Yesterday we were invited down to Wheatley Shopping Centre in Doncaster to board a big red double decker bus, to meet Santa and participate in the festivities of writing and decorating a postcard to give to him. It was the first proper time the kids have been to see a Santa in a grotto and it was such a magical and lovely ordinary moment for our family!

Seeing Santa is an ordinary moment of most childhoods, and it is a moment in a small life that is filled with excitement and curiosity, wonderment and magic, and then for most kids – a little scary too! I remember as a child myself visiting Santa before Christmas in grotto’s and whilst feeling nervous my memories are mainly joy and fun. These are great memories and I always want to recreate similar for my own kids. But never in my day would we have had something so wonderful and as fun as seeing Santa on a big red bus!

Whilst my kids have had Santa visit them at school, they have never been to a grotto and never really believed that those Santa’s were real! Seeing Santa yesterday – aboard a Winter dressed bus, felt like a bit of pressure but also the perfect way to get them to embrace it and kick off Christmas time! Nathan and I loved the adventure as much as them and it was a wonderful memory to create together.

Everything about our visit felt magical and exciting – it was so festive and lovely! We were greeted by Santa’s elves and walked a red carpet to board the festive bus. Downstairs we sat at the tables and designed Christmassy post cards and wrote to Santa about what they would like him to bring them. With glitter and stickers everywhere it was perfect! Next we waited on the seats, before an elf helped us climb to top deck, where we entered a Winter wonderland with Santa sat at the end to greet us.

The kids LOVED it and said it was one of the best days! And we agreed that it was amazing. To them the magic was real as Santa knew so much about them … they marvelled at how he was the real thing sat there, knowing their ages and their names and being so kind and interested! They enjoyed talking with him and telling him how excited they were for Christmas and hoped he would bring them some Sylvanian families and a stunt camera. I loved how modest they were in their requests, how natural they felt speaking to him and how blumming excited they were to be there. Whilst Alice was VERY suspicious, Ethan and Megan were fascinated and embraced it all. Excited was certainly the word of the day – excited to have made a post card, be on a double decked bus, chat to the Elves and most excited to have finally met “the real Santa!”.

I loved the magic and family fun we had yesterday boarding Santa’s big red bus and meeting him together. An ordinary moment of Christmas that was a truly wonderful and magical way to kick off our Christmas celebrations this year!

If you are around Doncaster this weekend, (or not – it is worth travelling to for some free festive fun), then pop on over and share in the fun with your kids and embrace an opportunity to meet and chat with Santa Claus!

 

The Ordinary Moments

*This post is in collaboration with Wheatley Shopping Centre.

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Sometimes it is the spontaneous, and very ordinary outings we have, that become the ones that hold the moments we most treasure. And this was certainly true of our little adventure on Saturday.

We had various plans and things to do on Saturday, and yet at 1pm we found ourselves doing none of them, and instead heading up to Sewerby Park (over in Bridlington) for a nice walk and some family time. We decided with the weather being nice, that they could see the animals there, play on the park, and generally just enjoy a little wander together.


Up on the cliff tops and overlooking the bay, it is a place we have visited numerous times and love….An ordinary part of my childhood and now an ordinary part of theirs. A place full of lovely memories and ordinary moments, nature and beauty, and something for us all. Of course when they realised where we were they burst with excitement to be there!

 Alice however is a bit of newbie to Sewerby Park, and whilst she probably came with us as little baby on previous visits, she certainly wouldn’t have remembered or gotten much out of it. I found that this time it meant we had an opportunity to see it all with new eyes and see it from her perspective. The kids enjoyed pointing things out and coaxing her to see things they thought she would love! It started when I decided to let her out of the buggy to explore with her siblings, we were in no rush and I wanted to let her wander to see what she did – She wandered around, not after them, but on her own, and loved her new found freedom. It was so lovely to watch her, and then to watch them all together; Ethan and Megan trying so hard to coax her in to following them! It provided several moments I wanted to bottle up and treasure forever.

She wandered to the animals and shouted as if we’d never seen them before, and wandered with eyes wide, in awe at the sounds, the sky and the world around her. She wandered from pen to pen on a mission, with her little finger pointing as she went, and then so expressive as she peered in at the animals behind each fence…. “oooing” and “Ahhhhhing”!

She wandered her own way and at her own pace and I had no choice but to follow and allows her her independence.

 There is always something lovely about going to familiar places filled with wonderful memories, and these are made more when you can see and appreciate them with fresh eyes. It’s crazy to think how quickly time is going and how fast Alice is growing and changing. I feel we are now in this wandering stage… exploring all we can and taking in the sights and sounds of the world. It takes a little longer, but I love these moments when we can slow down and remember how great the ordinary stages and moments are. This little wanderer certainly brings so much to our lives and our family with each step she takes in a new direction, and with each new thing she points out to us.

The Ordinary Moments
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When I was little, and would have a sick day from school, I remember how snuggly it felt to lay on the sofa with my quilt at home with my mum whilst my sisters were at school. Almost as if by tradition, I would then enjoy (but not too much – I was sick!) a lovely warm bowl of tomato soup! I loved it, and from then on it has been a firm fave of mine. Whenever it was a soup day for lunch, I always opted for tomato whilst my older sister had the chicken, and now when I hear the Heinz Tomato Soup adverts I get all warm and fuzzy inside remembering how comforting those days were!

I have recently shared this little love with my own kids, and it was seen on our lunch menu a couple of times over half term, and for that reason I write this post about the ordinary moments of enjoying warming a bowl of tomato soup!

Megan was the first of my kids in a new generation to have a bowl of tomato soup on a sick day. Remembering how great I used to feel I wanted to pass that on in my parenting and hoped she would embrace it. She did, and much to my detriment I suppose, she spent the next few days saying she wanted to stay at home always because lunch is “sooooo yummy”! Of course Ethan never wants to miss out so I promised we’d have it for lunch during half term, and of course we did.

We’re not as fancy as to keep the Heinz tins in our cupboards, especially when Lidl have a rather tasty one for 30+ pence a tin, but it is most certainly a staple at this time of year. I absolutely love making my own soups (carrot and coriander is a speciality) but with the nostalgia and pure yuminess of it, there’s something wonderful about cracking open a tin of tomato soup and sharing it with your little ones. We love to dunk in some bread and butter, and then comes my favourite part – I love to see their little soupy moustaches and stained chins!

I love to remember those ordinary moments with my mum, or my sisters, and our family generally… enjoying a delicious bowl of tomato soup after a family hike or on a sick day. It is something so cheap, so simple and yet it is something I love and remember with fondness. I hope when my kids are grown and left home, they too will remember these small little ordinary moments (as well as the big ones), when we sat around the breakfast bar on a chilly Autumn half term day, dunking in our bread and enjoying tinned soup together!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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Every half term we tend to get together with the kids cousins on Nathan’s side of the fam, to play, have an outing of some description, and generally catch up. This October however, we thought we might miss out on the fun and our ordinary moments of cousin time, when we realised that with moving house our half terms were different! Thankfully (and thanks to a training day on Friday), our half term started a day early, and on Friday we were able to head down the road to Grandma’s house to see everyone and grab a piece of the action.

The plan was swimming and baking, yet as soon as we arrived, they all headed straight out of the door to the bottom of the garden to play in their newly built “Pirate Ship”! Here they spent a good couple of hours with one another playing, working together, chatting and hanging in their den. They played Pirates and generally just spent some quality time unplugged and outdoors with some of their best friends! Ethan was completely in his element… shifting hay bales, making plans and going wild!

It was great too because I had one of my sisters boy’s over, and it was nice they could all mesh together. After a fun morning of piratey play, we headed to the Swimming baths (6 adults and 11 kids) for more nutty fun, before returning to Grandma’s to decorate gingerbread bat biscuits and have dinner!

I love days like these. I love to see my nieces and nephews on both sides of the family, and catch up with our families. They are so ordinary I suppose, and so frequent, and yet they are nearly always moments of Joy for us all too. We love any reason to see cousins, play at Grandma’s, and have fun in the new pirate ship!  I always hope when I see them laughing and harmonious, that they will best friends throughout their lives to help and strengthen one another!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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