Plucky Pirates needed at LEGOLAND Windsor

Are you brave and courageous?

Are you ready to take on swash-buckling rides?

Do you look good in an eye-patch?

If you answered yes to all of the above, then LEGOLAND needs you.

Pirate Shores

LEGOLAND are busy working on making the resort better than ever with the new and improved Pirate Shores and we were lucky enough to be invited to see the progress so far.

We are huge fans of LEGOLAND and have been a few times over the years, but not having been for two years, there were lots of new things to see.  Pirate Shores has had a makeover and there are lots of new models all around including a new spider on top of the Spinning Spider ride, which the children noticed straight away.  Apparently, the new one is bigger and more scary looking as it moves as you are spinning around.

Pirate Shores Legoland Windsor

 

Every pirate needs to take a ride on the Jolly Rocker Pirate Ship.  The children loved this ride and insisted on trying it out several times.  Mummy couldn’t cope with it more than once though as she felt a little queasy afterwards.  I think I am better at swabbing the decks.

Jolly Rocker Pirate Ship Legoland Windsor

 

LEGOLAND are busy building a new play area in Pirate Shores which will be called ‘Castaway Camp’.  We did have peek through the fence and it looks like it will be awesome and we can’t wait to come back again and see it.

Pirate Falls Treasure Quest Log Flume

 

An old favourite of mine is the log flume and this too has had a makeover.  Pirate Falls Treasure Quest Log Flume lulls you into a false sense of security as you drift around looking at the fantastic new models on display.  You almost forget about the very big drop at the end and the complete soaking that you are going to get.  A brilliant, must-do ride that we all loved.

Pirate Falls Treasure Quest Log Flume

 

We were lucky enough to go in an hour before the public and Pirate Shores and the Knights’ Kingdom were open especially for us.  This was a great opportunity to take a good look around and try the rides and the children were very keen to get to Knights’ Kingdom to try out The Dragon roller coaster and the Dragon’s Apprentice which is the rollercoaster for younger riders.

Dragon's Apprentice LEGOLAND Windsor

One of the children’s favourite rides in the whole of LEGOLAND is Knights’ Quest which is a train that goes around a circular track.  Don’t be fooled by this harmless looking ride; it goes very quickly and all three children made full use of their queue free time on this ride, I can tell you.

Knights' Quest at LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Once our brave buccaneers had conquered the heady heights of Knights’ Kingdom and Pirate Shores, we set off to explore the rest of LEGOLAND.  Next on the ‘must do’ list was Adventure Land for the S.Q.U.I.D. Surfer; another favourite ride from our last visit. Another fast ride where you are pretty much destined to get wet with the spectators pressing buttons to make water explode next to you.

S.Q.U.I.D. Surfer LEGOLAND Windsor

 

 

There was no time to lose, our intrepid explorers wanted to move on, so after a quick and tasty  pit-stop at the all you can eat buffet at the City Walk Pizza and Pasta, we headed into Traffic where we separated into Driving School and L-Drivers for a spot of driving practice.  A was particularly keen to earn her LEGO licence (there is an extra charge for this) to follow in family tradition. She took her test very seriously and then announced that she would be driving us all home when she had her ‘official’ licence.

L-Drivers at LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Driving Licence from LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Driving School LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Next stop was the Fire Academy which definitely bought out the competitive streak in Stressy Daddy who was determined that their fire engine was going to win the race. although judging by his aim with the water, I’m  glad he’s not giving up his day job.

Fire Academy LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Fire Academy LEGOLAND Windsor

 

The next stop was the Kingdom of the Pharoahs with the Aero Nomad which A loves as it is like a big wheel, only smaller and also the Desert Chase Carousel and Thunder Blazer chair-o-planes.  R and I left Daddy and the younger ones on these rides as we headed off to battle baddies in Laser Raider, where you spin around a track with a laser gun firing at targets to reveal a few unexpected surprises.  R was a little upset that I beat him at this and I was rather surprised, but this is another great ride and lots of fun.

Thunder Blazer at LEGOLAND Windsor

One ride that I had been looking forward to was Atlantis as I had never been able to go before.  On Atlantis, you board a yellow submarine and go off on a voyage to discover the lost city and beneath your feet, you can see a vast array of fish and sharks as well as some pretty amazing LEGO models.  It was a real highlight for me and I would recommend it although the queues for this ride can get pretty long.

Atlantis at LEGOLAND Windsor

By mid afternoon, the weather was quite warm, so we made our way to DUPLO Valley.  This was another new attraction for us and the children were pretty excited by the prospect and then when they saw it, they were thrilled.  DUPLO Valley is a play area with a difference.  There are some great rides, amazing play areas but the bit we wanted to see were the water play areas. Split into two areas that are easily accessible to each other, Splash Safari and Drench Towers are fantastic.  Water features, slides and all things wet, the children absolutely loved this part of LEGOLAND.  If you are thinking about making the most of DUPLO Valley, you need to bring swimming trunks and costumes and lots of towels, there are driers but they do get busy.

Drench Towers at LEGOLAND Windsor

Finally, dry and tired, we start to head home but not before a gentle stroll around Miniland which we always enjoy.   Here you can see the world in miniature and it is all created from LEGO.  We love spotting the places that we recognise and finding out about new ones.  I was veryimpressed by the new Parisian models, in particular the Eiffel Tower which looks very impressive.

Miniland at LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Paris at Miniland LEGOLAND Windsor

 

Miniland London LEGOLAND Windsor

We had a fabulous day at LEGOLAND Windsor.  It is one of our favourite places and always enjoy it.  We were lucky enough to have Fast Track access to all of the rides, which did of course make a huge difference to the day and I would definitely use the Q-Bot system when we go again. Which we most definitely will.

LEGO Yoda at LEGOLAND Windsor

 

A huge thank you to LEGOLAND Windsor for inviting us for the day, we had an amazing day.  We were given free entry to the park, Fast Track access and refreshments for the purpose of this review.  All images and opinions are our own.

A fun family day out at Chessington and £250 #Sunfession Competition

You know you have had a good day out when you are driving home listening to your tired children chatting excitedly about their day with big smiles on their faces and that is exactly how it was on our way back from Chessington World of Adventures.

We do love our theme park days and this was our second visit to Chessington; the first being last summer and the one thing I love about Chessington is that there really is something for everyone.  When you have children of different ages, this is an important factor in your choice of day out.  In our family, we have 10 year old R who is the daredevil teen in training who will go on any ride; the scarier and faster the better.  L is 8 and is starting to go on faster rides but nothing too fast or scary.  A is 4 and she loves the smaller, slower rides.  Chessington definitely ticks all of those boxes.

Cobra ride at Chessington

So what is there for people who like the faster thrill rides?

There are lots of rides in this category and I asked R what his top five rides were.  Firstly is Rameses Revenge which I went on with him last year and he couldn’t wait to go back on it (without me this time).  This ride is not for the faint-hearted but if being turned upside down, spun around and then shot at whilst upside down by huge jets of water, this is the one for you.  Next is the Cobra, where you are spun quickly on a circular platform backwards and forwards on a 90 metre track.  R managed to convince L to go on with him this time and L described it as ‘awesome’.  Third in his top five is Dragon’s Fury which is a colossal looking roller-coaster where you whizz around the twists and turns in a small car.  Next up is Tomb Blaster; a ride through Ancient Egypt armed with a laser gun to shoot at scarab beetles and mummies.  Finally, he loved the Scorpion Express which is Chessington’s new ride for this year.  On this ride, you take the train and race around the track avoiding the scorpion with fire and water effect to make the ride exciting.

Cobra at Chessington

The Cobra at Chessington

For the less adventurous rider, there are still lots of great rides.  L did brave the Cobra and the Scorpion Express and loved them both.  They both featured high on his top five too.  His favourite ride is the Monkey Swinger which is swinging chairs but better.  There is a height restriction on this ride and you can see why as the chairs go very high and you are also squirted with water from below.  L loves this ride.

Monkey Swinger

Monkey Swinger at Chessington

Keeping his feet firmly on the ground, L also likes the Temple of Mayhem which is a two storey playhouse where you can run around an explore and shoot soft balls at other unsuspecting people.  Finally in L’s top five is the Zufari which we all enjoyed as a family.  The Zufari takes you on a real off-road truck through the wilds of Africa where you can enjoy close up views of some fantastic animals and birds.  Watch out for the cave though.

Zufari at Chessington

Zufari at Chessington

A also thoroughly enjoyed her day at Chessington and there was lots to keep her happy.  It was busy and it seemed as though most people were there for the bigger rides and so the queues for the smaller rides weren’t so long.  A’s number one ride was Sea Storm which she remembered from last year.  Sea Storm is a speedy roundabout aboard a Pirate Galleon that twists and turns over the stormy sea.  A great fun ride that L also enjoyed.

Seastorm at Chessington

Next on A’s top five are the Flying Jumbos which we went on a few times.  A enjoyed ‘flying’ her elephant which fortunately only meant pressing a button to make the elephant go higher and lower and we also enjoyed the view from the top.  Third choice would be the classic Carousel which is a traditional ride and A always loves them.  Her final choice of ride was the Jungle Bus which is a bus ride with a difference as you go up and down with great views and a funny feeling in your tummy.  Her last choice is not a ride but the show.  There is a large stage and seating area in the middle of the park and there are regular Madagascar Live shows which are hugely popular and great fun to watch.

Madagascar Live at Chessington

There is so much to do at Chessington that we only covered a small part of it and there were some rides that we didn’t have time to go on.  There is also a zoo and Sea Life center which are excellent as we visited them last year but this time we ran out of time.  We made good use of our time and were there until the absolute last minute.  It is a fantastic day out for the whole family with so much to see and do for everyone, I would thoroughly recommend a visit and here are my top tips to making the best of your day.

  • Arrive early.  The park opens at 10 and traffic coming into the park and the queues for tickets can build up.  It is probably a good idea to pre-book tickets online before you go.
  • Fast Track Tickets – Chessington offers a good system where you can buy individual tickets for rides or groups of tickets ranging from two or three rides to the whole park  A lot of people use the Fast Track system and some rides get sold out early so if you are thinking about using the Fast Track, buy your tickets when you arrive.  It is worth getting the Fast Track tickets on busy days although you may still have to queue for a short time.
  • There are some great places to eat and look out for ‘children eat free’ deals that are available in some restaurants if you eat later in the day.  We ate at the Pizza Pasta Express which appealed to everyone, had great food and was good value. There are also lots of good places to picnic so bringing your own food is definitely an option too.  I can also recommend getting an ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s where you can have any of their huge range of delicious flavours in a good value cone or tub.
  • Finally take a change of clothes for the children as they will probably get very wet!!!

Eating at Chessington

We were lucky enough to be sent to Chessington courtesy of The Sun who this week are offering their readers the  get your hands on two tickets for Chessington World of Adventures . In order to qualify for your free tickets, you have to sign up to The Sun+ (The Sun’s digital entertainment bundle) for two months (initial payment of £1 followed by a second payment of £8.67 for the second month).

 

The Sun are also after your #Sunfessions; in other words those little white lies and stories that you have told to get your children to do something or something that you have accidentally done to one of your children’s toys.  You all have some funny #Sunfessions to make I have no doubt.

To support the #Sunfession campaign, I also have £250 to give away to you lovely blog readers to spend at Chessington. All you need to do is log in to Twitter or Instagram account and retell a hilarious awful thing you have done to your kids.  Don’t forget to include #Sunfession AND #StressyMummy. Hit tweet or post, and then visit the Sun site to see your #Sunfession appear: http://bit.ly/1dwABCw Once you have posted come back and leave a comment below telling me if you published your #Sunfession on Twitter or Instagram and your username.

My #Sunfession is that my children believe that if they tell lies, their noses grow. I’m not sure they believe me anymore but it worked for many years.

Scorpion Express at Chessington

 

I will be picking my favourite after midnight of Thursday 24th April, so you have one week to make your #Sunfession.

Terms and Conditions

To enter the competition to win £250 to spend at Chessington World of Adventures, you must make your #Sunfession via Twitter or Instagram.  

Any entries that don’t include #Sunfession AND #StressyMummy won’t be included.

You must also leave a comment on this post telling me if you made your #Sunfession on Twitter or Instagram and your username.  

 The judges decision is final.  

Only open to UK residents.

We were given free tickets to Chessington World of Adventures plus spending money.  All images and opinions are our own.

 

 

 

Having fun with Hama Beads

We have recently fallen in love with Hama Beads.  We have had them in the house before, but A had the princess mobile kit for Christmas and amazed me by wanting to spend a whole day making it.  It is her pride and joy and is hanging above her bed.

Hama Princess Mobile

I love the idea of the mobiles as it gives you somewhere safe to put your creations when you have finished which for younger children is ideal.  L was quite fascinated by the mobile and how it had been made so when I was offered the chance to review some Hama Beads, I chose a mobile set that I thought he would like.  There were two reasons why I wanted to try Hama Beads with L; firstly because I knew that he would enjoy it as he is quite creative but the main reason is that Hama Beads are a good way to improve fine motor skills and concentration in children; both of which we need to work on with L.

The Space Mobile set is fantastic.  It contains 2500 beads and two peg boards with the instructions to create rockets, spaceships, planets stars and even a rather sweet looking alien along with the instructions and the kit to make the mobile when you have finished.  L is 8 and I was really pleased to see him get stuck into the mobile straight away.  He is also a bit of a perfectionist however and so many planets have been created and then tipped back into the box.

Hama Beads

As the last couple of weeks of term have been really busy, L hasn’t got very far with the mobile as yet but is keen to carry on with it during the holidays and he wants to finish it before he moves into a bedroom of his own in a few weeks so that he can hang it up above his bed.  We do have an alien and planet Earth so far.  I think that the Space Mobile kit will look brilliant when it is finished and it defeinitely makes Hama Beads more appealing to boys.

Hama Beads Space Mobile

A wasn’t left out and she had the Hama Beads Window Decorations.  As soon as she saw the box, she couldn’t wait to get started.  This set has 4000 Beads and comes with three different peg boards, instructions and white tack to enable you to stick your finished creations to the window.  What I also liked about this particular set is that it comes with a large plastic tray that is great for putting the beads in while you work.

Hama Beads Window Decorations

Hama Beads

Sticking your creations on the window once you have finished is such a lovely idea and a really great way to display your hard work.  A has completed half of the models and they are proudly displayed on the living room window.

Hama Beads Window Decorations

Both of the sets have been really well received and both L and A will enjoy continuing with them over the next couple of weeks.  I secretly quite like ‘helping’ too as Hama Beads are really therapeutic for adults too.

Hama Beads are available from Craft Merrily, hamabeads.com and Crafty Crocodiles.

We were sent both sets for the purpose of this review.  All images and opinions are my own.

Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Upright and Handheld Steam Cleaner Review and Giveaway

When you have someone in the house with an allergy to house dust mites, a steam cleaner is a really useful tool.  Whilst it doesn’t get rid of them altogether, it does help if you use it in the areas where the sufferer spends the most time.  L has an allergy to house dust mites and particularly in his bedroom, it is a constant job to thoroughly clean all of his bedding, bed, curtains and carpets to try and ease his symptoms.

Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Steam Cleaner

So when I was offered a Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Upright and Handheld Steam Cleaner to review, it looked like its many functions would be a great help both in my battle with the dust mites and also generally for cleaning around the house too.  It can be used as an upright steam cleaner and also as a handheld too and it comes with a variety of attachments allowing you to;

  • mop hard floors
  • steam carpets, upholstery, bedding, curtains, mattresses
  • clean tiles, grout, mirrors, windows, bathroom surfaces, wheel trims, worktops, glass surfaces, oven and hob
  • help to de-ice the freezer
  • steam clothing

Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Steam Cleaner

Setting up and general use

The instructions are really straightforward and it doesn’t take long to read through them.  Setting the steam cleaner up is really easy and it is simple to change from upright to handheld and to add and remove the different attachments.  Within ten minutes of getting the 9-in-1 out of the box, I was cleaning with it.  The water is contained in a 400ml detachable tank which is easy to detach and refill and you can see how much water is in the tank and you don’t have to wait for the cleaner to cool down before adding more water.  This amount of water lasts for around 20 minutes of steam cleaning.  It also has variable steam which is useful as it allows you to control the amount of steam depending on where you are using it.  A new feature of this model is that it has an anti-scale cartridge which prevents limescale build up and should help prolong the life of the steam cleaner.  This cartridge needs replacing every three months.

Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Steam Cleaner

Once you have set the 9-in-1 up and filled the water tank, you are ready to go and it only takes 30 seconds to heat up and you can start using it which is a huge improvement on steam cleaners that I have had in the past. This is really handy when you are moving through the house too as you have to unplug to change rooms and it then heats up again as soon as it is turned back on.

I found the 9-in-1 easy to use in both the upright and handheld positions.  The cable is a good length and can be wrapped around storage hooks on the handle to keep it safely tucked away when not in use.  One feature that I did like was that it comes with a cooling rest tray to stand it on to catch any escaping moisture but this also acts as a stand and makes it easy to store.  It also comes with a drawstring bag to hold all of the attachments.

Using the 9-in-1 Steam Cleaner

As my house is in desperate need of some love, I made it my mission to put the 9-in-1 Steam Cleaner through its paces and use as many of the functions as possible.

Cleaning grout in the shower

This was my first job and I was seriously impressed.  Using the long brush attachment, I blasted the grout in my shower which was looking very sorry for itself. It is one of those jobs that I have been meaning to do for a while but the 9-in-1 made light work of it.  It took about fifteen minutes to do the whole shower and I used the maximum amount of steam and as you can see from the photos, it made a huge difference and I could see the dirt running down the tiles.  The tiles and shower tray needed a good wipe afterwards, but once I had done that, it looked much better.  You can see the difference in the photos, the grout is still discoloured but looks a lot better than it did.

Grout Before and After

Cleaning Tiles, Glass Surfaces and Sinks

The tiles in the shower are cleaned regularly but I thought I would give the 9-in-1 a try to see how it worked.  For these jobs you need the squeegee attachment or the flat cleaning head with the cloth attached.  I opted for the squeegee and you simply press the edge from top to bottom with a small amount of steam and wipe the squeegee at the bottom.  It didn’t take too long to do and although the tiles weren’t sparkling, they did look better.  The glass door and cubicle wall are very streaky from limescale and again the 9-in-1 did a reasonable job of cleaning them.

I also tried the 9-in-1 on the tiles behind my hob as they tend to get very greasy and it is a real job to get them clean.  The 9-in-1 did a good job on these and after a quick wipe with a cloth, a lot of the grease had been removed.

Window cleaning with the squeegee is not the easiest to manoeuver but it did a good job of the insides of the windows; you have to wipe the excess moisture up and in the end I wiped the whole window but they were much cleaner afterwards.

You can use the 9-in-1 to clean sinks, showers and even toilets, so I tried it out on of our sinks.  I used the angled nozzle attachment to steam the taps and all around them and I could see a lot of the dirt coming away.  What I like about this attachment is that it makes light work of those crevices that are hard to get to.  I then wiped the sink and taps over with a cloth and the whole area looked a lot cleaner.

taps

Hob Cleaning

I haven’t had the chance to try the 9-in-1 with the oven, but as my hob was looking particularly dirty after a busy week, I thought I would see how much of a difference the steam cleaner would make.  Once again, I was really impressed with the difference.  Just two minutes of blasting the hob with steam and using the small circular brush attachment easily lifted the grease and burnt on stains that were on there.  I then wiped around with a piece of kitchen towel and you can see from the photos how much cleaner it looks.

Hob

While I was there, I decided to do the same with the outside of the cooker hood which always seems to have a greasy, dusty residue on it when it hasn’t been cleaned for a few weeks.  This was no match for the 9-in-1 which blasted through the grime and literally left the hood sparkling after I had given it a quick wipe over.  I literally spent five minutes on this as I am trying to test all of the functions quickly but even in that very short time, I was impressed with the results.

Upholstery and Bedding Cleaning

I was keen to get steaming in L’s bedroom due to his allergies and I pretty much steamed everything; curtains, carpets, bedding, headboard and mattress.  I kept the steamer on a fairly low setting and it steamed everything quickly and it dried quickly which is great as you don’t want everything to be left soaking wet when you have finished. As a handheld, I found it really was really easy to go around everything.

I also gave our sofa bed a good clean too as it is has a black cover that shows everything.  It had a few stains and looked rather sorry for itself.  I whizzed the 9-in-1 over it using the flat cleaning head and it definitely looked better afterwards and most of the stains had gone.

steam cleaning upholstery

Carpet Cleaning

Back into the upright position for cleaning floors.  I hoovered first to remove any excess dirt and I tried the 9-in-1 on my hall carpet as this is the one that has the most wear and tear from the constant trampling of muddy shoes.  I then turned the 9-in-1 up to maximum and went over the carpet several times.  It has a glider attachment which is like a frame that you sit the head into and it allows the cleaner to literally glide over the carpet.  This is a great feature and I did try it with just the floor cloth and it was much harder to push around.  If I am completely honest, it didn’t make a huge difference.  It did clean the mud patches a little bit and the carpet looked fresher and smelt better but looking at the microfibre cloth, it obviously did remove some dirt.

carpet dirt

I also tried the 9-in-1 on my living room carpet and again, the carpet did look and smell fresher after a steam. I tried using the circular brush attachment on a couple of stains and again it did make them fade a little but didn’t get rid of them all together.  I will say though that my carpets are 11 years old and in desperate need of replacement,  the 9-in-1 isn’t designed to be a heavy duty carpet cleaner but it certainly freshens carpets up.

Hard Floor Cleaning

Finally, I used the 9-in-1 to clean my kitchen floor which is lino and is always very dirty thanks to muddy shoes coming in from the back door into the garden.  I swept the floor thoroughly and turned the steam setting to minimum as recommended and went over the whole floor.  I found this function the hardest as it took a lot of effort to get the dirt up but it did a good job and I was left with a clean floor that wasn’t soaking wet.

Would I recommend the 9-in-1?

Definitely.  I have used a few steam cleaners over the years and this one impressed me. I only spent a short amount of time testing the 9-in-1 as I am trying to test all of the functions quickly but even in that very short time, I was impressed with the results. I love the fact that it is easy to use and assemble, heats up quickly, has  variable steam and also easy to store.  As a general help for cleaning around the home, I found it useful and I know that I will use it a lot and the fact that I can use it to deep clean those hard to reach places such as grouting and around the bases of taps is a real bonus. When it comes to carpet cleaning and this is not a steam cleaner that will remove heavy dirt from carpets but that is not to say that it doesn’t improve them.  The Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Steam Cleaner gets a big thumbs up from me and I would definitely recommend it as anything that makes cleaning easier is a wonderful thing.

The RRP for the Morphy Richards 9-in-1 Upright and Handheld Steam Cleaner is £99.99.

The lovely people at Morphy Richards are giving me a 9-in-1 to give away to one lucky reader and this will be a huge help to your spring cleaning.  Fill in the Raffle copter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We were sent the 9-in-1 for the purpose of this review.  All opinions and images are our own.

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