Character Dining at Disneyland Paris

Hello again! This time we are going to share done information regarding Character Dining at Disneyland Paris!

If you are familiar with other Disney parks, you will no doubt feel like DLP really does not have as much to offer.

Dinner at Cafe Mickey

However, character dining is one of our favourite things to do at Disneyland and we have not yet done a trip without one! I will always recommend factoring a character meal into your budget as I really think they are a highlight of our trips.

What are the options? Well effectively there are 5 places where you can eat and meet Disney characters. However some restaurants are only open for breakfast and others are only open for dinner.

I have played around with how is best to explain and I think it is best to do it as follows!

Character Breakfast at Plaza Gardens

Character Breakfast:

Auberge De Cendrillion

Ita’s absolute favourite restaurant at DLP. This is because it is also known as the princess restaurant. However, whilst you can have breakfasts here, it is now purely with Mickey and friends, and not the princesses as initially tried! I am not sure why this is actually as ADC is very much known as the place to meet the princesses.

There are 2 breakfast sittings here; 8.15am (for Disney residents using their extra magic hours) and 9.45am.

ADC is based in Fantasy Land quite close to the castle and is a table service restaurant. You will need a valid park ticket to eat here.

Plaza Gardens

You can only eat breakfast in this gorgeous restaurant, however they serve an American style buffet which frankly is delicious. Here you meet Mickey and friends. We have had breakfast here twice and we absolutely love it.

There are 2 breakfast sittings here; 8.15am (for Disney residents) and 9.45am.

Plaza Gardens is at the bottom of Main Street USA and like ADC, you will need a valid park ticket to eat here.

Character Lunch:

Auberge De Cendrillion

Now here is where you get to meet the princesses; usually Aurora, Cinderella, Belle and Rapunzel however we have also been lucky enough to meet Tiana here! I know a few have said they have met Ariel here, but we haven’t (yet).

As above, this is Ita’s favourite restaurant. The princesses are fantastic and pay each child special attention.

You also get to meet Suzy and Jac. When Ita first met them on her first birthday she was terrified, but now she genuinely looks forward to seeing them!

I would personally recommend a lunch over dinner (we have done both). There is actually a 4 princess policy here – if you do not get to meet at least 4, tell your waiter and they will make sure that you do! Not many people know this and it really is a valuable tip.

This is a seated service restaurant and is known to be the most expensive, however I would absolutely try and factor this into your budget.

Inventions

Inventions is a buffet restaurant based on the 2nd floor inside the main Disneyland Hotel just outside of the park. As such, you do not need a valid park ticket to eat here. This restaurant is where you will meet Mickey and friends, but also hosts the more obscure characters too.

Every Sunday this restaurant hosts their Sunday Brunch. Now, for some reason this seems to be a bit of a secret?

It takes place each Sunday between 1-4pm. Every week the theme of the brunch changes which makes it very different from the standard meal (lunch or dinner) at Inventions. The themes include Lilo and Stitch, Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland however you will not find out in advance what the theme will be!

In addition to rare and special characters, you will also get the VIPs (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Daisy, Pluto, Chip and Dale) in special outfits each week as well.

Character Dinner:

Auberge D’Cendrillion

Auberge D’Cendrillion open their dinner reservations for 6pm and is much the same as the lunch, so please see above.

Café Mickey

Is based over by the Disney Lake in the Disney Village. A lot has changed here over the years and it is now only open for dinner.

Here you meet Mickey and friends so if you have booked a character dining else where, it is worth weighing up how worth it this visit is.

We had dinner here in 2017 and we really enjoyed it. The staff were lovely and the characters made a huge effort with a one year old Ita. It is a seated service and the food is basically a selection of pizza and pasta which is perfect for a child.

As it is based in the Disney Village you will not need a valid park ticket so this is a good way to kick off or close your trip to DLP.

Buffalo Bills Wild West Show

I have included this show because you get to meet Mickey before it starts and it also serves a tex-mex dinner during it also. I am actually going to refer to this place as an arena as it is pretty big! Inside the arena there are 2 category for tickets. Before the shows starts you will have the opportunity to meet Mickey in his wild west costume. I have actually watched this show twice before having Ita and whilst it is good fun, it is loud and dark so it wouldn’t appeal to her at all. The start times are at 6.30pm and 9.30pm so may not be suitable for a smaller child and the 6.30pm show is known to sell out.

The tickets can be quite pricey too so I would really think about what this experience might add to your trip!

This arena is based in the Disney Village but closest to the parks so again you will not need a valid park ticket to watch this show and eat here.

These types of Character Dining Experiences at Disneyland Paris are incredibly popular and get booked up very quickly. So, to avoid disappointment, advance reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to six months prior to your arrival date.

You can call the Dining Reservation Service on +33 1 60 30 40 50.

Lunch at Auberge D’Cendrillion

Princess for a Day, Disneyland Paris

Last year we travelled to Disneyland Paris to celebrate Itas 3rd Birthday. One of the main things we planned to do was the Princess for a Day experience. This experience is the equivalent to the Bippidy Boppidy Boutique in America.

You cannot book this experience in advance prior to your trip however, once you are in Disneyland you can book for up to 3 days ahead. (This is really handy for planning your activities). Something to be aware of though is that the minimum age for this experience also is 3 years and this is because of the makeup/ face paint.

The only way to book this experience is by entering to the Disneyland Hotel and heading to Gallerie Mickey (the hotels giftshop) on the 2nd floor.

The experience ranges from about 55euros all the way up to a couple of thousands of pounds. The basic package includes hair and makeup as well as a certificate and a photoshoot to finish it off. The most expensive package is the same, but you meet a Disney princess and spend the day with her in the parks. Amazing, right?

We went for the basic package because we had no idea what to expect and I didn’t want Ita to get bored. We waited outside the experience area to be called in and Ita was placed in a chair ready to have her hair and make up done!

Ready for hair and make up!

The lady doing the hair and make up was really skilled. Ita had very short hair here and she still managed to do a french plait so don’t worry if you’re child has short hair.

Look at her face!!

The hair and make up part takes a very short amount of time. Maybe 10 minutes max? Once this is finished the lady sprinkled glitter over Ita and told her that her photo shoot awaited!

Smile!

The photo shoot area is right next to the makeup area. The photographer really makes the effort to get beautiful pictures and was very engaging. These photos are purchased at the gift shop afterwards.

Taa-daa!

The entire experience is about 20 minutes long which seems very short. However, the cost reflected this and I do think any longer and it wouldn’t be so fun. I have to say, Ita thoroughly enjoyed this and she certainly didn’t think it was over quickly.

I think this experience is definitely worth booking for a little princess. There is the option to transform into a pirate too but I’m not sure that has the same excitement. The price for the basic package is worth it and you can bring your own outfit like we did.

Tip! Book early if you can as you can head out into the park afterwards. The cast members seem to recognise the make over and pay special attention!

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Homemade Easter Treats

With the lockdown still ongoing, we have had to keep our Easter activities strictly home based. We’ve done so many crafts so decided to make some non baking treats!

Milk chocolate version 💛

Milk chocolate Rice Krispie treats are by far the most synonyms with Easter and also so easy to do! All you need is 3 ingredients and a few minutes to hand.

Recipe –

200grams of milk chocolate, 350gr of Rice Krispie cereal and mini eggs for decorating.

Firstly break the chocolate into pieces and melt in the microwave for a total of 3 minutes, but stirring the chocolate every minute or so. You can also melt the chocolate over a hob.

Once the chocolate has melted, mix together with the cereal in a large baking bowl. Then simply pop the mix into cupcake cases and decorate. We used mini eggs here but you can use anything! Then place in the fridge for an hour to set.

And there you have it. It’s as simple as that and you don’t need butter or oil like other recipes I have seen!

Taa daaaa!

We also made while chocolate and marshmallow versions too, which take a slight more but of skill and time, but are also very easy!

White choc and marshmallow treats

Recipe –

200 grams of white chocolate, 350 grams of Rice Krispie cereal, 20 mini marshmallows and whatever you decide for decorating!

Firstly melt the whites chocolate like before, in a microwave for 3 minutes but stirring every minute or so. At the last 30 seconds add the marshmallows. (Do not add them initially as they will burn!)

Once the chocolate has melted, mix the marshmallows well (they will continue to soften). Then add the Rice Krispies and mix. Pop them into cupcake cases and decorate.

This time, do not put them into the fridge. Instead set them aside to set. The marshmallow will harden on its own!

Personally I prefer the milk chocolate version but both Ita and Dominic love the white chocolate mix!

Time to enjoy!

Online dance classes by Sadlers Wells

Ita’s excited!

Sadler’s Wells have recently announced new dance performances and workshops available on their Digital Stage during the current theatre closure due to Covid-19.


As part of their Take Part scheme they are sharing workshops and activities aimed specifically at 2-6 year olds and families who may be at home during this time.


The workshops are available for free via the Sadler’s Wells YouTube channel, and will all be available from 12pm today for viewers to watch at their leisure.


All workshops have been created and will be hosted by Cherie Coleman, who runs Family Friday sessions at Sadler’s Wells. They will feature 10 different movement activities for children to follow and dance along to at home.


This Friday also sees the next Facebook Premiere go live at 3pm, featuring ballet LORENT’s magical production, Rumpelstiltskin.

Sadlers Wells want to see families get involved this week so don’t forget to join the conversation with them via their social channels (@sadlers_wells).

Ideas to Keep the Kids Entertained in Collaboration with Little Tikes

With over 50 years of play experience Little Tikes has pulled together its top ten tips to keep kids busy – whatever the weather! Open the patio doors if the sun is shining and get little one’s into the outdoor spirit or get creative inside.

  1. Get closer to nature by creating your own family treasure hunt in the garden. Involve children by asking them to come up with their own reward to keep them engaged. You could even make it a weekly or monthly treat!
  1. For warmer days water is perfect for giggles in the garden. Fill Tupperware containers with water, collect different sizes of paintbrushes and get little ones to draw shapes, animals and write their names on the patio. Add some food colouring to the water for added excitement Or let imaginations run wild with water table fun. Set up challenges, make waves and watch the hours pass by!
  1. Let little tikes put their social skills to practice as they play shops for the morning. Roleplay is an essential part of development and it’s even more fun when mum and dad get involved!
  1. Keep active whilst improving children’s mobility and co-ordination with a family sports day. Set up a relay of games and pick from a series of fun sports including a running race, a wheelbarrow race and a game of football. Adults and children can take it in turns to be the judges and contestants to mix up the fun!
  1. Make maths fun by counting, multiplying, dividing and subtracting using different things from around the house. Toys, teddies, cushions, spoons. Let kids pick the props and get counting!
  1. Let your little one take the wheel in their very own car. Use blankets to create the shape of the car on the floor, use a cushion as a steering wheel and let imaginations run wild as kids (and the whole family!) head off on their own adventure.
  1. Let children expand their imagination and have fun creating their own special fairy garden. Children can have lots of fun exploring in the garden to find twigs and leaves to make a fairy kingdom!
  1. For a calmer activity get kids to write their own story. Grab some paper, a selection of pens and let the creativity flow! You never know, it could be the next best-seller!
  1. Den building is ideal for indoor or outdoor play. Create a cosy den filled with pillows, blankets, toys and magazines. It’s great for children to create their own private space and create that parent-child bond when building it! Parents can also encourage children to unwind and relax with colouring and activity sheets whilst playing inside.
  1. One childhood game that has been passed on through generations is hide and seek! No matter how big or small, everyone can have fun counting to 20 and finding a spot to perch in. What’s more – toddlers can practice their counting skills!

Parents and guardians can also download activity sheets from the Little Tikes website. From colouring sheets, spot the difference, counting games and word searches – there’s even an activity certificate for well-behaved little tikes!

Little Tikes Activity Sheet

There’s also a wide range of toys for all ages, from the classic Cozy Coupe and the iconic Turtle Sandbox to the popular Little Baby Bum toy range. 

ZSL Whipsnade – Dunstable, Bedfordshire Press Trip

As you can tell by our blog and social media, we are huge fans going to the zoo. Over the past few months we have visited ZSL London Zoo and Paradise Wildlife Park, on this occasion we were invited to ZSL Whipsnade.

We have visited ZSL Whipsnade before and had a really good time. We enjoy and appreciate the vast amount of space the animals have, to be able roam and “be free” at Whipsnade.

There are so many animals you can see here that you cannot see at other UK zoos, this includes the huge elephant enclosure and the elephant care centre (one of Ita’s favourite animals, thanks to Dumbo, are elephants, so she really enjoyed this area), there are also rhinos, brown bears, wolverines, flamingos, amongst others.

There are so many good enclosures which provide you with all the information and details you need to know about each specie, and you can get really close to certain animals too.

Sitting on a pile of elephant p..

Our first port of call is always the butterfly house, it is a beautiful set up and so many different types of butterfly and moth. Ita and I love walking around and trying to see the most beautiful butterfly’s, of which there are a lot.

Looking at all the different types of butterflies

We really enjoyed getting as close as you can get to the tigers, the lions and my personal favourites, the giraffes. The giraffes have an amazing area, as it was cold and windy, they were in their stables and you can watch them eat and walk around.

The amazing giraffe section

Another highlight was checking out the red panda, we did this as a zoo keeper was in the enclosure making sure the panda was ok. She was nice enough to show us the panda who was in his little bedroom, sleepy as it was cold and windy that day.

There are lots of places to grab something to eat at the zoo. We did this at the Base Camp Restaurant in the middle of the park. You can get a hot drink and a sandwich or something warm to eat.

We couldn’t recommend ZSL Whipsnade more, it is a huge zoo, they seem to look after the animals impeccably and there are so many amazing animals to see.

There are other restaurants at the park, from sit-down places to eat, to a café where you can pick up drinks and snacks. All the information can be found here:

https://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/visitor-information/food-and-drink

There are also options for staying at the zoo overnight. You can stay at the Lookout Lodge where you will sleep near the white rhinos and reindeer and would be an amazing experience. The experience costs £298 per couple, with lots of extras included.

https://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/lookout-lodge-sleepover-at-the-zoo

There are a few upcoming events for children where you can meet Paw Patrol’s Chase and Skye on the 4th April.

https://www.zsl.org/zsl-whipsnade-zoo/whats-on/paw-patrol-at-zsl-whipsnade-zoo

The Trolls characters Poppy and Branch on the 5th April.

Stickman and Gruffalo on the 18th and 19th of April.

Have a look at our previous blog posts for other visits to Zoo’s in the UK:

Paradise Wildlife Park

ZSL London Zoo

Ventura Wildlife Park

Dubai

It has been almost 2 months now since we have returned home from our holiday to Dubai and frankly… we are missing it! We had such a good time and it will be a memorable holiday for sure.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Dubai. I had heard so much already and everyone who I had spoken to had indicated it was their favourite holiday and that they couldn’t wait to get back. I must admit, I did think they must be exaggerating.

So here is information on what we enjoyed, what is worth doing and perhaps what is worth skipping!

Firstly, I want to reiterate that we did enjoy Dubai. Very much so infact. However I would be lying if I said it wasn’t missing something. For about a week I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Then I was speaking to a fellow Instagram mama and she had asked me where I would rank Dubai out of all the places we had visited. For me, New York, Cuba and Venice remains top of that list. It was then it occurred to me. It was substance. Dubai was missing substance. Therefore you are lacking historical features and a sense of the ‘past’.

Dubai is very much ‘man made’ and so whilst you get a cultural feel of the place, you do miss other aspects. It feels…. sterile.

When we were there I kept likening it to our holiday to Las Vegas. So if you have been to Vegas before, you will know what I mean.

However, Dubai has clearly been made for your enjoyment. It has been described as a playground for adults and I would agree with this. And because of that, you need to take it for what it is. There really is plenty to do and I can see why people would visit more than once.

Where we stayed

We stayed at The Atlantis on the Palm. Without a single doubt it is the most luxurious hotel I think we have stayed in. We were lucky enough to be placed on the 14th floor and facing The Palm. I had emailed them the year before to ask that should there be rooms available, we were placed high up and facing the ocean. I was still surprised though when they met our request. It was a really lovely touch.

The hotel is well known for its aquarium which is free for residents to visit as and when. Whether you visit the aquarium or not, it is visible regardless from other areas of the hotel. It really is very striking and we noted many people visiting the hotel just to get their famous photo. (see Ita below!)

The hotel is very big and always very clean. The reception desks are sprawled along one side so although the hotel is very busy, there seemed to be enough staff to help. When we were checking in, I must admit I did feel pushed into buying the breakfast package but I declined it. In hindsight, you probably do need to have this package but the truth is it is so expensive for what it is.

In many ways The Atlantis is very child friendly, in other means it really isn’t. We visited the Wavehouse Bar and Restaurant the most because their menu was most suited to our needs. The other restaurants are fine for one offs, but a 3 year old really just wants nuggets and chips so it was frustrating that nothing like this was on offer. You will note 2 very very small fast food places by the entrance to the water park from the hotel – and that really is it. Typically, when we go away we like to splash out on one nice meal at least (mostly for us adults to enjoy) but we didn’t realise how booked up the restaurants get by people who aren’t residents at the hotel.

Unless you purchase the breakfast package, there is nowhere else to have breakfast either apart from a small coffee bar. However, every day we noticed that the queues for the breakfast room were really long and it always looked very busy inside too.

On the 3rd day we realised that there is a Starbucks over by Dolphin Bay which is on the opposite side of the water park. I would estimate it would take about 30 minutes from our room to walk there for a coffee. It is a shame there was not a Starbucks situated closer or even inside of the hotel.

Cabs are situated right outside the hotel. There are 2 types; the normal standard cabs and the flashy ones which you are always shown to first. We actually spent quite a lot in cab fares as everything worth seeing is at least a 30-40 minutes ride away. There is a monorail service which runs from the hotel (at the top of The Palm) down to the end of The Palm, which you can then decide what mode of transport you would prefer to take, either a train, bus or cab. We decided due to time restraints to get cabs as they were the easiest for us.

Atlantis Aquaventure

As part of our stay at Atlantis, we had full access to the onsite aquapark, this was another highlight for Ita. The aquapark is the best one we have been to, it was huge with so many different slides and rides.

The areas are split into areas for the families and the thrill seekers. We spent 99% of our time at the Splashers area, Ita would go on the same slides constantly for hours on end. The staff here were always so friendly and polite and they always engaged with Ita. This made all the difference.

If you are more of a thrill seeker, there are some amazing slides available, for example The Leap of Faith which is plunge from nine storeys high and you drop right through the centre of a lagoon with sharks and stingrays. It looked awesome!

What to do?

As we were there for 6 days we planned what we really wanted to do and see. As stated earlier, Dubai is there for your entertaining pleasure so I wanted to do a few things that we would not otherwise be able to do back in England.

Our hit list included; The Malls, Mermaids of Arabia, Hello Kitty Spa, Motion Gate Theme Park, Global Village, Souks and Burj Khalifa. We did think if we had time we would also visit Miracle Garden and The Dubai Frame. However, first and foremost we wanted this to be a holiday. I had spoken to many people who had visited Dubai before and their trip seemed so busy and fussy. It was really important to us that we experienced a holiday here and went home less tired than we arrived.

The Malls

We visited The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and The Galleria Mall, which is much smaller.

They were all so similar in layout and design. Even the tiles were the same. If we were to go back, I would definitely visit Ibn Battuta Mall which is considered the largest theme mall in the world and looks visually stunning.

At Mall of the Emirates we visited The Toy Shop where Mermaids of Arabia is situated. (More info on this below). This Mall is also where Ski Dubai is. When we visited it was fairly quiet which we liked. We also treated ourselves to a couple Cheesecake Factory cheesecakes which were amazing!

The Dubai Mall is not one to be missed as the fountains really are so impressive. It is based in Down Town Dubai, very close to the Burj Khalifa. However this Mall was by far the busiest and so we didn’t get much time to look around.

The Galleria Mall is where Hello Kitty Spa has been moved to. It is very small – only one floor with a handful of shops. There was nowhere to eat here and there were also no cabs outside. Bare this in mind when you visit. The best way to get around this is to order an Uber or a Careem (a popular cab hailing app).

We noticed that Dubai really came to life in the evenings and was less busy during the day. So if you are travelling with a small child as we were, I would say you will get the most out of your trip by being up and out early. (To be honest, isn’t this likely anyway?)

So let’s move on to activities.

As stated, we really wanted to plan activities around Ita so with that in mind I knew we wanted to take her to Mermaids of Arabia and the Hello Kitty Spa.

Mermaids of Arabia

Mermaids of Arabia are on the second floor of The Toy Store within The Mall of Emirates. This is at the Ski Dubai end (you will notice this signposted).

Ita had a full makeover and transformation into a beautiful mermaid and posed in a giant sea shell afterwards.

There are 3 different packages ranging from 110 AED to 200 AED.

Ita was gifted the 3rd package which included;

 Mermaid makeover and simple hairstyling

 Costume dress-up and photo shoot

 1 free printed photo to keep

 1 glamorous photo frame with sparkling jewels for decoration

 Digital copies of all photos taken during the photo shoot (sent via email)

 1 sparkling tiara to keep

This was a big highlight of our trip and thoroughly recommended. They also do a pirates version for little boys too. The link to their website is below but do check out our Instagram TV for the video of Ita’s visit.

Here you can even meet a mermaid too!

https://www.mermaidsofarabia.com/

Hello Kitty Spa

The Hello Kitty Spa has recently relocated to The Galleria Mall. This is a female only spa so was perfect for my and Ita, but did mean that Dominic had to wait outside on his own!

The Spa is beautifully decorated in Hello Kitty and they offer lots of treatments. Ita had a manicure and her nails painted with the famous Hello Kitty face. It really is such a lovely experience. The mini robes are very cute.

She was lucky enough to get to make some soaps too which was actually something she enjoyed the most from this experience.

The staff were all so friendly and made such a big fuss over Ita.

The options are very reasonable and range from about 60 AED for nail polish to 590 AED for mummy and daughter packages.

The link to their website is below but do check out our Instagram TV for the video of Ita’s visit.

https://www.hellokittybeautyspa.com/

Global Village

Part theme park and part market!

Global Village features pavilions with displays from countries near and far where visitors can pick up traditional items and snacks.

This festival park brings cultures together as visitors discover different parts of the world in just a few hours. The pavilions are designed in the image of iconic structures or local architecture from London’s Big Ben to the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy, the Taj Mahal and Ancient Egypt.

There is a lively atmosphere here created by parades and all kinds of shows, from fire-breathing street performances to concerts.

Plus, there is a big funfair here too! We also visited Ripleys Believe it or Not here and Ita absolutely loved it.

We really enjoyed Global Village especially the souks. As with Dubai in general, the attention to detail is remarkable.

Global Village is seasonal however and is only open from October to April. This is because of the weather. If you are visiting Dubai during these months though, I would really recommend here!

https://www.globalvillage.ae/en/

We had planned to visit the Motion Gate Theme Park but on the morning of going, Ita politely asked whether she could go to the splash park. Initially I was disappointed but I wanted us to have a nice memory of our holiday so we did just that. There’s always next time we thought!

One thing that I really want to point out, is just how far everything is from each other. When you visit London or Manhattan (or actually most cities)  for example, you can spend the day walking around at your own leisure seeing the sights. You simply can’t do that in Dubai. Everything is separated by dual carriage ways so you need to take a car ride. It means that whilst you could definitely see a few things in one day, you would need to do this via cabs which takes away the spontaneity of it and adds more to my initial thoughts on how fake everything felt. It is quite hard to describe unless you are there.

Let me try explain, the Dubai Frame for example is something you really only want to see rather than go in. So you would need to get a cab there, just for a photo outside with the frame in the background… it is a bit weird! If you could leisurely stroll here and then on to somewhere else, then it would make sense.

Flights

We flew overnight with British Airways, so the airport was empty and the check in was completely stress free which was a good start to holiday.

The flights were around 7 hours going and 8 hours coming back. I would say in hindsight, this isn’t long enough to do an overnight flight. In my head, Ita would be sleeping the entire flight but that doesn’t happen. She slept maybe 5 hours? This meant she was a bit tired on our first day in Dubai. Ita is very good when it comes to travelling so perhaps the night flight would be ideal for children who aren’t?

We also bought a blow up block cushion to bridge the gap between the chair and the one in front. This enabled Ita to lay down better. I have seen companies selling these for a ridiculous amount of money (£79!!!) but this one only cost us £12 from Amazon.

We arrived in Dubai in the morning the next day and passport control was seamless and again stress free, the buggy was waiting for us outside of the plane.

We couldn’t fault BA at all and would happily fly with them again.

Top Tips for Dubai

  • Plan and plan again. You cannot be spontaneous here. Book restaurants and the things you want to do in advance.
  • Remember to account for the money you will spend on cabs / taxis
  • The best time to travel is between October and April. This is when it is less hot. During the summer months it is unbearable and will limit what you can do.
  • Take it for what it is – it is a playground! It is meant to be fun!

Check out our vlogs from Dubai!

Part 1

Part 2

Please note, our visits to Mermaids of Arabia, Hello Kitty Spa and Global Village we’re all gifted visits.

Mini Mode – Global Kids Fashion Week, London

To kick off London Fashion Week, Mini Mode (in their 5th season) put on their showcase event at St Marys, Wyndham Place, London.

Mini Mode is the creation of Amanda Rabor and a network of creators, influencers, marketing experts, visionaries, media partners, and sponsors that wanted to establish a platform for the kid’s fashion market which would show off up-and-coming designers and major kids brands from around the world during London Fashion Week.

We were invited as guests to the event by Mini Mode and have had a long relationship with one of the brands that was taking part in the show.

We were so proud and happy that Ita was asked to be a model at the event, but she was adamant that she didn’t want to take part as she would be too scared – we didn’t push it as to a 3-year-old, I bet it would be very frightening (when the show got going though, she was desperate to get involved, but unfortunately it was too late – maybe next time if we are lucky enough to be asked).

The show lasted around 2 hours, but it really didn’t seem that long as it was so much fun.

We were worried Ita wouldn’t enjoy it, as it can be a little boring just looking at kids walking up and down, but Ita surprised as both. She was really intrigued with the models and the clothes. She picked out her favourite outfits and was constantly commenting on which she liked and did not like.

She also tried to turn photographer by taking my phone and snapped more than 50 photos of the children taking part in the show.

There were an abundance of brands showcasing their new clothing lines, the brands featured include:

  • Mitch / Mitch & Son (UK)
  • A Dee Girls (UK)
  • Bellos Boutique (UK)
  • Zoobug (UK)
  • Ray & Roy (Nigeria)        
  • Little People London (UK)
  • Madpax (USA)
  • LB Swim (UK)
  • iScream (UK)
  • Bebebebe (Korea)
  • Embroidery by FJ (UK)
  • Baronessa Demi-Couture (Latvia)
  • Charabia (France)
  • Billieblush (France)
  • House of Juniors (UK)
  • Present De L’ondee (Japan)

There were some truly beautiful pieces that were shown on the catwalk, and Ita pointed out her favourites.

The highlights for us were:

  • Ray & Roy, a Nigerian company that specialise in custom made luxury dresses for girls. The dresses are bespoke, and the designs reflect this.
    • Ray and Roy have now launched their Mummy and Me options which are perfect for those once in a lifetime special occasion!
    • Their amazing dresses looked so beautifully made, with the best materials and fabrics, they really caught the eye of me, my husband and Ita.
Ray & Roy
  • Bellos Boutique create unique traditional children’s wear. They have a traditionally English style, with bows and bonnets for the girls and braces for the boys. They use vibrant colours and have amazing attention to detail.
    • The style of the dresses and boys’ outfits on show are exactly the outfits my daughter has been wearing since she was a baby, and we picked out at least 2 or 3 that she would love to wear.
Bellos Boutique
  • Baronessa Demi-Couture brings into a small fairy kingdom with their collection of exquisite silk trouser suits, dresses made of noble materials and decorated with rubies, pearls and crystals. The outfits looked truly unique and ended a magic feel.
    • Another brand that focuses on girl dresses, their style is tres chic (as Fancy Nancy would say), with diamantes, sparkles and huge flowing dresses they truly caught our eye also.
Baronessa Demi-Couture

In conclusion, I couldn’t recommend attending the Mini-Mode event more. It was a wonderful experience for all of us, my husband really enjoyed it too and is looking forward to attending the next event in September.


To find out more information or details about the next event from Mini Mode, check them out here

Putt Crazy, Northwick Park Golf Club, London

On the 14th of February 2020, Putt Crazy in Northwick Park Golf Club was opened for the public. We were afforded the chance to experience the venue the evening before.

Putt Crazy is a brand-new crazy golf venue, with a restaurant and bar offering two 9-hole courses, great selection of Asian/Italian fusion food and a family menu for adults and kids. The bar has a vast collection of cocktails for a night out, milkshakes and ice cream that will keep every child happy!

There are two 9-hole courses, one aimed more at kids and one for older kids and adults. The theme is a lost Mayan world, with 9 uniquely designed holes, with extremely beautiful wall murals, amazing lighting and challenging game play.

As a family, we have never played crazy golf, but it is always something we thought our daughter would enjoy and she was not disappointed.

She was mesmerised with the design of each hole and you could see her mind working on how to complete every hole as we played. Some of the holes were very tricky and me and daddy struggled too.

I couldn’t recommend this venue more as it really occupied and kept us busy as a family and we had a really good time!

Putt Crazy is reasonably priced and is definitely a good choice for a family activity or a night out with friends.

At the same venue, Northwick Park Golf, there is a 9 hole course which are signature holes from Major Champtionship venues from around the world, a driving range and also an outdoor mini golf course. This is called Adventure Golf and is available for a reasonable price too. I would recommend this being an option in the summer time. More information can be found here

Putt Crazy offers party bookings for special occasions like birthdays, etc. There are private bookable areas to cater for the event.

I would recommend this as a good venue for a kid’s party as the golf allows the party to have a huge amount of fun and then the food

To find out more information or details about Putt Crazy, check them out here

Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire Press Visit

Today we visited one of our favourite places to have a family day out, Paradise Wildlife Park (PWP) in Broxbourne, Herts.

PWP has been under going many transformations over the last year or so including a new home for the big cats. On our last visit, the area where the lions were located, was literally a building site. Since then, it is a gorgeous sprawling area where you can view the lions at almost any angle.

Perfect view of the lions

Due to the ongoing works, we were unable to see the snow leopards and cheetahs. However we did get to see the tigers which is always one of Ita’s favourites to see.

Typically, you would be able to see white lions, tigers, snow leopard, ocelot and jaguar. With storm Dennis on the horizon however, the big cats were put away from 11am and will be inside until Monday afternoon (17th February).

One of the best areas of this park is the Australian Outback where the meerkats, wallaby’s and emus live. You have the opportunity to get so close to these animals and the layout means people keep moving along, which is perfect for allowing you to view.

The cheekiest meerkat.

We moved along to the “hooves and humps” area and discovered zebras, reindeers, alpacas, tapirs, camels and deers. Again, you have the opportunity to feel like you are so close to these animals. The space is huge but careful consideration has obviously been given to viewing. Ita, being only 3 years old, could see the animals perfectly through the fencing which meant she enjoyed it a lot and it also meant we didn’t have to keep picking her up to peer over!

Up close with the zebras

The Angkor Reptile Temple is home to all sorts of creepy crawlies! I won’t lie to you, Ita did not want to stay in here for long at all and I could help but laugh as she tried her hardest to escape!! Here you will find snakes, spiders and even scorpions! (Perhaps you’ll side with Ita in not wanting to stick around!)

Ita’s nemesis!

PWP has one of the largest primate areas that we have ever visited. In fact, every time we have visited, the monkeys are always the first animals we can here! The tamarins are always a firm favourite.

PWP offers a really unique experience in the form of World of Dinosaurs. It is by far the best of its type and the dinosaurs are terrifying. Ita was so afraid of some of them! There is also a little train that takes you through this area but unfortunately due to the storm, there was too much debris on the tracks.

Perhaps the only dinosaur that Ita wasn’t afraid of!

Throughout the day, there are so many opportunities to meet the keepers whilst they feed the animals or host “talks”. These are really interactive and occur very frequently – around every half hour! (Check your map for details and timings).

Ita and her monkey friend

As well as feeds there are also shows too! The Show Arena is located within the Birds at Paradise area (situated behind the Discovery Centre). Here, you will be able to walk around and view the collection of birds and tortoises, plus some of the small mammals. The presentations will take place in the Arena and you must be seated at least 5 minutes before the show is due to start.

There are a few experiences and tours that you can book here at PWP. This time last year Dominic fed the red pandas which he really enjoyed. You can also feed tigers and penguins, meet meerkats and lemurs and have encounters with wolves and snakes! The sloth encounter is booked up already for 2020 so if these appeal to you I would book ASAP. Prices range from £99 + and always require booking in advance.

Of course with it being Winter, we didn’t explore the Paradise Lagoon splash park but it is something we will remember when it heats up! (This is included in your park tickets).

As mentioned, the weather today was not ideal and the storm did cut out day short. We didn’t quite get to try the safari crazy golf or the huge children’s play area, or tumble jumble or the adventure playground!! There really is so much to do here.

Currently, there are a few closures that remain until the complete opening just in time for Easter 2020. Due to the refurbishments, I would suggest checking before you travel to make sure what is open.

You can purchase reduced rate tickets in advance here;

https://www.pwpark.com/product/day-tickets/