Last week we had the absolute pleasure of staying at a beautifully luxurious hotel in the heart of London over looking Buckingham Palace….an opulent and gloriously elegant home away from home with comfort & decadents exuding from all directions & in all manners…
A quintessentially traditional and exuberant welcome awaited us as we arrived to an idyllic but highly polished and warm reception at The Rubens at the Palace

And boy were we in for a treat on the highest of levels. 

The pavement welcome alone gave us a strong hint as to how our stay would far exceed our expectations…. 

 So let me take you inside and give you just a whisper of the lavishness of our stay… 

 We’re not familiar with the city, we arrived from the country with an outward etiquette that would probably denote that but from the second we adorned the pavement we seemly fell into the lap of luxury and were made to feel that our presence was of the upmost importance, each face we encountered was with an eagerness to help, a genuine interest & an ease to communicate, a homely air was given from the moment we checked in along with a firm knowledge that help & information to ease our stay was only a question away & our comfort was their aim.  
 Having arrived around 8am our bags were taken to be stored until our room was ready, we were given complimentary coffee and offered breakfast to start our day, after a long journey we decided on breakfast to gather our thoughts and plan our day ahead….a fabulous choice and a luxuriously pleasing yummy start to our stay… 
 Food is most certainly the way to my heart and The Rubens most certainly had my heart in their hands before 9am with an overwhelming feast… really was as good as it looked…  

 There was something for all tastes.. 

   It really was the best possible start to the day.. 
After breakfast we took a little time to explore the hotel…there was a room for everyone…each caked in beauty and elegance..

 The Library room… 

We sat and watched the world go by with Buckingham Palace Mews right outside the lounge window.. 


After a stroll through the virtually adjoining world famous St James’ park we were phoned by The Rubens to notify us that our room was ready… 

Our room was beautiful… 

   With a complete Royal view 👑

  and the attention to detail made it all the more comfortable… Homemade biscuits! 
 a paper delivered… 

 Fabulous room service…we had afternoon tea and it was exquisite… 

 and even the delivery of a promise of sleep with a turn down service.. 


We explored the hotel a little more lapping up the feel of relaxation bought to us from every direction.. 



Even the toilets were shrouded in elegance.. 


Our visit was a child free treat but it soon became evident to us that  The Rubens really was a haven of treats for children too and a very family friendly hotel with an importance of making the smallest guests feel at home…

The children can get involved in the Little Princes and Princesses Afternoon Tea, with plenty of tasty treats to tuck into! They can even try their hands at a Masterchef Pastry Experience – including the chance to decorate cupcakes with the Rubens chef! 

I couldn’t resist enquiring about a visit with kids and was impressed by the most simplistic of touches..

Children’s evening turndown including a glass of milk and kid’s treat 

Bathrobes and slippers 

Sticker / colouring books  

An interactive child’s map of London where they can tick off all the places they have seen   

Kids movies as well as a Nintendo Wii console and games. But we will never put them in your room without getting your parental permission first 

Children’s books and games available upon request

Check out these cute robes & slippers! 

 and these adorable complimentaries for the smallest guests.. 


We couldn’t resist taking one of the children’s maps on our day out 😊 

 Our stay at The Rubens at the Palace was a fabulous time away, luxurious, sumptuous, rejuvenating and a gorgeous treat without the children in tow but also certainly proved to be somewhere that we’d return to with the children. 

As winners and finalists of a family fun award we can firmly say that The Rubens has gone above and beyond for its younger guests….and we didn’t even take the children!!
Our trip was made special by not only the hotel but ultimately the evident heart, care and thought that exuded from all the staff within it, attention to detail was beautiful, cleanliness unquestionable & comfort exceeding our expectations…

The Rubens at the Palace was truly a beautiful and memorable place to stay at. 

For more details please visit their website


We were recently introduced to the wonderful & fun world of scooting!!

Scooters are something we’ve never really considered so when the lovely people over at Micro Scooters wanted to send us some to celebrate becoming finalist in the family fun category for the MAD blog awards….we accepted with excitement! 

Tailored to suit individual needs the scooters were ideal for the different age catergories in the house…everyone big and small had something just right for them…from a stunt scooter for the teenager right down to a dinosaurtastic scootersaraus set for Noah, 3. These scooters were certainly a far cry from the scooters that our elder children had played on 10 years ago, we were surprisingly impressed at how scooters have evolved! 

After ordering our scooters they arrived with us with 24 hours!! It was like Christmas… 

 Everyone was over the moon and eager to try them out… 


 So with all the scooters easily put together with zero stress we took a vote and decided to head out and trial our scooters with a trip to the skate park!
Here’s how we got on on our very first adventure with our Micro Scooters

With our scooter bags packed with duck food and pennies we found a great stretch along the seaside to test our scooters.. 

 the girls accessoried… 

 our first test was a speed test….Noah was the starter….

 and finisher….😊 

 but it wasn’t long before they raced off to do their own thing… 

 Elis, a usual skater boarder, took some time to familiarise himself with his new stunt scooter before we headed to the skate park.. 

 And obviously with his new scooter in tow, Noah 3, wanted to follow his big brother… 

 so we watched for a while from afar… 

 before heading down for a closer look.. 

He watched his brother whizzing past with the bigger boys so we decided to walk around the adjoining lake to feed the ducks in the hope that the skate park would be a little quieter later on…

So back on the scooters, we headed off… 

   Noah was sure the swans had come to check out his fantastic dinosaur helmet 😊 
 With a bit more practice under our belts…including a little practice in dusting ourselves off… 

 we headed back to the skatepark…

It was a lot quieter…we watched for a while… 


 big brother and little brother scooted alongside each other… 

 until their knees could take no more… 

 and their hearts were content with a day full of scooting memories to take home… 

 We would like to thank Micro Scooters for sending us our new scooters, we can’t rave about them enough! They are fantastic and a superb addition to the family, our schools runs just got a whole load easier and fun…

You have the one 110% approval from us for a family fun product! 

The scooters we were sent were *Micro MX BenJ stunt scooter

*Micro Trixx scooter

*Maxi Micro scooter 

*Mini Micro Scooter

You can find more info on their website Website here.

Or you could follow their Facebook page here for info, competitions and loads of fun…

We are now scooting converts… 

 Especially a three year old, dinosaur loving little boys that now has some fab memories and a new favourite item to take to bed 😉❤️ 

You can follow more of our daily family fun on Facebook here.

In search of an eclipse..

We decided last night that we were going to get up before the sun rose and head for the hills in search of a gorgeous spot to have breakfast and watch the solar eclipse.

So we threw some quilts into the car along with a bowl to fill with water to watch the reflecting sun, some card to make our pin hole viewers, breakfast bowls & headed out under a blanket of mist with hope that it would clear in tow.

It was misty all the way there and little did we know that we’d climb out of the mist and be greeted by a beautiful blue sky.

Here’s how our morning looked..

I’m not great with a camera so the fully beauty wasn’t captured but the carpet of mist that sat below us sat underneath the eclipsed sun stunningly. 

Our breakfast table sat alongside Tor Y Foel mountain in the Brecon Beacons with Talybont reservoir hiding in the valley beneath the mist.

As the sun rose from behind the mountain behind us it slowly kissed the misty valley..

The mist was stunning..

We had company..

with the sun fully up we set up for breakfast and filled out bowl of water ready for the eclipse..

We tried making our own eclipse with playfough on cocktail sticks..

I tried to get some photos but they didn’t do any justice..

We were only there for just over an hour but before we left the mist had cleared.

when we returned home we made our own eclipse 🙂 


IMG_5651.JPGToday we went on a wildlife adventure at Magor Marsh to blow away some cobwebs, do a bit of bird spotting & make use of the winter wildlife crafts which were on offer. Magor Marsh is run by the Wildlife trust and a great place to visit to explore the marshlands, woodlands & spot lots of wildlife in their natural habitats.
The marsh is free to walk around but has event in which the children are invited to, for a small incredibly reasonable fee, to take part in activities and experience a hands on taste of wildlife.
Today was an open day with a charge of £1.50 per child which included several different craft activities, nature trails, pond dipping, toasting marshmallows around the forest campfire and a meet and greet with a hedgehog!
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_5659.JPGwe started with our activity sheets..
and our first stop was to build our own birds nest..


IMG_5657.JPGwe spotted swans

IMG_5655.JPGwe walked across logs

IMG_5656.JPGwe adventured over boardwalks through the marshes in search of the bird hide..



IMG_5654.JPGwe found fungi in the woodlands

IMG_5648.JPGwe toasted marshmallows around the campfire in the forest


IMG_5635.JPGwe explored the marshes



IMG_5634.JPGNoah defeated log piles..

IMG_5647.JPGand we headed back to the activity centre..


IMG_5645.JPGat the activity centre we did some nature crafts…
We made bird feeders..


IMG_5640.JPGwe explored the nature table..

IMG_5642.JPGwe liked the swan egg!!

IMG_5643.JPGwe even met a hedgehog..

IMG_5641.JPGour favourite part was making a really beautiful but simple wicker heart..


IMG_5636.JPGwe had a great afternoon at Magor Marsh and although we visit regularly to explore the outdoors it was the first time we have attended an event…£1.50 was a bargain and we’ll definitely be going again.


IMG_5587.JPGAs part of my mini adventuring with toddler Noah, we’ve been doing some treasure hunting!
Yesterday & today we hunted for ‘Things that move’ & found some great things on our venture…
Here’s how we got on..
Yesterday we found an awesome truck!

And today we headed to the Forest of Dean to search for tractors, trains and birds…

DSC_0611.jpgwe found tractors at a farm machinery distributor on Catbrook road, Tintern. (The tractors are visible from the woodland path that runs alongside it but we entered the sale shop to ask if we could take a closer look)





IMG_5580.JPGwe followed our list to try and find some trains…. We ended up finding one at the Old Station in Tintern..




IMG_5581.JPGand we even found a bird too…


All to find now is an aeroplane and a boat….


IMG_5539.JPGAs part of our ongoing mini adventuring with toddler Noah I decided to start on some simple hunts for him, our first started with a simple hunt for Spring…
We found all on our list apart from the Snowdrops which we then went on to discover on our school run walk…
Here’s how our hunt went..

IMG_5521.JPGwe picked up some bread on the way for the ducks..

IMG_5522.JPGNoah wanted to feed the squirrels, but they kept their distance..

IMG_5524.JPGwe found our first natural treasure from our list!!
It was a strange looking Pinecone..

IMG_5523.JPGwe checked it from our list..

IMG_5525.JPGthen we found our feather..

IMG_5526.JPGwe then headed to the lake in the hope of finding our ducks…
We found lots of frozen puddles on the way..

IMG_5532.JPGand when we got to the lake that was frozen too… But it didn’t stopped Noahs ability and optimism in trying to entice out some ducks..

IMG_5528.JPGand he waited

and waited

and threw more bread…

and then they came…..


And they came in hoards 😊

IMG_5531.JPGwith our bread devoured we carried on with our hunt and stumbled upon a fantastic tree which we decided was a mythical Octopi Tree 😉……Noah faced it full on..


IMG_5535.JPGafter lots of exploration he retreated with plenty of mud in tow..

Our first toddler hunt mini adventure went well, Noah had a fab time and bought home some lovely treasures..


After seeing the new Weetabix advert we decided to make our own Weetabuddies to come on an outdoor adventure with us!
So we created Mr & Mrs Bix with a little icing, some marshmallows & raisins & after a hearty breakfast we headed for the hills with our new hearty company in tow…
Here’s how we got on..
Our adventure took place in the Brecon Beacons in the hope of finding snow…



2015/01/img_0578.jpgwe found some icy puddles to skate on..

2015/01/img_0579.jpgwe could see snow in the distance so headed that way..

2015/01/img_0580.jpgand we found it!!

2015/01/img_0581.jpgkeeping our strength up with some Weetabix for Elevenses

2015/01/img_0583.jpgwe were filled with energy to build out snowman 🙂

2015/01/img_0584.jpgbreakfast with a beautiful view always goes down well & we had a fab time with our buddies in tow!



We started our adventures for 2015 with a sun rise walk to the top of Pen Y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales. We started our walk from the Pont ar Daf car park located along the A470 a few minutes in a westerly direction from the Storey Arms.
We used this walked as a quality time slot with just the 10 year old with us…the teenager stayed home with the younger children and we were home for elevenses 😉
We wrapped up warm (with spare clothes in our rucksacks to allow for change in weather) and took a flask of tea. Good walking boots are advisable and always tell somebody where you are going.

We started our walk from the car park 50 minutes before the sun was due to rise so had good light with the darkness fading, we followed the well defined path over the bridge and up…
It took us an hour to reach the summit where we enjoyed our tea in the company of a beautiful sunrise before heading back down.
The weather was forecast to clear but the wind at the too was bitterly cold and the blue sky a little deceiving.
It was a great way to start off 2015…
Here’s how we got on…

An hour before sunrise was a lovely light, not too dark but with all the stars still out.





/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0299.jpgwith cloud on the horizon we had to wait until the sun broke through the band of cloud…but when it did it was beautiful…







/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0294-0.jpgafter absorbing the sun joining us for the day we headed back down the way we had come…





/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0284.jpgas we walked down we walked back into the shadow of the mountain faster than the sun was rising..


/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/da9/50259951/files/2015/01/img_0280.jpgand as we got back down to the car park the sun was just peeping over the mountain..

We started the year off exactly how we intend to see through 2015..making use of everything beautiful that surrounds us and the outdoors beneath our feet 🙂


IMG_0027.JPGwe headed to the woods for a festive picnic, some cracker hunting, a spot of sprout potting & some whipping up of some reindeer food..
Here’s how we got on…

IMG_0023.JPGwe took with us a few boxes of crackers…

IMG_0024.JPGand a festive tipple! It is Christmas after all..

IMG_0026.JPGwe took with us a cake which we covered with carrots that were to be left for the woodland reindeer to feast on…

IMG_0028.JPGthe kids enjoyed milk and cookies whilst I disappeared to hide the crackers..


IMG_0022.PNGand then they were off!!

IMG_0032.JPGthey had to find four crackers each before returning to the table so everybody got a chance..

IMG_0033.JPGthey all gathered in a pulling frenzy!

IMG_0034.JPGand we read the jokes..

IMG_0035.JPGsome of us wore hats…and others didn’t 🙂

IMG_0037.JPGwe then gathered up our sprouts for a game of sprout potting



IMG_0040.JPGwhich eventually turned into a game of muddy sprout paintball type human target got messy

IMG_0041.JPGand there were casualties 🙂
After our game we calmed down with some sedate reindeer food making..we mixed porridge oats with glitter


IMG_0043.JPGand we popped it all into an air tight container ready to sprinkle Christmas Eve




IMG_4458.JPG We headed to the beautiful Castell Coch in South Wales. An enchanting Cadw fairytale castle nestled in ancient hillside woodland, this was the perfect setting for us to do some dragon hunting.
When we arrived we were greeted by the most magical castle ever, beautifully exuding under a blue dappled sky…

We checked out the castle, walking around it and exploring the moat before heading in..

Inside was magical..




IMG_4448.JPGWe came across a magical wand and witch hat! We’d heard about the dragons that roam in the woodland surrounding the castle and the magic cast to turn the fire breathing ones to wood…we thought we could use the wand and hat to head out into the wood to cast protecting spells within the autumnal trees…

IMG_4446.JPGso we finished exploring the castle..




<img src="https://familydaystriedandted we caste a spell within the castle walls to keep it safe in our absence

IMG_4472.JPGand cast a spell over the castle as we left.

IMG_4473.JPGthe woodland was beautiful and basked in Autumn sun as we headed in search of dragons…

IMG_4462-0.JPGwe came across a sign on a tree as we went further into the trees..

IMG_4502.JPGand we found a magical leaf floating in the air….it was caught in a spiders web thread but was high enough for the kids not to see….. It floated on the enchantment that filled the air…

IMG_4464.JPGwe thought we may be getting closer to the dragons lair as we caught lots of dragons breath prickles on our clothes as we walked through the trees…if a dragon breathes fire within an enchanted wood it turns to prickle balls that fall to the ground and prevent the dragon from landing….this deters fire breathing dragons.

IMG_4463.JPGbut it did not deter us..

IMG_4466.JPGwe explored some more and were brave..there was plenty of evidence of dragon battles with trees pushed from the ground.


IMG_4468.JPGand then right there on the woodland floor we discovered a dragons egg!! Right at our feet..

IMG_4501.JPGwe decided to take it with us as we didn’t want a baby dragon roaming in the woodland! Imagine what could happen should it hatch and it be an inexperienced fire breathing dragon?! ….we took it for the safety of the castle.
It was glistening and rather beautiful.

IMG_4506.JPGwe abandoned our search for the wooden dragon after deciding our best option was to head back to the castle as the sun started to descend as we didn’t want to get caught in the woodland under the cover of darkness.
We arrived back to find the castle covered in shadow..

IMG_4441.JPGwe cast one last spell over the castle to restore light and left our wand and the dragons egg at the castle door before we left…

IMG_4460-0.JPGour visit to Castell Coch was truly magical…

There is a wooden dragon sculpture on the trail at Castell Coch but we arrived late in the day and never made it to the Dragon once we’d stumbled on the eggs and the day started to disappear…we will return another day bid to find it. But here’s proof that it’s there..


We are very lucky to be Family Faces for CADW which enable us free entrance to their sites. Please check their webpage for more detailed information regarding opening times and admission fees.
The woods surrounding Castell Coch are free to roam with only a small car parking charge required.