We made our own Frankenstein operation game…
We cut holes in a box 

   We glued some condiment cups from the local fast food restaurant to the inside of the box covering the holes..  

 we then drew and coloured in our Frankenstein patient…  

 and we used our glue to stick him to our box operating table..  

 finally we filled Frankensteins open wounds with bean boozled jelly beans….the jelly bean that sometimes serves up deliciousness and sometimes vulgar tasting treats 😆  



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


familydaystriedandtested's Blog

☀️Here it is! The ultimate summer fun list made by YOU!!
We asked our followers to come up with a list of things to do during the summer holiday come rain or shine, indoors or out, day or night….and they didn’t let us down!

There’s something for everyone on this list & it will keep you going all through the summer…

Well done‘Family Days Tried & Tested’followers….you really do rock & helped make a fab list…

So what’s on the list?

Loads & loads & loads… you go…

☀️Climb a tree

☀️Take a bucket and spade to the beach and have a hole digging contest.

☀️Make some rainbow rice…place some rice into food bags & add a teaspoon of food colouring & a teaspoon of vinegar, dry it out in the sun. Great for pouring play, tipping, fairy fun etc.

☀️Become outdoor artists & paint a picture outside..

View original post 1,338 more words

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 🙂 


Here’s some fun ways to enjoy food!

Dip spoons in melted chocolate and add sprinkles, leave to cool and then enjoy with hot chocolate.

Make some hedgehog bread rolls.

Have cake for breakfast.

Have a glow in the dark tea.

Make a building site pudding with crushed up biscuits, angel delight and chocolate chunks.

Place small toys in the breakfast cereal to enjoy a blast from the past.

Make some gruesome gingerbread men with some ready made gingerbread men and icing.

Make a movie night nacho tray with an old cupcake box.

Make Vienetta shakes.

Make a giant Toblerone from cardboard and use it as a team building exercise, once they’ve carried it to a location reward them with real Toblerones.

Make Teddy bear toast with peanut butter or chocolate spread, bananas and raisins.

Make a snowman yogurt with raisins.

Make a giant cardboard gingerbread house to enjoy a real gingerbread house in.

Make teddy bear porridge with bananas. Raisins and chocolate sprinkles.

Have eggs for breakfast!

Make a fruit pizza, use grated chocolate as the cheese.

Have a deceptive tea!

Decorate your own egg cups.

Serve your food in something different.

Enjoy hot chocolate in the woods.

Dip breadsticks in melted hcjocolate and sprinkles to make edible sparklers.

Make a tin can marshmallow cooker.

Enjoy some monster cookies with your monsters.

Have a back to from dinner.

Put jokes in their packed lunches.

Use marker pens to make a midnight snack tray. Tray are £1 in IKEA.

Enjoy cake with a beautiful view.

Cook mini marshmallows over tea lights .

Buy apogee cakes for approx 60p each at the supermarket and have a cake decorating competition.

Make a cake that looks like a burger with chocolate sponge and vanilla sponge and ready roll icing and strawberries and have a Wonkalicious dinner.

Make picnic pots with jars.

Have a breakfast picnic.

Make fairy donuts.

Make different shaped pizzas.

Make a jelly baby football table using a box and skewers.

Teach the kids how to make a cup of tea.

Make a chocolate brownie pizza using a brownie mix, Creme fraiche and fruit.

Make basic biscuit into personalised yummy gifts.

Write table manners on eggs with permanent marker pens.

Make chocolate sweetie pizzas.

Have a prehistoric pudding with crumbled chocolate, angel delight and sprinkles.

Make an edible beach pudding with digestive biscuits mixes with butter.

Leave bedtime snacks on their pillows.

Use an empty plastic bottle to plant cress and make a cress hedgehog.

Make a Zingy with a carrot.

Teach the teenager drinks awareness.

Use paint pallets as plates.

Use Creme eggs to make owls.

Have a man versus food tea time.

Head out with all the makings for baguettes and have a baguette battle making competition.

Make a fruity rainbow.

Have a wonkilcious dinner and serve cottage pies in cupcake cases with tomatoes in the top. Use ready roll pastry and fruit to make pizzas. Make a burger cake. Finish by printing off wonka bar covers for bars of chocolate with golden tickets in.

Take cake outdoors.

Make sponge cakes. You can buy cheap packs of sponges in pound stores.

Make a yummy log fire with chocolate rolls and brandy snaps.

Make mud pies.

Make watermelon faces, kids love reviving their own watermelon as a gift!

Pick your own dinner.

Fool the kids by filling Oreos with toothpaste 🙂


Who said food’s not fun?


IMG_0953Toddlers are fab and it’s such a beautiful & busy age, It’s a wonderful stage full of exploration & discovery of the world around them as they take wonder in the simplest of things…splashing in puddles, finding worms, climbing into dens made under the kitchen table.
A time of learning through play at a slow speed & boundless energies & bucket loads of curiosities in tow.
But this all passes in the blink of an eye & before you know it you’re helping them into school clothes, loosening the grip on their hand & watching them as they adventure off into nursery school as you’re left wondering where those toddler years disappeared too.
So here’s our easy guide on ways to slow down & make the most of those pre nursery toddler times with some easy activities & mini adventuring that will help you make the most of every second you spend together.

By far the most important thing is to slow down, let them lead, get down to their level and try to see the world through their eyes. Take pleasure in the simplest of things and move at their pace….which quite often is excruciatingly slow & repetitive but will bring you the most rewards.
You’ll start to see everyday things that are often overlooked by our need to get things down.

Outdoor hunts are great for turning a walk into an adventure! Make some easily identifiable lists of things to find, here’s some ideas..

*A worm
*A snail
*A spider
*A wood louse
Take a jar with you to put your bugs in, toddlers love filling things and will have fab fun filling it with twigs and grass….don’t forget to put a few holes in the top for your bugs to breath.

*An aeroplane
*A bus
*A train
*A bird


IMG_0926You could even go on a train ride or the bus!

*Snow drops
*A feather


IMG_0950Take a bag and bring home some of the things you find to make a picture.


*A Robin
*A Magpie
*A duck
*A Seagull



IMG_0956Don’t forget to write your lists with permanent marker pens on a piece of cardboard to make them hard wearing or laminate them to use again and again. You could also make some binoculars with toilet roll tubes and string.
Let them help with the laundry, they’ll take pleasure in being helpful, they can carry some of your load to the machine, they’ll take joy stuffing it into the drum or pulling it out when the cycles finishes.
Make a low washing line for them with string and let them peg out the socks.

IMG_0939Get them helping with the dustpan & brush, it may mean that the dirt you sweep is quite often brushed around the room and has to be recollected but the enjoyment they’ll take far outweighs the efforts it will take to do the job again yourself.
Make up a spring cleaning tray for them, fill it with dusters, spray bottles filled with water (if you’re brave!), rubber gloves & cheaply bought dustpans & brushes.
Pound stores are great for supplies.

IMG_0930Let them help with dinner, toddlers love to put the vegetables you’ve chopped up into pans!
Set out a tub of soapy water, a towel & some plastic dinnerware & watch them have a wail of a time washing up!

IMG_0946Give them a bucket of soapy water and a sponge and let them clean there toys in a toy wash stationor bike/car wash in the garden.


A puddle suit is a great investment, it means you can head out in the rain and jump, splash, wade and even sit in puddles and keep dry!

IMG_0947Take out some empty margarine tubs to use as sailboats in puddles or make boats with corks & elastic bands.

IMG_0938-0If it’s windy you can take a carrier bag tied to a piece of string for some carrier bag kite flying.

IMG_0929Searching for elastic bands that the postman has dropped is often fruitful.

An old sheet draped over the table can make for hours of fun, picnicking underneath in a den filled with cushions & a torch!



IMG_0942But don’t stop there! Head out to the woods with your old sheets and a packet of pegs and make some outdoor dens.

IMG_0944It really is that simple! All you need is time & the realisation that that time is played out in slow motion for a toddler and cherishing it is easy if we slow down with them, after all you’ll soon be wondering how that time passed by so quickly and wishing you had a rewind or a pause button….

Make the most of every second & forget about the school uniforms til the last minute cos those days will whizz by in the blink of an eye too…


With snow seemingly falling everywhere overnight apart from within the green bubble that surrounds our house we headed out on a mini adventure in search of the snowfalls that we could see on the hills in the distance.
We found our patch just outside Chepstow in Upper Wyndcliff.
The Upper Wyndcliff car park is reached via a lane off the A466, 1⁄2 mile north of St Arvans. The car park is on the right after about 1⁄2 mile. The footpath on the left at the back of the car park is signposted for Eagle’s Nest and the Wye Valley Walk which gives you stunning views across Wye Valley.

We were only on a mini adventure so settled for a walk surrounding the car park….this in itself was a lovely walk but only lasted an hour…..just enough to wear out little legs.

We headed over the stile and onto the farmland and explored the fields…

Here’s how we got on..
We started our walk under dark skies in the company of a rainbow…IMG_5378.JPG






IMG_5385.JPGThe higher up the hill we walked the thicker the snow became..

IMG_5387.JPGand beautiful view grew.


IMG_5389.JPGit was like a big white fluffy enticing blanket….

IMG_5398.JPGso we built a snowman.



IMG_5396.JPGand had a snowball fight…

IMG_5390.JPGwe made tracks and followed them..

IMG_5391.JPGand even tried a little sledging without a sledge 😉

IMG_5399.JPGwith soggy bums, cold snowman building hands and school run time approaching we decided we’d had enough snow fun and headed back to the car…

But not without saying goodbye to our afternoon friend…

….with a peck on the nose 💖




20140811-213232-77552906.jpg</St Athan Boys' Village was a village-style holiday camp located in West Aberthaw , Vale of Glamorgan, Wales (The B4265 passes just south of St. Athan; go east on it (if leaving the town) and take the first turning on the right at the petrol station, under the old train bridge, Boys village is a few minutes down the road)
Now derelict all that remains are the shells of the buildings that once remained, overgrown and dilapidated it has an eerie atmosphere and an intriguing air surrounding it.
We parked along the road outside of it and freely walked in to take a look around.
































Digging in the archives I’ve selected over 100 different boredom busting ideas for the kids to try out during the school holidays… Indoors & out, sunshine or rain, here’s my choice to keep the kids entertained…
1.Make your own fairy doors..

20140524-142847-52127071.jpg2..Make a box dolls house using samples collected from B&Q… Be your own interior designer!

20140524-142953-52193922.jpg3..Make your own pine cone hedgehog pets.

4..Have an indoor campout..if you haven’t got a pop up tent then build an under table den..

20140524-143223-52343988.jpg5..Make donuts for the fairies using Cheerios & icing.

20140524-143314-52394977.jpg6..Take a train ride.

20140524-143411-52451380.jpg7..Set up a marble hunt in the woods.

20140524-143455-52495007.jpg8.Make your own Tree folk.

20140524-143534-52534111.jpg9..Have a cake decorating competition, buy value cakes for approx 60p each and decorate with icing and sweets. The winner of ours got a half an hour extra bedtime pass.

20140524-143737-52657543.jpg10..Make a milk carton bird house/feeder.

20140524-143822-52702010.jpg11..Tin can lanterns. Fill an empty tin with water and freeze, once frozen carefully use a hammer and nails to make your own patterns, once finished run under warm water to release the ice and pop in a tea light. ( best suited to older children, take care of sharp edges)

20140524-144052-52852302.jpg12..make a chocolate brownie, creme fraiche and fruit pizza.

20140524-144204-52924970.jpg13.Watch trains passing.

20140524-144233-52953812.jpg14..dig for hidden money at the beach (draw a square and bury coins to be found) elastics.

20140524-144411-53051660.jpg16..make a Reading hammock with a long piece of fabric.

20140524-144459-53099185.jpg17..Take a boat ride. planes from the end of a runway..

20140524-144703-53223056.jpg19..Design your own clothes and use your phone camera to help you try them on.

20140524-144751-53271080.jpg20..Make a fabric or rope swing.

20140524-144820-53300801.jpg21..Become an outdoor artist.

20140524-144851-53331811.jpg22..Go stream fishing with nets and jars.

20140524-144932-53372672.jpg23..Build boats with wood offcuts from a saw mill and a bag of nails. in puddles.

20140524-145049-53449167.jpg25..Have a wheel barrow race.

20140524-145117-53477351.jpg26..Make some toilet tube tunnels.

20140524-145150-53510777.jpg27..make a jar fairy house lantern

20140524-145224-53544384.jpg28..make a matchbox art box

20140524-145316-53596448.jpg29..make matchstick aeroplanes.

20140524-145354-53634054.jpg30..have a mini marshmallow tealight toasting session.

20140524-145455-53695959.jpg31..Have a look at some art and try recreating it.

20140524-145534-53734880.jpg32..Experiment with eggs.

20140524-145606-53766062.jpg33..make an outdoor Lego Playstation.

20140524-145640-53800436.jpg34..Make an outdoor art Playstation.

20140524-145712-53832026.jpg35..have a mud tea party.

20140524-145758-53878648.jpg36..make an Elmer elephant from a milk carton.

20140524-145844-53924841.jpg37..make a woodland tripwire course.

20140524-145919-53959344.jpg38..get the kids to wash up.

20140524-145951-53991777.jpg39..make some giant Mikado using breadsticks and melted chocolate.

20140524-150033-54033834.jpg40..make an outdoor Reading area using a bed canopy or sheet.

20140524-150139-54099484.jpg41..put on a puppet show with your own lollipop stick puppets.

20140524-150217-54137482.jpg42..sail some cork boats

20140524-150250-54170660.jpg43..make an outdoor treasure table to put things you collect whilst out.

20140524-150335-54215372.jpg44..make a milk carton watering can.

20140524-150410-54250971.jpg45..bury your own time capsule.

20140524-150443-54283555.jpg46..have a kite retrieval challenge, make some simple kites with paper and string and throw them into the trees for the kids to climb and retrieve.

20140524-150559-54359122.jpg47..make a ribbon wind sock using a plastic milk carton.

20140524-150656-54416958.jpg48..make your own junk band.

20140524-150728-54448207.jpg49..create your own Man V food tea.

20140524-150811-54491237.jpg50..decorate some paper lanterns (3pack at Poundland)

20140524-150907-54547276.jpg51..make a sheet den by hanging a broom or stick in a tree using strong and hanging a sheet over it.

20140524-151012-54612250.jpg52..make you own picnic pots using jars.

20140524-151102-54662194.jpg53..try your own flower petal art.

20140524-151135-54695073.jpg54..make some fabric fairy wings.

20140524-151233-54753584.jpg55..make a mountain out if a molehill. old treasure (you can buy old coins on eBay to drop to be discovered!)

20140524-151418-54858691.jpg57..make fun shaped pizzas. a penny search in the grass.

20140524-151636-54996741.jpg59..make some salt art bottle using salt and chalk.

20140524-152205-55325414.jpg60..make carrier bag kites

IMG_3861.JPG61..Make breadstick sparklers

IMG_3831.JPG62..Hunt for autumn colours

IMG_3832.JPG63..make a conker abacus

IMG_3833.JPG64..carve stick toadstools

IMG_3834.JPG65..go rainy day lilo surfing

IMG_3835.JPG66..make an autumn crown

IMG_3837.JPG67..make paper doiley ballerinas

IMG_3836.JPG68..make limpet shell mushrooms

IMG_3838.JPG69..make spooky eyes from toilet roll tubes

IMG_3839.JPG70..make an autumn lantern an under table bear lair

IMG_3841.JPG72..make some stick stump robins

IMG_3842.JPG73..Have a picnic supper before bed

IMG_3843.JPG74..go on an alphabet hunt

IMG_3844.JPG75..make your own beach art with a rake

IMG_3845.JPG76..make an under table house den with a sheet

IMG_3846.JPG77..Have fun with an empty picture frame

IMG_3847.JPG78..go waterbutt rolling

IMG_3848.JPG79..have an upside down back to front dinner

IMG_3849.JPG80..have teddy bear porridge

IMG_3850.JPG81..make a colour wheel with leaves

IMG_3851.JPG82..make some hazelnut owls in the park in the dark

IMG_3853.JPG84..make a homework station

IMG_3854.JPG85..take your duvets to the cinema

IMG_3855.JPG86..create a themed bath some extreme stairway boating (caution needed!)

IMG_3857.JPG88..Set up a bed outside for a duvet day!

IMG_3858.JPG89..Watch finding memo from a boat out fireflies, secretly splash glow sticks in the trees

IMG_3860.JPG91..make a fruit pizza

IMG_3862.JPG92..make your artwork come alive with playdough glow in the dark swingball

IMG_3864.JPG94..have a half term budget

IMG_3865.JPG95..become housework hereos

IMG_3866.JPG96..make toilet roll poos a rope swing

IMG_3868.JPG98..have an autumn picnic shadows for skeleton leaves

IMG_3871.JPG101 have tea on the sofa!