Back in January we set a family goal to visit London this Winter! We’ve loved our little adventures in London in the past, but as we head towards Christmas, I know that this City really comes alive with wonderous activities and pretty lights, and I thought it would be so lovely to share all of that magic with the Kids.

 For most parent’s, I think Winter is a welcomed magical time from the spooky excitement of Halloween. This time of year is certainly exciting (and busy) with Halloween, the atmosphere of Bonfire Night and the countdown to (dare I say it) Santa’s imminent arrival, and although it’s a pretty hectic season and we could all use an extra few hours here and there, it’s also pretty and very exciting. With all of this, my thoughts were – what better way to add to the anticipation than a magical family trip to the capital?

Here are some family friendly ideas we’ve had that you might find useful for a Winter trip to London this year – and most of them are FREE!

Christmas Tree Hunt

Although we are only in October, Christmas will be here before we know it, and the festive season just wouldn’t be complete without a decadently-dressed tree. After all, from placing baubles on the tree to spotting the best bedecked houses, kids love decorations. So, if you happen to be in London this winter, make sure you visit some of the best Christmas trees. From the huge tree at Covent Garden to the designer ones at Claridge’s (they wouldn’t let our monkey’s in!), I think there will be plenty of beautiful trees that will be filling little faces with awe and wonder.  

Lots of Lights

Depending on when you travel to London this winter, there is a chance you’ll be treated to magnificent light displays. The images of the lights down Oxford street all over Instagram last year were what initially planted this idea. London goes huge with Christmas decorations and displays at Carnaby Street, Oxford Street and Kew Gardens, where you’ll find hundreds of thousands of lights. Plus, if you’re heading down for New Year’s Eve, you’ll be amazed by firework displays along the banks of the Thames, and specifically around the London eye (which can be seen across central London).

Outdoor Ice Skating

Provided the kids are catered for with those little ice skating buddies, this can be such a fun family activity. And what could be more wintery than an outdoor ice rink? In London, there are loads to choose from – including Somerset House (14th November – 13th January) and the Natural History Museum (25th October – 6th January). There is also the UK’s biggest outdoor ice rink at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland (22nd November – 6th January), which is our main pull to London this Winter – it boasts over 100,000 lights, festive stalls and an enchanted forest with ice sculptures! How magical! 

Indoor Attractions

Whilst Christmas trees, pretty lights and ice rinks are all wonderful and magical, in our UK chilly temperatures, it is likely that you’ll probably want some indoor attractions too. Aside from the obvious free museums across London (check their websites for Christmas events) you can Keep the family warm and entertained with a trip to meet Santa at London Zoo, or book tickets to a show like the Witness for the Prosecution play or a musical! In all of this I also hope that there will be time to do a spot of shopping – including some of these toy shops.

A family trip to London can be a lot of fun, especially in the Winter and I really hope that we can make it happen to wrap up 2018! Why not make the most of the festive season too with these magical activities and ideas for all the family! 

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This weeks ordinary moments is less about what I have to say and more about what there is to see, because in these pictures, the moments speak for themselves!

I took them on Wednesday morning, when like many around the country we woke up to lots of snow! Unfortunately our school was still open, but there was the added bonus that they didn’t need to start until 10am. That extra hour felt like such an adventure, to have time together in the morning to take it easy, and get kitted out and play in freshly fallen snow before school – it was brilliant. We decided to walk via the fields and it was a lovely adventure. When we came out on to the green, most of the village were in such good spirits meeting and greeting one another, and it made for such a fab morning!

We saw people pulling kids to school on sledges, kids laughing and beaming, and teachers off school having snowball fights on the green with the kids (and each other). There were snow angels and it was just a special day of beauty and joy despite the freezing cold.

I look at that day and see a fantastic ensemble of the ordinary moments of snow orchestrated by “The Beast from the East”!!!

 

The Ordinary Moments
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There is nothing I love more on these icy cold nights, than rushing home with the kids from school, kicking our shoes off and getting snugly together with a Christmas movie. We have a sneaky hot choc or herbal tea (yes before dinner), and all grab a blanket each, before diving on to the sofas, shutting out the world, and reconnecting from our busy day before it all starts again for dinner and bed time!

As I wander around our village to and from school, I have been noticing more and more that lots of people not only have wood burners going (yes please) but also have beautiful shutters on their windows… I never really noticed it in the Summer, but there seems to be something so lovely and cosy about them (especially adorned in twinkly little Christmas lights). Wood burners and shutters – they both seem to be a thing here, and both are things I do not have but which I can only imagine add to a cosy home on cold Winter nights in! With this in mind, and our new love of cosy movie nights after school, I have put together a few essentials I see to having a cosy Winter home. Some of these things I can, and do do now, others will be DIY jobs hopefully done for next Winter.

Creating a cosy Winter Home

Blankets – Before having a family and owning our own home, I always imagined I would love to have a basket filled with throws and snugly blankets for the winter time. I wanted people/us/our kids to be able to come in and get cosy, and feel relaxed whilst we sat around talking, reading or watching films!

Only now has this become a reality, and just last week I pulled out all of our blankets and folded them neatly  chucked them into a basket by the fireplace. It instantly brought a cosy feel and made me immensely happy too.

Candles – I love candles burning at this time of year. It instantly brings a warm glow and lovely scents that scream “cosy room”! I have a love for Winter smelling ones, like cinnamon or gingerbread! A lovely bunch of burning candles on cold nights definitely bring the cosy factor!

Warm Socks/Slippers – These are such a small thing, and probably one we take for granted, but cannot be underestimated either. I love a good pair of chunky sock to snuggle in on cold winter nights (and days too for that matter). I love to see the kids take off their shoes and pop on some cosy socks or slippers. You know you’re home and can just feel all warm and cosy. What a treat for your freezing little toes!

Fire – I love a good fire in the Winter. It is super relaxing and inviting, and feels so homely and cosy! I think a good fire, especially now we live in the countryside, is an essential to creating a cosy Winter home! Whilst it isn’t a project we plan to carry out this year… we most certainly want a wood burner in time for next Winter. I have been pinning a few ideas and can’t wait to live the cosy Winter dream!

Shutters – This is something new on my list of ideas, all thanks to my nosy wanders around the village! But I think they look so beautiful and homely, and are incredibly beneficial too. Not only do they look modern and fresh, but keep the room warmer in the Winter and cooler in Summer!

I would like to get some in the bay window downstairs, and then work up to the bedroom windows. I remember on holiday in Italy that they made the rooms so dark, and it felt nice to shut the world out! I think shutters would be a lovely addition to making a home cosy at Winter, especially when you throw in some twinkling lights too. What a lovely way to shut out the world and create a little place of happiness!

Winter isn’t my favourite of seasons, but it is one I love for all of the cuddles and snuggles, the beautiful scenery, and the opportunity to get cosy! I love making my home Winter ready and relaxing with blankets and little candles by the light of the Christmas tree. I love to gather my little family together and shut out the world, and I look forward to accomplishing more of our DIY goals to make this even more cosy and joyful!

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Being at home with just Megan 3 days a week is proving to be pretty chilled out. I don’t know if its the weather or just her personality (possibly both) but most days she is happy to have a lazy start and then a trip to the park, swimming or somewhere that’s really not too far. She is still having her say on things she wants to do and enjoys making plans with cousins, but some days will come to me and say “What do I want to do Mummy?” and so I will give her 2 or 3 options of things I think she would like!
It makes a huge change to our previous schedule where we would all be manic in the morning to get out of the house for playgroups, all day long adventures and anything to stop me loosing my mind being cooped up with 2 crazy kids… together they are most definitely better outside!

On Tuesday we met my sister in law and 1 little cousin for lunch at the local country baskets and Megs enjoyed gathering sparkly things off the shelves in little festive baskets, before a lovely lunch together. As we went our separate ways I decided to carry on 5 minutes down the road to Carr gate garden centre, where she was excited to be able to feed the fish in the aquatics centre (something the 3 of us would often do when Ethan was home) and to feed her constant desire to be around creatures.
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To our surprise after feeding the fish (which is only £1) we found ourselves wandering into a beautiful winter wonderland bursting with sparkles, mechanical animals and fake snow…Megan was certainly in her element!
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We wandered around soaking it up and feeling oh so very festive, talking about each animal, Christmas and winter and planning some possible crafts or projects we could do around these things.
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Her favourite part, which she kept telling me she loved, was to see the Giant from Jack and the beanstalk (according to her) and there sit on a bench as he gleefully sang Christmas songs to us…she petted reindeer, polar bears and penguins before remembering that this place also had a soft play.
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The winter wonderland seems to be paving the way in preparation for Santa’s arrival next month and wasn’t quite finished, but she was eager to return for that and bring Ethan too “because he will love this”…
And yes she was right, we ended our visit in the cute little soft play that is just £2 per child!
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A brilliant afternoon together that barely cost anything; we had magical adventures, admired various fish and sea horses and let off steam scrambling over soft play equipment (her not me) all whilst being warm indoors. I forget how family friendly garden centres are and would never usually think of them as a day out destination, but with Megan’s love for nature and relaxed approach it was the most certainly the prefect afternoon out and another one for her list!
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#YorkshireFamily with Yorkshire Tots
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