Smiggle – Where a smile meets a giggle


I was recently contacted by Smiggle about their back to school range and, on reviewing their range, there is so much more to this brand than just school stationery. I want to buy EVERYTHING on their site!

There are products such as funky ride-on suitcases, cool desk fans and fun party bags.

We were kindly sent a selection of these fantastic goodies for my son to try out and oh my was he excited!  

This Smiggle pencil case is ‘awesome’ (in my son’s words) because it has a funky dinosaur pattern on the case together with three separate zip compartments. One with a great selection of colourful felt tip pens, the other with coloured pencils (all branded with the cool the Smiggle logo) and the last compartment has pens, a ruler, rubber and a pencil sharpener – so all your creative requirements are contained in one compact portable case.

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This is great because we have a planned a number of breaks away, which means we can grab some paper, together with this fab case, and my son will easily be entertained on a rainy day – or simply create his own masterpiece at home.

This pen is the envy of lots of my son’s friends. They picked it up and started practising some handwriting with it, not realising that if they pressed the button at the side of the pen the cool basketball head would pop off. This pen/toy is a great crossover for kids of all ages to enjoy.


We were also fortunate enough to receive this great little Smiggle wallet. My son doesn’t own a wallet but as it was his birthday this week, it definitely came in handy! He was given some money from friends and family and was over the moon to take ownership of ‘his pennies’ as he called them. The wallet has a velcro fastener and contains zip compartments for change and built in sleeves for the notes.

I would highly recommend the Smiggle range for whether it’s your kids’ first day back to school or just for having some fun and games at home with their friends. They would also make really fun and practical gifts.

To view the full Smiggle product portfolio, which includes their Back to School range – ‘where school starts, dreams begin’ – then please visit the following site – Smiggle

Disclosure: We were sent the above items for purpose of the review but all views are my own.

Chatsworth Country Fair – 1st, 2nd, 3rd September 2017

 

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Chatworth Country Fair takes place on Friday 1, Saturday 2, Sunday 3 September 2017

Whirlwinds on horseback set to thrill at
Chatsworth Country Fair

Death-defying and jaw-dropping feats of skill and courage performed on horses at full gallop by legendary Cossack Warriors will be seen for the first time at this year’s Chatsworth Country Fair.

The three-day celebration of the countryside set in the beautiful Chatsworth parkland is offering a feast of family entertainment, from the whirlwind that is Dzhigitovka! – The Way of the Cossack Warrior, to what is set to be one of the very last displays by the army’s world famous motorcycle display team, The White Helmets, before they are disbanded at the end of the summer.

Today, the equestrian art of Dzhigitovka, which sees the rider leaping from his horse at full gallop or sliding under its belly, is practised as a sport by the distant descendants of the Cossack Warriors. But, three centuries ago, it was a military technique that allowed the riders to dodge bullets and arrows and attack the enemy where least expected. In traditional costume, the Cossacks will be a highlight of the Grand Ring programme, which runs from 10.45am to approximately 6.30pm each day.

Founded in 1927, The British Army’s White Helmets, made up of volunteers from the Royal Signals, owe their heritage to the daring dispatch riders of the First World War who, with skills honed on the battlefront, began to perform tricks by pitching their motorcycles against horses at their base in Yorkshire.

Now, after 90 years, the display team is being disbanded to make way for a more modern presentation of the Royal Signals in a digital age. With Chatsworth set to be one of the very last chances to see these highly skilled riders perform their crowd-pleasing routine of tricks, it should be an occasion to remember.

The iconic Second World War planes of the Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flypast will return to the skies of Derbyshire, whilst Jump4Heroes, the British Legion’s Extreme Human Flight Team, will be dropping into the arena trailing smoke and flying flags.

Weather permitting, visitors will also get to see the majestic sight of one of the country’s largest hot air balloon lifts setting off each day in the early morning and at dusk across the river Derwent and parkland.

In this celebration of the countryside, animals naturally take a starring role, whether it’s the adorable ponies taking part in the high-speed Mounted Games, the terrier race and hounds parade, CJ with her birds of prey or the popular Dog and Duck Show.

There is loads on offer for children too, whether it’s joining the Band of The Royal Logistics Corps for the traditional Children’s March Past; taking part in ‘Scufts’, the family fun dog show, or all manner of active fun – from zorbing and climbing to bouncing and balancing.

Banana Brain Fun Shows • Pony Rides • Bouncy Castle • Vintage Fairground • Wow Water – Zorb Balls • Exotic Animal Encounters • Bumper Boats • Highline Adventure – Climbing Wall and Spider Mountain • Low Ropes • Target Golf

It’s not just kids that can get stuck in though. There’s loads for visitors of all ages to try from laser and clay pigeon shooting and archery to fly fishing tuition.

• Clay Pigeons • .22 Rifles • Air Field Target • Air Rifles • Archery • Catapults • Crossbows • Family Fun Dog Show • Ferrets • Fly Casting • Gundog Scurry • Laser Sporting Shoot • Lurcher Events • Muzzle Loaders • RAFAT Simulator • Regency Rifles • The ‘A’ Squadron “Battle Range” • Target Golf •

Always a crowd favourite is the chance to experience first-hand some of the nation’s favourite chefs whipping up delicious culinary delights. This year, there is a mouth watering line-up of talent led by Paul Hollywood (Friday), Mary Berry CBE (Saturday) and John Torode and Lisa Faulkner (Sunday), along with some fantastic local chefs showcasing their talents all set in the foodie haven of the Fine Food Village.

Gates open at 9am each day, with a closing ceremony at 6.30pm.

For more information on the event and to book a ticket, please visit www.chatsworth.org/events

Win Tickets to Chatsworth Country Fair

Mind-blowing sword skills from legendary Cossack warriors and delicious live cookery demonstrations from popular TV chefs Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, John Torode and Lisa Faulkner are just some of the fantastic acts topping the bill at this year’s Chatsworth Country Fair, taking place from 1-3 September 2017.

Other attractions include The White Helmets motorcycle display team, the iconic RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Fly Past, as well as exciting animal demonstrations and acres of trade stands.

On the gate prices for adults are £25 per day, with children aged 14 and under getting in free. Some fantastic offers are available for advance booking including an Early Bird discount of 15 percent available until midnight 31 July. Free parking for online booking and members’ packages are also available.

CLICK HERE for your chance to win two adult tickets for entry to the fair on either Friday 1st September, Saturday 2nd September or Sunday 3rd September 2017. Free entry for children under 14.

Closing date for the giveaway is Monday 7th August 2017.

For more information visit: www.chatsworthcountryfair.co.uk

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Chatsworth Country Fair Twitter

 

 

 

Restaurant Review – De Rodes Arms, Chesterfield

Last month I was contacted and asked to review the (recently refurbished) De Rodes Arms, Chesterfield. The De Rodes Arms wanted to know our thoughts on the refurbishment and the new menu that has been introduced.

As most of my friends, family and followers will know, I am food mad. I talk about food as soon as my eyes open in a morning and the last thing at night when my head hits the pillow, so this email request made me ONE HAPPY LADY. We decided to dine over the weekend (Saturday 1st April) and we took my toddler along for the ride.

 I didn’t really know what to expect and the Trip Advisor reviews were not that kind if I’m being honest (with a different chain) and if my memory serves, it pointed to typical pub grub with nothing particular of note.

So it’s probably fair to say that I didn’t have particularly high expectations from a ‘chain’ pub/restaurant, before we arrived.

When we arrived in the Reception area, we were a little confused as to where to order food and drinks and how the ordering process worked but once we had been to the bar the staff explained at little more.  You order the starters and then take a bleeper to your table, this will go off once your starters are ready and they can be collected from the pizza section.

We our took at seat and had a look at the menus whilst enjoying a nice glass of Pinot Grigio. My son loved the dinosaur kids menu together with the dinosaur drawing/activity sheet and crayons he was given – so that was a nice touch as it’s often difficult to find restaurants that endeavour to keep the kids happy and entertained.

We decided to order a couple of starters which were pigs in blankets and black pepper mushrooms with a blue cheese sauce. My son went for fish fingers and when the food was ready at the pizza section we were advised to go and help ourselves to everything else. I decided I wanted a carvery for my main and was given a ticket to go up whenever I was ready.

So whilst waiting for our meals, I explored the building and, I have to say, I thought the decor was colourful, warm and welcoming.

The beeper then went off on the table and my son thought it was hilarious to answer the bleeper like a telephone.

 My son decided he wanted some chips and beans with his fish fingers so I popped up to collect them and served the beans from this great selection below, together with the chips from the carvery section.

I did try and encourage him to try the fab salad bar that we could also use – but he was definitely not in a ‘trying new food’ mood.

The salad bar looked great and had a good selection of dressings to choose from.

On to the main event – feast your eyes on this amazing selection! From the carvery, you could choose from Steak and Ale Pie, Sausages, Half a Roast Chicken, Gammon, Turkey or Beef. I was really impressed with this selection as I was with the sides which were on offer, such as green beans and cauliflower cheese together with your usual carrots and peas. There was also creamy mashed potato and beautifully crisp roast potatoes. I was spoilt for choice!


Luca was pretty thrilled at being provided with his free activity sheet and crayons, which kept him entertained whilst enjoying his fish fingers, chips and beans.

Here was my plateful. I opted for both beef and turkey but I was also offered a sausage which my son soon swiped off my plate. The roast potatoes were so nice and crispy and were definitely not ready made from the freezer. The mash was lovely and creamy and the vegetables still had a nice bite to them. There was also the option to have onion gravy or just the standard…. so I had a bit of both.

I could then have added anything else I wished, such as chips, beans, mushy peas – basically anything that was available in the restaurant. Our lunches were very tasty and you can get a lot on your plate, so to ‘go large’ would definitely have put me in a food coma.

Along with the traditional carveries that are served all week, you can also order pizzas or burgers – which I have to say looked very tempting when I saw them come out. As with our meals, you then go up to help yourself to the salad bar, chips and or veggies again.

Dessert time – I opted for a strawberry and cream cheesecake, it was super rich and tasted amazing. It was very creamy and the biscuit base still had a crunch to it, nothing soggy in sight. I would possibly have preferred a little scoop of ice cream with mine rather than the squirty cream, but it was still lovely nonetheless.

My son opted for the smiley face custard. He had spotted this as soon as he opened the menu and told me that’s all he wanted, no dinner just that initially – ha ha. I don’t actually think he processed what it was, he just pointed to the picture and said, ‘I want that!’ So when it arrived, lets just say he was super excited. It was creamy custard with a chocolate button and sauce face – he was delighted!

After dessert, Luca wanted to have a look around and spotted the ice cream and sprinkles station, the sweet shop and toy grabber, so of course I was talked into everything. These were really cute additions to a traditional restaurant – and definitely not something you’d do all the time, but for a treat – this is a kid’s paradise.

I also must add that all the staff were very friendly and attentive. We were always asked whether we required another drink, they enquired about our food and made a real fuss of my son, which he loved.

After lunch, we popped outside to the front of restaurant where there is an area with patio tables – just a shame there wasn’t a little children’s slide as maybe my son would have stayed a little longer, but it definitely didn’t stop him from having fun.

I went to settle the bill which came to a total of £42.73. This included 2x starters, 3x mains, 3x desserts and we had alcoholic drinks plus my son had a soft drink. We thought this price was incredibly reasonable for a meal for three people. The menu choices and prices really surprised me, the standard carvery is £5.99 pp with an option to go large and the starters and desserts range between £3-£4.00, kids meals are also around £3-£4.00.

This is great value and knowing you could have a meal and drink with a friend for under £20.00, well I think these prices are very hard to beat elsewhere.

So to conclude, we loved the restaurant, the food was tasty, great value for money and we can’t wait to return!

For more information on De Rodes, Derbyshire, then please visit their website here: The De Rodes Arms, Chesterfield.

I was asked to review the restaurant by The De Rodes Arms. All views are my own.

Easter at Chatsworth

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Easter at Chatsworth

8 April 2017 –  23 April 2017

Last week we were kindly invited to attend Easter at Chatsworth.

We arrived on the impressive grounds of Chatsworth at around 11.00am and it was a stunning, sunny morning. We were all super excited and didn’t know what to do first. Our pass allowed us to visit the farmyard, house and gardens – so we were spoilt for choice. We knew there was going to be huge Easter Egg hunts, Eggspress Trailer rides, and hands-on spring activities for those who visit Chatsworth this Easter.

We asked the kids what they wanted to do first so they sprinted towards the farmyard and adventure playground area. They loved seeing the chickens and ducks roaming freely through the park and spotting the names of the animals, such as this lovely lady, Jasmine.

There was also an area in which the kids could meet some of the animals, which included learning how to milk a cow, meeting some baby chicks and the opportunity to brush the guinea pigs – which the kids loved (and which prompted, “Mummy, can we buy a guinea pig?”).

Whenever we visit Chatsworth playground, my son always has to stop first to ride on the mini tractors and see the chickens – I’m guessing he was having a whale of a time from this photo! ha ha.
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So off they sprinted towards the park to let off some steam in the adventure playground. I cannot tell you how magical this playground is! There are areas where the children can play in the sand and also fetch water from the nearby stream. There is also super speedy slide together with lots of rope bridges for the kids to run along. This area has something for children (and adults) of all ages.
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There are also lots of areas where you can sit and eat and share your lunch with the local ducks wondering around the park, so we had a little picnic before setting off on our next adventure.
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We decided to head off to the gardens as we had heard that there were some extra special Easter Eggs to find ….and the kids were SO egg-cited! Of course we had to collect an ice-cream on our way there too.
When we reached the garden entrance, the kids were given a map of the gardens so they knew what places to point out, such as the maze and the water fountain.
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We had never visited the gardens before, as the children are usually too tired after running around the adventure playground or the house, so this was a massive surprise to us. I hadn’t realised just how enormous the gardens were and how utterly breath-taking they are. There was lots to see and explore, including the water fountain which the kids loved as it kept spraying them.
Along our route there were lots of interesting things for the kids to spot, such as the ‘wonky bushes’ as the kids called them, the waterfall and this elephant statue.
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The most exciting part was that there were loads of gorgeous, sparkly Easter Eggs hidden amongst the gardens and they couldn’t get enough of them. Although, kids being kids, they want to try and get the egg and smash it open and my friend and I had to explain that they weren’t Kinder eggs and we can’t break them!
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This egg was the most precious egg to them as they had to climb a little to get to it. It was hidden really well so they were delighted when they were able to tick this off their list.
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 After all the egg hunting we were about to head off to the house to explore further, but realise that the children were exhausted. We had been on the grounds for 4 hours so their little legs were tired and, to be quite honest, my feet were aching too.
We had an amazing day and the weather was very kind to us too. Fortunately we remembered the sun cream as the kids were outdoors for pretty much the whole day.
As I always say when I visit Chatsworth, it is simply stunning and takes my breath away every time. We always manage to find new places to explore and, as usual, we didn’t get to do everything we wanted as all that fun and sun wiped us all out.
If you have the time and you want to see Derbyshire at its best, then you must make sure your visit Chatsworth House and Gardens during the Easter holidays.

For ticket details, please visit Easter at Chatsworth or for more information, visit www.chatsworth.org

*Please note, we were sent tickets to visit the house and gardens for purpose of this review but all views are my own.

Easter at Chatsworth – Ticket Giveaway

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Easter at Chatsworth

8 April 2017 –  23 April 2017

Huge Easter Egg hunts, Eggspress Trailer rides, and hands-on spring activities are just some of the treats in store for those who visit Chatsworth this Easter.

 
Spread across the house, garden and farmyard, there’s something for visitors of all ages to enjoy at Chatsworth this Easter holiday. As well as the hugely popular Easter Egg hunts taking place several times a day in the fields adjoining the farmyard, visitors can also take a ride on the Easter Eggspress trailer ride through the park.
There will be animal sessions in the farmyard where visitors can see newborn lambs and chicks, before letting off steam in the adventure playground.

 

For ticket information please visit – Easter at Chatsworth 

CLICK HERE for your chance to a win a family pass (2 adults, 3 children ) to attend Easter at Chatsworth

Closing date for the giveaway is 31th March 2017.

For more information, visit www.chatsworth.org

 

Christmas at Chatsworth – The Nutcracker

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Christmas at Chatsworth – The Nutcracker

5 November 2016 – 3 January 2017

 Last week, my family and I were kindly invited to attend Christmas at Chatsworth – The Nutcracker.

It was a cold, crisp morning, the grounds were stunning and we were able to see all the animals freely roaming the fields on our approach to the house. We arrived around 10.00am which meant we were able to avoid queues in the grounds and in the car park. This also gave us to chance to explore the Chatsworth estate, gift shop and grab a coffee – before heading off to the house to see The Nutcracker.

My son was very excited as we told him to keep his eyes peeled for the Nutcrackers around the house. The staff were also dressed accordingly for the Nutcracker theme, including some beautiful Ballerinas. We were advised by the Chatsworth staff to keep an eye out for the toy mice which were hiding around the house (we had to count the number of them hidden in each room, which my son loved).

As soon as we entered the house, we were in awe of the amazing decorations. There were SO many Christmas trees around the route of the Nutcracker tour, simply breathtaking.

 

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Whilst on the look out for the toy mice, we came across this stunning room which was gingerbread themed. There was a sweet train that went all around the gingerbread house and there were stunning Christmas trees that were decorated with gingerbread men and candy canes.


The tour took us around the house, up the stairs and to a dressing-up room, and then onto ‘the Ballerina bath’. I can’t tell you just how incredible the house is, it absolutely took our breath away. From the stunning artwork on the ceilings to the amazing windows and statues around the house.

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Once we had counted the mice, we arrived at the end of the tour where children could write a wish on a tag and place it on the wishing tree, which was really quite sweet. This is where you could see the ballerinas projected onto the walls and, my son’s favourite part, where he got to hold hands with one of the actual ballerinas.

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On your way out of the tour you enter the Orangery where the gift shop is. The gift shop gives you the opportunity to buy some Nutcracker goodies (which we did, we bought the book and of course a toy mouse ) along with Chatsworth Farm merchandise and some lovely jewellery, books etc. Some great gifts for all ages.

It was still a little cold outside so we had a short wander around the gardens and then headed for some lunch in the restaurant. After lunch we had a short walk up to the farmyard and play area. This place is amazing, there is lots of fun to be had for all ages. The farm was brilliant as it gave us all an opportunity to stroke a sheep, see the piglets feeding from their mother and we play on the small tractor track, which my son thoroughly enjoyed – along with excitedly pointing out all the chickens on the park.

In summary, we had an amazing day out, in particular the tour of the house and the Nutcracker experience. The farmyard and playground are SO much fun too. Everyone needs to experience the house tour at Christmas, when it is at its most magical.

For ticket information please visit – Christmas at Chatsworth 

For more information, visit www.chatsworth.org

Full Events Calendar

 

*Please note my family and I were sent tickets to visit the house for the purpose of this review, but all views are my own*

An audience with Father Christmas – Bolsover Castle

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         Christmas Arrives at Bolsover Castle

As winter takes hold and the colder weather sets in, for the first time ever, Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire are putting on Christmas events to keep the whole family entertained this festive season. We were kindly invited along to be involved in the activities and of course meet the big guy. Yes my son was given the chance to be part of an audience with Father Christmas.

This brand new experience for children takes place every Saturday and Sunday until (Sunday) 18th December. Little ones join in with the seasonal fun and crafts before meeting the main man himself as he recounts some magical tales of Christmas past, and hands out festive treats.

We arrived at the castle around 10am and our allotted time to meet Father Christmas was at 11.30am. With it being such a beautiful morning, we decided to go off and explore the grounds – to say my son was excited was understatement!

The castle and grounds are simply stunning! My son had a blast running up and down all the stairs and scuttling off into all the ‘secret rooms’ (as he called them), and his school mascot, ‘Zoomy’, had to come along for this exciting adventure too!

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Counting the stairs on each level of the castle was the first game my son had in mind! We also found a room in the house, (I think it may have been the old kitchen), where we found that our voices travelled (echoed) amazingly; so of course we spent the next 15 minutes shouting ‘SANTA!’ and listening to the echo bounce of the walls and ceiling. Amazing what fun a 4 year old can find in an empty kitchen 🙂

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And as you can see from my next pictures, the views are simply amazing. I have never visited Bolsover Castle before so it was such as surprise to see it in all its – and to think its only 20 minutes drive from where I live. I did find myself wondering why I had never visited this beautiful, historical site before?!


So it was 11.30am and we were asked to wait in a foyer whilst Father Christmas’ helper explained a little about what we had in store, and asked the children what they had on their Christmas list. There was only a small group of us which was great as it meant both adults and children could either sit of the floor close to Father Christmas or on the regal chairs in the grand room.

Father Christmas proceeded to recount some old tales to the children and involved them in the story with actions and questions (and parents had to do their bit too!)

After the stories had been told, Santa invited each child up to have a little chat with him (and a high five, which my son found hilarious) and he then gave them a little gift to come away with. The present was a cute Santa beanie that also had a little tie on, so you are able to hang this in your house or on your tree as a decoration. My son has been playing hide and seek with this every day since our visit.

As you can see from this next picture, Father Christmas also had a great sense of humour! It was brilliant that we were able to take our own pictures with the main man as some events will only allow their own photographer to take images – and then charge you for them – so we were definitely able to capture the day here!

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It was lunchtime and we were all very hungry, so we headed to the café for a spot of lunch, which was very affordable and extremely tasty. In particular, my roast turkey and stuffing roll with all the trimmings (roast parsnip, pigs in blankets and cranberry) was yummy, but there was also a great selection for the children too, including a cute lunchbox selection or hot meal.


I would definitely recommend popping in the café, even if it’s just to warm up with a hot chocolate. You could also bring your own food to eat on the picnic benches near the park. My son had a great time on said park after lunchtime and we played on the swings and slide, and of course his friend, ‘Zoomy’ had to join in on the fun.


We had a great day, lots of fun for everyone to enjoy – so please do let me know if you decide to visit.

Bolsover Castle will also be hosting its first ever Carol Concert on Saturday 10th December at 6.30pm. Visitors can wrap up warm as they get into the festive spirit, listening to carols sung by the Fishpond Choir in the unique surroundings of the Riding House.

For ticket information please visit – An audience with Father Christmas 

For more information, visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/

 

*Please note I was sent tickets for ‘An Audience with Father Christmas’ for the purpose of this review, but all views are my own*

 

Christmas at Chatsworth, The Nutcracker – Ticket Giveaway

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The Stage is Set for A Magical Christmas at

Chatsworth: The Nutcracker

5 November 2016 – 3 January 2017

 Christmas at Chatsworth: The Nutcracker will see the house transformed to present the festive tale complete with lavish costumes, beautiful decorations, wonderful stage sets and a few fantastic surprises in store sure to captivate all who visit.

Christmas at Chatsworth will transport everyone to a fairy tale world populated by Nutcracker soldiers; elegant ballerinas and dancing snowflakes. All the cast will be on view – from the Mouse King and the Sugar Plum Fairy to the Nutcracker and Clara – to depict the story in a series of stunning tableau scenes throughout the house.

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In the tale, a box of performing toys charms the children and adults alike, but it is the Nutcracker doll that enchants Clara the most. As the curtain rises on Christmas Eve, visitors will be able to share in Clara’s adventures as she is swept away by her Nutcracker Prince to a wonderful place where the magic really begins.

Along the way, the beautifully dressed rooms will tell the story of The Nutcracker with all the classic scenes from Clara’s dream; from the waltz of the snowflakes to the dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Land of Sweets in the Great Dining Room will be a huge highlight – the only light will be from the chandelier, like a moon above the city with its twinkling lights through the windows, and the glow from the huge Christmas trees in each corner will be magical.

You will be able to experience the story as though you are in the audience at the theatre and stepping backstage at the ballet. Guides will become stage managers and wardrobe mistresses.

For a special added thrill, visitors of all ages will be invited to enter into the magic of the story with many costumes to try on.

As well as the main event in the house, there is a whole host of festive themed activity. From truly magical nativity performances in the farmyard starring the farm animals, to gourmet evenings, floral workshops and wreath making demonstrations, there will be something for everyone to enjoy. Or get Christmas shopping off to an early start with a visit to the Christmas market with over 100 stalls of gifts for the whole family – there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

For ticket information please visit – Christmas at Chatsworth 

CLICK HERE for your chance to a win a family pass (2 adults, 3 children ) to attend Christmas at Chatsworth.

Closing date for the giveaway is 30th November 2016.

For more information, visit www.chatsworth.org

 

Bidvine – Your New Best Friend!

As busy working parents, our greatest dilemma is how to juggle those ongoing chores which need to be undertaken just to make it through the day. Getting your kids clean, clothed, fed and out the door in one piece whilst working full or part time is daunting enough, so when it comes to jobs around the house, or hobbies, planning parties/events etc.. well that list is rarely reviewed because, lets face it, it’s too time consuming!

So when I came across the Bidvine app, I immediately thought, ‘where has this been all my life?’. Bidvine is the easiest way to find and hire local professionals to help accomplish your projects. Learn something new, redecorate your home, feel better, feel fitter, throw a great party – and more.

Let me tell you how this works

Download the Bidvine app to your mobile device or tablet, or alternatively you can access via a PC by following this website link – https://www.bidvine.com/

The Bidvine app display appears, which will then allow you to search for a local professional service in your area.

I opted for a photography service, specifically ‘event photography’  because I wanted to get some prices for a children’s party/event. My son was four in August and the party was held at a farm park, which was hectic to say the least! The demands of the day meant that I wasn’t able to capture all those special moments at the party, so I wanted to gather some quotes – for photographers for future events – to ensure we never miss a moment again.

Once you have selected the service you need, the app requests your postcode to match your location with local businesses. I selected details such as, ‘number of people attending’ and ‘how I’d like the event shooting’ to start the matching service – see full selection available below.

The details are then broken down a little more into budget and duration of the event etc.

You are asked whether there is anything additional you would like to add to your request and you are then prompted for your email address. To submit the project, you need to create an account by entering your name and a password then the app asks if you’re ready to submit your request to local professionals.

Once you submit your details you just wait for the bids to come in. I entered both my telephone and email details which then meant I received quote alerts to both – but you can log into your account and view your ‘project’ and any bids you have received as shown below.

Once the bids have been received, it’s up to you which one you prefer and you can then discuss directly with the provider – it couldn’t be simpler!

Benefits/Key Features:

  • Free app to download
  • Set your own budget
  • 800+ service categories to choose from
  • Great matching service
  • No obligation
  • Quick turnaround from request to bid
  • Easy to use and great user experience
  • Great promotion for local businesses

I hope that you enjoy reading my post and if you would like to download the app for free here , give it a go, I would love to hear what you think!

 Disclaimer: I was contacted by Bidvine to review their service for purpose of this review, all views are my own.

 

Review – Glowing Musical Thomas

My son is a hug fan of Thomas the Tank engine, in particular the whole Thomas and Friends collection, so when we were given the opportunity to review a large glowing musical Thomas from Golden Bear Toys we were delighted.

When the box arrived, my son was trying his best to be patient but then his excitement took over, “come on, Mummy, I want to play with Thomas!!!”. He was SO excited about this toy. Out of all the things my son has been into, Thomas is most definitely his favourite and longest obsession.

My son and I started to squeeze Thomas and push his head and tummy to get the sounds and glowing features to appear then realised in our haste, and not reading the instructions clearly marked on Thomas (rookie error) that we needed to press the black funnel for all Thomas’s fun phrases and then to squeeze the blue dome on top of Thomas to hear the iconic theme tune.

Once we had realised, both Luca and I were giggling and pressing them for what seemed like hours. As the music plays, Thomas’s cheeks softly glow (which I think is a lovely little magical feature), especially as we tested this everywhere with the lights out too. My son absolutely loved seeing Thomas’s cheeks glow in the dark!

The Glowing Musical Thomas is also made with super soft fabric which is perfect for my son to have a good squeeze and cuddle.

The following day, it was time for us to head out to the park and guess who had to join us??! Yes, Luca’s new best friend, Thomas. My son couldn’t wait to show anyone that was walking past his new Musical Glowing Thomas, and so their adventure began….
And yes, my son insisted on pushing Thomas on the swings, much to my amusement.

The RRP for this Large Musical Glowing Thomas is £24.99 which I think is a great, affordable price. This toy is super cute and cuddly but wonderfully magical too! This needs to be added to everyone’s Christmas list.

Approx. size 23cm long and suitable from 10 months+

Batteries are included and can easily be replaced.

Disclosure: We were sent the above product from Golden Bear Toys for purpose of this review, all views are my own.