The Magical Journey

Well, we went to the Magical Journey last night, and after all the media attention, negative feedback, closing down and reopening, we weren’t really sure what to expect.
So we wrapped everyone up warm and headed off with trepidation.
The traffic was horrendous and we arrived a few minutes late for our slot. But they said nothing, and we were able to join the 5.20pm slot.
On arrival, it wasn’t clearly signposted. I would have imagined giant banners on the main road and really clear signs as you turned in to the Belfry but hey ho, we still managed to find it.
Once inside the tent, we were greeted by an elf who directed us to the check in table, where we signed in without a problem.
In the tent there were 2 characters on stilts – a princess and I guess a prince. There was also a teddy bear outside the build a bear shop that the kids loved!

And a lovely – if fake – fountain.

It took a moment for me to realise that this was the christmas market and magical cafe. It was a little underwhelming compared to what I was expecting. The little huts were cute but, in my opinion they could have laden the place with stalls and overfilled the place with Christmas decor to make it seem more inviting and I think people would have felt more engaged and christmassy from the start if they had done this. Having said that, if you ventured into the huts, they were nicely set out.

Once it was our turn, we were taken into the Father Christmas museum. Here the elf told us we were going on a journey and explained about the missing baby reindeer. The children loved sitting on Santa’s “original” sleigh, but the rest of the room was a little half-hearted and we were rushed on to the next room.

The next room was Mary Christmas’s kitchen. The decor in here was lovely and very authentically christmassy. Mary Christmas told a story of how Nicholas became Santa, but it was difficult to hear as the sound quality, even with the microphone, was poor, and also Mary’s quiet voice was somewhat drowned out by all the sounds of cheering coming from the next room.

After the story, we were taken to Simeon Cowelf’s room. Again it was hard to hear what was being said in here and it wasn’t exactly the talent show that was advertised in the brochure. We had to cheer or boo for a handful of presents, to decide if they were worthy for Santa’s sack. Then the phone “rang”, although no one but Simeon noticed it ringing! It was Santa asking everyone to look out for Rudi – the missong baby reindeer. Then Simeon produced a bitten carrot – a clue that Rudi had been here…(lame for grown-ups but I think the kids enjoyed it!)
After this we went out to get on the train. You take a short ride through the snowy woods, lit with ropelights – quite pretty, and again the children seemed to enjoy it.

When you get off the train, you are led into a teepee. This was one of the highlights for me. We were given a mini cup of hot chocolate and entertained by Jack Frost. Card tricks are not great for 3 year olds, but Jack cheered and announced “that was good!” very enthusiastically.

Then you take a walk through the woods, still looking for clues to find Rudi. A couple of elves entertain you at certain points along the path.


Then we came to another teepee. Here, an elf greeted us and took the childrens names to write on the blackboard. There was still a few from the last group waiting to see Santa, but they had a storyteller in there to keep people entertained. Our 2 weren’t interested though, and were getting cold and tired and hungry. Luckily, we only had to wait around 10 minutes, before the most Northern elf ever came to lead us on.
Finally the best part of the journey! Meeting the big man himself!
Santa was brilliant, really engaged with the children and even hubby, who is not very christmassy, thought he was great!
The children got to choose a present – I actually thought it was great that the presents weren’t wrapped, so they could choose what they wanted, and the elf rooted around in another sack to see if he had anything else they might want! Rachel had asked for a notebook (as well as other things!) so he found her a dressing up pad. Finally, we had our photo taken with Santa, then Northern elf took us to see the reindeer.

We headed back to the entrance tent, grabbed our framed photo (which we had pre-paid for and was rather overpriced for what you got – a nicer frame with a logo would have been better), grabbed a couple of hot dogs for the tired and hungry kids, and left.
All in all we were there for about an hour and a half.
Overall it was ok. Some bits were better than others. The children enjoyed it – which was the main thing – but for grown-ups, and for the price, it was quite lame.
We could have gone to Drayton Manor to see Santa, had a day out and been able to ride on all the Thomasland rides for pretty much the same price.
But it could have been so much worse.
I definitely think it was better to go when it was dark, as the lights made it very pretty and the dark masked the roads nearby and anything else that would have ruined the illusion.

Have you been to the Magical Journey?
What was your overall impression and what were your highlights and lowlights?

NaBloPoMo – nearly there!!

Well it is now day 26 of NaBloPoMo.
Only 4 more days to go after this!

For those of you that don’t know what on earth I have been talking about over the last month, NaBloPoMo, is National Blog Posting Month.

It began in 2006 and has been going strong since.

Although there is a NaBloPoMo that runs every month, November is the big one, the “official” one, if you like, and thousands of bloggers take part.

And it is nearly over and I can nearly stop furiously typing away every spare moment that I get!
I have loved taking part this year, however, it has been hard at times to keep up with the blogging every day, as well as doing everything else.

It turns out that I didn’t need to post over the weekends so I gave myself a bit of extra pressure by doing that. D’oh!
But I was determined to do this, amongst other things to prove to myself that I can do it!
I’ll be honest though, I am looking forward to the end, looking forward to going back to my 4ish posts a week.
Now, as well as patting myself on the back, I want to say a massive well done to everyone who has taken part in this.
You are all amazing :-) Go bloggers!!
NaBloPoMo November 2014

Motorcycle Live 2014

We were lucky enough to get free tickets to Motorcycle Live at the NEC, thanks to my 3 year olds new best friend. Well obviously his new best friend didn’t give us the tickets, but rather his mum who happens to organise the event, and after discussing it at a school assembly last week, one morning this week, as we passed in the playground, she passed me an envelope which contained 2 tickets :-)
Happy days, a free day out with motorbikes, hubby’s idea of heaven – he has already decided that when he hits his midlife crisis that is what he plans on doing…
We decided to train it over, as its only a 10 minute train ride from our local station and cost us a minimal £3.80 return for the four of us, rather than facing the traffic jams and parking at the NEC.

Continue reading Motorcycle Live 2014

YouTube Diva

It looks like my 6 year old has been watching too many of those horrific you tube videos- if you have kids, you know the ones I mean, where that awful lady unwraps stuff covered in Playdough blah blah blah.(apologies if that’s you, the kids are mesmerised but it does grate after about the 100th viewing!!)

Anyway, as I was saying Rachel has seen so many of these that she has taken it upon herself to make her own!

She has recently become obsessed with the mini Zelfs and this afternoon, after she had bought herself 3 new ones ( a treat to match the motorbike Jack had chosen at the Motorcycle live show), she disappeared up to her bedroom with my mobile and made her own. Continue reading YouTube Diva

"I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen."……………AA Milne


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