Little Squirrel’s 5th Birthday Party with Wish Upon A Star Entertainment Scotland

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Regular readers will have noticed Little Squirrel turned 5 last weekend.
As this is her last year at nursery we decided to invite some of her nursery friends to her birthday party, which meant our numbers were too big for our usual house party.

Initially we were going to book a soft play party, but Little Squirrel requested a princess party instead…
So we booked a local church hall as our venue, and then the hunt was on for the entertainment.
I had a few recommendations for local businesses that could provide a princess for a birthday party, but in the end we decided to go with Wish Upon A Star Entertainment, who I was aware of through Instagram, and who were the most reasonable in terms of value for money!

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If you saw my last post featuring the birthday cake, you will know already the theme of our party was The Little Mermaid, so we booked for a mermaid princess (Ariel) to come to Little Squirrel’s birthday party as the entertainment.

So last weekend in a church hall in Kirkintilloch, Ariel came to entertain Little Squirrel and 15 of her friends as part of her birthday celebration.
She started by introducing herself to the children, and kicked things off by teaching them how to wave, smile, and march like a princess for their very own princess parade.

Next it was storytime; of course our princess read the story of The Little Mermaid… The kids were hanging off her every word. I was really impressed by how she involved the kids in different parts of the story, and injected some humour in to the story as well. She was engaging, and funny, and magical!
The performers at Wish Upon A Star entertainment are all trained to act, walk, and talk just like the characters they are portraying, and our princess really did just that! All the parents were asking me “is she really American?”.ArielstorytimeCollage.jpg

After the story was over, it was time for musical statues, which once again was executed excellently. The kids had to all pretend to be frozen, like when Anna from the movie Frozen turned in to an ice statue. After musical statues there was some time left for musical bumps, and then it was time for the cake presentation…

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Before it was time for Ariel to say Goodbye, we got a chance to have photos taken with her.

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Ariel with the Little Squirrels

For £100 we got a 1 hour princess party package. The whole experience far exceeded my expectations, and Jennifer who played the role of our mermaid princess was just amazing! She really transformed each element of the party from a traditional party game in to something unique and captiviting for her audience. I was really impressed with how well she engaged with all of the kids, with how accurately she played her role, and I think we all fell in love with Ariel a little bit!
I was a little concerned that a princess party would be too girly for some of our male guests (and we couldn’t afford to pay to have a superhero character attend as well) but  boys and girls alike were transfixed by Ariel, and it was clear to see how much the kids enjoyed the mermaid party experience.
I really couldn’t recommend Wish Upon A Star Entertainment highly enough. If you are thinking of hosting a princess/superhero party then check out their Facebook page, or email them with your enquiry at wishuponastarentertainment@yahoo.com

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Happy 5th Birthday Little Squirrel

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Today you turn 5 years old. How much you have learnt this last year…

You will start school in August and I only hope that you enjoy your school days as much as I did.
You are so eager to learn… you constantly amaze us with new facts you have learnt at nursery. At the minute you are intrigued by China, after learning all about Chinese New Year at nursery. When we are out in the car you shout out “Chinese restaurant” when you spot the Chinese symbols on the restaurant signs. Your writing is really coming on, and you love drawing houses, flowers and people .

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Dance!

You and your little sister joined a local ballet class last year, which you have really enjoyed, and have made some lovely new friends there.
You love a dance party at home, especially an Irish dance party in our kitchen…

Maybe we will find some Irish Dancing lessons for you to join this year…

Your love of music continues, especially the Disney compilation we listen to in the car. At the minute one of your Disney favourites is I Wanna Be Like You from The Jungle Book, which you have almost word perfect now! I have been playing you Prokofiev’s Peter & The Wolf lately, which Grandpa used to play for me when I was a little girl, and you seem to love it as much as I did. Both you and your little sister love to skip through the forest with Peter, flutter around like the little bird, and to stomp around to Grandpa’s theme!

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Fun with Grandpa

You love your food as much as I do, and you have definitely inherited my taste buds, with your love of blue cheese, and pate, and mint choc chip ice cream! One of your favourite meals at present is Chinese soy and garlic pork with rice.

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Ice cream!

One of my favourite things is to watch you and your little sister play. It is clear how much your little sister looks up to you as she follows your lead in play scenarios, and I love how much she makes you laugh with her funny little ways!

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Sisters

My darling you are growing up to be such a clever, inquisitive, loving big girl, and I am so very proud of you. Love you to the moon and back my fellow pea in a pod!

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A Letter To Littlest Squirrel – On Your 3rd Birthday

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Happy Birthday my darling little one.

You are the funniest, cheekiest little firework I know. I call you a little firework as you bring so much joy to our lives, yet you have the most explosive temper! This is not to do you a disservice, as most of the time you are the cutest, happiest, laid back, fun-loving little person.

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You love your big sister, and the two of you love playing Mums and Dads or Doctors. As much as you love your big sister, you sure know how to wind her up at times, but that is what sisters do, after all!

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Over this last year you have moved in to your big girl bed and are growing up so fast!

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One of the things I love most about you is your sense of humour. You really do make me laugh every single day. Your Dad will tell you I am always telling him how funny (and how cute) you are.

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You love music and dance. I love it when we have singalongs with your big sister in the car. It makes me so proud to hear your little voices singing along to the music that we love, and it makes me so happy to know that you are following in my footsteps in your love of music, that was so important in my own childhood, growing up with Grandpa and Nanny Møller. In the last year you have started ballet classes, and you performed in your very first dance Christmas show at the end of last year. You took it all in your stride and made us very proud parents.CiaraDanceCollage.jpg

You love visiting Granny & Grandad in Langbank, and Grandpa in Ireland. You adore Grandpa’s dog Archie, and I think he loves you too as he is very tolerant with all your cuddles and affection!

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You favourite film of this year is Matilda, and for a while you insisted “I Tilda, not Ciara”, and you insisted on calling me or your Dad Mrs Trunchbull! Just recently, you love to watch the new BFG movie, or the “real BFG” as you call it. Roald Dahl was a huge part of my childhood, as I loved his books, so it makes me happy to see you sharing this love of this wonderful author.

You still love Moana and we are looking forward to throwing you a Moana party this weekend with our friends and neighbours coming to celebrate with us.

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Happy Birthday my darling girl! I love you more than you could imagine!

Lots of love, Mum xxx

 

 

 

Look At The Stars, Look How They Shine For You…

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Today is the anniversary of the day I lost my Mum to cancer. It has been a busy day with work, so I haven’t had much time to dwell on the anniversary of Mum’s passing. Until…

On my way home from work I picked up the Little Squirrels from nursery and told them I was planning on taking them to N Ireland to see Grandpa next month, to which my 4 year old replied she’ll miss Nanny not being there. My 2 year old then said she wanted to give Nanny a cuddle. My eldest, Little Squirrel, then looked out the car window and said “I can see a star up in the sky and it has Nanny Møller’s face on it”.

As an atheist, in all honesty, I don’t know what I believe when it comes to where we go when we die, and I struggle to know what the right way to explain this to my kids is. But I know it is important to talk about it, to keep Mum’s memory alive, and for them to understand that she would have loved them just as much as her Grandparents who are still here, given the chance. So, I have chosen to tell the girls that when we die we just leave our bodies behind, and we travel up to the stars and find a star to live on where we can always look down on the loved ones we have left behind.

Kids Fun Day at Darcy’s, Glasgow

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The weekend before last we were invited along to attend a Charlie & The Chocolate Factory themed afternoon at Darcy’s in Glasgow’s Princes Square.
On the last Sunday of every month, Darcy’s host a Kids Fun Day, where the children are entertained in their private dining room with face painting and arts & crafts, amongst other activities, while the adults get to enjoy some lunch in relative peace in the main restaurant.DarcysFunDayFlier.jpgWe had booked our table for 12 pm as we had been told this was when the event would begin. However, when we arrived we were told that the room wasn’t ready for the kids fun day yet, but our kids were happy to run around in the atrium area in the basement of Princes Square, and we were in no rush so this was not a problem for us.

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Darcy’s private dining area set up for the Kids Fun Day held on the last Sunday of every month

Once the room was ready the children were called through, and we were all really impressed with the set up of the private dining area for the kids fun day. There were seats arranged in rows in the centre of the room with cosy cushions on the floor at the front, creating a mini cinema with a large projector screen at the very front of the room showing Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (of course).

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Charlie & The Chocolate Factory themed treats & activities
Note chocolate fountain fail 😉

Around the edges of the room were tables offering different activities for the kids, from painting, to cake pop creating, to face painting and balloon modelling. There was also a huge quantity of sweet treats for the kids to indulge in. The chocolate fountain was a huge hit with all the kids, though it did take a while for the staff to figure out how to assemble it correctly.

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Little Squirrel requested a pink sparkly tiger from the face painter!
Note chocolate fountain success 😉

Just before 13.30 lunch was served for the kids. There was a buffet offering burgers, pasta, chicken burgers, and fish and chips. I wasn’t overly impressed with the standard of the kids food to be honest, and I think Darcy’s would do better (and would make life easier for themselves) with a buffet offering sliced meats and cheeses, fresh bread and butter, hummus, and a selection of fresh vegetables and fruits.

After lunch an Oompa Loompa made an appearance for the kids. I’d have loved to have shared some photos of this with you, but Littlest Squirrel was not such a fan of the Oompah Loompah, and we left soon after! She still talks about that Oompa Loompa, and not in a good way! 1f604.png

Whilst the kids were being entertained in the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory room Mr Hungry Squirrel and I were able to choose lunch from the main menu. I really enjoyed the coconut, chilli & ginger chicken curry, which tasted fresh and full of flavour. If your kids are attending the fun day (at £10 per child) you receive 20% discount of anything ordered from the a la carte menu.

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Coconut, chilli & ginger chicken curry from Darcy’s main menu

Overall, we really enjoyed our afternoon at Darcy’s Kids Fun Day.
My feedback to Darcy’s would be to make sure the staff are prepared for the event starting on time, and to make sure a designated member of staff introduces the event to kids and parents alike, and keeps everyone informed as the day progresses.
Most importantly the kids had a great time and we would definitely consider booking in for another Darcy’s Kids Fun Day! It is a great opportunity for parents to enjoy lunch out in a great city centre location, with somebody else entertaining the kids… happy kids = happy parents.

Keep an eye on the Darcy’s Facebook page for upcoming events. There will be some exciting Halloween and Christmas themed fun days coming up over the next few months, which your little ones are sure to enjoy! If booking make sure to book a table for yourself in the restaurant as well as the kids spaces in the private dining area.

I was offered the children’s spaces at the Kids Fun Day and lunch for myself and my partner at Darcy’s Glasgow for the purpose of this review. As always all opinions are honest and my own!

Brick City At New Lanark

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Last weekend we took the Little Squirrels to New Lanark to visit the Brick City Exhibition, on from June 28 2017 to September 10 2017.

Brick City is a celebration of iconic buildings from cities around the world, carefully recreated in LEGO® bricks by artist Warren Elsmore and his team. Discover highlights of cities across five continents, including lively celebrations in Rio and New York, tall towers from Copenhagen to Venice, and imaginative castles from medieval Japan to modern Las Vegas. The smallest models are crafted from less than a hundred pieces, but the awe-inspiring centrepiece is London St Pancras station, measuring two by four metres, and built from 180,000 pieces of LEGO – www.warrenelsmore.com

When we arrived at the car park for New Lanark we hopped on to a shuttle bus (operates on weekends only for the duration of the exhibition) which took us down the hill to the village itself. The Brick City Exhibition is situated in the School For Children Building, a short walk from the bus drop off point.

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We went straight to the Brick City Exhibition itself on the top floor of the building. The girls had great fun exploring the impressive Lego creations, and loved the challenge of finding individual figures on the Quiz sheet we were given on entry to the exhibition.

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Exploring the Brick City Exhibition at New Lanark

There was also a film of stop-motion animation to hold the kids attention with lots of fun Lego recreations of famous movies…

Next we headed down to the basement of the building to the self-led play area. This was a great space with tables set with boxes of Lego and laminated instructions to build different models of varying levels of difficulty. There was also a Lego wall where you could leave your mark with your Lego signature, and a Duplo room with plenty of Duplo bricks for the younger visitors to explore and play with.

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Self-led play area at Brick City, New Lanark

We had a great morning at the Brick City exhibition, and spent just over an hour here. The girls particularly loved the self-led play area where they could get hands on with the bricks!

Set within New Lanark, there is plenty more to explore once you have finished enjoying the Lego exhibition. We headed to the Mill Cafe for lunch, followed by some award-winning New Lanark Ice Cream, and a beautiful walk along the Falls Of Clyde.

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Ice Cream and the view of New Lanark from the Falls Of Clyde

There was also a lovely little play area where you could enjoy a picnic not far from the School For Children Building.

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Fairytale chair at the Falls Of Clyde Play Area

We had a fab day out visiting Brick City at New Lanark and hope to return over the next few weeks to explore more of New Lanark itself and to visit New Lanark’s Visitor Attraction.

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Brick City Selfies

Tickets for Brick City are £6 for adults, £4 for children 4 and over, and free for under 3s. A family pass for 2 adults with 2 or 3 children is £16. With each ticket bought for Brick City you get a voucher for 25% off New Lanark’s Visitor Attraction.

 

Hungry Squirrels Guide To Bluestone National Park Resort, Wales

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Those of you who follow me on Instagram and Facebook will have noticed that in June we spent a week’s holiday at Bluestone Resort in Pembrokeshire. Excluding travel time, we had 6 full days to fill at Bluestone. There is so much on offer at Bluestone that we could have easily filled another week.

Accommodation at Bluestone Wales

The resort is set in 500 acres of rambling woodland, with luxury lodges, cottages, and studio accommodation to suit a wide range of accommodation requirements.
We stayed in a 3 bedroom Gateholm Lodge, with a double room with en suite bathroom, and two twin rooms. Our lodge was furnished to a high standard and was extremely comfortable and homely for our week’s stay.

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Gateholm Lodge at Bluestone Wales

The only thing I felt missing from the accommodation was the lack of accessible laundry facilities. There is a laundry service available at guest services, but at a cost of £15 for 1 bag of washing, and we were advised we may not get our washing back for 48 hours, we felt this was overpriced and would take too long!

The Village at Bluestone Wales

At the heart of Bluestone is the Village Centre, home to an array of places to eat, a fantastic children’s playground and Treetops adventure playground, the Village Hall, Newton Stores supermarket, the Booking Office and for those of you with the luxury of time to yourself, there is The Well Spa for some pampering and self-care!

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Village Vista at Bluestone Wales

From the Village Centre, you can access some of the woodland nature trails around the resort or visit the lake to say hello to some of the resident wildlife. The Little Squirrels loved finding some of the fabulous wicker sculptures situated on the borders of the village, including the giant foxes and the Bluestone Dragon.

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Wicker statues at Bluestone Wales

Activities at Bluestone Wales

One of the highlights of the resort for the Little Squirrels was the Blue Lagoon Waterpark. The pool itself is temperature-controlled, which is perfect for families with little ones. We loved jumping over the waves from the wave machine, and travelling along the lazy river which travels outside from one side of the pool to the other.

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Blue Lagoon Waterpark at Bluestone Wales

There is also a pirate’s shipwreck with lots of fountains for big and little kids to splash in, and a little water cove, specifically for babies and toddlers, with a shallow pool and little rock pools to paddle in. For the more adventurous there are two water flumes and a rapids river ride.
The Blue Lagoon is open to the public, but is free to guests staying in the resort, and is exclusively for guest use in the mornings.

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Left – Littlest Squirrel all packed and ready for a morning at the Blue Lagoon
Right – Finn the Dolphin on his way to greet the little ones at the Blue Lagoon

For rainy days there is an indoor Adventure Centre, packed full of indoor play opportunities. There is a soft play area, bouncy castle, climbing frames, climbing walls, an indoor sky trail, diggers, amusements, and a Lego wall.

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The Adventure Centre at Bluestone Wales

For older kids there is an array of exhilarating adventures to be had in the Steep Ravine Forest, from zip wires to high ropes and tree climbing. On the lake you can learn to kayak or take part in a Family Raft War. On the Tournament Field you can perfect your aim in archery and laser clay shooting.

To be honest there is so much to do that if you are thinking of going you should check out this handy guide to activities at Bluestone.

Eating Out At Bluestone Wales

There is an excellent selecion of locations to dine out at in Bluestone Wales. We had two fantastic meals at The Knights Tafarn, Bluestone’s local pub. The food is fresh and tasty, and there is a lively family-friendly atmosphere.

Ty Coffi is a beautiful venue to fulfil your coffee and sweet tooth requirements. Aside from being an Instagrammer’s dream with its pastel coloured interiors and feature walls, Ty Coffi has a great selection of ice cream and milkshakes to excite your little one’s tastebuds, and a great selection of cakes, soups, baguettes and sandwiches to choose from after a busy morning exploring Bluestone’s facilities.

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Little Squirrel enjoying an ice cream from Ty Coffi

Our favourite dining experience at Bluestone Wales was a visit to Camp Smokey. At the end of one of the nature trails in Bluestone, nestled amongst the pines, you can find Camp Smokey, a rustic woodland diner where you can enjoy outdoor dining.

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Camp Smokey at Bluestone Wales

The menu here is basic; burgers and hot dogs…, but the atmosphere is magical. Dining in such beautiful surroundings, amongst nature, there is something special about this little corner of Bluestone. We really loved the fire pit where you can toast marshmallows on skewers – definitely a hit with the Little Squirrels!

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Enjoying the atmosphere at Camp Smokey

There is also the Farmhouse Grill and the Oak tree Restaurant, and cafes in the Blue Lagoon and the Adventure Centre to sample, and The Chippy is situated just above the Village Centre if you fancy enjoying a takeaway in the comfort of your lodge.

Getting Around

The resort itself is set on 500 acres of Pembrokeshire landscape, and the resort is car-free, so getting round the resort requires a significant amount of walking. This proved to be a little challenging at times with the Little Squirrels, aged 4 and 2. For us the Guest Transport Bus, which leaves the Village Centre every half hour, was a life saver, and meant we could travel round the resort with a minimal amount of tears and whinging from the Little Squirrels!

There is bike hire available if you fancy boosting your cardio levels on the hills of Bluestone, getting from A to B. There are also golf buggies available to hire, which look like a fantastically fun way of getting around, however at a “special daily rate” of £30 per day, we felt this was just too expensive!

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Getting around Bluestone Wales

Bluestone Wales is a beautiful resort, and caters to a wide range of holiday requirements. For us, Bluestone was packed full of things to do, places to explore, and places to eat, providing the perfect setting for a holiday with our little ones. We will have many happy memories of our holiday in beautiful Pembrokeshire to treasure, and will hopefully return again to relive memories of our 2017 holiday! 

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Happy Squirrels at Bluestone Wales

We were kindly invited to stay at Bluestone Wales for a 4 night break, which we extended to 7 nights. As always all opinion are my own!