London Duck Tours

I have been to London many times before but something I have never done is to go on a bus tour. During my recent London Getaway I decided to change this. Me, my sister and her boyfriend were really excited to be heading off on a London Duck Tour.

London Duck Tours

When we arrived at the Duck Tour bus stop near the Southbank Center I was really excited. The ‘Duck’ was sat there waiting for us. I knew that it was a bit of a mix between a  bus and a boat seeing as it went in the water on the tour.

On the day of our booked tour there was a memorial service happening so we had to change from the Classic Sightseeing Tour to the City of London Tour. We were given the opportunity to come back later in the day instead but we were all happy to go along with whatever.

Some Places we visited on the tour

St. Paul’s Cathedral

Monument to the Fire of London

Bank of England

Tower Bridge

MI6

London Eye

Houses of Parliament

Our tour guide was absolutely lovely and was happy an cheery the whole way through the tour. Although the tour had been changed quite last minute, he was very knowledgeable about the other route. What was really nice was that he spoke when there was something to see but he didn’t fill quiet gaps just for the sake of it. He did manage to squeeze in some Harry Potter trivia though which my sister was pretty happy about, especially as it was something she didn’t know.

The whole tour lasts around 75 minutes with the first 45 minutes or so being on land. Once you reach MI6 though it’s time to splash down and go into the Thames. This was my favourite part I think as you get fantastic views of London and I found it to be quite peaceful on the water. Something I will say though is take a coat or jacket with you. We went on a warm day but I was pretty cold once we hit the water!

We all had a fantastic time on our Duck Tour and I’ve since been looking at maybe doing the Christmas tour later in the year! Although the tickets could work out quite expensive for a large family, I wouldn’t hesitate to pay to go on another tour. Between the knowledgeable tour guide, spacious and comfortable Duck and the views, I couldn’t have asked for more!

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Easter activities from Phoenix Trading

The Easter break can end up feeling like a really long time for some families. Children are off school for 2 weeks and that’s a lot of time to fill with things to do! Although Erin is only 1, I have been looking for some things to keep her busy this Easter weekend. Phoenix Trading helped us out!

Phoenix Trading

little woodland animals colour in card

Who doesn’t love colouring in? This Little Woodland Animals card is for children a fair bit older than Erin. Well, Erin could certainly give it a go but she’s more interested in eating crayons at the minute than figuring out how to colour with them. This card has loads to discover and a good mix of large and small bits to colour in.

happy families card game

The Happy Families Card Game is probably my favourite out of the three activities. We love anything animal related in our house. This card game has 40 cards, with 10 different animal families. Not only is this a fun card game to play, collecting families of animals, but it will also help to teach Erin about animals.

I really love how cute the pictures are on these cards. Each animal is dressed differently and doing something different!

Holiday fun pack

It might not be summer yet but this Holiday Fun Pack really gets me in the mood to go away. We’re not going abroad this year colouring in sand castles, ice creams and sunglasses really help me to look forward to some sunny weather and trips to the beach. The great thing about this pack is that it can be used all year round and it’s a really fun way to help get children excited about a holiday.

Phoenix Trading not only offer a really fun range of activities at super affordable prices but they also sell stationery too! Come back during National Stationery Week to see what else they do!

Disclaimer: We were sent items for the purpose of this review. All opinions are our own.

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Twinkle’s Town, Norwich

When it comes to doing things with Erin, I like to find new places to take her. On Tuesdays we try to meet up with a group of friends we used to do Baby Yoga with and get the children together but we don’t like to do the same thing every week. A few weeks ago we went to Twinkle’s Town in Norwich.

Twinkle's Town

Twinkle’s Town is not your average play center. The describe it as ‘a little world for big imaginations.’

As you head up the stairs you are met with a toddler sized town full of amazing things for them to discover. There is a construction site with diggers, a theatre complete with dress up, a shop and a hospital, just to name a few sections. I was amazed by how much thought and time had gone into the design of this place and how much there was to do.

Erin absolutely loved running off and visiting the different sections. She was especially happy eating fake cake!

Twinkle’s Town often runs giveaway on their Facebook page and there are always different themed events going on. We went to an In the Night Garden event when we visited. There was someone dressed as Igglepiggle and In the Night Garden themed toys and songs.

Something I was really impressed by was the baby changing facilities, which are downstairs and located by the entrance. The changing room was impeccably clean and really well thought out. There was two different changing mats and some nappies, wipes and bags to use just in case you needed them. These were definitely some of the nicer changing facilities I have come across.

Unfortunately, Twinkle’s Town isn’t really in a convenient location. If you drive there is barely any parking and if you don’t, it’s a good 30 minute walk from Norwich train station. With a pushchair in tow, it’s a bit of a pain to be honest. I was lucky in that a friend drove us for this visit but we had to park a few streets away and carry our toddlers. Not fun!

Our visit cost £6.50 and included a hot drink but prices vary depending on if you book in advance and what the session is.  Sessions are also time limited. While Erin really enjoyed it, it’s not somewhere we’ll go too often but this is only because of the location. If it was more accessible we’d go a lot more.

Get in Touch:

63 Sussex Street
Norwich, Norfolk

Call 07721 391909

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New Swimming Lessons

Towards the end of last year we made the decision to stop Erin’s swimming lessons. It was taking us roughly 4 hours for a 30 minute lesson. We had to get a bus there, wait around for about 35 minutes before the lesson and the wait around again for the bus home. It was absolutely exhausting and after going back to work, I couldn’t do it anymore.

swimming lessons

Luckily, we live 10 minutes away from another pool. Honestly though, I was a bit worried about joining up. I’d heard how cold the pool was and Erin has a tendency to turn a bit blue in the water. I needn’t have worried though, Erin and the water are fine. I’d spoken to Erin’s swimming teacher, Lisa, a few times before we signed up because of another class we did there and because she is so fun and bubbly, it put my mind at ease a bit. swimming

We’ve been going to Erin’s new swimming for about 5 weeks now and Erin absolutely loves them. I was really worried that after such a long break that Erin wouldn’t like the water anymore. The minute we got in the pool she had a massive grin on her face and she was happy as anything. She also really got back into the swing of lessons quickly too and remembered to hold on to the sides, which I was so proud of.

I absolutely love seeing Erin enjoy her lessons so much. I can’t swim so it was always something I wanted Erin to learn. Lisa is such a fun teacher and Erin loves her. Unfortunately, Erin gets called a distraction sometimes because of how much she smiles. She does it from the beginning of the lesson right up until the very end. She even smiles after being dunked under water or swimming through a hoop.

 

I really think having a teacher like Lisa makes the swimming lessons what they are. Erin loves her so much that when we go swimming on other days, she waves at Lisa all the way from the other end of the pool. Erin’s lessons may not be quite as intensive as some I know of but she is happy and confident in the water and that’s the main thing right now.

Does your child do swimming lessons and do they seem to enjoy them?

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Music in Motion

Last week Erin started a new class, Music in Motion. This class is held at a local leisure center and we have been waiting months and months for a place!

Music in Motion

Unfortunately, a soft play center sort of local got flooded a little while back and since have decided to close down. Music in Motion used to do 2 classes there but have now added them in at my local leisure center. While it’s a terrible thing to have happened, it was the only reason why we now have a space in the class. We had been on the waiting list for 7 months.

As you can probably tell by the name of the class, it is based around music. Erin has loved music in the other classes we do, which is why I wanted a space in this one so much. Each class has a theme and in our first, we took an imaginary trip to the farm. We sang a song about a train journey, along with actions. We learned about different animals and the noises they make. We sang about Incy Wincy Spider. We played with musical instruments and bounced balls off a big parachute.

Erin was amazed the whole time! She loved it! I honestly don’t think I’ve heard her giggle so much through a class. She was a bit tired and grumpy towards the end but that was only because it was nearly time for lunch.

This class for us is on a Wednesday morning (45 minutes) and it costs £40 for 12 weeks. It’s a hell of a lot cheaper than everything else we attend. However, there is a larger age range and Erin was one of the youngest in her session. The bigger children running around and sort of clambering around over/ around her was annoying. However, I think now I know what to expect I can sit in a better place/ be ready for it.

I think this is fantastic class and, while not a lot different to other activities, the price is good and Erin really liked it!

Summer Swimming

The summer holidays means that there are no swimming classes for Erin. When Erin first started her lessons just after Easter, she was not a fan. In fact, she hated swimming. Things are not quite the same 4 months on.

Swimming

Just before our lessons finished at the end of term, Erin was still unsure about swimming. Sometimes she would get through a full class. Sometimes she wouldn’t. She would still cry near the end of a class too now and again. At this point, I was unsure as to whether she would ever really enjoy being in the pool.

Luckily, I work for a company that has a swimming pool and Erin and I are able to use it near enough when we like, apart from when aquafit classes are on. Since the term ended I have been trying to take Erin swimming once a week. John has also been able to come with us a few times on a weekend which has been nice for all of us. It’s crazy how much she has come on in the last month.

Swimming

Erin in her Pop In swimming gear!

Erin seems to really enjoy going in the pool now. We do some of the general things we learned in classes as well as having a bit of fun as well. Now she will kick and splash about and she had n ever done that before. There has not been one tear so far. Erin does get a bit grizzly if we’re in the pool for longer than 30 minutes but that’s okay.

I am so pleased that Erin has come so far in such a short space of time. I’m actually really looking forward to starting lessons again with her in September and I’m sure our teacher will be shocked at how far Erin has progressed. Erin certainly isn’t the same little swimmer that she was a month ago.

The start of a home made sensory basket

Ever since our first Baby Sensory class I knew that I wanted to make a box or basket for us to have at home. I love that Erin enjoys such a variety of toys and activities but Baby Sensory class is one of her favourites.

To start with we were lucky to have been given some baby gifts in a lovely wicker basket so choosing our box was really easy. The basket is kept out of the way as it has no lid and I don’t want Erin seeing into it while we’re in her room. I want her to get excited about us getting the basket out.

Erin is really into her musical instruments so these were some of the first things that I put in the basket. We actually some of the instruments we use in Baby Sensory classes so I knew that Erin would get excited about hearing familiar noises. We also have some charity shop bargains! The rhythm sticks and yellow bell were the more expensive items while the parrot maracas were 20p each and the monkey tambourine was 50p!

A sensory basket is not just about noises though. Erin also has some great items for colour and texture. I absolutely love the bright red pom pom we bought from Amazon but we do have to be careful with it because some of the bits fall out now and again. We also have a yellow chiffon scarf which is perfect for peek-a-boo and a rainbow ribbon which comes in a plastic ring. Erin can hold the rainbow ribbon really well now so that’s one of her favourites.

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Other items in the basket at the moment include a baby safe mirror (60p), a red ball (came with other Baby Sensory items), clips for toys (50p the whole line) and a super random blue and yellow toy that sort of wibbles about a bit (20p).

I realise now that my basket is missing a hell of a lot and I need to get some more items. I have a bit of a wishlist after having a good look around on Pinterest.

  • Pinecones
  • Shells
  • A toothbrush
  • Flannel
  • Comb
  • Buttons
  • A mini bean bag
  • Wooden pegs
  • Items that light up
  • Wooden spoon
  • Something made from silicone
  • Ball of string
  • Lego block
  • Glitter pots (with the lids glued on!)

Ideally, I would really like to get one of those basket storage systems for Erin’s nursery so we could make up different baskets for things like colours or sounds etc. I think Erin would get so much out of different baskets because then they would never get boring. She’d have different to chose from each time!

Do you have a sensory basket or treasure basket for you child? If you do, what have been some of the most popular items you’ve put in there?

Bounce and Rhyme Time: North Walsham Library

Something I have regretting since being pregnant then having Erin is not ever learning to drive. I did start when I was 17 but hated my instructor so I just gave up. I’ve never really needed to learn though having lived in places with fantastic transport. It was moving to Norfolk that made me realise I really should have learned at some point.

Anyway, my worry about not driving was being able to take Erin to do different activities. I want her to be able to do whatever she wants when she’s older and I want to take her to things that are good for her now. Luckily, I’ve found that there is more to do than I originally thought where I live in North Walsham.

2016-03-23 10.30.11A couple of weeks ago I discovered Bounce and Rhyme Time at my local library. I have only just started taking Erin to get books out for her to read at bed time and until then, didn’t go in for any reason. Bounce and Rhyme Time happens on a Wednesday morning from 10:30 to 11:00. It isn’t a long activity but it’s free and anyone can go along!

Bounce and Rhyme Time is run by two wonderful women who really seem to enjoy it as well. The half an hour activity is made up of different nursery rhymes, well-known and some I’d never heard of, songs and stories. Erin was by far the youngest the first week we went and she really didn’t know what was going on a lot of the time. However, she loves singing and sounds at the moment so that was enough for her to smile and kick her little legs around like crazy.

I feel like I really benefit from going to Bounce and Rhyme Time too. It has been a very 2016-03-23 10.41.28long time since I knew any nursery rhymes or baby songs and although I’m constantly singing to Erin, it’s always random made up crap. They’re never real songs. Also, I struggle to think of things to do with Erin when she wants to play sometimes so this activity really helps me to have more ideas for things to do with Erin at home!

It seems that not a lot of people know about this activity. I’m currently trying to get other mums from the Baby Sensory class I go to interested because it’s a real shame that more people don’t go!

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