Hampton Court Palace – The Magic Garden

When I heard about the new Magic Garden at Hampton Court Palace I knew it would be a brilliant summer day out to add to our ‘staycation’ plans! And boy was I right…

The Magic Garden is an exciting new interactive play garden for families. Populated by mysterious mythical beasts, with battlements to storm, towers to besiege, and even a secret grotto to discover, the Magic Garden is a new and unique way for your family to explore the palace’s past. Set within King Henry VIII’s former Tiltyard, where the elaborate spectacle of the Tudor tournament played out, the new garden takes inspiration from the fairy-tale-like quality of the Tudor Palace.

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We met up with Isla’s brilliant cousins to go on this adventure! Ted is just a few days younger than Isla so it’s always lovely to see them playing together & Jack is almost 3 so can show the little ones how it’s done!

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Theres so much to explore from incredible tree-houses to hidden slides & mythical beasts!

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There is a beach area with play sand and a river running through which is fully equipped with plenty of water pumps and buckets to keep little ones entertained for hours!

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We decided to take a little break from the fun for lunch & then headed over to explore the famous maze! The cafe was reasonably priced & had a great selection on offer – I was even able to stick to The Body Confidence Programme thanks to a brilliant salad bar!

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We couldn’t remember the trick to find the middle so opted for letting Jack, guide us through! Probably the only time I’d recommend letting a 2 year old guide you, but it worked out pretty well!

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I swear Isla was having fun…  especially when we finally found the middle!!

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Look at those two!! Best friends, and the cheekiest pair I know!! We headed back to The Magic Garden and found a shady spot to relax while Jack tried out all the slides!

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I got roped into going down the big ‘scary’ slide with Jack… we had to go a few times, just to check it was still as fun as the first!

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This was Isla’s first time playing with sand, luckily she had Ted to show her how it’s done! I just love watching these two together…

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We all had the most amazing day & I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the garden before it closes on the 29th of October. Tickets are really reasonable at £7.70 for an adult & £5.50 for children 5+ – that includes entry to the Maze & the Magic Garden – more information can be found here. We can’t wait to go again & will be taking a picnic with us next time so we can stay in the garden all day!

 

Father’s Day at Waddesdon Feast Festival

This weekend was Father’s Day & not just any Father’s Day but Barney’s first Father’s Day!! I was determined to make it extra special, starting with a coffee & presents in bed, which Isla very kindly helped him open! She chose the unicorn wrapping paper that concealed a Chewbaca talking mask… I couldn’t resist! And a personalised book all about Daddy & Isla’s adventures! It’s so beautiful that I’ll do a separate review soon!

We had a very chilled out morning & then headed off to Waddesdon Manor with my parents for the Feast Festival! We arrived to GIANT queues and very nearly turned around but after some detective work & lots of confusion from the staff working there we established that we didn’t have to join the mammoth queue as we already had tickets! Not a great start but we boarded the short bus ride up to the festival with great relief that food was near!

We stepped off the bus to a flurry of activity, families eating on the long table, watching performances on the grass, creating flower crowns in a tent and all having a brilliant day!

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We immediately went in search of Lunch, quickly spotting the pulled pork & Rueben Sandwiches! While I left the more patient of our party in the queues, I took Isla off to explore! Naturally we found our way to the best stall… Prosecco & cake… What more could a girl want on cheat day?!

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We found a quiet spot to settle down for Lunch. Isla made her way round everyone to get a taste of everything…!

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Clearly a Daddy’s girl, as she was most interested in stealing Grumps’ Apple Watch!

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Cheers!! We have so much to celebrate on Father’s Day, not just the best Daddy in the world to Isla, but the best partner I could ever ask for!

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This cheeky monkey took the opportunity to escape as quickly as she could before I trapped her again in the baby wearer!

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After Lunch we walked around the festival checking out all the stalls, Barney must have tried every Cheese at the festival! And we even spotted some rather unusual visitors… If you follow me on Facebook you will have seen a video of Isla coming face to face with this big bad wolf!

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We walked around the back of the house to take in the beautiful Gardens before heading over to the Aviary and to watch the Jazz band! Nanny & Isla led the dancing with enthusiasm!

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I don’t know how Barney managed to escape my camera lens for most of the day, must be years of practise! Luckily I captured these two up to their usual mischief on the way back to the bus! Isla is so lucky to have such an incredible Daddy & I just love seeing them together having so much fun!

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We had a brilliant day, despite the slight hiccup at the start! I would highly recommend visiting any of Waddesdon’s events (we visited the Chilli Festival last year & loved that too!) just make sure you pre-book your tickets and turn up early to get a good seat at the table if you want one – or bring a picnic blanket like we did! There is so much to do for children of all ages & the Jazz band was a particular highlight for us! For more information on their upcoming events check here.

Our Family ‘Staycation’ at St Moritz Hotel, Cornwall

Deciding where to go for our first family holiday was a mammoth task; we wanted somewhere luxury, beautiful and most of all happy for us to bring Isla… Easier said than done!! Travelling with a baby has it’s restrictions but that doesn’t mean you have to end up in a ‘kidz’ holiday park wishing you’d just stayed at home…

We found the St Moritz hotel in Rock, Cornwall and boy did we luck out! It was absolutely perfect. There’s a Cowshed spa, indoor and outdoor pool, gym, two buzzy restaurants and a bar. The finish is super-stylish and contemporary, the location’s unbeatable and the Guest Host is on hand to plan your stay from start to finish. You can book into a hotel room, penthouse apartment or child-friendly garden villa, all with everything you could need for travelling with kids! Cots & linen are provided (for a small fee) and if you book into a King/Twin room you even get your own sea view beach hut next to the outdoor pool – if you are planning a summer visit!

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Isla was just a little grumpy as we arrived… but that changed quickly!

Located in Trebetherick, with views across the stunning Camel Estuary and Atlantic Ocean, close to Rock and Padstow and within five minutes of the beaches at Daymer Bay and Polzeath, St Moritz is the destination for a relaxing beach break.

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Isla made herself at home on the giant marshmallow bed right away! It was such a comfortable nights sleep – we didn’t want to get out of it the next morning! Isla had a great sleep in her cot but jumped right in with us first thing for cuddles & cartoons.

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Ready to catch some waves!

After the long drive we decided to go for a swim, as it’s Isla’s favourite thing to do! The pool changing rooms were spacious & clean. They have amazing disabled access too.

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Just relaxing in her own private pool… Lucky girl!

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After our swim we decided to brave a coastal walk down to the beach… It was rather windy as you can see… But the breath taking views more than made up for it! You wouldn’t be able to take a pram – but I felt safer baby wearing Isla anyway.

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We made a quick pitstop for a hot chocolate to warm up… Isla was fascinated but had to settle for her milk! Onesie from Gap Kids.  The service we received everywhere was amazing – so accommodating & friendly.

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Baby carrier from Baby Bjorn & Bear Suit from The Little White Company.

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We had to improvise a little to get Isla into the high chair – but she found it hilarious, of course! Breakfast was included in the room price & was absolutely delicious – my eggs Benedict was a particular highlight.

That night we had a three course dinner in the main restaurant that was absolutely beautiful. The service was wonderful & the restaurant was incredible stylish. The menu is a little pricey – but you pay for what you get. The attention to detail was exceptional & it was great to watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen.

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The next morning we went for another swim before driving over to Padstow. You can get a boat/ferry over but as we were there out of season – the last one back was too early to fit in our special dinner plans!

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Padstow has some lovely little shops to explore and great walks along the cliffs. All paved & accessible with the pram. (Urbo2 in Camel from Mamas & Papas!) Isla had her eye on some fudge that we were bringing back as a souvenir for her big cousins!

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For dinner we went to Rick Stein’s Cafe… He also has a restaurant in Padstow but only allows children over the age of 3. The food was fantastic, as you would expect – but make sure you get a reservation well in advance as even on a midweek in January it was fully booked from the moment it opened! The cafe itself is very small so there really isn’t much room for a pram – leaving the pram in the car & baby wearing would be a great option.

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Full & happy, we headed back to the hotel. We spent the rest of the night watching movies in our spacious room & letting this cheeky monkey stay up after bedtime for some extra family time before our much needed mini break was over. After another great nights sleep we grabbed breakfast & headed home.

It was the perfect first family holiday, short but sweet! We can’t wait to come back to this beautiful hotel & see it really come to life in the summer. They have some amazing deals on their website for out of season – if you don’t have to fit in with the school holidays yet. We stayed on the Discounted Decadence package & thought it was amazing value for money.

Family Friendly – 10/10
Baby Change Facilities- 10/10
Hotel Room – 10/10
Food – 9/10 (Just a little too expensive!)

Swimming Pool – 10/10
Nearby Activities – 10/10

You get the picture… absolutely perfect!! Thank you so much to everyone at the St. Moritz for making our first family staycation such a success!