Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Pregnancy, Essential Oils and a Relaxing Bath to Relax Unwind and Reset

I was delighted to receive 6 sachet samples of Olverum Bath Oil to try. I know a bath is something one should have late at night surrounded in candles after the kids' bedtime. But Sunday afternoon I couldn't wait any longer and literally dived right in. A bit like my last blog post, I am now going to rewind to tell you why I needed to unwind - see what I did there?!?!? ;-)

You see, last week was a hectic week (by my stay at home Mum pregnant standards). 

I did 9 hours intense deep-cleaning cardio style housework Monday/Tuesday in preparation for Aaron having his first afterschool friend round play-date here Tuesday evening. Then I was hostess for 3 hours to the Mum, son and younger brother. That would normally mean a slightly tamer day for me on the Wednesday but I had to finish Aaron's bedroom transformation, for a project I am working on with Hillary's Blinds. And, actually, I built the "cube bookcase" on the Tuesday in time for the playdate, so that did take some pressure off Wednesday.

Then Thursday, me, who'd normally make 12 cupcakes a year, made 36 for our school coffee/cake sale. When I get in from the school run, I ALWAYS have a BIG bowl of porridge with Homes Under the Hammer on the TV, but no not Thursday. I knew I had to be at school by 13:30 to set up the cake sale (I'm on our PTA) and the cupcakes wouldn't bake themselves.

I started at 09:15 and I think I only sat down for the first time at midday. If you could see how big my pregnant bump is you'd know I was pooped by then. Carrying extra blood and extra weight, I do normally need to sit down frequently, especially after the school run normally.

My cupcake tray bakes 12 - as they do - so that was 3 batches of cupcakes, but I was thrilled with them. I iced some of them when cool, but not all, as Mum advised me there'd be some fussy kids who'd appreciate a plain one (and she was right).

This is only about 10% of what we as a group made
Friday, we had a PTA meeting in the morning and went on sale with our remaining cakes (we'd made loads) AGAIN Friday afternoon. It was all very worth it and we made well over £100 for Macmillan. It didn't end there as I had to take Aaron to football club (after leaving school after 1600), a further 15 minute walk in addition to the 25 minute walk to school and then he insisted on playing in a playground for over an hour after that. I think it was nearly 8 p.m. when we got home (it was dark anyway).

Anyway, suffice to say, it was a hectic week. This is where I shyly admit that I had a PJ day (as did Aaron) SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. Can you believe he even let me? We had SUCH good quality time though it was AWESOME. He knows school is having one for Children in Need and Saturday half way through the day he said "Mummy I thought the PJ day was happening at school" - to which I laughed my head off and said we're having one at home too. Never dreamed he'd let me off having one Sunday too but it just naturally evolved that way. 

So Sunday, being pregnant, I of course read up on all of the  essential oils that are in Olverum:
  1. Siberian Fir Needle
  2. Ground nut
  3. Lavandin
  4. Lemon peel
  5. Rosemary
  6. Exotic Verbena
  7. Lavender
  8. Lime
  9. Juniper
  10. Geranium flower
From what I read, essential oils should be avoided in the 1st trimester, but I am well into my second now. The best resource I came across was this "Is it safe to use essential oils while I'm pregnant?" On there it lists the essential oils that are safe and the ones not recommended. On the not recommended list ARE rosemary and juniper*.

In doing all of this online reading, as an accidental side-effect it meant I also stumbled across all of the coverage that Olverum Bath Oil has had, due to their great PR and as a result literally couldn't wait to have a bath.
Aaron was working his way through 8 Spiderman sticker books so I knew I was safe to do so despite it being daytime, but as it was, there was a pile of books on  the landing (from the room transformation) and he worked on one of them, just outside the bathroom, whilst I bathed.
It was one of those early learning books, where you complete the words etc. Every page gives you the chance to put a supplied "well done" sticker at the bottom once complete and it took the full duration of my bath for him to complete the book. At the end up we were both thrilled with ourselves. I was near enough to answer all of his questions and he was enough feet away, sitting on the landing, that when he was being studious I could deeply relax.
Now, onto the bath oil.
I have been sent 6 sachet samples. Each one is 5ml and they say that is the correct amount for one bath. I never dreamed that such a small amount could be potent enough, or scent the bath or let alone the room too.
From the very second I poured it, the room smelled like a SPA. Honestly I was amazed. This is the thing with essential oils. They can be real or synthetic. They can be pure or impure. They can be potent or.... dare I say crap. With essential oils, quality is EVERYTHING and here you are honestly getting the real deal. I got into alternative therapies and aromatherapy etc... when I was 15 and I am 42 now so I know my stuff, a little, though as a customer, rather than as a practitioner, plus I spent a Summer helping in my Aunt's health food shop, where she stocked Tisserand and Bach Flower remedies and ALL that sort of thing.
So the advantages I found:
  1. The smell, the aroma, soothed and relaxed me.
  2. The oils soothed away aches and pains just as they promise to do.
  3. Any remnants of stress that remained in my body faded away.
  4. The bath moisturised me - I could tell from the minute I got out that I would not need to cream myself and now even 3 days later my arms (even elbows) feel like a cross between satin and silk.
  5. I found the bath very detoxing so I would not recommend it unless you are prepared to drink a pint of water during or after. 
With regards to my last point I came downstairs after the bath and I could feel I needed two things. One, fresh air and two, water. I went straight out to the line to hang out washing but did not address the water. About an hour later I was feeling so chilled, I had some chocolate and a dull ache in my head ensued. With all of my history in alternative remedies I knew immediately that this was down to my forgetting to drink water. I used to have a massage therapist visit the office once a week every week, when I worked in Head Office HR as a wellbeing thing for the staff. The practitioners ALWAYS reminded clients to drink water so I should have known this and followed through on it, so that is the main tip I would give you.

*I took a chance, as firsly it was only 5ml, secondly, the oils were not alone, and finally I am not using them for prolonged use, but exercise caution if you are wary. The Baby Centre (linked to above) does say that Juniper can effect the kidneys so perhaps it was this that gave me the detoxing effects I felt.

Anyway, I am sure there are plenty of non-pregnant people in your life that this would be the perfect gift for and of course NEW MUMS (who are no longer pregnant) are the perfect candidates for a relaxing unwinding bath with all its moisturising soothing effects and this is here NewMumOnline.co.uk after all.
I feel greedy sitting on SIX SAMPLES, so I am going to give 2 away so that you can try before you buy. Plus I don't want to enjoy this amazing product by myself - I want to talk to my readers about what YOU thought of it. Plus if you love it as much as I do I will include it in my Christmas Gift Guide - another bumper edition just like last year's.

Linking up with Tried and Tested
Family Fever

I was sent 6 x 5ml samples but as above have 2 of them on a #giveaway.  If you would like to buy Olverum it can be found at:

ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/5-ml-sample-olverum-bath-oil-luxury#sthash.rC4WrcwE.dpuf

Monday, 5 October 2015

Mummy I Love the Earth

This is going to be like a movie with flashbacks as I am going to start this story at the end.

Today I was holding Aaron's hand as we walked to school. I do this to prevent him dawdling (i.e. stopping to look at snails or comment on every flower he sees in every front garden we pass). Interspersed with holding his hand I had my arm behind him, resting on his shoulders, shepherding him along. At one point he leaned on my arm, so he could walk along gazing at the sky. Right UP at the sky as if he was on a sun lounger.

I was JUST about to say: "Aaron you leaning on my arm is pulling on my tummy and remember Mummy is pregnant" but the vibe between us was so so mellow I hesitated a great deal before saying it and I am so very glad that I did.

Today is the first day we left the house with the curtains still closed. Today is the first day (actually second) that we had breakfast with them closed. It was a VERY dark morning. When we left we soon found out why. The sky was covered with dark clouds.

What Aaron discovered as he walked and lounged on my arm, was that blue sky was starting to litter the sky in a patchwork quilt kind of way and the dark clouds were now surrounding us, rather than above us. The beginning of what would be a lovely day was peeking through (although I just looked at bbc.co.uk/weather and it's meant to be raining right now - it's not though).

He said "Mummy look" and I couldn't believe how lovely it was to see the blue peeping through; a sight I'd not have seen without looking straight up, directly above me, something I would not have done, were it not for my son. He's ALWAYS spotting things that are WAY higher than his eyeline and I just don't know how he does it.

I always put it down to me having things on my mind, with him having the freedom to look around. It's just that his looking around is truly 360 degrees and I never want to forget that about him. My son's keen observation skills.

After commenting on the sky, when we both resumed our normal posture he casually said:

"Mummy I love the Earth"

He said it with such passion, yet very gently, as if he was talking about a feather that would blow off his palm if he said it with too much gusto.

I walked along for a while basking in the vibes that this innocence, love and pure joy had created and it was a while before our chitter chatter resumed.

A few weeks ago, we had two days where the walk to school was tough. Now, now that we've nailed it, I wouldn't give up our daily stroll for all the tea in China and trust me I love my tea.

This time to gel, to chat, to saunter along to school, is just as precious as the chat you can do at storytime in bed, if you go to bed early enough to allow time for that download. That's the time when Aaron gets things off his chest (good and bad) that have happened during the day. The stuff he tells me at night as he drifts to dreamtime is the stuff his subconscience wants to download but yet not via dreams. The stuff he wants to verbally throw away, as in, I've told Mummy now, so I don't need to retain it in my short term memory anymore. It's been banked with Mum; job done. She'll know what to do with the information.

One such convo, one such night, was "Mummy, I wish we did choosing time in Year 1" - he's not been finding Year 1 hard as the Teacher has been very very gentle in upping the workload from Reception. She is doing it by stealth so that by Christmas they'll be working smarter and harder with no idea how they slowly, ever so gently, got there. So I knew he'd never moan about the workload. So one night I had to promise that I would ask his Year 1 Teacher to introduce something akin to Reception's choosing time, with things to choose from that would be more suitable for their new age group. I forgot to ask her and imagine my surprise when come the end of the week they'd already been doing choosing time for a couple of days.

The thing is, once something is "out there" it gets dealt with. That's why it's always good to voice our dreams and wishes as then they become reality, as this has without me even getting involved and he is thrilled. Not to take glory for something I've not done, I've told him "it wasn't me" - he's not bothered, he's just thrilled to have his precious choosing time back.

At the outset of this post, I mentioned flashbacks and here is why...

At the beginning of July a friend received very bad news. Even without naming her, I still don't feel like I can go into it here, but it wasn't pleasant and was the beginning of a few tough months. That friend has a daughter in Aaron's class and an older son in the same school. Each and everytime she came round to discuss the problem Aaron was  there and even more so once the schools broke up. We tried to speak in code and keep most of what we said for when he'd pop out of the room, but with what I know about energy (having been a yoga teacher for 6 years) I should have known that the weight of what we were discussing would weigh down ON us and pollute my home and that it did. Aaron had some tantrums in the Summer that were off the scale. They all had me in tears and one even had me getting very injured as I fell on the stairs one time chasing him. Due to my baby bump I landed on my knee instead of my tummy and had a bruise the size of a dinner plate that took about 6 weeks to go. I still cannot kneel on it properly.

Anyway as there were fun times mixed in with the few tantrums and as they were all behind closed doors I did not give them too much thought and didn't have a sense of urgency about them.

But when the same attitude that prompts the tantrums nearly caused us to be late for school 2 times (yep this timeline is now in September, from something that started in July) and only didn't as thanks be to God both of those days we'd left 10 minutes early, I knew something needed to change. Plus that behaviour happened on our road, on the pavement in P.U.B.L.I.C. - it wasn't even tantrums, it was just full on defiance. Oh, hang on, they were over and above a tantrum, I've missed a bit. A tantrum that happened, that went on for 40 minutes to an hour in front of the wrong person, on the second day of school, after school (not on school grounds). SO like a sandwich, the refusal to move, on a school morning, happened twice, once before and once after THAT incident. So it was start school Wednesday 2nd September and walk to school like an angelic child. Thursday 3rd September complain that shoes are tight (even though he overtightened them - long story) and therefore stand on our road refusing to move. Then got him to walk 100 metres (away from our road) he then walks in socks for about 400 metres, I then carry him (pregnant) for about 400 metres and he then walks the remainder of the way. SOMEHOW, by some miracle we are not late. Same day, after school the *devil child* incident happens, that scares me within an inch of my life as I do not recognise him (but it is his first time since July playing with the 2 kids I mentioned above and the incident starts as a result of them getting in the car) and Friday 4th September he again refuses to walk to school but again only does so, once we are on the pavement on our road. I am standing about 50 metres away, beckoning him. His defiance prompts tears in my eyes, when I get the idea to pray to St. Jude (in Ireland we call him the Saint of Hopeless Cases/Causes). Praying makes this calm descend over me and soothes me enough  that I slowly creep towards him. Before praying I would have marched/stomped towards him and he would have ran off up our road (further from school, out of reach of pregnant me) but the prayer had given me the inner stillness to walk calmly with stealth towards him. I picked him up, in a scooping him up kind of way and he wrapped his arms around my neck and nuzzled into me. So I don't know what the defiance was about as all he wanted was


After about 300 metres I put him down and we calmy walked to school. I spent the next few hours thinking how VERY different it could have been if I had angrily marched towards him.

What you don't know dear reader is that two Jehovah's Witnesses visit me every week and have done for about a year. They came that Monday. I KNOW it was Monday as Aaron was off sick the remaining 4 days of that week and I know he was at school when they came.

Before we do some bible study we always chat for ages, just about life in general and I happened to mention the power of prayer. I explained the St Jude experience AND that I was 120 days that day (120 days as counted from the day of conception - a VERY special day in Kundalini Yoga) - I said I wanted to do 2 prayers with them. One to "heal" Aaron and the other to "welcome my new soul" as we believe in Kundalini that the 120th day is the day that the soul comes in, to the bump.

So we held hands the three of us and my dear Witness friend led the prayer. I had no idea that she was so eloquent. She was very thorough and it was very long. It was very personal, it was in layman's words, it was sincere, it was beautiful; I cried from start to finish. I felt my heart and my soul fill up.

Now, I have often had "absent healing" which is where someone in a different place geographically (same country or different) can heal you if you agree to work together and be still at an appointed time. My Aunt in Ireland has often done it for me, including the day I went into labour with Aaron. So I had EVERY FAITH that the prayer would effect Aaron even though he was a mile and a half away at school.

I collected him from school and he was GLOWING from the inside out with INNER LIGHT. He had an inner calm that I had not seen since early July. He was my boy once again.

The prayer had worked.

I was humbled and in awe of it, even though I had every belief and every faith that it WOULD indeed work.

And no, it wasn't how I treated him when I collected him. I deliberately just observed and didn't project ANYTHING.

I then counted. Aaron you've been good for 1 day, for 2, for 3, for 4, etc.... etc.... and it went on and on until we were in double numbers

So the healing (prayer) was Monday 7th September and his first tantrum after that was Saturday 19th September. It was like the dregs of the remainder of the darkness. There was another on Sunday 20th September.
Anyway, I don't know if you believe in light and dark, but they are very very real.

The darkness is now gone, gone, gone...

Children are "closer to source" and that is how they need to remain, in order to retain the inner light that they are born with.

We are now into our second month of a vibe of "we've got that loving feeling" [breaks into song, except in this song the loving feeling is back back back instead of gone gone gone] and now all I have to sing is "Hey you with the sad face" [breaks into song again] and Aaron laughs. Thank God he never asks me to sing the whole song as that is the only line I know.

I can't even shout now, as if I even go to raise my voice Aaron looks at me questioningly as if to say "we don't do that anymore". If he sees me struggling with anything he says "Mummy I'll do that" or "You're carrying too many things". Tenderness and love now reign supreme and it is something we are holding onto with both hands.

I am online a lot less as when he watches something he wants us to watch it together. Quality time - which was always present - is now in plentiful supply.

So now I am full circle back to this morning's experience where he looked at the sky and said:

"Mummy I love the earth".

We are both FILLED with love now, as is our relationship and that is SO good for the new soul in my tummy.

With that on my mind, the synchronicity of Rachel sharing this* on Facebook this morning was unbelievable and it reminded me that I SHOULD BLOG ABOUT IT. Aaron's comment this morning could have been long forgotten within a few short hours, but seeing that post on Facebook so soon after returning from the school run, cemented the "in awe" feeling his innocent comment this morning had left me with. I thought I need to share both. The post she shared (link here below) and my experience (above)

Just remember one thing, if you take one thing away from reading this post, from hearing my experience....

Your child shines and glows with an inner light.
It is your job to keep it shining bright

If you love the above video and melody here's another, same song, but with another (different) beautiful collection of imagery showcasing children illuminated: I am the light of my soul.  

Harness your inner light and then let it pour over the darkness like a torch. Be a torch for the World and for your children

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Baby Show October 2015 London Olympia WIN a Pair of Tickets

The Baby Show London Olympia October 2015

I am going to the London Baby Show in October 2015 and couldn't be more excited. 

You see I went earlier this year and felt like a fraud as I had neither bump nor buggie. I felt like I should have a Big Badge in neon lights stating "Trying to Conceive" so that brands and fellow patrons could see I did have a reason and a desire to be there. (Oh and I know it was all in my mind ;-) ) ha ha!

Getting chance to go again, now that I have a bump that literally can't be concealed - a bump which will be EVEN bigger by then - is just incredibly exciting. I loved going to the Baby Show in 2009 when I was pregnant with Aaron and swell with pride at the thought of reliving that, with this lil pickle in my tummy. 

Regular readers will know that we did not find out the gender at our 20 week scan (and not for the want of trying)  BUT our 4d scan is in October and before the Baby Show so I will know PINK or BLUE before then *squeals*.

This is the slideshow of pictures that I took at the February 2015 Baby Show which was also in London

Anyway, if, like me, you would like to go, there are going to be two lucky winners from this giveaway, each of you winning a PAIR of tickets, so that you can win a ticket for you AND your +1.

This will be my 3rd time attending the show and I can highly recommend it.

Like they say themselves:
Everything You Need For Baby, Bump & You

The only show to have all major UK retailers under one roof!
And THAT is what I love about it right there!

So, over to what you have to do to win a PAIR of tickets.

follow @TheBabyShow on Twitter
follow @NewMumOnline on Twitter

and Tweet (giveaway Tweet can be found in the Rafflecopter widget below).

All 3 above entries are mandatory for this giveaway and those not completing all three options will be 
disqualified and a new winner chosen.

Please ensure you do the entries VIA Rafflecopter as it is via there that the winners are randomly chosen.


Entries for UK residents only and the competition deadline for entry is midnight 18th October.

19th October I will email and tweet the winner. You will need to confirm your wish to attend in time for the 
show that weekend which is Friday 23rd October to 
Sunday 25th October. Up to you and your +1 which day 
of the three that you attend.

Best of luck and maybe see you there
Liska xxx

Competitions at ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/pair-tickets-london-olympia-october-baby-show-2-pairs-2-winners#sthash.5xlPod8r.dpuf

Added this comp to Super Lucky Di. Click the badge to find more UK comps you may like:

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Monday, 28 September 2015

Living Arrows - Week 39 of 52

We all go through the phase where our babies are all of a sudden a toddler and we're gutted the baby days are over. Then all too soon, one day we look at them and our toddler has become a small person, a boy, who doesn't at all toddle any more but rather strides with confidence. I did not realise that there is another stage. When the small boy, becomes a big boy. I didn't realise how much this would take me by surprise. Sometimes the transition is so gradual that we only see the change when it jumps out from a photo. Yet, when I TOOK the photo I did not notice it. I thought I was taking a pic of how nice he looked in new clothes - an outfit his Godmother Aunt had given him for his birthday, that I recently found in a tidy up.

Such it was this weekend. When having a cursory glance through my pictures this one took my breath away. My lil boy all too soon looks like a young man
I love how he rocks skinny jeans, so much so, that they're the only sort I buy now. The gifted outfit was actually this shirt with a matching jumper tank top. He's not wearing the tank top as we got amazing weather this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, totally out of the blue, despite October being nearly on our doorstep. It's like the weather Gods want to say sorry for how hit and miss August was.

The other thing that's happening over here is that we're back to Football club AND he is finally old enough for school after school clubs, so we have that too, which funnily enough is Board Games, which is so perfect for him.
When Daddy tried to buy him football trainers, he opted for these Spiderman ones from Brantano - you know the sort, the shoes that light up  in the heel with every step. So my lil man is not a grown up at all after all.
And as if that is not confirmation enough, in a recent tidy up I came across his Bob dinosaur teddy - a knitted/crocheted Dinosaur and Aaron is now taking him everywhere even though he'd not seen or played with him in two years. The other night he even put 20 teddies in the bed and made me read a bedtime story to them all. So, my lil 5 year old is still my lil guy after all. Just that there are lil glimpses, every so often, of the young man he will one day become *sniff*.
Aaron you might be my Living Arrow, but for now, I am holding you close and am not at all ready to shoot you off to your future... yet!

Living Arrows

Reading Levels Reception and Year 1

I've been reading to Aaron since he was less than one year's old. When we started Reception September 2014 the books seemed very babyish compared to the sort of books our reading at home had progressed to. Except, what I needed to have reminded myself of, was the fact that me reading TO him and him learning to read HIMSELF are two different things entirely.

Back in the days when I read TO him; a book he took home from nursery (a book bag is not at all a new concept). This favourite was We're Going on a Bear Hunt:

Fast forward to September 2014 and he needed basic books, with words that were the building blocks of his future reading skills. I just wasn't ready for this transition and despite my personal excellent academic record, knew nothing of "phonics" or "key words" - yes we got issued those too on coloured card.

We were issued a book and a reading record (which I always call a homework book) and given the loose instruction to "read with them everyday". I did it for a while and soon lost interest so it became a once/twice a week activity and nothing that was said in open evenings (parent progress evenings) made me feel any need for alarm.

Fast forward to May and I told the teacher we were going to Ireland for a week to see my Mum. Legally I was allowed as Aaron was still 4 and statutory school age is 5.

Our teacher said "I'll only let you go if you take some books with you, as Aaron is a reading level 3 and should be a 5, with his ability and vocabulary". MAY 2015 and this is the FIRST I hear that he may be less than average or rather below par for his ability. I had NO idea what reading level his peers were on (although I soon found out - although I'll keep that story to myself to protect the innocent ha ha) and I had NO idea till this point that he was behind. 

Trust me, I panicked and reading has been TOP of the agenda ever since.

Suffice to say he was reading level 5 by the time that they broke up in July and as much is confirmed in his end of year school report.

However, little did I know that reading levels are documented on a spreadsheet, by way of a handover from Reception to Year One (and probably for Ofsted to access too). On this spreadsheet with the column headed July 2015 Aaron is recorded as a reading level 3, so fast forward to September 2015 and his first book home in his book bag was a reading level 3 book.

Given that we did lots of numeracy, reading and writing throughout the Summer, when he read this first book of the new school year, he FLEW through it, reading 16 pages effortlessly in about 3 minutes.

I then kept documenting how easy the books were, daily, in his reading record, until the Teacher started to see my comments.

Aaron was off 4/5 days of the 2nd week of school (Tuesday to Friday) with vomiting and diarhoea that he picked up from school. On the Friday I got it, and was ill for 5 days (which being pregnant was not at all fun). So, it took till the end of week 3 for the teacher to recognise his reading skills. By then she said "it must have taken a while for him to feel comfortable with me but he is reading properly now" when he reads one to one with her.

So eventually a reading level 5 book came home in the book bag, with a comment in the reading record "I am giving him this for a challenge". It wasn't really a challenge at all, and Aaron is taking reading level 5 in his stride as you can see here:

So what's your experience with reading and school. Did you take to the early reader books immediately? Did your child? Did your school communicate with you enough as the parent? I think reading is a skill for life and I am so glad we haven't waited too long to come up to speed. Onwards and upwards now!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Thomas Land UK at Drayton Manor Review July 2015

Thomas Land is our absolute favourite place to go as a family. We went this year on Sunday 19th July 2015, the second day of the school Summer Holidays and it was our sixth day there. 

First visit was August 2012 when Aaron was only 2 years of age. He loved it so much we went again that October (this time for 2 days staying overnight for Daddy's birthday at the onsite Drayton Manor Hotel). I didn't write a proper blog post about our October 2012 visit but did write this. We did however go again June 2013, specifically for Aaron's birthday, for 2 days, when I wrote a proper post with a Drayton Manor Hotel review but I never got round to Vlogging all of the footage I filmed - such a shame.

I would quite happily do so now, but it's all on my broken laptop. What was very special was the way June 2013, the second we walked through the Thomas Land entrance The Fat Controller started singing Happy Birthday from a balcony. There were several birthday kids in the audience, including Aaron - it was just magical - I captured it all on video - looking forward to fixing the laptop and getting access to it all once again.

Back to this Summer 2015 visit:
When we went this year, I couldn't believe how much Aaron remembered considering he is 5 years old now and he was only 3 years of age the last time he was there. We saw Winston's Whistle Stop Tour the second we arrived, and wrongly assumed it was part of the Thomas Land expansion that happened earlier this year, but a bit of research tells me it was new in July 2013 only a month after our last visit. Anyway, it was incredibly exciting for us to see a new ride and it was literally the first thing we went on as you can see in our Vlog of the day, here below. I was as excited to go on it as Aaron was.

We stayed in Birmingham as we were at Birmingham Sea Life the day before. I thought we'd be at Thomas Land for opening, being nearby, but it was raining really heavily that morning so we had a very leisurely breakfast. Thank God it was sunny and beautiful by the time we arrived at 11 a.m. and stayed like that all day, so we never did go into the indoor soft play area (on this visit) but I can HIGHLY recommend it if you are going for the first time. On all previous visits Aaron's adored it.
Soon after Winston's Whistle Stop Tour we headed over to the new Sodor Airport area which is part of this year's Thomas Land expansion. The highlight over there was Flynn's Fire Rescue which Daddy and Aaron thoroughly enjoyed. 

I got such a buzz watching them and captured it all on video in the above Vlog.

It's a very interactive ride where you move up and down with targets and a constant stream of water. They got a tiny bit wet but as it was a very warm day they dried off very quickly. It was lovely watching the perfect ride for Father and Son. Being pregnant I enjoyed the time to stand and video them and just chill. Being that we have visited Thomas Land so so many times, it was also fab to be on our second new ride of the day. Despite being July, I think a few schools had not broken up yet so none of the queues were too long. Also the rain first thing in the morning perhaps had annual card holders doing something more indoorsie.

He genuinely was a bit wet after Flynn's Fire Rescue - I've found the pic:
Thomas Land has its very own Knapford Station.

Although you see Thomas himself above, the engine can be Thomas, Percy or Rosie, depending on which one you happen to get. 

The train is a steam engine at the front with perfect carriages behind that the whole family can board. There is even a carriage dedicated to buggies. We headed there next to queue up for the train journey to farmer McColl's Farm. One tip I would give you: if you go in August when there are long queues, it is much easier to walk through the zoo and down to Spencer's Outdoor Adventure Play and get the train from down there. Each journey is treated as a single, so you embark and disembark from either end. The queues are always shorter at the far end. But it's fine either way, you walk one way and train it the other, unless you are prepared to queue twice of course. Aaron adores this train ride and it also features in our Vlog video above.

Once the Thomas Engine Tour train ride had carried us down that end of the theme park, the next stop just had to be Terences Driving School:
2 years ago Aaron really struggled as his foot could reach the pedal but it was too much of a stretch to hold that foot pedal down so he kept stopping and starting. This year he whizzed around, but in such a sensible way. His style was to 100% follow the arrows and not overtake anybody. There is a good length of video in my Vlog above showing this ride. It's thoroughly worth a visit - a must see for sure for your learner driver! You can see his utter joy in the pic above. 

Our favourite place to have lunch at Thomas Land is the tea rooms also down this end of the park and very near to Spencer's Outdoor Adventure Playground so that was our next stop. Being pregnant I was starving so Aaron had to be patient and sit with us even though he was itching to get to the playground. The playground was wonderful as I could sit on the grass and chill, watching him play. There is SO much equipment in there it kept him occupied for well over an hour. When you first visit Thomas Land you feel tempted to stick to the rides, but the indoor and outdoor play areas are really well worth a visit I promise.

Right next door to the adventure playground is a Dinsosaur Park, with Dinosaur statues in it. Wow, Daddy and Aaron enjoyed this so so so much. They read every plaque. It was educational on so many levels. Also enlightened me as to how much my husband, who I've been with since 1988 knows about Dinosaurs - who knew!?!??! I only knew that he likes Jurassic Park LOL!
Regular readers will know that I dropped my camera at the Year 6 disco that I helped at (I am on the PTA) meaning I did not have a camera all Summer until I bought one the other day. I was quite ashamed of the quality of the pics in my At-Bristol science centre review and my Birmingham Sea Life review, but these Thomas Land ones are ALSO taken on my phone, but the only reason I got away with it is because we were outdoors AND it was SUNNY. It seems lighting is everything with photography.
We then walked very slowly back to the theme park, through the zoo. Once back we had another ride on Winston's Whistle Stop Tour and a ride on Drayton Manor's big wheel, both of which you can see in the Vlog Video.

On the way out Aaron just had to have a slush puppy as he was so hot.

He's asked nearly every day since when we can go again. Thomas Land is open for the whole of October apart from two Mondays and two Tuesdays. They even have More Treat Than Trick at the end of October. Thomas Land is then closed for the whole of November but the great news is:

THEY OPEN IN DECEMBER FOR MAGICAL CHRISTMAS, which is actually from 27th November to 31st December. See website for days and times open. It's always cheaper to book online. We'll be going I have promised Aaron.

Disclosure: we were provided with complimentary entrance for our July 2015 visit but I have been put under no pressure to blog or vlog, neither have I been told what to say, so I retain full editorial control and all photos/words are my own.
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