Friday, 12 April 2019

Visiting the Blue Lagoon Iceland with Kids

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Iceland is undoubtedly the Blue Lagoon - a geothermal spa located 45 minutes from Reykjavik.


 It might look like a natural hot spring but the lagoon is actually man-made, The water comes from a nearby geothermal power plant where superheated water is pumped from the ground and used to run turbines that generate electricity. The water cannot be recycled due to its rich mineral content so it is pumped into the nearby landscape. The water renews itself every 2 days.


I have seen so many pictures of the Blue Lagoon on Instagram and although we were only in Iceland for 5 days, I knew it was definitely somewhere we needed to visit!

The question was, could we take the children? Is it suitable for children?

Yes and Yes!

The minimum age for visitors is 2 years old so my kids were above the minimum age. They are both water babies and adore their swimming so I knew that they would enjoy it - although I did have to warn my son that it wasn't like a regular pool. He wouldn't be able to jump in from the side - it was more of a floating pool!

You MUST pre-book tickets online before visiting otherwise there's a risk of it being fully booked. When you book, you choose an hour slot and you can arrive anytime within this hour. Prices vary from the comfort package at £75pp to the premium at £94. You can get cheaper tickets if you are willing to go at off-peak times but it's best to check the website for these. The good news is that children under 14 go free - which made the eye-watering entry prices slightly better when there were just two tickets to pay for!

Our reservation was 11am and we arrived straight from the airport which is just 20 minutes away. We had a hire car but there were a lot of buses coming in and out so I think it would be relatively straight forward to get there using public transport. We were a bit early so we had a little wander along the pathways that snake around to the left of the lagoon. Wow, that's when the wind hit us!! We'd left all our hats/gloves/thick coats in the car as I wanted to take as little as possible into the lagoon so we didn't hang around outside for long.



I'd heard bad reviews about lots of queues at the entrance but we went straight in with no problems. Although the children were free, they were still given a colour coded wristband as were we. The adult wristbands are used to pay for drinks once in the lagoon so don't lose them - they are also used for the lockers.

We had the comfort package and so everyone was given a towel and off we went to the locker rooms which are separate for male and female. Paul took Elliot and I had Erin...I think he had the easy job ;)

I was worried that we would have to get undressed in front of everyone - this is not something I'd like to do by myself let alone with a 2-year-old!! But I needn't have worried, there were several cubicles so we found an empty one and got our swimsuits on.


The Blue Lagoon are apparently very strict about visitors showering naked before entering but in all honesty, I didn't see any staff enforcing this. There are plenty of shower cubicles so we hopped in and had a quick shower - I also made sure I lathered my hair with the conditioner that is supplied. Your hair gets very dry in the lagoon due to the silica in the water so it's really important to keep it conditioned!

Erin was not a fan of the showers and screamed her head off so that was a bit stressful - there wasn't anywhere in the cubicle where she could stand and not have water in her face so she wasn't too happy! In all the drama of showering minus our swimsuits, we also dropped both towels on the floor drenching them....doh! Fortunately, there seemed to be plenty of towels to help yourself to so we had no issues replacing them.

Once showered we went to the meeting area and found Paul and Elliot, we also picked up armbands for the children. All kids under 8 must wear these and the lifeguards were very strict about this. There were lots of coat hooks and people were leaving their towels and robes here. To be honest, all the towels were identical so you might have to memorise the number of the peg!

There are two ways of getting into the Blue Lagoon. You can easily go through the double doors and be faced with the freezing Icelandic temperates whilst lowering yourself into the pool.

We chose a much nicer way! There is a ramp inside where you enter the water from - as you exit, you don't feel the cold as much because you're already in the pool. And wow, that water temperature is lovely! It's just like getting into a bath.  The temperature outside was probably around 3/4C but it honestly didn't feel like it due to the warmness of the water.


The lagoon is quite big and there plenty of places to explore such as waterfalls that massage your back and neck, the mask bar where you can scoop up some white silica to put on your face, the drinks bar and the sauna and steam room. Or the smoke room as Elliot called it!



What surprised me was the difference in temperature in different parts of the pool. The water is generally between 37-40C but there were some real hot spots!

All packages (except kids) allow you to have a drink from the bar and there were alcoholic beverages such as beers, or you could have something healthier like a smoothie. Paul had a beer and I had a slushie. I didn't fancy sharing it 3 ways so we bought the kids one too! I think it worked out about £4 when we came to pay at the end.

We ended up spending almost 2 hours in the pool - the children were happy to stay longer but we were starting to resemble wrinkly prunes! The time went so fast and it was lovely floating around in the warm water.

Once out of the water, Paul and I went our separate ways with a child each. This is where I found it a bit stressful! The first problem was showering - again Erin screamed her head off and it wasn't a very relaxing experience! She kept trying to escape out of the shower cubicle (there aren't any locks, it's just a swing door) so I was having to hold her and try and wash our hair etc.

The next issue was the logistics of getting back to the locker! You are meant to dry off before entering the changing area to keep it dry. Being a plus size lady, I found the towels quite small so I had to grab a couple of fresh towels and attempt to wrap a couple round me and keep them up...as well as getting Erin dried and stop her screaming/slipping over, plus also carrying our wet costumes!

We managed to shuffle back to the changing area without flashing too much flesh and I was relieved to find an empty cubicle to get us dressed in!

There are lots of mirrors plus hairdryers in the changing area which is useful - they even have cotton buds to make sure you have all the silica mask out of your nooks and crannies!


Once you leave the changing area, you swipe your wristband and settle up any money that is owed. You then have to swipe again to get out and your wristband is popped in the turnstile as you leave.

We were all really hungry after all that floating about so we headed to the cafe for a bite to eat. There are several dining options at the Blue Lagoon ranging from the sit-down Lava Restaurant to the grab and go cafe. We didn't want to hang around too long so we just bought a few snacks from the cafe. Be warned, it is very pricy but if you're heading to Iceland then you'll know how expensive everything is!



Final Thoughts

Is the Blue Lagoon worth the money?
The entry price is expensive but it's a fantastic experience and definitely not like any pool I've ever visited before! If you want to save money, consider going early in the morning or last thing at night when the prices are slightly cheaper.

Is it suitable for Kids?
Yes! Although we only a handful of children while we were there, it's definitely somewhere children would enjoy, especially if they love the water like mine do. It was a real novelty for them being outside in the very cold temperate but being all warm in the pool. Elliot even said it was his favourite part of the whole holiday!







Thursday, 11 April 2019

Ravensburger My First Puzzles - Mothers & Babies - Review

Erin is at the age now where she has started to take an interest in puzzles and it's great to see her little brain working out what piece goes where. The problem with being a second child though is that all our puzzles are her brother's hand me downs and she doesn't actually have any of her own...oops!

Ravensburger offered to send us a puzzle from their "My First Puzzles" range and I thought this would be a lovely item to review...and a chance for Erin to have a puzzle of her own ;)


The Mothers and Babies set is aimed at toddlers from 18+ months and is a perfect introduction to puzzles. Containing 6 individual animal puzzles, each has two pieces. Featuring a cat, dog, sheep, cow, duck and pig the baby part is nestled in the Mum's tummy.


As with all Ravensburger puzzles, the quality is fantastic and each piece is made of sturdy, thick laminated cardboard. Some puzzles are so flimsy you know that they will bend and break but I know this one will endure the strength of a toddler and still be fine!

Erin is 2 years and 3 months and she had no trouble working out which baby went where. I think possibly she might be at the upper age level of who this puzzle is suited for but it still made for an educational game, despite the simplicity of the puzzles. We talked about what noises the different animals made, and what colours she could see on the puzzles.

She has played with it lots since we got it and it's great because it's something that she can do by herself, she doesn't need any help setting it up or getting it out of the box. (Well, I asked if she wanted some help and she said "no! Me do it!")


The Mothers & Babies Puzzle set is £6.99 and can be purchased from Amazon

Disclaimer: We received the product for the purpose of the honest review. All views are my own


Monday, 25 March 2019

Children's Easter Gift Guide - 2019


As much as I love a chocolate egg at Easter, sometimes it's nice to give something different. Especially if your children are going to get multiple eggs from family! There are some lovely Easter themed gifts in the shop at the moment and here's some of my favourite bits....



We're Going on an Egg Hunt Book (£4) - Children will love the simple storyline, with the added bonus of flaps to lift! This book features some beautiful illustrations too.
Bunny Pull Back Racers - Baker Ross (£2.45 for 4) - We always do an egg hunt in my parent's garden and I think these would be perfect for that so the kids are overloaded with chocolate!
Cuddlebunny Hooded Bath Towel (£34.99) - For a special Easter gift, these bunny towels look adorable. The child sizes even go up to 3-6 years too which is fab as a lot of the hooded towels seem to be suited to smaller children.

Bunny Scissors and Desk Organiser* (£23.50) -  This is the cutest desk organiser I have ever seen and would make a lovely Easter gift for an older child. The scissors make up the ears, whilst the green paperclips create the carrot stalks.
Cadburys Easter Eggstravaganza (£10) - Of course, Easter isn't Easter without a bit of chocolate and personally for me, it's all about Cadburys! Why does Easter chocolate taste even better than normal chocolate?!!

LEGO Brickheadz Easter Bunny (From £12.99) - Elliot is really into Lego at the moment and he has actually asked for one of these at Easter. It says 10+ but I'm sure with a bit of help, younger children would enjoy it too
Personalised Gift Mug (£3.99) - These are super cute and would be lovely filled with some mini eggs to make a little Easter gift
Penwizard Personalised Books* (From £12.49) - For a really lovely gift that's a bit different, Penwizard create personalised books for children. Featuring lots of favourite characters such as Peppa Pig, In the Night Garden and Paw Patrol, kids will adore starring in the story as their very own customised character! We have a Peppa Pig one which Erin loves and the illustrations genuinely look like her which she finds hilarious!

Wishing You all a Happy Easter

**Disclaimer - Two of these items were sent to me for the purpose of this gift guide

Friday, 1 March 2019

Our February Half Term

January seemed to drag on forever and it felt like half term would never arrive! But finally it was time to relax...I say relax in the loosest sense as we had an action packed week planned. But still, there was no school run!

Here's what we got up to..

Abba Workshop / Upton Country Park

The first day of the holidays saw us having a split day - I spent the day with my choir on an Abba Workshop which was brilliant fun! The children had a day with Paul which was nice as they don't get to do it without me very often. The weather was a bit drizzly but he took them out for a long walk to a place called Upton Country Park. It's somewhere we love visiting and it's great because it's walking distance from our house, and there is always something fun to do!



He did make me laugh though, he packed a picnic for the kids but said they were still hungry and wanted something else....welcome to my life hah! Always blimmin hungry! 

Winchester Science Centre

This is fast becoming Elliot's favourite place to visit, in fact he's been there three times since December! We went along to review the half term activities and we had a brilliant day. There is so much to do and is definitely a full day out. Erin loves it too, she's too young to understand the science behind the experiments but give her a button to press and she's happy! 


Jawsome Sharks at Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park

We've recently become Blogger Ambassadors for Weymouth SEA LIFE and it's somewhere we really enjoy visiting. The kids were looking forward to taking part in the Jawsome Sharks event and I was looking forward to seeing the Fairy Penguins - who are extremely cute by the way! 



We had lunch in the nearby pub too and they had a soft play area which was fab - more pubs should have this! It meant the kids weren't getting bored waiting for their food, and I got a few minutes of peace while they were off exploring. Not so easy getting them to leave though ;)

Dodging the showers at Kingston Lacy

Kingston Lacy is very popular at this time of year with thousands of people visiting to see the beautiful snowdrops. It certainly seemed like most of Dorset were there the same time as us judging by the number of cars in the carpark and queues in the cafe! 

It was a funny old morning with lots of sunshine and torrential showers but the kids didn't care about the rain, they just had lots of fun playing with their friends. We did have a muddy incident though...Erin decided that stomping in it wasn't enough and she ended up sitting in a very thick muddy puddle!


Looking for Zog at Moors Valley Country Park

Moors Valley is always a great place to visit as there are acres of forest to explore with lots of play trails along the way. There is also the brand new Zog trail! We didn't do the full trail which involves purchasing an activity pack from the information centre but we enjoyed spotting the Zog pictures along the way. 


We went with a couple of our friends and the children had a brilliant time playing on the wooden play areas. Thankfully we had no mud incidents although Elliot did manage to split his welly boots! 



Seaside Fun in Swanage


The weather looked lovely for Friday so we headed down to the seaside town of Swanage with some friends. Unfortunately the weatherman got it wrong and we drove into Swange in thick mist! It was pretty chilly too so not quite the warm Spring day we were hoping for. Never mind, we had lots of fun playing in the park, spending all our 2ps in the arcade - we even went to Wimpy, how retro! 


After lunch we decided to let the kids have a play on the beach - but it took them all of 5 seconds to get wet in the sea! Elliot's legs were drenched and his brand new wellies were full of water! Fortunately we had spare clothes and hypothermia was averted. They loved it though!!



Geocaching in our local area


On the last day of the holidays the sun was shining again so we decided to head out for a bit of Geocaching. If you've not heard of Geocaching before, it's a great activity that goes on all over the world and is basically a bit like a treasure hunt! 

We drove to a nearby village and followed a very muddy track that led us to several caches. Elliot was really excited to find his first geocoin too! 



The weather was absolutely gorgeous - mad to think that this time last year we had snow! 

So that was our half term holiday -nice and busy just as we like it! We did have a couple of days where we didn't go out and just chilled out at home - we all needed to recharge our batteries and it was nice not to have to rush out anywhere. 

We're on countdown to the Easter holidays now! 


Saturday, 23 February 2019

Jawsome Sharks at Weymouth SEA LIFE Adventure Park


This year we became Blogger Ambassadors for our local SEA LIFE Adventure Park in Weymouth. It's somewhere that I've been visiting for as long as I can remember and it's lovely to be able to take my own children and know that we are going to have a guaranteed great day out!

We will be visiting lots this year to review all the exciting things happening but our first day out was to check out the Jawsome Sharks event. The first thing that caught my eye was the word PLAY-DOH - I don't know about your kids, but mine love the stuff so I knew this event would be a big hit!


Guests are invited to become a Jawsome Ranger by assisting Professor Finn who has lost all the model shark teeth around the park. Along the way, guests will discover facts about the different species of sharks and will have the chance to learn more about the SEA LIFE sharks and rays. 

We couldn't wait to get started! At the front desk we were given information sheets and pencils and off we went. The park is very easy to navigate and each creature zone is numbered so it's very simple to see everything. 



It didn't take us long to spot our first shark tooth in one of the tanks and we had to then decide which type of shark is came from. The information sheets have a picture of all the teeth so it's nice and simple for little ones to figure it out. 


One of the biggest draws of the park is the amazing play area Caribbean Cove - in my opinion it is one of the best in Dorset. It is always something Elliot looks forward to and this visit was no exception - he raced through the zones in record time to get to the the play area! 

Fortunately, Costa Coffee was open so I was able to relax with a sneaky hot chocolate while the children played! It's great that the play area is suitable for a variety of different ages - Elliot of course loves to climb up to the highest point and slide down the firemans pole but there's plenty for Erin too. She loves going down the toddler slide and sitting in the boat! 



I was wondering how I was going to drag the children away from the play area but fortunately there was a torrential downpour which had us running for cover of the Ocean Tunnel. I think we might still be there otherwise!

I love the Ocean Tunnel and it's definitely my favourite zone - I was about to write that it's relaxing watching all the creatures swimming serenely above....it probably is relaxing if you haven't got two little ones nagging to find another shark tooth! "Come on Mum!!!"

Fortunately the rain had stopped so we headed towards one of the newest attractions at the park, Fairy Penguin Island. Here lives twenty of the cutest penguins you will ever see - the smallest penguins in the world in fact!



Back to the Shark Mission...after finding our last tooth we were keen to head back to Professor Finn in the shark lab. There the children handed in their findings and were given a prize which was a pot of play-doh. In previous events they have received a special pop badge so this was a real treat and less likely to get lost in the boot of the car! I was expecting it to be a mini pot of Play-doh but actually it was full size and there were plenty of colours to choose from...Elliot swapped his about 6 times before settling for turquoise!

The Shark Lab was a great place to learn about Sharks with lots of teeth on show and various items that can be found along the shoreline. My kids however were more interested in the activity tables where they spent ages playing with the play-doh and creating their masterpieces. There were activity sheets detailing how to make your own Play-Doh shark but Elliot was happy to go freestyle!




After a quick pose in the impressive Lego shark head, it was time to head home. We had a brilliant day and learnt lots of about sharks. We can't wait to visit again!

The Jawsome Sharks event is running from 16th February - 6th May 2019. For more information and to book tickets, please check out the SEA LIFE Weymouth website.

If you would like to read about our previous visits to SEA LIFE Weymouth, see here


*Disclaimer: We are Weymouth SEA LIFE Ambassadors and received an annual pass in return for regular reviews, but all thoughts and opinions are my own

Monday, 18 February 2019

Science of Magic - Half Term Fun at Winchester Science Centre



You may remember that we visited the Winchester Science Centre back in December and it was easily one of the best days out we've had as a family.

We were invited back to experience the brand new activities for half term and Elliot was quite excited to hear that the live science show was centred around the Science of Magic! He has several of his own magic sets so he couldn't wait to see what tricks he would watch.

The live science shows are running at regular intervals throughout the day ( 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2.30pm and 3.30pm) and can be booked online when you purchase tickets for the Science Centre.

We opted for the 11am one so when we arrived we headed straight downstairs and took our seats in the science show room. There are plenty of seats but little ones might want to sit on the end of the row to get a better view!


The show began with a pretty impressive balloon trick featuring liquid hydrogen - science wasn't my strongest subject at school but the show taught me a few things! I won't give any of the secrets away but you can expect to see a scientific take on the cup and ball trick, and even the show's presenter setting his hand on fire! (Not to be tried at home obviously...!)




It's a great show and well worth seeing if you are visiting this half term. It lasts for 25 minutes which is just long enough to hold the attention of the younger members of the audience.

February half term also sees the return of the You Are Here!, a hugely popular 30-minute planetarium show that combines live performances with the immersive 360 full dome planetarium experience.


The show takes you on a journey through space to discover "the most incredible, remarkable, mind blowing thing in the universe". Aimed at children and their families, they will love zooming into the planets and learning some facts along the way. The light up umbrellas are pretty cool too! Elliot said he really enjoyed "You Are Here!" and he liked seeing Mars best.


In between watching the science show and learning about the planets in the Planetarium, we had lots of time to explore the interactive displays in the Science Centre. And there are so many things to see and do! The kids were immediately drawn to the Colon Cafe again where they learnt about good and bad bacteria and what goes in and out your body. Elliot also loved the Science of Sport Zone where he tested out wheelchair basketball, took part in a rowing race and even found out how high he could jump!





There are two floors of interactive exhibits, plus the new Explorer:Space zone featuring 20 fantastic modular exhibits. With so much to see, there is something for everyone. Even Erin - she might be too young to understand the exhibits but she enjoyed "helping" Elliot! She also loved the construction soft play area and spent lots of time in here whilst the boys explored the Space zone.



We had lunch in the Hub cafe again but there are plenty of seating areas on the lower level of the centre for people bringing picnics. I also spotted outdoor seating and play area so this will be great in the Summer!

We had another fantastic day at the Winchester Science Centre - it is fast becoming one of our favourite places to visit. It is perfect for a rainy weekend and I guarantee there will be something for all the family to enjoy. We can't wait to come back!



Ticket Info: 


Tickets cost £12 per person with under 3's going free. If you book online at least three days in advance you will save 25% off.

The Science of Magic activities are free with admission and run daily 10:00-17:00 from
Friday 15 – Monday 25 February.

You Are Here! planetarium shows are running at least twice daily 16 - 22 February. Tickets cost £5.50 per person with General Admission or £8.60 standalone.

There is a £2 charge for visitors wishing to park on site.

For more information, please visit https://www.winchestersciencecentre.org/

*Disclaimer - We were invited to Winchester Science Centre in order to conduct an honest review of the half term activities.





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