Instagram with his Dad so the Ultimate Cars book has given him something to drool over at bed time. This book has 80 pages packed with a high octane mix of the world's hottest cars, from supremely stylish sports classics to the latest in full-throttle super cars and hyper cars. Retailing at £9.99 and suitable for ages 6+ it makes a great little gift for the tiny car lovers in your life.

Logan was so thrilled to receive his copy of the Ultimate Cars and scanned the pages with resound interest. I wasn't allowed to leave his bedside while he proceeded to recite interesting facts and throw pictures of amazing cars in my face. To say he loved this book is an understatement. One of his favourites had to be the double page spread of the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport. It's so sleek and eye catching and fast!! Did you know that the Veyron can go from zero to 200km/h and brake to a standstill again in just 12.5 seconds! Amazing.

There's so many different sections in this book to keep the reader entertained from weird wheels to one-off wonders and of course off road warriors. I highly recommend for the car fanatic in the family.

Next up is Space Number Crunch. There are a few number crunch books to buy with Logan already having the Dinosaur Number Crunch in his collection. Space Number Crunch did not disappoint with a very excited boy sponging up all the facts as soon as I passed the book over. Space is something that really fascinates Logan and with 4 or more visits to the National Space Centre under his belt in the past few years he really was delighted to receive this book. There's 96 pages full of incredible galaxies, brightest stars, coldest planets, amazing astronauts, longest spacewalks and so much more. It's £9.99 and suitable for age 6+ as well.

This book is perfect for young inquisitive minds who want to know what's going on in outer space. It really helps Logan settle down and calm before bed which is great as he really needs that. I'd also recommend as an additional home education resource as every page is crammed with small junks of interesting facts that will keep the kids enthralled. Logan hates reading big chunky pieces of writing for long but these number crunch books are excellent for breaking it down and keeping it fresh. They use fab images, fonts and lots of colour to pull in the eye and the rest follows doesn't it.

So if you like the sound of both Ultimate Cars and Space Number Crunch then you're in luck as I have 3 copies of each to give away to 3 luck readers! Simply enter via the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

27 June 2018

5 Things To Do When Visiting Wick

We're about to embark on another adventure to the Scottish Highlands and of course visiting our favourite Landmark Trust cottage near Wick. Every time we visit (we're almost in double figures now) we always find something new and exciting to do and explore. A lot of people might think it's quite remote and a bit boring the further North you go but they couldn't be more wrong.

The further up you go the more magical the land becomes and it honestly feels like some sort of fairy tale adventure waiting to unfold before your eyes. So to add some excitement to the magic I've put together a little list of 5 things to do when visiting Wick. We really do love it there so read on for our tips.

Castle of Old Wick
When visiting Scotland it's only proper that you visit a castle or two along the way and the Castle of Old Wick is perfect to explore. It's a castle ruin so totally free to visit (as there's not much left) and it is said to be one of the oldest castles in Scotland dating back to the 1160s. There's a little information board nearby telling you some fab history so definitely worth popping by. You can get some nice photos there too.

Berriedale Beach
This is a gorgeous little pebble beach and the kids love it. There's always something new to look at and all the different sized pebbles make great building blocks or chipping stones to throw into the sea. There's even a tiny little cave to explore which sends the kids imaginations wild. This year when we visited in January we even got to witness a sea rescue helicopter practicing it's rescue missions which was pretty amazing. Love this wee beach.

Fossil Hunting at Achanarras Quarry
Caithness is full of different fossil hunting spots but the one that's most accessible is Achanarras Quarry. It's well sign posted and easy to find however it is a bit of a walk to get to. My two managed it no bother and it's well worth walking to the quarry to have a hunt around for fossils. There's so much slate to dig through I'm sure you'll find something. After about 30 minutes we managed to find our very own fish fossil which is really cool. It's now proudly displayed in our house. I like to show it to people when they come over haha.

Gold Panning in Helmsdale
A little birdie (thanks Jess) told me that there's still gold panning alive and well in the highlands of Scotland and she was totally right. Would you believe for £5 a day (that's all equipment included) you can pan for gold at the Kildonan Burn in Helmsdale! Totally amazing. We haven't done this as a family yet but since we'll be up North very soon I'm definitely going to take the kids along with a picnic and have a fab day out.

Dunrobin Castle
Every time we've been to Wick we always forget to pop into Dunrobin Castle or it hasn't been the season and the castle has been closed. This year we're definitely making it along and I personally can't wait. The Castle, which resembles a French château with its towering conical spires, has seen the architectural influences of Sir Charles Barry, who designed London’s Houses of Parliament, and Scotland’s own Sir Robert Lorimer. The gardens look absolutely stunning and they also have birds of prey displays throughout the year. I hope the kids love it as much as I will.

So there you go, 5 things to do when visiting Wick. If you have any brilliant places to visit near Wick please do let me know as we're always looking for new and exciting things to do with the kids.

23 June 2018

Find the Perfect Gift with PersonalizedCart.com

It's so hard to find amazing gifts to give these days. Normally everyone just goes out and buys what they want when they want it so when birthdays and special events pop up finding that special gift is blooming well tricky! That's where PersonalizedCart.com come in. They have a wide range of personalised gifts available for all ages on their website and being personalised means it'll be a meaningful gift just for the recipient.

I'm a total sucker for a personalised gift, I honestly love them and so PersonalizedCart.com sent me one of their lush necklaces to review. I received a gorgeous rose gold pendant necklace which can be personalised with the initials of your loved ones. I choose 3 discs (you can have 1-3), L for Logan, H for Harlow and K for Kevin.

After ordering the necklace arrived super fast, I think it was only a week before it turned up on my doorstep. I ripped open the packaging and inside contained in a perfect gift box was the beautiful personalised necklace. It's small and dainty with each disc measuring at 1.3cm but it's perfect. The chain is an excellent size too at 40cm and has the option of a 5cm extension if you choose.

The quality of the necklace is great. I checked it top to bottom and there were no scratches or tarnish marks to be found anywhere. The personalised letter engraving was professional and well done on each disc. Starting at just £18 these necklaces would make excellent gifts for any mother, friend, sister, bestie etc and if rose gold isn't your thing then you can have silver or gold around your neck instead.

As well as doing these little necklaces PersonalizedCart.com also do a wealth of other personalised gifts such as personalised watches, door mats, Christmas stockings, photo frames, baby blocks and so much more. They're all very reasonably priced and unique so well worth a look. Happy shopping!

I was sent this necklace in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

21 June 2018

Turning 30... it's not that bad!

Last month I turned the big 30 and do you know what it wasn't painful at all. I always think being 30 is such a milestone in life as you're not really a young adult anymore. You're a grown up now, you've got responsibilities and (sometimes) little people to look after but I honestly don't feel any different. My body might have changed and my face might have aged but my brain is still the same. I still think the same and it's probably not going to have changed much by the time I'm 60 so age really is just a number to me.

So instead of having a party to celebrate (not a fan) we all went on holiday to the lovely Cambrils, near Salou, and it was really nice visiting some where new. The resort we stayed at was fab. It had a lovely pool, splash park, restaurant, bar and it's very own private beach. The Portaventura theme park was close by as well and since tickets were included with our hotel stay we visited a few times. Highly recommend as it's such a lovely theme park and disability friendly as well.

My lovely friend Yvonne also took me out for a nice spot of lunch when I returned from my holidays so it really has been fab turning 30. Here's to the next birthday!

30 April 2018

Review & Giveaway: Dinosaur Number Crunch and What Would She Do Books

Carlton Books have done it again. They've only gone and released some more brilliant books for kids and luckily for Logan he gets to try out two of them. He was recently sent the Dinosaur Number Crunch book and What Would She Do? book.

Most of you will know by now that Logan loves a fact book. We've collected a good few fact books over the years so he was thrilled to receive the Dinosaur Number Crunch book. It's a book that promises the figures, facts and prehistoric stats you need to know. And it definitely doesn't disappoint. Inside you can find everything from tiny terrors and mighty mouths to dinner time tales and creatures lurking under the sea. All accompanied by amazing stats that'll keep the kids fascinated for hours.

We've had this book for a while now and it's still a firm favourite at bedtime. Logan particularly likes the part about the Epic Extinction and the Quick Quiz at the end to test your knowledge. I found it really interesting to read along with Logan too and loved learning about dinosaur eggs. The great thing about this book is it's so full of quick snappy dino facts it's sure to pull in even the reluctant readers. So if your child is a dinosaur fan they'll definitely love Dinosaur Number Crunch.

This book contains 96 pages of pure dinosaur bliss and retails for £9.99. It really is a lovely book and would make an excellent present.

Next up is the What Would She Do? book. It's a book filled with real life stories of 25 rebel women who changed the world. It's important for everyone to learn about the great female figures in history hence why Logan now has this book to read at his leisure. From historical world leaders to great scientists and artists, this amazing book tells the incredible life stories of inspirational women. You can learn about Cleopatra, Amelia Earhart, Malala Yousafzai and many more brave women who overcame huge obstacles to achieve great things.

The book has been beautifully illustrated by eight talented artists and each profile concludes with a 'What Would She Do?' question that invites young readers to draw guidance from these heroines on a host of modern-day scenarios and issues such as bullying, stress and self-esteem.

Logan is really into history at the moment so reading about these strong amazing women wet his appetite and quenched his thirst for events of the past. He particularly loved learning about Cleopatra, Frida Kahlo and Malala Yousafzai. I really enjoyed learning about them too so borrowed the book often after he'd fallen asleep.

This fabulous book contains 112 pages of true girl power and retails for £9.99. It's an excellent book to give any young reader and when Harlow's more interested in sitting for longer than 5 minutes I'll be reading this to her too.

If you'd like to be in with a chance of winning these two books from Carlton then please enter via the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

This is a collaborative post. All opinions are my own.

26 April 2018

Family friendly places to eat in Fife

Eating out as a family can sometimes be a struggle, especially if your kids are wild like mine, so I’ve put together a little list of some nice family friendly places to eat here in Fife. Hopefully it’ll give you the courage to eat out a bit more with the kids knowing no one’s going to bat an eyelid if they start acting up. So read on to see what places I’ve selected.

Beijing Banquet – Glenrothes
This lovely Chinese buffet is a big favourite of Logan’s. Based in Glenrothes at Bankhead Park (quite close to the huge round about and near the petrol station) it’s open 12-4pm for lunch and 5pm-9.30pm for dinner. It has a massive selection of food and plenty that the kids will eat. Logan loves chicken and they have it in many different forms here so he’s a happy camper. Harlow’s a bit more of a fuss pot but she loves noodles, rice prawn crackers and of course chips so that keeps her happy and quiet. They also have a fab selection of puddings to choose from including a chocolate fountain with marshmallows and strawberries to dip as well as ice cream, cakes and fruit. It really is a great place to go and kids are very welcome. It’s so popular that it can get quite busy so I’d advise you phone and book in advanced of your visit. You wouldn’t want to be disappointed and not get seated. It is a little pricey but well worth it and they can accommodate large numbers so great if you wan to celebrate the kids birthday here.

Peacock Café – Dunfermline
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a quick spot of lunch with the tiny tots then Peacock Café is for you. It’s situated inside Pittencrieff Park right next to the Glen Pavilion so you can enjoy the grounds and play parks after some food. It’s open 10am to 4pm and provides a good selection of snacks, lunch options and drinks for adults and kids. It’s also has a little soft play inside so the kids can eat and enjoy some play time fun whilst you relax with a hot cuppa. Prices in here are reasonable and on nice days you can sit outside on the balcony tables over looking the park.

Anstruther Fish Bar – Anstruther
The famous fish bar in Anstruther is amazingly  child friendly. They have high chairs, child suitable menu options (with child prices) and the drinks they bring for children are in cute little paper cups with a lid and straw – amazing. It’s the little things that count. I can’t tell you the amount of times my kids have spilt a drink every time we go out to eat. I always wait for it to happen! The food in here is super fresh and super tasty so definitely go for a visit at some point. They also have lots of tasty ice cream and sweeties for afterwards with penny mixture bags to buy as well. That takes me back to my childhood. The fish bar is open 11.30am to 9.30pm every day so there’s no excuse not to pop along.

The Kirklands Hotel – Kinross
This recently refurbished Kirklands hotel has lovely places for eating in including their very relaxed bar/café at the front of the hotel and a beautifully large dining room at the back. A lovely young couple own this hotel and they have twins themselves so they know all about being child friendly. As well as providing the usual high chairs they also have toys and child friendly options on their menus. I’ve been here quite a few times with Harlow for a spot of lunch with friends and I also booked a table in the dining room for my father-in-law’s birthday with kids in tow. The prices are reasonable and the food is super tasty. I especially love their mac and cheese and the great thing is you can ask for a small portion if you’re not that hungry. You can do this with a few options on the menu. Great for the kids if they want what you’re having and you don’t want to share haha.

Dine at 29 – Dunfermline
We visited Dine at 29 for the first time back in January for Harlow’s 3rd Birthday. Since she wasn’t having a party we thought a special meal out for her would be a great substitute. The people at Dine at 29 couldn’t have been any more accommodating for us and the kids. They let us choose a comfy corner table (so I could keep the kids out of everyone else’s way) and they also took the cake I had made for Harlow and brought it out after the meal with big candles and sparkles on it. Needless to say she loved every minute. The fab thing about Dine at 29 is kids can eat free!! Totally brilliant and there’s a great variety of options for the kids to choose from. They get their own special menu which has a colouring sheet on the back and some crayons are provided to keep them busy until food arrives. Opening times are 5pm-9pm Monday to Thursday and 12pm-10pm Friday to Sunday so you could always do a cheeky lunch at the weekend. Also they do some amazing cocktails, alcohol free ones too so the kids can join in.

Peking Inn – Cowdenbeath
Another Chinese restaurant on the list but this one isn’t a buffet. It’s a small venue on Cowdenbeath High Street but it’s excellent value for money. They also do takeaways if you don’t want to sit it. The people who own it are lovely and honestly can’t help you enough. We’ve ordered takeaway loads but had our first sit down meal for Christmas last year. They were great with the kids and didn’t mind them running around or getting excited at all. The food’s yummy and they have lots of different meals to choose from. It’s perfect for an impromptu treat with the kids. It’s open from 4.30pm every day but closed on a Tuesday.

Loch Leven’s Larder – Kinross
A lovely family run café and shop on the edges of Loch Leven it’s the perfect place to take the kids for a cuppa and cake. They’re open 9am to 5.30pm every day and you’ll find some amazing goodies in their shop. If you want an unusually fabulous gift then it’s worth checking out. The Larder Café is lovely providing breakfast, lunch and meals throughout the day with a separate children’s menu and they newly built Greenhouse Café supplies a wealth of tea, coffee, cakes, paninis etc. I’ve never been to the café since it opened a few months ago but I really must take Harlow along for a visit when Logan’s at school. I like it that the larder use a lot of local suppliers and they have a little play park on site as well as outdoor pods you can book for a nice lunch. I can see myself booking an afternoon tea here soon for my birthday as having a pod will keep them contained. Loch Leven’s Larder is also very breastfeeding friendly, I’ve tried it myself and the staff were lovely. You can also take your dog as they allow up to 4 well behaved dogs in the Larder café and 2 in the Greenhouse café so it really is an inclusive venue.

I’m sure there’s even more fab family friendly venues out there in Fife and if you have any you know of then please shared as I’d love to try somewhere new.

24 April 2018

Review: Landmark Forest Adventure Park

During the Easter school holidays the family and I took a trip up North to stay at the lovely Ancarraig Lodges in Drumnadrochit beside Loch Ness. I always do a quick internet search before we visit a new place to see what sort of things we can do with the kids and the Landmark Forest Adventure Park popped up. From their website it looked like a fabulous place to visit with lots of different attractions from playparks, rides and tree top walks to a butterfly house and world of illusions. There was even the chance to spot red squirrels! Luckily for us the lovely people from Landmark got in touch and offered us a family pass to try out their park. The kids were very excited and couldn’t wait to visit.

The Landmark Forest Adventure Park is based in Carrbridge which the sat nav advised was about an hours drive from our lodge. In reality with the quiet roads up North it only took us around 40 minutes to get there. It was really busy when we arrived (probably due to the amazing weather and school holidays) but if you booked tickets online/had a pass/are a season ticket holder then you got to use the fast track lane and walk right through. Since it was our first visit to the park the lovely gentleman on reception gave us a map and explained all about the different attractions within for us to visit. Because it was the Easter holidays he also informed us about the golden Easter egg hunt taking place. The kids were buzzing to find some and eat the chocolate inside. As Logan is autistic he received a fast track assistance pass to wear so he could skip the queues for the rides. This did come in really handy and is well worth asking for if he need it.

After heading out of reception we crossed the little bridge and went straight into Ant City. It’s a lovely big outdoor wooden play park/ climbing frame with lots of slides, nets to climb, things to jump on and discover. We spent a good bit of time here letting the kids burn off some energy before we went on to explore the rest of the park. Next up Logan chose to have a go on the trails. He was big enough for the Tarzan Trail so off he went with his Dad to try it out. They even had a trail for toddlers called the Wee Monkey Trail and Harlow was excited to give it a bash. It was so cute and she did really well.

By this time Harlow was desperate for a snack so whilst she was eating we had a walk around a little fenced off area which included a vortex tunnel, growing shrinking room, topsy turvy room as well as some lovely carved wooden structures. The vortex tunnel was brilliant and we’ve experienced the same thing at Camera Obscura in Edinburgh. It literally makes you lose your balance, such a brilliant illusion for the mind.  The Runaway Timber Train was next and it’s basically a roller coaster. Logan loves a roller coaster and he was excited to realise that you got to have two shots in a row. He even got to sit in the front carriage so was very pleased.

The adventure park has a butterfly house within the grounds so we decided to have a nosy inside. When we went in there were lots of butterflies flying around every where and it was nice to see lots of educational signs posted around to read. There were even a few cheeky little birds doting about in there and one landed near the fish pond right beside the kids. We kept our hands to ourselves though as we read the signs that they like to nip. One man wasn’t so lucky and a cheeky bird decided to sit on his arm and peck his hand. The kids thought it was hilarious and there was no harm done.

Next to the butterfly house is Wonderwood where the massive Fire Tower is located. We never counted the amount of steps we had to climb but getting to the top of Fire Tower took a wee while for small legs. The views at the top were so worth it though. You could see across the whole park and even further spotting the Cairngorms Mountain Range in the distant. It was breath taking and there’s a telescope at the top if you want a better look. By this point it was now lunch time and the kids were starving so we headed back down towards reception were Foresters Restaurant is located. They had a lovely selection of cakes as well as soup, sandwiches and hot options such as beef nachos and fries. Everyone scoffed down their lunch so we could visit another part of the park.

Right next to the restaurant is the Landmark Shop so we had a quick look in there before heading to the Bamboozeleum. Inside the bamboozeleum is a world of illusions which will keep the kids busy for ages. It was hoots of fun and even us adults really enjoyed ourselves. After a good few giggles we headed out into the open again to explore the Red Squirrel Nature Trail. It’s brilliant because it’s a wooden walk way built up high into the trees. It’s all very safely fenced in with lots of fact boards along the way and the kids really enjoyed it. On our way back down we managed to spot of red squirrel way up high in the trees. Further down towards the exit we passed the wildlife feeding area where there were 2 more red squirrels jumping around. Logan loved seeing them especially after having learned about them from the nature trail.

It was getting later in the day now and there were still a few things we hadn’t seen so our next stop was The Lost Labyrinth. It’s a fantastical maze to get lost in and this is where we managed to find some golden eggs! The kids were overjoyed and the chocolate within the eggs gave them a second wind to keep going. There really is so much to do and see here. After the maze was a trip to the forest safari so Logan could have a shot on the little electric cars then it was a hop skip and a jump to the Haggis Farm Shooting Gallery to try out our aim. I was rubbish but Logan and the hubby were quit good. Well done boys.

Before it was time to go we spent the last of our day letting the kids play at the Ant City and there was a smaller Kids Zone opposite which is great for toddlers. When it was time to go we grabbed some snacks and drinks from the Xplore Store and headed to the car park ready for our journey back to our lodge. What a fantastic day we all had.

So if you’re ever up North, say near Aviemore, then definitely pop into the Landmark Forest Adventure Park for a full packed day of family fun. The kids really enjoyed themselves as well as us adults and there was never a dull or boring moment. You could easily go round most of the attractions more than once and there’s plenty of seating throughout the park if you need to rest your tired legs. When we’re next up North we’ll definitely be back. Thank you Landmark Forest Adventure Park for such an amazing day!

We received a family day pass in return for an honest review.

31 March 2018

Review: Almond Valley Heritage Centre

Last weekend the sun finally came out and it felt nice and warm (for a change) so the family and I headed along to the Almond Valley Heritage Centre in Livingston for a little day out. I’m embarrassed to say I never even knew the heritage centre was there but I’m so thankful that the lovely team from Almond Valley got in touch and invited us along to check it out.

Here’s a little bit of background on the site for those history buffs out there: “The story of Almond Valley begins in the late 1960's with a campaign to save the historic buildings of Livingston Mill from demolition. A volunteer group won the support of the new town development corporation, and over the course of a decade worked to restore the derelict watermill and farm-steading. Members of the local community then established a city farm on the site, and a little later, one of the outbuildings became home for the Livingston Oil Museum.

In 1990 the Almond Valley Heritage Trust was created to take forward these diverse interests. Ever since, we've continually extended the attractions and facilities of the site, explored new activities, and developed new services. As a social enterprise, we've built a sustainable business that involves and serves both our visitors and the wider community. We've ambitious plans for continued progress.”

Our drive from Fife hardly took any time at all and before we knew it we were parked up and ready to explore. Entry to Almond Valley is via the gift shop where you can purchase your tickets from reception. You can visit from 10am to 5pm every day and there’s membership passes available too in case that’s something of interest for your family. If you’re visiting a lot I would recommend it as it’ll save you some pennies.

Upon our arrival the lovely receptionist  handed us a few leaflets and explained the park and what activities were on since it was our first time. We were intrigued to explore the Shale Oil Museum and take part in the Easter activities currently available between 24th March and 16th April. The SpringTime Trail is one of them where you’ve to spot springy plastic ducks around the park. They have a letter attached to them and once you find all 8 you’ve to make a word to receive a prize. There’s also the egg hunt where you’ve to comb the park for hidden egg cards. If you find one you can take it to reception and get a treat. Harlow also very much enjoyed the Easter crafts table and spent quite a bit of time there decorating her paper egg. If you visit between 30th March and 2nd April there’ll be a plastic duck race as well. So lots of things to do.

As well as all the activities that Almond Valley have on throughout the year they also have tons of different play areas for the kids and lots of lovely animals to visit. During Easter you can even have an animal encounter in the Wings and Whiskers shed. Cute chicks and fluffy bunnies here we come. There really is so much to do and see at the park with some of the kids favourites being the nutty bouncer pillow, trampolines, bones and stones tent for digging up remains, morag's soft play, the adventure zone and woodland go-carts. The park is huge so we never managed to do everything in one go sadly but we're hoping to get back soon and take part in the activities we missed such as the zip-wires, trailer and tractor rides and the railway.

The trailer and tractors rides run most weekends and during holiday periods whilst the narrow gauge railway runs on summer weekends. There's an extra charge for these activities but it's only £1 so very reasonable. After a good bit of running around the park we decided to take the kids into morag's soft play as morag's tearoom is joint on and us adults could have a cuppa. The kids got 30 minutes in the soft play for 50p whilst the hubby and I relaxed for a little minute. We came back to morag's tearoom later in the day for a spot of lunch and it was lovely. Plenty of variety to choose from but the good thing about Almond Valley is that you can bring your own food and have a picnic in the picnic barn. I think I'll do that next time for a change.

All in all the kids and us adults had a lovely time exploring the park. With so much to do and see I can't see my two ever getting bored of it especially with so many different play zone. We literally spent almost the whole day here and only left at 4pm as Harlow was getting tired. I'd highly recommend for a great fun family day out.

We were sent tickets to the park in return for an honest review.


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