Castles, Toys & Dino’s

Last week Jay was on A/L and we were lucky enough to spend a whole week together as a family. We have not had a car the whole time that we have been togther as a couple, but a few weeks ago we gained a nice family car and the freedom is now amazing. Jay decided to wake me up last Wedsnesday, told me and the kids to dress warm and waterproof, pack some lunch and get in the car… he was going to surprise us with a family day out.

Now, I hate not knowing where I am going or how long we will be sat in the car for… basically I hate surprises!

After much begging and poking of the ribs, Jay announced that we were going to Mountfitchet (eerrrr, Where?!) I had never heard of this place but apparently it was a perfect family day out, with a huge castle, Norman village, dinosaurs (no link to Normans in the slightest… but dinosaurs OK?!) And an amazing toy museum….. oh and its in Essex, I Knnoooowwww Shurrruuuupppp right!

So off we set, in the piddling rain (not impressed) and headed to Stanstead, the journey didn’t actually take long at all and soon we were pulling up in the car park, bite to eat (S**t! We left the lunch bag at home… on the table. Fail.), dressed up warm and headed inside. Because we visited during school term we only had to share the whole attraction with 2 school trips. No-one else was going into the museum so the staff opened it just for us (felt well posh like).

Walking up to the museum was hard work, it was a very steep slope and actually quite slippery, but just to make the walk a little more bearable, I nearly pooped my knickers being RAWRED at by a few dinosaurs…. It’s fun for the kids though, right?

mount fitchet dinosaursmount fitchet dinosaurs

The Toy museum was actually brilliant (the cost of entry was included in the entry price to the castle) with loads of strange toys fromĀ  past and some present, movie props, music memorabilia (I saw Elvis’ autograph…. I could almost ssmmeeellllll him), some great Victorian penny machines and some scary puppets.

One scary puppet…. Did not like this much!

scary puppet

The Force is Strong with this Olive…..

 

 

SWoliveBad parenting moment number 1….

jaws

Bad parenting moment number 2….

ss hatA girl can dream….

elvis autograph

After wandering around the museum we headed to the castle and village (After much rain, that steep slope felt a hell of a lot more slippery). I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the castle and village itself. Jay had briefly explained to me that it was a living museum that had been reconstructed above the actual original archaeological site. Walking up to the site you could not see much for the big castle walls, and huge gate… but this was all part of the attraction. As I entered the castle walls I was actually shocked. For despite it now raining even harder, it was actually beautiful. Some of you may know I have a huge fascination for archaeology and even had the privilege of working alongside Bradford Uni on a dig in Shetland a few years ago, but this tourist attraction really was something else. It was a full reconstruction of a Norman village with houses, animals, weapons, fertility chair(!), stocks, church (which I sat and breastfed in- until I was ambushed by a group of Essex school kids) and animals. How had I gone so long having never been there… or even never having heard of it!

I fully recommend this day out to any one, with children or without. I have absolutely fallen in love with the place, and I have actually even said to Jay that I am looking forwards to going back in the summer (Minus the mud and freezing rain, you see).

Here are a few photographs from the main attraction, you cannot really see the beauty of the village through my badly taken pictures, so please go see it for yourselves!

Did Jay really need to touch the fertility chair? We will let you know in a few months. JOKE!norman fertility chair

Heading up to the castle gate…mountfitchet

The lovely peasants cottage…

cottageChoosing Christmas dinner…

birds1Finally I found this video on Mountfitchet, Watch it to see some better photos that mine!

Little Miss Suitcase Review

The girls were very lucky to be sent a new suitcase to put to the test!

Little Miss Sunshine suitcase

We were sent a Little Miss Sunshine suitcase from the lovely people at Sports Direct. This kids suitcase is bright and fun, with a HUGE Little Miss Sunshine on the front… great for spotting in amongst all the other suitcases when travelling. The case has a hard shell which is fab for protecting all of its contents (especially if you are carrying some fragile objects such as games consoles or baby bottles), has wheels on its base and a retractable handle so your little one can wheel the bag along by themselves. The handle is also a lovely size and not too big, so toddlers can grip it easily. The case also has a nice sized carry handle for those ‘Muuuuuum, can you carry it’ moments.

caseLittle Miss Sunshine suitcase

The case is fully lined inside with a large zip secured pocket, and straps for keeping your luggage flat and in place. A small padlock and key comes with the suitcase too, for extra added security. The zip on the main body of the suitcase also has cute Little Miss Sunshine tabs on, great for little fingers to grip.

caseLittle Miss Sunshine suitcasecaseLittle Miss Sunshine suitcase

The suitcase can hold plenty, yet still is accepted as hand luggage by most airlines (make sure you double check before your journey though.) When the case arrived I noticed that it was covered in a protective film, but this easily peels off and leaves the most wonderful shine that makes the case really look amazing.

Over all a very practical, light weight suitcase that is great for weekends away, school trips or even as an over night case when you send them packing off to grandma’s! Holds lots and is fun for the kids to wheel around. I definitely think Willow loves this suitcase…. and I might even love it more. A great product that I fully recommend to anyone with small children that often travel.

You can find the Little Miss Sunshine on the Sports Direct website here,

And More fab, cheap cases here.

I was sent this item for review from Sports Direct. All opinions expressed are my own.