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Walt Disney World | Hollywood Studios Ride Guide and Spoilers

25 September 2019

11 comments
Hollywood Studios entrance
Hollywood Studios was very popular with big and little J on our last trip to Walt Disney World and I think we spent more time there overall than any other park. The new addition of Toy Story Land makes Hollywood Studios very popular so have a read of our ride guide and spoilers to make the most of your day.

Echo Lake
inside Star Tours - The Adventures Continue
Star Tours - The Adventures Continue

Type of Ride - 3D motion simulated ride through space.

Hints, Tips or Spoilers - We went on this a few ride a few times and if you are lucky you will be put in a different numbered simulator than the time before so you will have a different 3D adventure. They will choose someone from the spaceship as a rebel spy and pop their photo on the screen which is fun especially if it's you. Unfortunately you won't have time to snap a photo of it though. The shop on the way out has some amazing Star Wars memorabilia so make sure you take some time to have a look.


Min Height - 40"/102cm

Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

Toy Story Land
Entrance to Toy Story Land, Walt Disney World


Slinky Dog Dash

Type of Ride - Family friendly rollercoaster with twists, hills and drops. Each row seats 2 comfortably.

Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Can be fast in places and stops briefly to then whizz off again quickly. Queues for this ride can get very long so fast passes are essential, we noticed that even booking 60 days in advance some days had already allocated all fast passes so make sure you are booking this one as soon as you possibly can.


Min Height - 38"/97cm

Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - Yes

Toy Story Land
Toy Story Land
Alien Swirling Saucers


Type of Ride - Spinning ride which weaves in and out with fast turns. Each rocket seats 2 comfortably.


Hints, Tips or Spoilers - There are two sets of swirling saucers so the queue seems to move a lot quicker than what is advertised. Again queues can get long, however this one does have availability for fast pass at most times.


Min Height - 32"/81cm

Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

Toy Story Mania
Toy Story Mania
Toy Story Mania

Type of Ride - 4D Shooting game. Each vehicle seats 4 comfortably with each rider getting a gun so you can join in with games

Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Lots of fun with you competing against everyone in your vehicle to get the best score over 5 different games. If you give it your all your arm will ache afterwards.  The ring toss section is the most valuable with plenty of 1000, 2000 point targets available.  Keep an eye out for the aliens in the top right and left corners as these are worth 5000 points in this section.  In the final section there is a bonus game which requires some shooting speed. The faster you can shoot the higher the points value unlocked.


Min Height - No

Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - No

Sunset Boulevard

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Staring Aerosmith
Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Staring Aerosmith


Type of Ride - Fly round on this high speed rollercoaster to the tunes of Aerosmith.


Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Starts off very quickly. There are several loop the loops and is very dark inside. Keep your head back to start with and smile. The camera is right at the start of the right before the first loop. If you are a music fan make sure to have a look at the framed posters and T-Shirts on the inside of the building just before you go through the doors, some are highly collectable and rare.


Min Height - 48"/122cm

Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - Yes

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror


Type of Ride - Hop on board the elevator of the Hollywood Hotel.


Hints, Tips or Spoilers - Sudden ups and drops whilst sat in the elevator. Your bum will lift off the seat and there is nothing to hold on too, which makes it more fun. This one takes both photo and a short video of you on the ride which is a really good idea. You don't need to scan your band or pass as the right will automatically detect you and send the video to your memory maker.


Min Height - 40"/102cm

Fast Pass + - Yes
Ride Photo - Yes

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Have you been to Hollywood Studios? What's your favourite ride? Leave us a comment below and let us know.

For more ride guides, hints and tips and spoilers visit our other Walt Disney World posts.

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Michelle
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7 Activities To Help Develop Fine Motor Skills

23 September 2019

11 comments
paint pots and paint brushes
Little J has just started a new year in school and whilst I think he has developed so much over the last 12 months socially I think physically he still has a lot of developing to do. I know children develop at different rates and it's only natural that we compare our children to their siblings or other children of a same age. When little J was younger he never reached his milestones on time, he was always months late. It was a worry at the time but with help and encouragement he did get there in the end and when he did there was huge feeling of relief. Developing his fine motor skills is something we are still working as he still struggles to hold a pen or pencil correctly. Here are 7 activities that we are using to help develop fine motor skills and they are perfect for those looking for home schooling ideas too.

a child painting
a child painting
Painting 
Painting is fun but finger painting is better. Most kids love paint on their hands and painting with your fingers can help hand eye coordination and manual dexterity. Painting with your fingers encourages the child to move and guide their fingers in all ways to create a painting.

Colour Sorting 
If your child is struggling to hold a pen or spoon then you could create a nice activity using child friendly tweezers. Fill a bowl for of coloured pom poms and ask your child to use the tweezers to colour sort the pom poms in to piles. Tweezers help to develop tripod grip when holing then between the thumb and first two fingers. Once they have mastered tripod grip they can then use the tweezers to focus on pincer grip. If you don't have the child friendly tweezers then you can encourage the same movement squeezing pegs instead.


playing with playdough
playing with playdough
Playdough Bugs
Playdough is brilliant for little hands and helps to build up strength. Squeezing, stretching and rolling the playdough can help with fine motor skills. Using playdough cutters to create shapes can enhance play. Make playdough bugs such as worms which will encourage your child to roll or a ladybird were your child has to squeeze a playdough ball to create a body. If your child is confident using child friendly scissors then cutting playdough is also great for the muscles in the fingers.

Wash the Car
Children love water play and washing the car or something very similar is a great way to build up strength in the fingers, hand and arms too. Using a big sponge ask your child to dunk the sponge in to a bucket of water. Once the sponge is wet it will become heavier so they will need a tighter grip on the sponge. Get then to use lots of arm motion to wash the car and then to squeeze the water out of the sponge back in to the bucket, and repeat until finished.

Threading
Depending on the age of the child threading is a great way to get those fingers and hands moving. It takes a lot of concentration but can help enhance tripod and pincer grip. You can create your own threading activity my punching holes in to a piece of card using a hole punch. I would recommend using something strong like a lace to thread as string or wool can be too flimsy. You can also thread a lace through a trainer too.

Song Time
Action songs are a great way to get the fingers, hands and arms moving but are also lots of fun. You may already have some favourite action songs but a few of our favourites are Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Wind My Bobbin Up and Tommy Thumb. This activity should be done daily for at least 10-15 minutes.

squishy toys
squishy toys


Squishy Time
Squishies are everywhere at the moment so you will probably have some somewhere in the house. Squishies are really good for helping develop fine motor skills. If you can get your child to squeeze a squishy or something similar for 10-15 minutes a day it will build strength in both the hand and arm too.

You can make the activities as fun as you like whilst still helping to develop those fine motor skills.

Michelle
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Travel | Five Reasons To Stay At The Alton Towers Resort

18 September 2019

18 comments
Cbeebies Hotel, Alton Towers
A trip to Alton Towers can be so much fun for all the family but it can also be very exhausting. Even though we don’t don’t live to far away we usually make the most of our visit by booking a night stay at the Resort. Staying the night has lots of benefits but here are our top five reasons why we think you should stay at The Alton Towers Resort.
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Preparing Your Garden For Autumn | AD

11 September 2019

19 comments
Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration

Autumn leaves
Last week little J and I went out in to the garden and he said to me that it smelt like Halloween. At first I had no idea what he meant but as I felt the cold wind hit me I knew exactly what he meant, the seasons are changing and there is a definite Autumn feel in the air. I love Autumn but I don't feel like we have had much Summer this year compared to last and we have just started putting all of little J's garden toys into large storage containers as I don't think we will need the swimming pool and water toys again this year.  We've also made a start on a general clean up of the garden too preparing for the colder months. Here are a few tips on how to get your garden ready for Autumn. 

shed
Cleaning Up and Storing
Clean all your garden tools before storing them for the winter. Get the mud off, and wipe moving parts and joints of metal tools with an oily rag for a bit of rust protection. As we have artificial grass we don't use many garden tools so this job was an easy one but its very important. We have had to throw tools away in the past because they rusted over the colder and wetter months. 

We have washed all of little J's outdoor toys making sure that we gave them a good rinse and then let them dry fully before storing. It's important to make sure all toys and water toys have no traces of water before you store otherwise they will go mouldy.

If you have a big garage or other outbuildings, make sure they’re damp-free and secure, then put everything inside. We have a shed and also a little one that I call a bike shed. It is always nice and dry in there no matter what the weather outside so it's the perfect place to store little J's toys. If you don’t have much space to spare, a bit of creative thinking is needed.

Can you put up more shelves in the garage or shed, or hang hooks on the walls to hold tools so you leave the floor free for the car?

A handy option, and one that’s growing in popularity, is renting a self storage unit. You’ll find most are easy to get to in town locations, and you’re allowed to install freestanding shelves to keep stuff organised. When you’re storing things in tubs, label the sides so you can find everything easily.

Make It Cosy
You can still enjoy your garden in the colder months by making the seating area or patio cosy. Put up some twinkling lights, get an outdoor heater and have nice blankets to hand so you can wrap up. I actually love sitting in the garden no matter what the weather. I have actually sat on the patio in the rain before now under the umbrella and it was so peaceful.

flowers
Plants and Boarders
If you’ve been to a garden centre this year, you’ll know how expensive plants are. The more you can save or take seeds from, the more lush your garden can be next year, for a whole lot less money. 

You can save the seeds from vegetables and flowering plants and this is something children can help with. Good ones are peas, French beans and tomatoes.

Scoop tomato seeds out and lay them on paper towels to dry

Wait until the bean pods are brown and papery then pick them and let them dry too. When they are dry, get the seeds out of the pods and save them. 

A cool dark place is good, so the fridge is handy. Wrap them in paper packets and they should be good for planting next year.

Other autumn jobs to schedule are lifting up delicate plants like dahlias, and deciding where to plant bulbs for spring flowering. Routinely pick up fallen leaves, especially getting them out of a pond if you have one. Keep the grass short — it gets a lot harder to mow as the weather gets wetter.

Seasonal Sorting
Many people these days find they have more possessions than house space, so use self storage units as a cost-effective, virtual home extension. For example, you could rotate garden equipment into and out of self storage depending on the season. 

During the winter, your storage room can house all your garden equipment and furnishings, barbecues, paddling pools and trampolines. During the summer, it’s a secure place for winter sports gear. Not just expensive, sports equipment is often bulky or awkwardly shaped, making it hard to keep out of the way at home.

You’ll get so much more out of the garden through winter when summer gear isn’t claiming all the space. Not only is there more room for playing in the snow (if we’re lucky enough to have some), but it’s uplifting to have a view of a clear garden through the windows.

Preparing your garden for Autumn may not seem necessary but spending time on these little jobs can really help you make the most out your garden.

Michelle
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Buyagift - The Perfect Present | Review

9 September 2019

4 comments
Disclosure - We received a Buyagift experience in return for a feature on our blog. The idea for this post was my own as is all thoughts, opinions and photographs. This post contains affiliate links.

A wrapped present
We are those people that when it comes to birthdays or Christmas we never want anything. We really struggle to think of something and in the end we usually ask for a voucher. Over the past few years we have asked experiences vouchers such as Buyagift and for people like us it really is the perfect present. We have selected some of  our favourite experiences that we have enjoyed so far using Buyagift.

Drayton Manor Theme Park


Theme Parks
If you know us then you will know that we are quite the thrill seekers and are usually head to theme park at least once a month. This Summer we headed to Drayton Manor which was perfect for both big and little J.

As there is an 11 year age gap it can be tricky sometimes to find somewhere that is suitable for both their age ranges however Drayton Manor had something for everyone.

Drayton Manor Theme Park
Drayton Manor Theme Park
The park has lots of thrill rides suitable for big J including Shockwave and Maelstrom and little J loved Thomas Land which has lots of rides based around the popular character Thomas The Tank Engine.

The theme park also has a 15 acre zoo which was fun for all of us and a 4D cinema too.

Our voucher included two adults and two children with lunch to Drayton Manor Theme Park


Prezzo Restaurant


Dining Out
On a recent day out to Southport, John and I ended our day with a trip to Prezzo. Using our voucher was easy we just made a reservation online and we were sent a redemption code to hand to the waiter when we had finished.

On arrival we were handed the Buyagift set menu which has so much to choose from. John started with the Garlic Bread with Mozzarella and I had the Tomato Bruschetta.

For our mains we both went for Spaghetti Bolognese. I assumed as this was a Buyagift menu that the portion size may be smaller but it wasn't.

We both saved some room for desserts. I went for Honey Smash Cheesecake whilst John chose his favourite Tiramisu.

The voucher was for a Three Course Meal With Wine For Two at Prezzo


View from the Shard


Days Out
We like to go to London at least once a year to visit the London tourist attractions. One of our favourite attractions is viewing the London Skyline from The Shard.

View from the Shard
Once at the top of The Shard you can get a great view of St Pauls Cathedral, The River Thames, The London Eye and if you look closely you can also spot Wembley too.

There was no need to book beforehand for this experience and the voucher we used was View From the Shard - Two Adults and Two Children

Go Ape
Adventure
I managed to keep my feet firmly on the ground for this experience however I did enjoy watching both John and big J making their way through the trees on Go Ape.

Go Ape is a tree top high ropes adventure that has you climbing across obstacles and rope ladders through the trees.

Go Ape
Once they had finished their course they used a zip wire to fly head back to the ground.

Go Ape
This experience was really fun for them both and we did enjoy watching them as they challenged themselves to reach the end. The experience we used was a Tree Top Adventure at Go Ape



These are just a few of our favourite experiences we have done so far but our list is huge and we still have so many more we want to do. There are so many experiences to choose from with Buyagift and if you are unsure on a what experience to choose you can always buy a Smartbox which gives you 1000's of experiences to choose from. If you don't like your chosen experience Buyagift offers free exchanges and once you pick your new experience you can have your voucher sent direct to your email.

For more experience ideas you can visit Buyagift

Michelle
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The Good Bubble Baby Range | Review

8 September 2019

23 comments
Disclosure - We were gifted the Good Bubble products for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. This post also contains affiliate links.

The Good Bubble Baby Range
Bath time is a major part of little J's bedtime routine. He has always had a bath before bedtime and I really do think it's so important not just to wash away the day but it's also a time for him to relax his body after being active all day. We love thinking of ways to make bath time more fun and trying out new products in his bath and we are lucky that his skin seems to like most products we try. One of our favourites is Good Bubble, they have a lovely range of natural bath products in delicious smelling flavours. We were recently sent their Good Bubble Baby range to try and they smell amazing.

When buying products I always make sure that they are suitable for babies or small children because even at the age of 6 if little J gets the slightest trickle of soap suds near his eyes, he will scream. He hates anything in his eyes so knowing the Good Bubble hair and body range use a no tear formulation is perfect for this like little J.

The Good Bubble Baby Range


The Good Bubble Baby Range

The Good Bubble Baby Hair and Body Wash comes in cucumber and aloe vera and is designed for sensitive baby skin. It's a mild and gentle hair and body wash suitable from newborn upwards.

The Good Bubble Baby Moisturiser is mild and gentle with cottonseed and aloe vera, a perfect combination to keep babies skin hydrated. Again the moisturiser is suitable for newborns and is paediatrician approved.

The Good Bubble Baby Range
My favourite is the Good Bubble 100% Pure Organic Coconut Oil. Paediatrician approved and suitable for those with sensitive and eczema prone skin. I have actually been using this myself around my elbows and knees were I suffer from dry skin and it's really helped soothe those areas and it smells amazing.

If you would like to win Good Bubble Hair and Body Wash, Moisturiser and Organic Coconut Oil all you need to do is enter our giveaway below and pop back daily for bonus chances to win.

Our Giveaway may be closed buy you can still enjoy The Good Bubble Range available on Amazon




  Michelle

Competition closes on Sunday 22nd September 2019
Entrants must have a valid UK address. 
Bulk, third party or any other entries using automated software will be disqualified. 
All entrants and entries are checked and verified. 
1 lucky winner will be chosen at random by the Gleam application. 
Playdays and Runways will contact the lucky winners within 7 days of the competition closing. 
The winners will be emailed to the email address given at the time of entering. 
The winners will not be announced on my blog or social media until they have agreed that their name can be displayed. 
The winners must respond within 28 days, if no response a new winner will be chosen. 
This prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative 
The Prize : Good Bubble Moisturiser, Hair and Body Wash and Organic Coconut Oil
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TIG-TAG | Review

10 comments
Disclosure - We were sent a TIG-TAG for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

Boy holding a Tig Tag
There is an eleven year age gap between big and little J so finding a game that they can both play has always been a struggle. Little J would be too young for some and big J not interested in others. One common ground has always been playing outside. Whether it's football, garden or chase games their love of playing outside has always meant that they could spend time together having fun. We were recently sent TIG-TAG which is an exciting new outdoor game designed to get the whole family up and playing together.
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5 Rainy Day Activities

4 September 2019

13 comments
Disclosure - We were sent Chicago Town vouchers to sample their pizza. We have included Chicago Town in this post however the idea, thoughts, opinions and photos in this post are our own.

Boy staring out in to the rain
There is nothing worse than planning a nice day out and you wake up to find it's raining outside. Unfortunately living in the UK this is quite normal so I always make sure I have some rainy day activities planned as a back up plan.

Boy baking a cake


Baking
Little J loves baking so I always make sure I have some simple ingredients in the cupboards which we can turn in to cakes or biscuits. Baking doesn't have to be just about baking you can make it as fun or educational as you wish.

Use the opportunity to encourage some simple maths such as counting out the ingredients or reading the measuring jug.

Be adventurous. Maybe try and bake something you have never tried before especially if you have a fussy eater. This could be your way of introducing new foods.

Sort Out The Toy Box
This may not sound like a fun activity to do on a rainy day but honestly you will be surprised. I always include this activity on a rainy day and it keeps little J busy and entertained. Once I start pulling out all his toys to go through he usually finds things that he has totally forgotten about and will sit and play with them for hours.

boy playing a game
Games
Playing games is fun no matter what the weather. We have so many games to choose from so I usually bring downstairs a handful of games that we haven't played in a while. You can make it fun by adding a score board to see who the ultimate board game winner is or whoever wins the first game gets to choose which game to play next and so on.

Little J also loves to play Top Trumps which is also a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.

iPad or Tablet Time
I usually let little J have his iPad whenever he wants during day and whilst I don't restrict him to a set amount of screen time, he usually comes off after a short time anyway when he is ready to do something else. However on a rainy day he may ask for it a little bit longer as he can't go outside so I will usually let him have his own time on his iPad and then we will do something together on it.

We will play games on it together or he loves apps like Word Cookies where he needs a little bit of help spelling words. He also likes doing maths so we have an app that does basic sums that we play together.

pizza box and harry potter movie

PJ and Movie Day 
I can't speak for anyone else but it is not very often we have a PJ day in our house. There is usually always something we have to get dressed for. It is nice once in a while to let the kids stay in their PJ's and have a PJ and Movie Day.

Let the kids choose the snacks and the movies and enjoy a nice relaxing day on the sofa. The boys love it when we say we will have a movie night and will always choose pizza and popcorn.

Their favourite pizza is Chicago Town Cheesy or Tomato Stuffed Crust pizza and garlic bread. Little J has been a little more adventurous with his pizza toppings recently going for a pepperoni pizza rather than just a plain cheese. Again use this opportunity to let the kids choose what toppings they would like on their pizza or what snacks they would like to share. Children love being involved and you can even let them help prepare the snacks and drinks.

Do you have any favourite rainy day activities?

Michelle
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What To Pack For A Day Out With The Kids

2 September 2019

20 comments
Disclosure - This post features gifted products however the idea for this post, opinions and photographs are our own. 

a bag for of essentials for a day out
We are very lucky to go on so many days out with the kids throughout the year. I have become an expert when it comes to packing a bag of essentials that we may need over the course of the day. I thought I would share with you checklist on What To Pack For A Day Out With The Kids.

First we pack a bag that we will carry then we pack a bag that can be left in the car. We usually take a back pack style bag. We have quite a few but our favourite is one we picked up in Walt Disney World. It has lots of different compartments and the perfect size for a day out.

Essentials for the bag we will carry on the day out.

Spare Clothes
Taking a spare set of clothes is essential when travelling with little ones. They tend to get wet, muddy and all other things so having a fresh set of clothes ensures that they can have as much messy fun as they want without it spoiling the rest of your day.

Baby Wipes
Perfect for cleaning hands, faces, shoes, clothes or anything else that might get dirty.

Basic First Aid
We always carry a selection of plasters, calpol for the kids, paracetamol for adults, sudocrem, and piraton.

Sun Protection
We always carry sun cream with us as you never know just how hot it can be sometimes when you head out for the day. The weather can change suddenly and we need to make sure we take care of our skin. We usually wrap it in a sandwich bag to help prevent any leaks.

Drinks and Snacks
If we are taking a packed lunch with us we will usually make sandwiches and take crisps and a biscuit for a treat. Try and avoid chocolate type snacks as they can melt in the bag. We will usually take little J's reusable drinks bottle and then bottles of water for us.

Phone and Portable Charger
Unfortunately my phone battery doesn't last as long as it should anymore so I find that my battery can die quite quickly especially when I am taking photos or videos on it. We use the Zippo Heatbank and whilst it is a great way to recharge my depleted phone battery it also doubles as a hand warmer which is perfect for the chilly days or evenings. I suffer from cold hands so the heatbank has been perfect for keeping them warm and it can last up to 6 hours too.

Spare Change
I always like to carry some spare change with me as you never know when you will need some coins. It could be for a car park or a visit to the ice cream man.

Essentials for the bag we keep in the car.

Swim Clothes and Towel
Days out to the beach or park can usually end up with little J wanting to go in the water or splash park so its important to make sure we swim wear and a towel handy so he can enjoy water play and get dry afterwards.

Spare Shoes / Wellies
Depending on the day out and the wether I will usually take spare shoes and/or wellies with us in the car.

Tablet and Headphones
If the journey is long I will take little J's tablet and headphones in the car to keep him occupied.

What is your 'must pack' essentials for a trip out with the kids?

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Michelle
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