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





Thursday, 15 August 2019

Beyond Escapes Review


Beyond Escapes Spa Devon Review

I saw a deal (on Groupon) at Christmas time for the new Beyond Escapes Spa in Devon and decided to treat my Mum to some relaxation time after everything she does for me and in turn my mum purchased the deal for me too!! Result!!

The deal was use of the facilities, one treatment and a glass of Prosecco each for £75. You can just go to use the facilities as a day visitor too for £30.

We arrived and were greeted at reception by a lady who showed us what was on offer. We were informed the steam room was out of order but everything else was available.

We filled in the necessary paperwork and choose our treatments. I chose a pedicure and my Mum went for the back, neck and shoulder massage.

The receptionist issued us with our beyond escapes robes, towels and flip flops. My mum was issued large flip flops and it was hilarious watching her trying to walk in them 😂😂 the lady did try and find smaller ones but none were available.

We headed into the first room and lay down on the heated beds. We thought we would spend a few minutes on these beds but actually by the time we started chatting, we ended up spending nearly an hour on them.  We only realised the time had passed as one of the therapists appeared to invite us to come to our treatment rooms.

















We headed up in the lift and split into the two therapy rooms. I was invited to sit on the heated bed, which was lush,  my muscles almost sighed with relief. The therapist talked to me, to find out what I could do with my feet, she asked questions and actually listened to my answers.

I have had previous pedicures where they ask you questions but don’t actually bother listening and end up hurting me. This therapist was fab, I didn’t get her name but she has amazing tattoos on her.

It was a real treat to be given the nail varnish at the end of the treatment too, especially as it was a pearl varnish and know how much these can cost!!



Mum came out from her massage and said the same, that her therapist had asked how she likes her massage and did as she asked. She found a hot spot on mum and asked permission to work on that hotspot.

Following our treatments, we headed to the restaurant where we were met by a waiter, I think his name was Steve but he was definitely Irish. It was great to have a waiter with real character. He was friendly and chatty but not over the top. Another real credit to the Spa, even if he didn’t trust me because I don’t drink tea or coffee.

Brunch was lovely, mum had the roast beef baguette and I had the prawn baguette. It was yummy and so was the Prosecco that washed it down. I’m not a big alcohol drinker but it was delicious. Once finished our baguettes, the waiter suggested a coffee cake and chocolate brownie to follow. He was right, they were scrummy.




With full bellies, mum and I headed back downstairs to the spa. I almost went flying down the stairs in my massive flip flops but it was worth it.

We headed into the hot-tub. Again mum had a hilarious moment when I turned the bubbles on and she floated off the shelf!! Thankfully no one was around to see but I had to mention it because I had to hold my belly due to laughing so much. Mum decided that she needed to be tied down to stop her floating away!! 😂😂


Again, we spent a long time in the hot tub which was heated to 37oC. We only got out when I started to go wrinkly.

Due to time, we didn’t head into the sauna or the foot spa but next time I would definitely head in there.

The changing rooms and showers were the only little let down for the spa. Everyone decided to head there at the same time and so we had to wait and queue for a shower.

The showers themselves were lush. They had massive heads on them and provided the power required for a shower.   The changing rooms were unisex and so we got changed in the shower rooms which made the wait a little longer.

The changing rooms provided lockers which were lovely and big and fairly powerful hair dryers with large mirrors so everything can be seen.

In reflection on our day at the spa, it was a really chilled out and relaxed day. The staff were a real credit to the spa, they really topped off a lovely day. Would I return? Absolutely and I will certainly be telling others about it too.

This is not an ad. The thoughts are all my own and I have not received any payment for this review.

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Mrs Mactivity Activity Sheets

Review of Mrs Mactivity Activity Sheets.

Recently I saw a request for a blogger to undertake a review of the Mrs Mactivity Early Years tuff spot tray "provocations" taken from the Mrs Mactivity website: https://www.mrsmactivity.co.uk/ in return for a membership to the website.

The Mrs Mactivity website is the home of exciting, affordable, hands on, activity based printable learning resources that kids and teachers love! So, I jumped at the chance to use my knowledge as an Early Years Adviser and as a Mum!

I took ages to decide which provaction plan to try with Bob, but I know he has been badgering me for some playdough recently so we decided to give that one ago. I printed off the plan and read the set up instructions. Now I have been working in Early Years for many years but I always find it useful to see or read other peoples ideas as you can always learn something new.

In the set up instructions it reminds you that that how you set up an activity is important as it is an invitation to come and play, it also states that "children should lead the learning, with the adults there to support and scaffold play and development opportunities"

This is something I really had to remember as I am always keen to jump in and lead the play rather than allow Bob to explore and make it his own.




 
In the supplies list of the plan it gave me some ideas of things to put in the bowls for Bob to choose from. Now this can take some planning, but why not extend the activity and go for a woodland walk or a ramble along the beach to look at different things to use.

Bob was really involved in collecting the items and he helped me make the playdough* see the recipe I use at the bottom of the post.

The main item on the list was the builder tray, now I already own one of these and I have to say they are fab. The Daddy Monster thought I was nuts when I first ordered it but we have now used it so much that he completely understands the benefits of it now. Phew! If you don't have one, don't panic, a clean table top is just as good.



Bob and I decided to use lots of natural materials as well as some marbles, that he had found and had been desperate to use.

I wasn't sure how long this was going to hold Bobs attention as it can be quite tricky to concentrate when you are three years old but we were set up and ready to go. Luckily the weather was beautiful so we were running the activity outside.















We started by just playing with playdough, we had a ball each and I used some of the words that were suggested on the plan such as "pinch, squeeze, push, pull, squash, twist, flatten and stretch". Bob was keen to copy some of actions and even added some of his own for me to copy such as "poke"


 

 Bob then naturally moved onto adding some of the marbles, the pine cone and some daisies to the mix and made me a birthday cake, which he sang "Happy Birthday" as he proudly gave it to me.

I started to roll out my dough ball using the palm of my hand, I then rolled a pine cone across the dough. We talked about the pattern it made and we decided it looked like a hedgehog. Bob was keen to have ago too and took my resources and had a go himself.



We talked about what other animals we could make, his results are below:





















Look at his face, he was chuffed as punch that he had made a butterfly on his own :) He was able to show me the head, the body and the wings.

He also made a fab snail but unfortunately I had videoed it and the video now wont load :(

To make the snail it involved me showing Bob how to roll the playdough into a long line and making it look like a sausage according to Bob.

His play developed during the session and he ended up making lots of different things.



 
Check out Bob's speech in the video link above during the session, I had shown him how to cut the playdough with a shell and he was repeating the words and the actions together.
 
The play naturally came to an end but I left it out in case Bob came back to it later, however the session had lasted nearly 1.5 hours!! We did stop for a snack and drink half way through but he wanted to return to it afterwards.  
 
However, what really surprised me, was when Sam came home and Bob started to show him all the things we had been doing. I watched as Bob showed him some  of the techniques and he even used some the words he had learnt. Proud Mummy moment :)
 
 
 
 
 
Overall, my boys loved this activity and it reminded me that actually it can be the simplest activities that they love the best.
 
Over the Summer, I plan on using the Mrs Mactivity website to help with the Summer Learning loss which Sam can experience if we don't do something educationally based during the long holiday. However, would he know that this session had an educational background?  absolutely not, which is why it is so perfect :)
 
For any early years settings thinking of using the website, all the activities are already linked to the Early Learning Goals and Early Years Outcomes for you, taking all the hard work out of the planning  - perfect!!
 
The website can be accessed at https://www.mrsmactivity.co.uk and is currently only £9.97 for the year!!!!
 
I believe this is a real must for all Parents and Early Years Educators.
 
**In return for this honest review I was gifted a year's membership to the Mrs Mactivity website. All the thoughts and opinions are completely my own.**


 *Playdough Recipe










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.

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Beyond Escapes Review

Beyond Escapes Spa Devon Review I saw a deal (on Groupon) at Christmas time for the new Beyond Escapes Spa in Devon and decided to tre...