Saturday, 19 April 2014

#AhoyLEGOLAND New Pirate Shores

My two little pirates were very excited to be heading to Legoland to preview the new Pirate Shores section of the park.  Youngest in the morning said “I cannot brush my teeth today, pirates do not brush their teeth!”, luckily I managed to persuade him in the end, so he was smart and presentable for the event in his pirate gear…

On arrival we headed straight to the remodelled Pirate Falls logflume, it was quite a thrilling ride as always but it now looks much more impressive with animated pirates and the opportunity to get well and truly soaked.   I am always secretly a little disappointed if I come off such a ride completely dry, so this ride was perfect for us brave seaworthy pirates we were drenched.

I love how the extra jets turn on at the end, just in case you possibly think you may have come off lightly.

This was the year we managed to convince eldest to take a ride and after initial reservations he enjoyed it thoroughly!  The new figures throughout make it interesting and distract you from the impending drop!  Even with quite a soaking you do dry off quickly in the beautiful sunshine.  There are also drying machines on hand for £2, big enough for a few people to share if needed!

Pirates were parading around the area, youngest was pleased to have a quick picture with one.

They were a pesky bunch of rapscallions, even taking sneaky rides on the Jolly Rocker which they claimed was their "official ship"! The boys loved the pirate theme, most children are pirate fans so this area will go down well with everyone.  Apart from the addition of Jack Sparrow himself (just for my personal eye candy of course!) I could not fault the area and the improvements that have been made.

The staff were as lovely as always.  On the Jolly Rocker eldest and I felt like we were going REALLY high and a friendly chatty member of staff pointed out Windsor Castle which you could see from the lofty heights of the back row!  My stomach was doing somersaults but its an interesting sensation and we had four more journeys before deciding to explore the rest of LEGOLAND.  Youngest tried it once but he preferred mingling with the pirates.

There is a Pirate Goldwash for an additional charge (£3.50), eldest was keen to try this out but then they got distracted by the singing pirates and forgot so we will be back again soon I am sure to find treasure me hearties!

We had a glimpse of Castaway Camp which was not yet open for the public (scheduled for May), but from what we could see behind the safety fence it looks set to be a fabulous new addition to the park.  A great place for the boys to burn off some energy, with slides and nets to keep them occupied for ages.  The play area looks very colourful and inviting.  

We love LEGOLAND it is easily our favourite theme park as a family and we walked 8 miles that day getting around everything!  So not only is it fun its a decent workout!  One thing is guaranteed your mini pirates will sleep well afterwards.

Making Chocolate Easter Eggs Round 2

Yesterday the boys were preparing Easter eggs for Easter Sunday.  I must admit they turned out better with hubbie at the helm!  When it comes to the kitchen he always seems to have a better grip on things.  There was less chocolate wasted and less chaos than when I helped the boys with the choconchoc set!

The ingredients we were sent were quite inspirational though, fudge, honeycomb, silver little balls, icing in an array of colours, jelly tots, chocolate stars and chocolate buttons!  The hardest part was not having a little taste test of everything…

Hubbie had the clever idea to add the fudge and honeycomb to the chocolate moulds so when they set the chocolate was studded in little pieces, it certainly made the eggs more delicious.

Hubbie did not need any help but I certainly do, so next time before I embark on egg making I shall read this useful egg-making guide.  You can download the instructions to ensure it’s a success!  But whatever happens when it comes to an activity involving chocolate its always going to be fun!

Hubbie encouraged the boys to use the icing to stick on the extra decorating goodies we had in.  But I like the idea from the guide better using a little extra melted chocolate to do the sticking.  They enjoyed covering the egg in big bits of icing so they could literally cover the egg in sugary treats!  

We will be letting them eat the tasty egg over a few days I think (if we can get away with it!) as it has about four days worth of sugar allowance in it!!!

The boys had a fabulous time though and they were very proud of their creations.  It was a wonderful family activity and one that will become a yearly tradition for us I am sure.  If you have already made your Easter eggs and wondering what else you can get up to now there are some lovely further Easter ideas here.

Healthy meal ideas for your kids

It's become increasingly hard over the years to strike the balance between allowing your children to enjoy the mass of unhealthy foods splayed across the shop shelves, with the want to shower them in healthy goodness. Who doesn't love sausages and mash or creamy sauces? It's hard, no getting away from it, but fortunately, supermarkets have been catching on with this health balance conundrum and have come up with some helpful solutions.

So supermarkets... they offer low-fat meals to pop in the microwave and the TV adverts are crying out for people to try substitutions in the form of meat-free options instead of mince and so on. But what if you don't want to eat 'fake' or processed food? Surely there's a way to combine fresh produce and high-quality meats with healthy meals? There is! There is a range of recipes for some really popular meals, with ingredients substituted for healthier options - a prime example is this twist on the classic shepherds pie recipe.

It's pretty clever when you think about it - you still get to eat all your favourite meals without having to sacrifice any flavour. Reckon it’s too good to be true? Let’s look at some examples that will prove otherwise:

1. Lose the jars. When you're making spaghetti bolognese, you really don't need to buy a sauce in a jar. Come on, you can do better than that! It's as simple as a tin of chopped tomatoes, a stock cube, and some herbs (yep that's honestly it), and you'll be producing a meal of entirely fresh and healthy goodness in no time. This is just one example of a home-made pasta sauce.

2. Whole-wheat is wholesome. This is one instance where you should believe what it says on the tin. Whether you're cooking pasta and sauce or lasagne, get on the whole-wheat bandwagon. Easier to digest, this is a great swap for your kids.

3. Fish, fish, fish. Brains, skin, and all that jazz. We want our kids to be the best they can be and with this in mind, fish is a very important element to include in their diets. The problem is, children don't always take to fish particularly well so you might want to try making homemade fish fingers and getting them involved to make it more fun – kids love the bread-crumbing of the fish slices! Another tried and tested method is to make a fish pie, with a low calorie cream sauce, like this recipe.

4. Dippy eggs. Eggs are the quickest and most simple way to get some tasty yet healthy food into your children. You're right, dippy eggs aren't the only way to include eggs into their diet, but they are the fun way! Buy some shaped cutters and let your kids cut out their soldiers… or stars... or whatever they like and even let them choose their own egg cup.

Have them involved in the timing of the eggs and then sit back and watch as they enjoy their playful, hand-on breakfast. Simple, quick and cheap as chips, this is an all-time crowd pleaser.

Hopefully this has sparked some imagination for meal times. Happy munching!