About Me

About me

My name is Nik and I am Mum to two small boys called Sam and Oliver and partner to the long suffering Ali and we are based in Devon, England.

My blog is about my journey though life, the highs, the lows and all the fun and messy bits in-between.

It is a personal blog that is written by me and only features my opinions. I do work on behalf of businesses and companies, writing posts and reviews but I will only give you my honest thoughts, if I love it or hate it I will tell you.

If you would like to get in touch with me or my mini monsters please contact me at
themummymonster1@gmail.com





Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Thomasland at Drayton Manor Review

Thomasland Review



So Bob's third birthday has been creeping up on us since the beginning of the year and we have been wondering what to do to celebrate, then I spotted the advert for the Easter deal at Drayton Manor, the home of Thomasland. What better way to celebrate for my Thomas and train and three year old.


I immediately looked at the website to see what the price would be. Thankfully the Easter season went on until 28th April, the day before his birthday.

I was immediately tempted by the Thomas themed rooms, they looked great, however when I put in our dates, the room came to nearly £400 for one night's b&b and one day tickets into the park!! £400!!! Ummm no thanks, our budget just didn't stretch to that, so I decided to look at budget hotels near the park. They were great value but wanted to do something special, so I went back the hotel on site and looked at the family rooms.  I found the perfect deal, a family room onsite, b&b and one days park tickets cost £192.

We decided to keep the trip a secret from the boys as I am not sure I could cope with the constant "when are we going?" Or "how many nights sleep? ".

We collected Sam from school and he came home on the Friday night to see the suitcases in the hall. They asked where we were going and we simply replied "on holiday" and they accepted it!! We decided to start travelling on the Friday night as neither of the boys travel very well.


The M5 traffic was hideous but I was glad we had left plenty of time to get though it. We eventually got to our Premier Inn or "Moon Shop" as Bob calls it and felt totally relaxed.We still had a journey to do in the room but the first couple of hours was done.

Next morning we headed off again and thankfully I remembered to film the boys reaction as they spotted the sign for Thomasland.

I wish I could post the video but it wont let me so you may have to check it out on The Mummy Monster social media.

Both boys reaction made my heart swell and I knew we would have a good day.

We parked up in the hotel car park and headed to reception to get our park tickets. The hotel receptions a Thomas themed carousel, a Thomas shop and various Thomas characters. We weren't able to book in but we could leave our car in the hotel car park rather than the main one.

We headed to the entrance and we were off.

The first ride, we saw was Diesel's Locomotive Mayhem. We ended up coming back to this ride four times throughout the day as Bob especially loved it.



We next headed over to Bertie Bus. Ali doesn't enjoy rides so I took the boys on alone. This made it tricky when Bob decided he wanted to get off half way through and Sam wanted it to go faster. Bob's words were "I not like that at all" We didn't go back to Bertie Bus again!! Lol


Next Sam decided to give Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster. This was Sam's first experience of a proper rollercoaster and he loved it. It was steep and fast and he was quite chuffed with himself for being brave enough.


 

















Bob was too small for the coaster so he and Ali headed off to the Blue Mountain Engines. Bob struggled to choose which engine he wanted so again he ride it several times during the day.


We decided to give spinning heads a rest and head off on one of the engine tours. We just missed Thomas so we caught Percy instead. We seemed to miss Thomas each time but both boys didn't seem to mind.









Percy dropped us off at Spencers play area. The main part of the play area was made to look like Spencer and I felt it looked great, again both boys enjoyed playing in the park.

We did a quick look around the dinosaur trail, which was short but the models and facts kept my boys entertained before we headed back on Percy for some lunch.



 




















Due to Sam's requirements and the normally poor quality food I had taken a packed lunch. My one real criticism for the park was the lack of indoor picnic space. The weather was cold and windy and so eating outside wasn't really an option. We did eventually find a spot but I'm not sure we should have eaten there, however we werent alone.

Suddenly we heard some music and we headed to the front of the park where we discovered the Fat Contoller and his crew singing and dancing. The boys were a little unsure of the performance as they didnt know the songs and Bob asked if they were going to sing the orginial theme tune. He would have loved that and actually so would I :)




Once back together we headed over to some the rides which went up in the air. This included James red hot air balloon and Jeremy Jet's flying acamedy and  Harolds helicopeter tours. I was worried they were going to close them due to the wind but thankfully we managed to do all of them.






















The boys also went on Lady's carousel before we headed out of Thomasland and into Drayton Manor itself. Some of the rides in Drayton Manor looked scary to me let alone the boys but we did manage to go on the carousel and the Jolly Buccaneer.






















We headed back into Thomasland for a quick go on on any of the rides that the boys fancied. As there were no queues the boys could take their pick.
Other rides that were available were 
Captain's sea adventure - it was freezing and we didnt fancy getting wet.
Cranky's Drop tower - Sam decided he wasnt "old" enough to do this one!! lol
Flynns Fire Rescue - again a wet one!
Rocking Bulstrode - just watching made us feel queasy!
Terence Driving School - Closed :(
Toby's tram express - I was keen but the boys werent
Emilys Adventure Play - I HATE soft play so didnt tell the boys it was there! Whoops!
Winstons whistle stop tours - Closed due to the weather - we were gutted as we all wanted to do this one.

We headed out of the park throughly exhausted but happy. The boys had had so much fun and so had Ali and I.

Would I go again? ABSOLUTELY!! I would probably return in the warmer weather when we could do some of the rides and not worry about getting wet.

What did let the weekend down was the hotel breakfast. It really wasnt very good, they didnt keep up with demand, nothing was labelled and it didnt seem that busy, plus they served my hot chocolate that was in a cup with lipstick on it. It didnt even look like it had been though a wash. I have to say I have had much better breakfasts at cheaper hotels.

Disclosure: this was NOT a paid review, all the thoughts and opinions are my own.

For more information please visit:





Saturday, 2 February 2019

The Eden Project - A Review


I work for the local council and we were recently informed that the Eden Project was offering free entry to council workers and their families. They also offer free  entry to offer services such as emergency services, publicans and charity workers.

I haven't been to the Eden Project in years, so we thought we would take advantage of the offer. Ali booked us into the local Premier Inn in St Austell and we headed off. We didn't need to stay overnight as it was only 65 miles away but Oliver doesn't travel very well, so I didn't want to risk it.

We arrived at opening time and I was surprised to see we were already in the second car park. I thought the cold wintery January day would have put people but I was very wrong.

We kitted up, because my goodness it was cold and headed down to the entrance. After showing my i.d we headed out onto the platform which gives you a great view of the biomes. Sam couldn't get over the size of them.



We followed the path down towards the bottom of the old quarry. The boys loved finding little paths and steps that would cut off the corner of the paths which adults didn't fit though. I loved hearing them giggle as they went through the small gaps.

On the way down he found the big wooden bee and information about the bees and the beehives that are on the Eden project site. Sam was interested as one of teachers is a bee keeper and they have been testing her honey.



After finding the bees, we headed into the rainforest biome. I was a little bit worried whether there would be enough stuff to hold the boys interests but they really enjoyed it. They spotted bananas growing, looked at cocoa plants, ran across jungle bridges and got splashed by the waterfalls.







Sam was really interested in the bridge that created clouds, I think he must have gone across at least six times. Oliver loved the little birds that were wandering around. He couldn't believe they weren't scared of him and would crouch down and watch them as they walked around.









We slowly made our way up the path and we started to get warmer as we went up. Thank goodness we took the pushchair as we started to strip off our layers of clothes.


We soon came to signs stating that we could go up into the roof of the biome. The rules were very clear that no children could be carried whilst going up the steep staircase. We showed Sam and Oliver the platform that we could go up too if they wanted too. They were both keen.

As went up the stairs, the air kept getting warmer and warmer. Please bare in mind that we were all dressed for January and all that the January weather has to offer. We went up last due to Oliver being quite slow on the stairs and with my legs not enjoying the damp weather and finally reached the platform that was hanging from the ceiling by wires.

This platform is definitely not for the faint hearted or people who prefer a nice cool breeze. It was hot up there. You could feel it in your chest with your breathing.


The photos below show Ali and I about half way around the first biome and the at the top, can you tell which one is which?? lol




However, going up onto the platform was great. You could see the tops of the trees, we were completely in the canopy of the forest. The boys couldn't quite work out where they were and the height certainly didn't faze them. I felt it was definitely worth walking up there to take a look. Not sure Ali would agree though as he isn't great with heights!!




After surviving the platform we headed down towards the next biome and found a garden full of orchids, which are the only plant I can keep alive. They were stunning and we were enjoying the peace of the garden until Oliver slipped off the bench and landed face first onto the gravel. :(


We headed into the second much cooler biome and what a relief it was. The second biome seemed to have a really peace atmosphere where as the rainforest one felt busy and well wet!! lol
The boys loved there was a path that looked like a train track that led the way, until they arrived at two wooden goats which could be sat on. I could hear the boys chuckling before I even got to them. Sam was telling Oliver a story about goats, apparently they were on a long journey together.
We then headed up the path and Sam found a wooden sculpture that looked like a chair and when I got there, he runs ahead of me, he was laying on it pretending to sleep, he then changed his mind and decided it was a meditation chair and he sat in a yoga pose and started to say "mmmmmmmmmmm" It was very funny to watch!!

Again the biome was full of interesting sculptures as well as the unusual plants, but the boys loved finding the moving models or the wooden things to sit and play on. It certainly held their attention.


 Even through I had packed a lunch for us, the boys had pretty much eaten everything by lunchtime so we headed to the cafĂ©. I have to say I like the informal seating that they have, everyone pitches in together so it doesn't matter how big the size of your group is.
Unfortunately I knew the boys wouldn't eat anything on the menu so I was pleased to see a choose your own packed lunch, however I wasn't so pleased with the choice or the price!!!
The boys could choose three items and a drink for £5.95!! Oliver chose sausages, grapes and jelly and Sam chose a ham wrap, which I had to remove the ham, an oat bar and a jelly, seriously £11.90 for two packed lunches. However my real bug bear was the grapes. The 9 grapes were still whole!! Surely if I am paying near £2 for nine grapes, then I expect them cut. I could go through a whole rant about why we should cut grapes but I will hold that in for another day. :(
After our lunch, we headed up to the next building and were greeted by an odd looking sculpture. It was huge and even more oddly it was blowing smoke rings. It was strange to watch but it was also a peaceful thing to watch.
The building was filled with other sculptures such as the egg, which the boys were fascinated by as well as computer inspired science experiments and the joy of joys which is a soft play area. Thankfully, the soft play area could be watched whilst having a coffee or in my case, a hot chocolate. It was a lovely warm part of the building which on a cold January day makes a huge difference.
After a while in the final building we decided to head home. We went via the scenic route back up the hill towards the shop and the exit. The boys were still finding paths to use and places to hide on the way.
Overall, would I recommend visiting The Eden Project on a cold wintery day? Absolutely!! We as a family had a fab day out. We could have stayed longer if we wanted, to have a go at the ice skating rink, or go for a nosey around the gardens but the weather did beat us.
My tips for visiting would be:
Wear layers that can be easily removed
Take a packed lunch unless you want to pay a high price for food.
Wear sensible shoes - I have to admit I struggled with the walking due to my arthritis so I was pleased I was wearing my cat boots.
For further information please visit: https://www.edenproject.com/ 
Disclosure: this was NOT a paid review, all the thoughts and opinions are my own.






Wednesday, 19 December 2018

The Night-Lighters Book Review



Recently we were invited to review a new book, The Night-Lighters and as we love a bedtime story we jumped at the chance.

The Night-Lighters has been written and created by L.A Andrews and V.K James and we loved it!!

Sam and I snuggled up on his bed and I started to read. Sam is at the point of starting to recognise words within books and often stops me to tell me the next word and he loved the fact that the moon and star were obviously sleeping as he could see "zzz" next to them.





 The idea of the book is to meet The Night-Lighters, who are magical people who live in Yew Tree Woods. At night they head off to work in search of children who are having bad dreams. They work hard to add a magical ball of light into the child's own night light which in turn offers comfort and allowing them to sleep soundly until the morning.

The characters in this book are fab. Sam and I both loved the fact that the pictures were photographs of real characters rather than drawn pictures and if you look closely you will find a mouse hiding on most of the pages.

To check out Sam's review of The Night-Lighters please visit: https://t.co/4f55S6u903 (https://twitter.com/mummymonster2/status/1075502369268477959?s=09)

If you want a book to calm your child before they go off to sleep, then this is definitely the book for you.

The book can be purchased at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Night-Lighters/dp/1916434401/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545255049&sr=8-1&keywords=the+night-lighters

You can also find The Nightlighters on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thenightlighters18/ and instagram www.instagram.com/thenightlighters or their own website www.thenight-lighters.com 

On these websites you can also find pictures to colour, puzzles and scavenger hunts. Sam has already asked me to print off the word search for him :)

#bookreview #thenightlighters #themummymonster #bedtimestory #sweetdreams #sleepthroughthenight

Disclosure: For the purpose of this review I was gifted on copy of The Night-Lighters book. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thomasland at Drayton Manor Review

Thomasland Review So Bob's third birthday has been creeping up on us since the beginning of the year and we have been wondering ...