Wednesday 24 April 2019

The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly at Lighthouse Poole - Review

As a family we love going to the theatre to see family friendly shows and we are spoilt for choice in our local area. The Lighthouse Poole is our local theatre and they have a wide range of live shows including a fabulous line up of kid friendly performances. 

Over the Easter holidays, the People's Theatre Company bought their fantastic live show to Poole - The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. This is a story I remember reading as a little girl and as always with these kind of shows, I was really intrigued to see how a short children's book could be turned into an hour long show! 

As we took our seats, the stage was simply set with a sofa, fridge and a simple window backdrop. The story began and we were introduced to the old lady - who was a spritely old thing! We also met an alien and a space traveller called Nambang from the planet Toefluff. 

Photo credit - PTC
As you may have guessed, the story is not quite as you expect! I won't give anything away but let's just say, the audience are very much encouraged to join in with the songs. The singing helps the old lady finish the story so we (and the aliens) can see what happens. How does she eat all those animals? Does she die?! 

Photo Credit - PTC
At just over an hour, this was the perfect amount of time to keep my little ones entertained. I think the alien story line went over their heads a little but they found it hilarious watching the animation of when the old lady eats all the animals. The audience participation was fun and very suited for the age range in the audience - even Erin (2) knew most of the songs so it was fab for her to be able to join in. 

Elliot's favourite part (and I knew it would be!) was getting to shout "PERHAPS SHE'LL DIE!!!!" at the end of every segment. He was a bit over enthusiastic at times haha! 

The icing on the cake for the children was spotting the characters in the foyer after the show - Erin's a bit funny with people dressed up but even she had her photo with the alien! 

Thank you PTC for a fun afternoon - we hope see more of your shows in the future :)

For more information and tour dates, check out the PTC website

**Disclaimer - We were provided with press tickets for the purpose of this review but our reviews are always honest! 

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 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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...