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 lucky enough to be invited to try out the new indoor Treetop adventure golf  course in Cardiff! And little did we know that we’d be in for a real treat….nestled in the heart of Cardiffs City centre it really was a fab afternoon out exploring an indoor tropical jungle full of golfing delights.

The kids had a fantastic time and it was a great location for a family treat..
Here’s how it looked..
The courses were fantastic and we really felt like we were in the jungle with sights and sounds all around us…

With two course we played the first and in between we stopped off for snacks in the themed cafe corner overlooking the courses…


 The kids had non alchoholic cocktails!!

The attention to detail was fab all around in every corner, nook & cranny….even the toilets!

After our break we went on to do the second course of two…

And we had the chance to win a free round on the last hole…

And we won a return visit!!!

   Treetops adventure golf  was a fantastic treat for the kids and they loved it! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would like to thank them for inviting us to play.

For more info including opening time, prices, special offers, location etc please visit their Website or find them on Facebook
Everyone here at ‘Family Days Tried & Tested’ gives the Treetops adventure golf course the big thumbs up and suggests that should you want to treat the kids then this is the place to do it! 10-10

Teetering on the school run. 

Teetering on that fine line of balance trying to smoothly sail through the school run process without descending into a chaos of irretrievable tag team shouting that will only leave us with unforgiving kisses at the school gates & a walk home awash with guilt is something that happens….well it does here.

It’s not how mornings are planned but that point of no return is such an accessible place to arrive at but such a difficult place to return from once you’ve hurtled full force over it without a safety net or a line to pull you back..

Having my eyes pinged open to a morning chorus of bitching and griping amongst the kids, happily throwing undertones of vocal gnarliness at each other is NOT going to start the day well, (and they know that) there’s not even a snooze option, just a realisation that you’re going to be fighting to let it all go over your head….easier said than done. 

The ironicness is that the sky is blue and the morning sun is streaming feelings of Spring through the  window informing you it’s a beautiful day… but they still choose to open their eyes with a main aim of talking to each other like crap about absolutely mindless things, things that really don’t matter. Talking like crap just for the sake of it.

This morning I opened my eyes to a full scale verbal war because one of the preteens farted whilst walking past the others room, it could of been intentional (& there’d be no surprise for those actions), but it was used as a tool to prompt an onslaught of personal attacks over the smallest of things…in short, it wasn’t actually about the fart, the fart was irrelevant. It was an excuse.

There’s a certain tone in their voices that portrays their mood. That tone was my dawn chorus & even though the words were a jumble the situation was clearly apparent.

So through blurry eyes (and desperately not wanting too) that then becomes my stance. 

Knowing I should be the adult makes it worse but I seem to head down the path of playing them at their own game in a ‘see you don’t like it’ sort of way in a desperation that they’ll grasp onto the knowledge that it’s really not nice and they’ll then wholeheartedly live and die by the morals of treating others the way you’d like to be treated yourself….who am I kidding. 

I can live with missing shoes (missing being defined as a lack of looking) and elusive hairbrushes (even though we’ve got enough kicking about to fill a hair salon) 

Their inability to share the bathroom is bearable and being dragged into unresponsive statue like states by the TV doesn’t bother me overly, but talking to each other like complete tripe drives me crazy, it’s the unwanted weight that thunders into me when I’m balancing. 

In an ideal world I’d ignore it, don an apron and whip up a tower of pancakes to happily fill their bellies & see them off with a beautiful organisation & ample words to fill them with the knowledge that I’ll pine for them all day and count down the minutes til their happy faces returned.

The reality- I utter and mumble & have them make do with toast with a lecture about world hunger and their luckiness to have what they do, I point out their need to tidy their rooms the second they return home  from school to make amends and promise them that they’ll spend every second in each other’s company (even if it’s til adulthood) until learn to get on, be nice & respect each other. No care is taken in the packed lunch making…In short  I crash, bash & make my disappointment evident, I partake the school run like a fishwife with a bunch of children with faces looking like smacked bums. 

I dish out kisses but I’m sure it’s an obligation. 

I walk home under a beautiful blue sky exuding hints of Spring feeling like shit and promises that tomorrow I won’t slip from that fine line. I’ll still teeter but I will not fall. 

Why can’t they just be nice? 

I love them with every morsel of my being but I falter. 

3.30 they’ll come crashing through the door dumping their wares, heading for the fridge and the process will start again.

In our house we have a dysfunctional normality and although it’s not evident within the dawn chorus we do exude love for each other, mostly. 



So for another day the heavens have opened and it’s rained non stop, so we decided to head out and take advantage of the weather with a lilo & an old buggy in tow…

Lilo surfing & extreme buggying were on the agenda!!

The kids were prepared to get wet and muddy, we found a steep grassy bank with an adjoining Tarmac hill away from traffic and we were off!!!

We came home with a few scrapes and bruises which were to be expected but we had a fab time..

Here’s how we got on…
We found our grassy bank and started by blowing up our lilo

and then the extreme fun began….with a run up sometimes they landed on the lilo…

20140528-151011.jpgAnd other times they missed it!

Even the littlest members of the group took turns..


20140528-151346.jpgAnd moaned whilst dragging the lilo back up..

20140528-151513.jpgThe older kids mastered the art of landing..

20140528-151609.jpgWe then set about with an old buggy taking turns to speed down the Tarmac to a halt at the grassy bank at the bottom!

And as with learning the art of landing on the lilo they also had to learn the art of remaining in the buggy until it got to the grass…. We had a few minor war wounds but a lot of fun 🙂

Please be aware that this can be dangerous but what’s childhood without a few risks and a lot of pain induced belly laughs?


A fun game to play with the kids, set them the challenge of identifying close up photos you have taken of things around the house, alternatively give them a camera or a phone with a camera and set them the task of taking their own photos for you to identify….
Here’s some that we’ve taken, see how many you can get!
(Answers at the bottom, no peeking!!)


















Header photo..Matches
3..USB stick
4..Baby bottle teat
5..Festival Lanyard
9..Fish slice
10..Cheese Grater
11..Squash bottle
14..Plug socket
16..Plug pin
17..Tooth pick/Cocktail sticks


We headed to the woods to make our own tree folk. We simply drew and coloured in facial features and then turned the trees into tree folk…
It was lots of fun…

Here’s what we did..











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We wanted to have some fun learning some basics about Italy so decided on an Italian themed day..
Here’s what we did..

We painted flags..

We looked at famous Italian paintings and tried to recreate them.


We looked at Italian landmarks and tried to build them… Our leaning tower of Pisa


We tried our hand at pasta art


We bought and ground some Italian coffee beans


We then made an Italian feast, we browsed through an Italian cookbook!!



We made Pizzas and garlic bread!!





We finished our Italian themed day wit a CORNETTO!!! (Just one!)



We decided we wanted to go camping but didn’t fancy pitching up in the rain so we had an indoor campout instead..

Here’s what we did..

We made our camp fire using marshmallows, chocolate logs, chocolate fingers & boiled sweets, we lay it all on a piece of cardboard that we cut to look like logs..

We got out some camping accessories..



We had hot dogs got tea, a camping essential…

We got together all the ingredients for a campout breakfast and cooked it on our camping stove on the porch… We headed back indoors to eat it..


Who needs worry about the weather!!!



We decided to go on a spring walk to pick up fallen blossom to try our hand at some blossom art.

We found lots of beautiful colours..

Here’s how we did..











The kids really enjoyed creating blossom art.

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