Help Your Child Be School Ready With These Simple Tips

I’m not talking about being school ready academically! Whether your child can write their name or not when they start reception isn’t that important, well I don’t think so anyway. You hear the term ‘school readiness’ a lot these days, but i’m talking about what things us parents can do to help the transition into school. To make the move as easy as possible for our children. There’s plenty of things we can do as a family to enable a happier transition to school.

Talk Positively About School

We talk a lot about how my youngest (twins Oscar and Isla) will be starting school in September. We call it ‘big school’ but they are just so excited to be going to the same school as their big brother. The more you talk about school, playtime, the classroom etc, the more they will know what to expect. I try to always be positive about school life, saying how much fun it would be. If you have older children in school already, perhaps ask them to talk about what they like about school.

Visit The School/Classroom

When possible, attend any taster days. I remember with my youngest before he started, we were invited to come into the classroom for the afternoon. First we had lunch together in the hall, it was lovely to walk him and watch up pick up a tray and queue for his dinner! He looked so small, but it was a lovely experience to share with him. Plus he was so excited he talked about it for weeks, making it easier to talk about school life as he knew what to expect.

Get To Know The School

If it’s a brand new school to you all, then get to know it. As well as taster days, perhaps find out when any events are on before your child starts school such as a summer fair. At the weekend you could maybe walk or drive past the school, point and encourage your child to say ‘look, it’s my school.’

Encourage More Independance

It’s so easy to see your own children as babies (mine aren’t four years old yet) but encouraging them to be more independent will definitely help them when transitioning into school. Get them to take their own shoes off and put them away, ask them to bring their own plates and cups into the kitchen. Practise putting any difficult shoes on or zipping their coats. These are all things that they may do at school and already knowing how to do things themselves will be less stressful for them. Let them take some control.

Fully Bathroom Ready

Parents all hope that their children will be fully toilet trained before they start school. I’m also meaning basic hygiene. Making sure your child can go to the toilet alone and wash their hands is essential for starting school.

Read More

Whenever you can, read together. Reading is essential to a child’s development. Even before your child can read independently, reading helps your child get to know words, sounds and language. It also can help children learn to look after books, stimulate curiosity and imagination plus develop so many skills. Studies have shown that reading for pleasure makes a big difference to your child’s educational performance. Just 5 minutes before bed perhaps, enhancing good habits now will make it easier as they get older. My eldest is 7 years old and he loves to read.

For us, the countdown until big school has begun. I plan on making the most of the next few months before I’m dropping off all three children at school!

A Day At The Beach In The December – Southport Beach

Taking a trip to the beach during the Christmas holidays isn’t probably on everyone’s to do list. When you think of the beach, you think sun, sand and ice cream! But we love being by the sea, whatever the weather, a trip to the beach with children can be a perfect cheap, if not free day out!

We decided on Southport beach as it wasn’t one we’d been to before as a family. We spend lots of weekends on Morecambe seafront due to our families having caravans there and we visit Blackpool several times a year so we wanted to try somewhere new.

During the Spring and Summer seasons, you are able to park right on the beach at Southport, so no long walks to the seafront with all your buckets and spades. Due to it being Winter that car park was closed, although there was plenty of other alternatives. As we drove into Southport we passed a large pay and display car park but we decided to park in a large retail park instead as everyone needed the toilet so we all nipped in McDonalds. This car park is free for 3 hours.

Just Look At That Sky!

The seafront was very clean and the area tidy which was great to see. From the retail car park, we got onto the Pier and walked towards the sea right to one end. Southport Pier is the second longest in the country with a cafe, toilets and arcades at the end (which was open out of season). During the summer months you are able to take the pier tram one end to the other. After checking out the views, we decided to walk the other way into the town.

At the piers entrance we had a go on the 2p slot machines in Silcocks Funland, a favourite thing to do when visiting the seaside! After losing all out 2p’s, we headed to the traditional fish and chip shop. To keep costs down, we had brought a picnic including a flask of tea. We picked up two portions of chips and headed towards the park. We sat at a bench and enjoyed a feast of sandwiches and chippy chips! Delicious.

There’s a great wooden playground close to the arcades and the lake. We crossed over the lake and walked along the lakeside which was very idyllic. It was a lovely sunny (but cold) day, there was plenty of people around and the lake was full of swans.

We got back on the pier and this time headed onto the beach. My three thought it was brilliant that they were wearing wellies or walking boots and headed straight for the water. The sea was miles out, but there was still plenty of water for paddling. We spent ages walking through the water, searching for giant shells and throwing stones. Throwing stones into water is a favourite past-time of one of my twins especially, Oscar could literally do this all day.

There’s something about being by the sea! I love the sea air, the views that go on for miles, the freedom of the beach for the kids to run. We have so many happy memories of spending days by the sea, I’m hoping my children will cherish these memories when they’re older, perhaps enjoy the same with their own children maybe.

If your looking for a trip to the beach this winter, I recommend Southport beach and pier, we’ll definitely be back soon the explore a little more.

For more ideas for days out, why not check out:

Dinosaur Themed Days Out In The North West To Take Dino-Mad Kids,

Fairytale and ‘Magical’ Parks and Woodland Walks,

‘Crafty’ Places To Take ‘Crafty’ Kids Near Greater Manchester.

New Year. New You?

Do you make New Years Resolutions? I’m no good at keeping them! Plus there usually the same every year that I make just because I feel like I should. Making unattainable resolutions can put a lot of stress on ourselves!

But does a New Year have to mean a New You? This year I have decided to look at what I can IMPROVE rather than CHANGE. Take what makes me happy and focus on that.

Last year I rejoined Slimming World since my twins were born almost 4 years old. 3 weeks before Christmas I reached my target and I was actually happy with how I looked! Clothes fit me nicer and I enjoyed buying a few new items of clothes. I suppose naturally over Christmas, I gained a few (7!) pounds so over the next few weeks/months I plan on getting those extra pounds gone. I’m not overly bothered what I actually weigh, I just want to feel happy in myself like I did just before Christmas!

Last September I joined my sisters book club. At first I said there was absolutely no way I could fit in reading one book a month! Not on top of my part time job, being a mum, life admin, my blog, a social life etc etc etc! But I made time and I’m loving it! Before children I used to read everyday so I’m so glad to be back doing it. After not reading in years, I’ve now read 4 books in 4 months and just about to start the next book ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson. It’s also nice as we meet once a month to discuss the book, but also even a glass of Prosecco and her homemade cakes! A couple of hours away from mum duties, bliss!

Last year I fell in love with Yoga and this year I plan on getting back into it. I loved how it made me feel during the session but also after it and for the rest of the week. Even the sessions where I took the kids along, I managed to clear my mind and focus on my body.

This year I have so many goals for my blog, most of them are just rushing around my head. I’m struggling to get them into any order but I’m excited for the future. I haven’t even bought a 2020 diary or calendar yet so that’s my first job. Then I’m going to sit down, plan and focus on my goals for the coming year.

Don’t change YOU and don’t make resolutions if you don’t wanna make them! Start with what makes you happy and take it from there…

28 Family Friendly Things To Do In Oldham

We love where we live. Here’s our top 28 things to do in the Oldham area with the family!

1. Visit Oldham Library, there’s always plenty to do

I love visiting Oldham Library, me and the kids usually visit once a week. Oldham has several small libraries in the villages with the main large library in the centre of Oldham. There is always something going on and lots of activities and events are free. There’s weekly stories and rhyme classes, plus specialist baby yoga classes, weekend events such a Comic Con to fantastic shows in their performance space, such as my recent trip to see The Secret of Christmas Eve. Check out what’s going on at Oldham Library and visit now.

2. Take a Trip to Gallery Oldham

There’s plenty to see and do at Gallery Oldham, plus it’s free to enter. Not only do they offer a wide range of exhibitions, there’s lots for families at the weekend and during the half term break including arts and crafts sessions, The Small Cinema and much more. Here’s our review of a recent trip.

3. Enjoy the newly refurbished Old Town Hall

Oldham’s iconic Old Town Hall has been transformed and redeveloped only a year or two ago and it looks fantastic. The Grade II listed building has lovingly been brought back to life and now houses ODEON cinema, Nando’s, Costa Coffee and the family friendly Molino Lounge. It’s the first cinema in the town for more than 30 years! Local families can now enjoy an evening out close to home.

4. Check out Tommyfield Markets

Right in the heart of Oldham, take a trip to Tommyfield Markets, the indoor market hall is open Monday – Saturday 9am-5.15pm. You may be surprised at what you find, check out their traditional markets and material market as well as the Sunday car boot! See here for more information.

5. Have a great day out at Stonerigg as you whizz around the track

Experience racing like no other with 9 themed Scalextric tracks to race on right here in Oldham! My eldest loves a trip to Stonerigg in Lees, it’s the UK’s largest themed Scalextric attraction.

6. Wander around the villages of Saddleworth

Whether it’s Diggle or Delph, Dobcross or Greenfield why not have a wander around the villages of Saddleworth? We are so lucky to have such beautiful places on our doorstep! Take a stroll, perhaps enjoy a pub lunch, find a local park and make it your hidden gem.

7. Enjoy a family day out in Uppermill park and along the canal

A family favourite of ours! We love nothing more than a walk along the canal, past Brownhill and into Diggle. The kids love to go across the stepping stones and there’s always time to play in the playground. There’s plenty of choice for a refreshment whether its hot drinks, cakes or even a glass of wine, there’s something for everyone in Uppermill.

8. Have a day out at Cockfields Farm

Enjoy a fabulous family day out down on the farm right here in Oldham! Open 7 days a week, you can expect to have a jam-packed day! There’s animal activities running every half an hour including pig washing and lamb feeding. Over the years we have visited many times, check out our review here. Also read about our recent trip when we went to their Christmas Experience.

9. Yanks Are Back In Saddleworth!

Enjoy the annual military show and vehicle parade that return to the villages of Saddleworth every summer. It’s an unforgettable event of fantastic 1940’s entertainment and historical displays. Keep up to date via their website.

10. Come along to the ‘greatest free show on earth’ – Whit Friday Brass Band Contests

Known locally as the ‘greatest free show on earth’, the Whit Friday Brass Band Contests are certainly not to be missed. Whether your in it for the music or the atmosphere, there’s something for everyone. The villages of Saddleworth come alive each year as hundreds of bands come from all over the world!

11. See a show or concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall

Whether it’s to see a stand up comedian, a tea dance or the darts, the Queen Elizabeth Hall is Oldham’s premier large event venue with three bars and the accommodation for up to 1,500 people for a stand up concert.

12.Visit one of Oldham’s fantastic parks

There are plenty of beautiful parks and green spaces in Oldham including Alexandra Park, Chadderton Hall Park, Dovestones Resevoir, Tandle Hill, Fox Denton Park to name a few! Head outdoors and find your perfect spot now, check out some of my favourite local parks. See here for more information about local parks and green spaces.

13. Indulge in a gorgeous ice cream at Grandpa Greene’s

Based beside the canal, Grandpa Greene’s is the perfect place to relax and enjoy an award-winning ice cream (there’s so many flavours to choose from) surrounded by breathtaking views. Whether you park in their large free car park or walk along the canal to get there, no trip into Saddleworth is complete without a trip here!

14.Nosy round a craft fair or food market at Uppermill Civic Hall

As well as a community venue for shows and concerts, Uppermill Civic Hall is also host to craft fairs and food markets from time to time. We have been to some lovely Christmas craft fairs. Keep up to date via the website.

15. Visit the Saddleworth Museum

Saddleworth Musuem galleries and shop in Uppermill is open every afternoon, tickets are £3 per adults, £2 per children. The museum galleries tell the story if the people who have created Saddleworth’s lansdscape and character. Worth a visit next time your in Uppermill. The museum is also perfect for families, there’s usually a trail for children to take part in whilst visiting, there’s also family bags, dressing up stations and interactive galleries.

16. Spend the day at Daisy Nook Country Park

Put on your walking boots and head outdoors, why not check out Daisy Nook Country Park? On the border of Oldham near Ashton Under Lyne, there’s a free car park at the Daisy Nook Vistors Centre and cafe. my family and I love walking through Daisy Nook, in winter we stop for a hot chocolate, ion summer an ice cream. There’s a boat themed sand pit for the kids to enjoy, plus swings and a slide as you explore. More information can be found here.

17. Take part in the Oldham Parkrun

Oldham’s Parkrun takes place every Saturday in Alexandra Park at 9am. It’s a 5km run where you race yourself against the clock. It costs nothing to join in but you need to register before your first Parkrun which you can do here. You don’t need to be a pro, you run for your own enjoyment!

18.Make a splash at one of Oldham’s leisure centres

There’s 6 Oldham Active Leisure Centres throughout Oldham all with a public swimming time tables. There’s also a wide range of public and family swim sessions plus weekly parent and baby sessions too! Great for getting the whole family excited about swimming.

19.Put on those walking boots and hike up to Pots and Pans

For some truly remarkable views, hike up to see the Pots and Pans monument (the Obelisk on Alderman’s Hill) that overlooks Saddleworth. The obelisk commemorates Saddleworth’s losses in the two world wars. Enjoy these breathtaking views, see here for a circular walk.

20.Enjoy the views around Dove Stone Reservoir

Certainly a picturesque spot, Dove Stone Reservoir is situated on the edge of Oldham and the Peak District National Park. There’s a networks of footpaths that makes the area accessible to all, including easy an easy route for walkers, wheelchair users and prams. There’s picnic benches along the way plus toilets at the pay and display car park. At weekends (nice days and bank holidays) there is usually an ice cream van and a burger van too. There’s no better place to spend a day outdoors!

21.Take advantage of the free parking and shop till you drop!

Every Saturday and Sunday you can park for absolutely free for up to 3 hours on all council owned town centre car parks! Perfect for doing a spot of shopping. Take the whole family with you, head into Spindles Shopping Centre for Shopping Susie’s Kids Club. The kids club is on most Saturday’s where your little one could find free face painting, crafts and balloon modelling! Keep up to date of the next kids club via their website.

22.Visit The Little Owl Farm

Enjoy the fabulous views, a delcious breakfast and some fun with the animals at the Little Owl Farm in Grains Bar close to the village of Denshaw. Your little ones will love to feed the farm animals and get up close with the owls. From time to time enjoy some music and stalls with their markets and special events. Make sure you visit Cindy’s Cafe for some delicious fresh food!

23.Tire the kids out at Play! and Play!2

Our favourite soft play centre to visit is Play 2 in Diggle (they even offer a twin discount!), Play is in Royton. Tire the kids out seven 7 days a week, parents can relax with a coffee whilst the kids have fun.

24.Feel festive and go along to the annual Christmas Tree Festival every December

A firm favourite of ours, visit Oldham’s Parish Church each December for their annual Christmas Tree Festival. Enjoy over 50 Christmas tress decorated by local businesses and communities. Have a go at the tombola, stop for a brew and homemade cake and you may even hear a brass band or two.

25. Have a fun day out at Housing Units

Over 7 days a week, Housing Units is the home department store right here in Oldham. As well as offering a friendly shopping experience, housing units has a cafe and a restaurant. Enjoy a quick bite or a special afternoon tea. There’s plenty of events on throughout the year to keep the family happy too including Storytime at Kids World and even Santa’s Grotto. The Christmas department which opens every September is definitely worth visiting.

26. Take the family to Elk Mill for shopping and food

If shopping is your families thing then Elk Mill is the place to be! From fashion to homeware, you’ll find everything at Elk Mill. There’s plenty of free parking, toilets, a fab play area there’s even free WiFi so everyone’s happy! After a day of shopping why not treat the kids and head to Nandos, Pizza Hut or McDonalds?

27. Zoom around Coalshaw Park and their skate park

If your kids love their skate board then head to Coalshaw Park as they have their very own Skate Park. They will be able to practise their moves and whizz up and down the ramps. There is also a children’s play area, playing fields, ornamental gardens and toilet facilities.

28. Get some culture at Oldham Coliseum and see a show.

In the heart of Oldham, see one of the finest shows that the world has to offer at Oldham Coliseum. There’s something for everyone, plenty for the whole family. The panto is certainly a personal highlight plus I seen lots of different shows including work from Oldham Theatre Workshop and much more. For whats on in 2020, see here.

Cover photo Credit : Oldham photographer Inspired By Joseph.

Happy 2 Years to Me and My Blog

It was two years ago to this day I started my own website and social media pages. It was two years ago two that Out and About Mummy came alive, and it’s been the best two years!

You may already know this, but I created Out and About Mummy as I had fallen in love with writing about things to do in my local community, about day trips and about our day to day life generally. Whilst on a post Christmas trip to the Lake District, I unfortunately had a website and social media page that I had been managing taken away from me in an instant and I was devastated!

I’ve never known what I wanted to do when I ‘grow up’. Throughout school, college and even university I thought one day I would know but it never came. After I graduated I fell into a job and I suppose I got ‘stuck’ there. I focused on more important aspects of my life, holidays, getting married, being a mum etc. Fast forward and it’s quite easy to see how someone can get stuck in a rut, in a job that’s not for them for so long!

That’s why I was so devastated to lose the site and pages I had managed. I had found something that was for me, something that I enjoyed and something I was good at. So I decided to start from scratch and do it myself!

Two years later and here I am, still going strong. This year I have even bigger goals and aspirations for Out and About Mummy, no one knows what will happen in the future. I want to take the opportunity to thank all my lovely readers. Everyone of you who have read a post, liked my page or photo. I love doing this and I hope you enjoy reading my posts.

There have been so many highlights from the past two years and I thought I’d share a few with you:

Press Nights at the Theatre

It still blows my mind that Out and About Mummy went and got herself on the actual press list for the Palace Theatre and Opera House Manchester! Not only to I love a trip to the theatre, especially to see a musical, I love writing my reviews for my readers. Some of my favourite shows that I’ve been invited to see have to be: & Juliet, Rocky Horror Show, The King and I, Jersey Boys…. there’s just too many to mention. Big thanks to my lovely contact Alison for always sorting such fantastic seats. I’ve also been invited to see shows all over including Blackpool and St Helens, another favourite has to be the panto at Oldham Coliseum- one of the best!

Fabulous Outdoor Theatre at Fletcher Moss

For the last two summers, we have been invited to review the shows in the park with Heartbreak Productions. We have enjoyed shows such as The Midnight Gang, Pride and Prejudice, The Railway Children and Romeo and Juliet in the park. These experiences were certainly a highlight for our summer, the whole family loved them. I want to say a big thank you to Heartbreak Productions and I hope to continue working with them this year.

Fantastic Days Out

I write about family friendly days out which has meant I have been lucky enough to invited to some fantastic places and asked to write a review. Some of our favourite places to visit has to be Cockfields Farm, York Maze, Paradise Wildlife Park, Coral Island Blackpool and Treetop Adventure Golf to name a few! I look forward to visiting some fantastic places this year and telling you guys all about it.

Fancy Press Events

Who doesn’t love a Mums Night Off? and thanks to my blog, I’ve had a few invites to some fancy press events where I get to dress up without the kids and let my hair down! A few to mention was the Meadows Gin launch night at the trendy Manchester bar Speak in Code and the opening party of Beyond The Mirror glamorous new beauty salon in Cheadle Hulme. Probably the biggest highlight would be my bloggers trip to Hull where myself and 9 other lovely bloggers had a trip of the city (and enjoyed plenty of gin).

There’s so much more I could mention or that I could be thankfully for including all the work I have done with Bev, from Inspired by Joseph and her beautiful photos of my family and Helen from Wonder Adventures, we have loved the Elf Adventure Challenge and the Dino Disco!

I have worked with so many brands and companies including toy brands, clothing companies, skincare ranges, food and technology, PR departments and much much more than I could have imagined when I started this two years ago.

Here’s to 2020.

Fairytale and ‘Magical’ Parks & Woods

My family and I love to be Out and About! We love a trail, anything that keeps the little legs interested and moving! I’ve put together this list of some MAGICAL places in the North to visit with kids that will make your children fall in love with walking too.

So if you’re looking for a walk in the woods or a magical trail, to swing in the trees or find something a little different then check out this fab list below……

Clifton Country Park– I first wrote about Clifton Country Park when we first discovered their fairytale trail last summer. As well as open woodland, a large free car park, a cafe and toilets and a playground, there’s a fab fairytale trail that your kids will love.

The trail is approximately a mile long which is perfect for little legs. There’s 10 wooden sculptures along the way as you walk (it’s a circular trail), you can even spot The Gruffalo! For more information see here.

Clifton Country Park, Clifton House Road, Clifton, Salford, Manchester, M27 6NG

Etherow Country Park– situated in Compstall (Stockport), is home to many plants and wildlife and covers an area of 200 acres. There’s a pay and display car park, toilet facilities and a cafe that sells bird food (there’s always plenty of birds that want feeding).

There’s also a ‘magical fairy den’ that your children can explore hidden in the forest! To find the fairy den, you need to go into the woods once you reach the weir. Once your in the woods, follow a sign and a track further round and into the woods. Its a wonderful place to visit, certainly worth having a look around. See here for more information.

Etherow Country Park, Compstall, Stockport, SK6 5JD

Delamere Forest– is Cheshire’s largest area of woodland and is the perfect place for kids to let off some steam. Its great for the whole family whether your into walking or cycling. There’s plenty of picnic areas, a cafe, bike hire, pay and display car park plus your little ones can go crazy over The Gruffalo!

In the deep dark forest see if you can find the sculpture and for only £1.50 you can take part in a fun family map reading challenge to see if you can find the 12 Gruffalo markers hidden in the wood! More information about Delamere Forest can be found here.

Delamere Forest, Northwich, CW8 2HZ

Fletcher Moss Botancial Gardens– a beautiful park in Didsbury that we spent a lot of time in over the summer. The gardens at Fletcher Moss are not to be missed (especially at summer time) but there will be plenty to see during the winter. We loved the little paths and stone steps, my little girl thought it was a garden made for fairies.

After a visit to the gardens, head into Stenner Woods and do some exploring. Here we did some geocaching, found some painted rocks but we also found a handmade swing in the forest, this was lots of fun.

We next reached Stenner Woods boardwalk which was another beautiful part of the of the park, there was plenty of wildlife and nature to see. I imagine it would be very muddy and even a bit boggy during the winter months so would recommend walking boots or wellies. From previous visits, playing in the woods are our favourite thing to do at Fletcher Moss.More information can be found here.

Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens, 18 Stenner Lane, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2RQ

East Riddlesden Hall- a couple of months ago we stumbled across East Riddleston Hall. As National Trust members, we decided to stop off at the house and gardens on the way home from visiting my mum in Yorkshire. I love finding lovely new places to explore and this was certainly a little gem.

As well as looking around the hall (which was fab for families too as the kids took part in a trail), there was plenty to see and do. We made apple bird feeders in their arts and crafts room but best of all were their gardens.

There’s a natural play area to explore as well as a bird hide and a wild play garden. My three loved this, there was a little Hobbit house, mud kitchen, den building and more. My little girl thought the fairies doors on the trees were the best. See here for more information.

Bradford Road, Riddlesden, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD20 5EL

Grizdale Forest– is a large area of woodland managed by the Forestry Commission about 30 miles from Windermere. We always visit when we take a trip to the Lakes. There’s lots of different paths and routes to take, suitable for walkers, mountain bikers and prams. There’s a large pay and display car park, visitors centre, toilets, cafe, shop, picnic area and a fab children’s play area.

Last year we took part in the Zog trail which was so much fun! This year I believe its the Shaun The Sheep Farmageddon Glow Trail, more information can be found here. These trails are always lots of fun, my children really enjoy them. The year before we took part in The Highway Rat.

There’s also plenty of sculptures to look out for throughout Grizedale Forest, from small wooden sculptures to huge mental ones. Our favourite ones from our last visit were certainly the magical musical trees! Turn the keys and listen to the musical surround the forest. See here for more information.

Forestry Commission Visitor Centre, Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead, LA22 0QJ

I’m always looking for places to explore, so if you know of somewhere that I should visit with my family please let me know. You can email me at

The Cockfields Christmas Experience 2019 is better than ever!

It’s almost that time of year again which can only mean one thing! Our family trip to the Christmas Experience at Cockfields Farm. Since Oscar and Isla (my three year old twins were born) we have come to Cockfields each year to see Father Christmas. Each year we are so impressed and the experience just gets better and better!

This year we were invited to come along to the Cockfields Christmas Experience launch event so I am able to tell you guys all about it!

We arrived at Cockfields in our Christmas jumpers and festive dresses! We were really going to get into the Christmas spirit. We were welcomed by plenty of friendly elves who directed us to the North Pole Departure Lounge. On arrival each child received a passport and a special bear coin for later! We took pictures on the giant chair, wrote our names on the passport and waited to set of to the North Pole.

We were soon off and away to make the special trip to see Father Christmas. The first stop on our way was to see an Elf Show at the Elf Academy. Here we met Cindy the Elf and Professor Pudding, who taught us how to be an elf, the secret elf wave, a super fun elf workout and plenty of singing and dancing. The elf show was lots of fun and all the children really enjoyed themselves.

Next we took Candy Cane Lane to Mrs Claus kitchen. After a quick demonstration, the children got to decorate their very own gingerbread man. My three loved doing this, especially eating them afterwards! Mrs Claus then invited us to sit and listen to a story in her kitchen, the children all sat around her on the carpet by her comfy armchair. It was lovely and definitely felt Christmassy.

We said goodbye to Mrs Claus and we entered Elf Village! Here there was plenty to do. The kids had a nosy in Elfridges and we wrote Father Christmas a letter at the Post Office. They even stamped it with a special North Pole stamp and popped their letters in the giant post box! We were even taught how to make extra special reindeer dust for us to sprinkle outside our house on Christmas eve. The children loved scooping the ingredients themselves. I noticed that all the ingredients were safe for wildlife to eat (no glitter or plastic) which was great.

Whilst at Elf Village we went to Elfbucks for a hot drink. My husband and I enjoyed a lovely mulled wine and mince pie, whilst the kids got giddy over cookies and hot chocolate with cream!

The elf village was beautifully decorated, it looked magical. Every detail had been cleverly thought about and so much care and effort had obviously been put into it.

We spent plenty of time in the elf village, there was so much to see and do. After we enjoyed our hot drinks we headed over to the Bear Workshop. A friendly efl took our tokens and asked which bear we would like to choose, make and take home. There was plenty of choice and we choose a green dinosaur, a pink reindeer and a snowman! After deciding, the elves handed us all the parts we would need to build our bear including the stuffing, a heart and a birth certificate. You also had the option of buying extras like a sound box and outfits for your new bear. Professor Pudding came to help my three, she even showed them how to give the heart a beat. My three kissed and hugged the little hearts before placing them inside the bears. All three of them were over the moon with the bears that they had made.

We handed our passport in for our bear workshop stamp and the kind elf kept them and said we’d soon be called to see Santa. The kids had one last walk around elf village and a photo with the selfie board and in no time it was our turn. This is a big bonus for me, no kids like waiting and throughout the whole experience they never felt like we were waiting for anything.

One by one we followed Santa’s elf through the Naughty or Nice body scanner (we were all nice by the way) and we found the door to Father Christmas’ grotto. We knocked a few times, heard a “come on in” and then the elf lead us in.

My three had been so excited to see Father Christmas all day, they rushed up to see him and immediately started to show him their bears they had made. Father Christmas asked them all about the things they had done today whilst at Cockfields Farm and of course what they wanted for Christmas. We could tell that this was the REAL Father Christmas, with his special Christmas suit and his real beard! It was an extremely wonderful experience to watch, all three of my children happily sat with Father Christmas for a photo capturing the special memory forever. Father Christmas then gave them all an extra special gold coin to spend in his North Pole Toy Shop! We waved goodbye, said Merry Christmas then left to head into the toy shop.

Well the kids thought it was fab! So many toys, so much choice and all for the one gold coin! They didn’t need to ask about price or if they had enough, every toy was worth the one gold coin from Father Christmas. There was a wide range of toys to suit all ages. The boys chose quite quickly, Joshua picked ‘Knock em Down’ (a shooting can game) and Oscar a stunt car set. Isla was a little more indecisive, firstly choosing slime, then a doll and finally settling on a pink soft cuddly toy.

We exchanged the coins for the toys and got the chance to see the photo of us with Father Christmas. We decided on having a digital copy, there’s also the opportunity to purchase other things such as keyrings. After getting a stamp we headed out of the toy shop and into the stables to see the animals.

All the usual animals that you find at Cockfields Farm were there in the barn. There are goats, cows, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs even meerkats! One of Santa’s elves had a hedgehog and was letting the children have a look. There’s also plenty of reptiles and bugs to see and even have a hold of if your brave enough!

My family had the most magical time at Cockfields Farm, the experience from start to finish took around 2 hours for us. This years experience is certainly the best yet our opinion! There are tickets left for certain 2019 dates but you must be quick. All details and how to book can be found here.

I was invited to their press launch and my family with gifted tickets to the Christmas Experience in exchange for an honest review. These views are my true and personal opinions.