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Having my home first aid kit stocked up and to hand just when I need it is very important to me, because as a Registered Nurse I know this could make a real difference in an emergency. The other day I was having a tidy out of my not very practical and too small first aid plastic box and it dawned on me that I really needed to make my kit more up to date in readiness for the Winter months ahead.

My first task was to take stock of what I already had. I actually had lots of things already, but sadly many of them were out of date. So do make sure you regularly check all the expiry dates of your medicines and dressings.

So after disposing of some of the items, I had to decide where I was going to keep every thing? My bathroom cabinet is already packed with all sorts of cosmetics, so that isn’t the idea place. So I had a look on Amazon and found an excellent metal box storage box which is lockable and come with a detachable strap, RRP:£21.99. The great thing about it is that you can stand all your bottles in the bottom section, then you can have your smaller items like scissors and twitters in the top removable section.

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So how do you know what to keep in your box?  There is plenty of advice available on NHS Choices. Or you can buy kits via organisations such as St John Ambulance , which of course will work out more expensive then just putting together your own kit like I have.

Dressings and other kit

  • Assorted kids plaster – by Ouch! Little Monkeys (I love the reusable tin they come in)
  • Cotton crepe bandage – very useful for bandaging a wound that is bleeding or to put over a dressing
  • Triangular bandage – to put an arm in a sling
  • Variety of sterile non-adherent dressings
  • Blister dressings
  • Waterproof film dressings
  • Dressing scissors
  • Wound cleansing wipes – for use on cuts & grazes (no sting)
  • Micropor tape
  • Tubular bandage
  • Tweezers
  • Sterile Saline
  • Thermometer under tongue – for adults
  • Thermometer tympanic (ear) – for children
  • Disposable gloves

Over the counter Medicines

  • Infant Paracetamol suspension for babies & children 2 months – 6 years
  • Infant Ibuprofen suspension for babies & children 3 months – 12 years
  • Infant Cough Syrup, contains Glycerol & can relieve tickly coughs from 3 months
  • Vapour Rub – I like Snuffle Babe, but lots of the market contains Eucalyptus oil, Menthol & Thyme Oil
  • Hydrocortisone Cream 1% – reduces inflammation, relieves irritation & itching from bites or stings
  • Potassium Citrate Mixture – can relieve symptoms of cystitis
  • Optrex multi action eye wash with eye bath
  • Allergy & hayfever relief – Cetirizine Hydrochloride 10mg
  • Gaviscon for the relief of heartburn & indigestion
  • Ranitidine 75mg for the relief of heartburn & indigestion
  • Ibuprofen 200mg tablets
  • Paracetamol 500mg tablets
  • Adult chesty cough syrup contains Guaifenesin (I don’t bother with expensive brands of cough medicine generally as if you read the label they all contain the same base ingredients. Just make sure you look for non-drowsy if that is what you need)
  • Rehydration Treatment – replaces lost fluid following acute diarrhoea

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Always read the labels and instructions carefully to ensure correct doses and do not exceed the maximum dose within a 24 hours period.

If you or your child continue to experience symptoms or you have concerns you should  always contact your Local GP Surgery or seek advice from your Pharmacist. Who as I have found in the past can be a wealth of knowledge and can save you a trip to your GP surgery.

What do you keep in your home first aid kit? Share your essential items with me.

When  I first started blogging I wrote to Childs Farm as I knew they had an Ambassador Programme and to my surprise they accepted me! I wasn’t expecting it as I was still really new to blogging. Since then I have been involved with the brand in many ways from giving out samples to researching promotions for them. It was really important for me to be involved in a skin care brand that was free from nasty chemicals, as I have an allergy to MI also known as Methylisothiazolinone.

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Both myself and my Daughter love Childs Farm because all the products smell so gorgeous! But not only that they really are gentle on the skin. For daily use we currently use the Shampoo and Conditioner, which is great for sensitive and eczema prone skin. When we go swimming we love to use the shampoo and body wash as it is an all in one product and removes the chlorine from the skin effectively.

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I really like the bigger 500ml pump size products. Not only are they excellent value for money, but they are really handy to use in the bath or shower. We have just tried out the hair detangler pump spray and I found it to be a really effective to comb through after Amelia’s bath as she has really thick wavy hair.

While I was on the Childs Farm website recently I noticed that they were selling a great product called Cuddle Twist. It is a brilliant idea because it cuts down on the amount of time you need to use the hair dryer on your little ones hair (my Daughter has never been a fan of using the hairdryer). It is 100% bamboo and really soft, so I just pop it on when Amelia comes out of the bath and it stops the wet pyjamas issue. This brilliant idea also was a GOLD award winner in the Bizziebaby Parent tested awards.

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Don’t forget if you would like to purchase any Childs Farm products you can via the Online Shop and if you enter the code CFAMB298 then you will receive 30% off at the checkout.

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A couple of weeks ago I attended my first ever blogging event. I wasn’t sure what to expect as this is new territory for me. So I put on my lip gloss and my best smile and headed off to Spun Candy at their Spitalfields – Masterclass store.

If you haven’t come across Spun Candy before I will tell you a little bit about them. The company begun in 2013 when they opened their first store in Covent Garden, since then they have been growing and have opened up in Hamleys – Regent Street and have other stores through out the Middle East. Hard rock candy is their speciality and they are able to make this into every shape, flavour and colour you can imagine. Plus all of the products are Gluten and Gelatin free.

So back to the event, this was Spun Candy’s 3rd Birthday celebration and I was in for a real treat. At the Spitalfields Masterclass store the whole idea is to get the customer involved in making and designing candy. So with my gloves on I was shown how to mould the candy into any shape I liked. I decided to make a pink pig lollipop for my Daughter Amelia and as you can see she was delighted with it!

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There is so much more to Spun Candy than their stores. If you are having a wedding or event such as a christening why not consider using Spun Candy for your favours. They can even design something bespoke just for you.

Perhaps you are looking for an idea for your child’s next birthday? If they are over the age of 6 this could be the perfect venue. Your children and their friends could be making and designing their very own lollipops and then tasting them all afterwards!

With the party season coming up maybe you or your company are looking for alternative Christmas party venue? Fed up with the usual office party, then why not book a party at the Masterclass Store? The venue is fully licence for alcohol too.

If you can’t make it to the store have look at their Online Shop where you can buy the full range of hard rock candy, plus some mouth watering confectionery perfect for Christmas stockings for children and adults, there is fudge, honeycomb and nut brittle.

Would you like to WIN a family day out for four at Spun Candy’s Masterclass store? Then please click on the Gleam link below.

Win a Candy Making Family Master Class at Spun Candy in London

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Disclosure

Spun Candy have kindly donated the prize for the competition in return for my review. All opinions are honest and come from my own experience.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

My first blog post for Mummyofthesuburbs was three months ago, so what have I learnt in this short period of time and how do I feel now about blogging now?

I am sure many bloggers will say there are certainly highs and lows. For me there have definitely been more highs than anything else. Of course there have been times when I have doubted myself and wondered why on earth I decided to do this? Is anyone really going to read any of my posts? I have logged into my WordPress account numerous times a day to see if my visitor count has gone up. Sometimes it hadn’t and then other times like when I posted my review Top Ten Tips for Keeping an Organised Diary I have been really surprised how many people have read my post.

I think confidence is what holds back a lot of people in blogging. So many times I have questioned my abilities? I have felt like a fraud and have sat there looking at all the other blogs out there wondering how I am ever going to be anything like them? Then I had a break through, I decided that I am just as good as anyone else. OK, I don’t have any sort of qualification in writing or journalism, but I am a Mother, I work as a Registered Nurse, I have travelled the world and I have lived on this planet for forty years.

So here are my tips for the complete novice

  • Research everything – make sure your understand from the start what makes your site appear professional. Get the right template for your blog and make sure it has the capabilities to be flexible. I made the mistake of choosing a really simplistic design, which looked great but I couldn’t adapt it. I kept it for a while and then when I couldn’t have a side bar, or social media buttons I decided to go back to one of the free options that WordPress offer.
  • Get help from friends and family –  It sounds obvious, but I bet there are lots of people you already know who could help with your blog in some way? For example I managed to get an invite to a bloggers event just by asking around people I knew.
  • Read and read more – any free moment I get, I will be reading other people’s blogs and looking at their various social media streams. I’m always asking myself what do I like or dislike about their blog? What can I learn from what they are doing?
  • Put yourself out there living in London does help, as this is where numerous blogging events happening. My initial dilemma was how do I get invited to anything? This is where I had to start digging a bit deeper. My first discovery was when I was browsing the magazine shelves of WHSmith (not really something I do a lot, as I many read online these days) but I came across the bloggers magazine Blogosphere. From this I found that they run events and meet up for bloggers and I brought tickets for their Christmas Fair. I am also attending Mumsnet Blogfest 2016, I know there are ways to get sponsored tickets for these type of events, however as I still new to blogging this time I was happy to pay. I know that the networking opportunities I will get are well worth it.
  • Don’t give up – at the start I sometimes thought how will I ever get any recognition for what I am doing? I have tried lots of various ways to get brands and companies to take an interest in my blog. From writing emails asking if I could review their products? To contacting them or mentioning them on Twitter or Instagram. Iv’e had plenty of knock backs where a brand has politely told me that I do not have a big enough following or readership for them to be interested at the moment. I have been pleasantly surprised too, because some brands have been happy to re-tweet my posts and some have still been interested in me or pointed me in the right direction.

I know lots of bloggers write posts about what they wish they had known when they started out, but for me I am happy to accept that this is my learning journey. At this stage of my blogging career I am not going to know that much. I am just taking it for what it is. Now nothing is going to stop me, I love blogging it has given me a new purpose in my life and surely that is what it is all about!

The Pramshed

Little girl with eyes closed blowing nose into white tissue

I work as a Practice Nurse within a GP surgery, so that means I am heavily involved in the promotion and administration of the nasal spray flu vaccine for children. I have noticed that apart from GP surgeries writing to parents to remind them that the nasal flu is available, there seems to be very little in the way of public promotion on this very important vaccination.

We all know the hand hygiene of our little people can be very poor. When pre-schoolers start Nursery there seems to be an influx of them picking up every bug going. Most parents I know are making sure their children are up to date with their pre-school booster and MMR, but what about getting the nasal flu this Winter?

You might be thinking is it really necessary? The first thing I would say is think about contracting Flu, it really is an unpleasant experience for both you and your child. Flu itself is a lot more than a nasty cold and it can lead to hospitalisation in a young child, especially one that has a chronic conditions such as Asthma and Diabetes. According to the DOH “Healthy under-5s are more likely to be admitted to hospital with flu than any other age group – and 5 times more likely than 65-year-olds”.

Another side issue that I would like to point out is how contracting Flu and then passing it on to another member of the community is something that we really can avoid. Looking at immunisation from this perspective is something in my experience as a health professional that people rarely consider. Perhaps your child is going to be visiting an elderly person who for what ever reason didn’t manage to get their flu jab this Winter. How would you feel about passing it on to them? Or maybe you have a friend or relative who is undergoing chemotherapy and their immune system is compromised? Catching Flu could really put them at risk. Lastly how about newborn or premature babies, they are really at risk from Flu and the complications that goes with it. I think we all need to think a bit further that our own families.

Which children are offered it?

In the autumn/winter of 2016-17, the vaccine will be available free on the NHS for eligible children, including:
children aged two, three and four on August 31 2016 – that is, children born between September 1 2011 and August 31 2014
children in school years one, two and three
in some parts of the country, all primary school-aged children will be offered the vaccine as part of a test programme
children aged 2 to 17 with long-term health conditions

(Above information from NHS Choices)

So what does it involve?

I administer this vaccination numerous times a day, so I can tell you honestly it is pain free and if anything your child may find it uncomfortable for a few seconds at the most. The vaccine is squirted up both nostrils, your child doesn’t have to do anything and that is it! (some children may require a second dose if they have a chronic health condition check with your GP).

Make sure you tell your health professional if your child has any allergies, especially eggs or neomycin as this vaccine may not be advisable.

So if you have not heard from your local surgery by November then why not contact them to book an appointment, or you could ask your School Nurse.

For more information have a look at the following Public Health England leaflet

5 reasons reasons to vaccinate your child against flu

If you have any more questions you can have a look at the below link or speak to your GP or Practice Nurse.

Flu Vaccination Q&A

This post has recently been featured on Huffington Post

The Pramshed

My spotlight feature is back! Part of my job involves working in different areas of London  this gives me an ideal opportunity to visit areas. So my recent find is Highbury Barn, situated in Islington.  It is a short walk from Highbury and Islington Tube Station or Arsenal Tube. It has a village type atmosphere and a variety of independent shops and cafes.

Where to eat & drink in  

The Highbury Barn Pub this is a great Gastro style pub built around 1740, with a relaxed atmosphere, serving tasty home cooked food. I particularly like the Victorian style of this pub, it has gorgeous period features.

If you are planning a visit I would highly recommend the Steak Sandwich and Chips. The Chips are hand cut and are delicious and I really like the alternative brand of Ketchup they  serve Stokes I’m going to have to get hold of a supply of this.

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Highness Cafe & Tea Room I absolutely love this family run cafe. It has a real old style original charm to it. Their home made cakes are to die for. I would recommend their peanut butter bread cake, the icing is just melt in the mouth. The coffee they serve is always made to a high standard.

If you are looking for an alternative to a sandwich for lunch The Highness offers lots of options such as the ham and potato cake, a variety of tasty salads and soups. Some items on the menu are also gluten free.

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Where to shop

Mrs Lovell’s Greengrocers is a great local shop with a huge variety of fresh fruit and vegetables, plus a section of plants and cut flowers.

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If you love high quality cheese then you can’t go wrong at La Fromagerie. Their branch in Highbury (they also have another shop in Marylebone) has a wonderful cold cheese room to explore, Charcuterie and a Cafe area. The business has been running since 2002 and the owners still source their cheeses from various parts of Europe. I can throughly recommend the chocolate brownies too.

 

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If you are looking for an original gift why not pop into To Be Established? This independent shop sells a lovely range of cards, gifts and toys. It is well supported by the local community as I am told it has been in Highbury Barn for over twenty years.

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A piece of green space

After all that shopping why not go for a walk in Highbury Fields? At twenty Nine acres it is the largest open space in the borough. Around the edges of the park you will find some interesting historic residential buildings.

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Get your coffee Fix  

The mobile coffee van The Daily Grind in Highbury Fields won’t disappoint. High quality coffee served outdoors (with an under cover seated area).

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A piece of history

Look out for the Victorian Clock Tower at Highbury Quadrant which was built for the celebration of Queen Victoria in 1897

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my Spotlight feature? Let me know where you like to go in Highbury Barn? With area do you think I should feature next?

Lets face it all Mums these days need to be a Fairy Godmother and wave their magic wand to make sure that the whole of the family have their numerous events, appointments and other social engagements synced. Now that my Daughter has started full time School I decided that I needed to be more organised with planning my week. I was going to wait until the end of the year to purchase a new diary, but I happened to be browsing in Waterstones last week and found an excellent new diary called the Family Life Book 2017 by Organised Mum (RRP: £14.49).

I have tried many times to used an electronic diary either on my smart phone or via Google Mail. Of course there are many benefits to having your diary online including being able to access it online at anytime.You can share it with other members of your family and make any changes instantly. However something just doesn’t sit right with me and electronic diaries. I am quite traditional and like to hold my diary in my hand, keep it in my handbag and always have it as a record for years to come if I want to look back and see what I did on a particular day.

This diary runs from academic year August 2016 until December 2017, which for a busy Mum actually makes more sense than your usual January to December diary.

 One of the best features for this type of dairy is that it has seven columns which you can use to document each member of your families daily appointment or activities. So it is perfect for me to keep track of which after school clubs my Daughter is participating in and to make sure I know what her pick up time is each day.

At the front there is a useful Weekly Routines page so you could put regular clubs or activities here also, if you don’t want to keep repeating yourself. An added extra is that you get some great stickers included. So you can stick them on the relevant pages so that these events or appointments stand out.

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Other extra features include: To Do section, Budget, Income and Outgoing set out for each month, Christmas Plans and Shopping Lists, Summer Holiday Planner, removable shopping lists, separate address book and a pouch to the back cover which you can store sheets of paper/notes/flyers ect….

My top ten tips for keeping an organised diary

  • Consider writing everything in pencil, then if your schedule changes you can just rub it out and start again, it keeps everything neat and tidy.
  • Take the time from the start to write in all of your child’s important dates and holidays relating to school including parents evenings then you won’t miss a thing!
  • Ensure you have all family birthday and anniversaries written in, then no more missed or late cards.
  • Why not take a photocopy of your weekly page and give it to your partner or even your older children to put up in their bedrooms, that way everyone knows that is happening week to week.
  • This diary includes a column for Meal Ideas so try planning your meals the week before and shopping lists will become more organised.
  • Try to write appointments in your diary straight away when you know them.
  • Keep all your previous years diary in a designated storage box, that way if you every need to check where you were it is easy to locate.
  • Using stickers helps to make important events stand out.
  • If you like writing ‘To Do’ lists why not keep these on your diary page instead of on random bits of paper or post its.
  • Keep your diary with you at all time, it might weigh your handbag down a bit, but I think it is worth it!

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Organised Mum sells lots of other products that can help you in this busy life such as: Calendars, Receipt books, Budget Books, Children’s Reward Charts and Stickers.

Disclaimer

This post is an honest reflection of my opinion of the above product. It is not a sponsored post and I have not received any payment or products for writing it.

I always like to try reading new books with Amelia and love to support other local Mums who are building new businesses. I was lucky enough to meet fellow Ealing Mum of two Kim Robinson, Author of Bertie The Balloon books. We met in my local park and before long we were meeting up together for local play dates!

 Kim teamed up with another Mum, Aneta Newman who is an illustrator and has made Kim’s stories come to life with beautiful bright and colourful drawings.

The first book published was; Bertie The Balloon at the Fairground. My Daughter is Four years old and I think these range of books are perfect for her current age. They are also suitable from two up to around six years. My little book worm thoroughly enjoyed this first Bertie adventure. The clever rhyming story flows easily along complimented by the bright and bold illustrations. This book was a real hit for my Daughter. She especially liked the find the Bertie puzzle at the back of the book.

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The second book is; Bertie The Balloon at the Zoo. This is an excellent follow up from the first book. Once again Bertie goes on his travels and meets many different animals, which you can talk about with your child. Once again there is another little puzzle at the end of the book.

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Amelia and I are eagerly awaiting the third volume, which will be Bertie The Balloon at the Farm. I just know this is going to be another bedtime favourite!

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So if you would like to be in for a chance of winning a set of the Bertie The Balloon Books then please enter below via Raffle Copter link.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are not lucky enough to win my competition this time or would like to buy some of the Bertie The Balloon books for your self or friends (or can I even mention to get organised for Christmas!) you can find them Amazon.

Disclosure

I was given two copies of the Bertie The Balloon books in return for a review and have used the books as competition prizes. All opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of what I think of the books.

 

One of our highlights this Bank Holiday weekend was a trip to KidZania at Westfield Shopping Centre, White City, London. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have to say the experience totally exceeded my expectations.

We arrived at ‘check in’ and it was just like we were about to board a flight at the airport. From the signs, to the costumes of the staff, it really did look like a real life airport. We were given a map and an excellent explanation of what KidZania was all about.

We were all fitted with wrist tags. These tags are used throughout the experience not only to track which of the experiences your child is involved in, but also if at anytime your child looses sight of you the device is able to tell you where they are. Also your child can not leave the premises without being with you, this is a brilliant safety feature. A child of over the age of eight years can be left at KidZania without an adult in attendance while you go about your shopping. You get a total of four hours there, it seems like a lot of time but in reality it went really fast and we didn’t mange to complete even half of the activities.

How does it work?

When you arrive your child is given 50 Kidzos (this is the currency used in KidZania) , but you can earn or buy more if you wish.

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There are a total of 60 different establishments your child can get involved in. The thing to remember from the start is that you are not generally permitted in the room that the activities are going on in. You can watch from the sidelines or can look in from the large glass windows. It is really great that you are not in there distracting your child. You are getting a rare glimpse by seeing them being completely immersed in an activity and for Amelia she was totally enjoying the moment and almost forgot we were there!

Each job or activity either has a cost to participate or your child is paid a salary when completed. I think this is teaching them a very valuable lesson that to do something fun you first have to work for your money.

Extra facilities:

  • DSC_1381Designated parents room that is only for over 18’s. Here you will find a cafe, that even serves alcohol, lots of comfortable sitting and even some aeroplane flat beds that you can relax on! Myself and my Husband made good use of them!
  • An area for children under the age of 4 years, so younger siblings can come in too.
  • There are various cafe and restaurants within KidZania, we had our lunch at GBK.
  • Your child can have their Birthday Party here and they have a designated party room,which when we were there was all set up for a party, there was even a throne for the party child! (I’m already eyeing this up for Amelia’s next party).
  • Professional photographers around within the activities and can take pictures of your child that can be purchased on leaving. These  are good to have as you can not take photographs in the activities room.

Amelia did the Following Activities:

Fire and Rescue Department, Fire Fighter and Fire Inspector – This is great fun, costumes on and the children get into actual mini fire engine that drives them to a building on fire! They then use hoses with real water to put the fire out.

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Mission Deli – Making Wraps. The children are shown how to make this product from scratch and you even receive your own pack of wraps to take home.

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British Airway Aviation Training, Cabin Crew and Pilot – Amelia dressed up in her Pilot costume and got to experience flying a plane, plus you can also learn about being Cabin Crew too.

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Chocolate Factory, Chocolatiers – Amelia could hardly wait to get to this experience. Children learn how chocolate is made.

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Dance Club, Singer – Amelia managed to sing ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift and won the Karaoke competition!

Beauty Salon, Stylist and Customer – Each child gets to use a dummy head to style hair, something like a Girls World from the 1980’s a toy that I always wanted! Amelia really enjoyed this activity.

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Supermarket, Cashier and Customer – this reminded me of the Supermarket Sweep game that was once on TV. Amelia got a list of groceries and zoomed around the shop with her own mini trolley looking for items.

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Face Painting/Temporary Tattoos – by this time she was getting very tired but she managed to get a cute ladybird tattoo and a lovely cat face paint.

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Citizen Passport (cost £5) – this involves getting stamps in your Passport and in turn you will end up with discounts and priority access to KidsZania in the future. For more information see B.kidzanian

My Top Tips

  • Get there early, otherwise the queue can be longer at check in.
  • Buy tickets online to be sure that you will get entry that day and use any potential discounts.
  • Remember your child has to be four years old to participate in most activities and it helps if they are confident enough to cope with going into a room on their own.
  • Take a good look at the map when you arrive or before on the website and work out which jobs your child is really interested in doing and head to them first, otherwise it can be a bit overwhelming. Remember some activities are height or age restricted.
  • Allow at least four hours for your trip, take my word for it you won’t want to leave any earlier!
  • Make sure your child does plenty of jobs that earn them money.

My overall opinion

I absolutely loved this place and so did my Daughter and Husband. By the end of the day I felt that we had a really fun-filled day out. The place was very clean and the staff could not be more helpful.

I saw some real enthusiasm from the staff this included the Town Crier who made an announcement involving us. There was flash mob style dancing from other staff and even the general music playing in the background was upbeat and added to the fun atmosphere. I will definitely planning another visit soon and my Daughter is already asking when we are going back!

Disclosure

I was lucky enough to receive tickets in return for my review. All opinions are my own and are an honest reflection of our visit in August 2016.

Keep in contact……

If you like my review then please do comment and if you have been to Kidzania let me know what your opinion was?

Please do follow me on Facebook Twitter  @mumofthesuburbs and more photos on Instagram