A “driving lesson” for a car mad birthday boy – great indoor activity for a wintry day

This week on my just turned 4-year old’s birthday, although he had enjoyed his fabulous pirate party on the weekend we were looking for a little something to do after I picked him up from nursery to celebrate his special day.

After some lunch I suddenly remembered that I had been hoping to find an opportunity to take him to ride a toy Mercedes car at Mercedes Benz world, which I had previously noticed when I visited the spa located next door.  So we set off on a spontaneous trip to do this.

We arrived after a short drive, at Mercedes-Benz world in Weybridge, Surrey.  There’s ample room for parking, on a Tuesday afternoon anyway.  Both parking and admission to the museum are free.  At reception I signed a consent form for my son to participate, and paid £6 for a ticket for “Little Learners”.  I was told that he could do a session in 20 minutes’ time, so we spent a little time wandering around and getting a pack of crisps and a drink at the cafe which is right next to the Little Learners indoor track.

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A friendly and enthusiastic lady then came over to lead the session.  As there were no other little learners there at that time, my son was lucky enough to get a one-to-one lesson!  The lady spent a few minutes talking to him about different traffic signs, and then he was off on his way in a little Mercedes, following traffic signs and learning to stop at zebra crossings and traffic lights.

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The whole session lasted approximately 15 minutes, and at the end my son received his “Driver’s Licence” which was a proper plastic card with his name and date written on it.  He was ultra-pleased with this!

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One of the things which impressed me the most was the lady running the session.  Even though there was only one child, she still gave him 100% of her attention and made the experience very special for him.

I’m told that on weekends it is busier and to ensure the best chance of getting a driving session for your child, arrive in the morning (Little Learners is open from 10am-4pm, check the website for up to date information).  The area can be hired for children’s parties as well.

Little Learners is for ages 3-5, but for over 5’s there are simulators upstairs in Mercedes World, which looked like fun.  And there is a multitude of outdoor driving experiences available for under 17’s and adults too.

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There are some interesting things to check out like this racecar that reveals its inner mechanics…and many, many cars!

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Next door is Brooklands Spa and Hotel, which we have visited and can also recommend.  There is a good restaurant, bar and grill at the hotel, called 1907 (1907restaurant.co.uk) which does some tasty food in a stylish modern setting.  You can visit the restaurant without staying at the hotel.  There’s also a great family-friendly gastropub just a few minutes drive away, in Weybridge, called The Hand and Spear, which we’ve dined at a couple of times (www.handandspear.co.uk), so you can easily have a whole little day out with the kids in this area.

More info about Mercedes Benz World is on their website – http://www.mercedes-benz.co.uk/content/unitedkingdom/mpc/mpc_unitedkingdom_website/en/home_mpc/homepage/mbworld/whats-on/little-learners.html

Check out this gorgeous Christmas elf video, it will get you feeling Christmassy in no time!

Elfin the Christmas elf has landed

To read about another great day out with the kids on the outskirts of London, click below:

Bocketts Farm

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Elfin the Christmas elf has landed

Check out this heartwarming video about a Christmas elf called Elfin. I love this little guy and can’t wait to see what he gets up to next!

Are you feeling Christmassy yet? I am definitely waiting till my kids’ festival of birthdays is complete before I get started on Christmas, but watching this does put me in the mood to get excited and put a tree up the minute December is here!

Will you take your kids to see Father Christmas? I am trying to decide between Kew Gardens and Willow Farm this year, but it may have to be both or neither! Suggestions welcome

❤️ Read about my party planning for all 3 of my kids in the blog post below! ❤️

Triple birthday madness

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Triple birthday madness

My three children are all born in the same week, in November. Yes, that’s right. This is quite a bonus if you like the idea of a shared party, but let’s be honest, it’s also quite stressful! I’ve been trying to see the sunny side, and all I’ve been able to come up with is that I only need to order one canister of helium a year!

I have been dutifully contemplating their birthdays since mid-September. Last year we had a joint party for my older two, at our house, with about 17 children and a hired magician lady. In the more distant past my daughter has had no less than THREE princess parties at different church halls for her 4th, 5th and 6th birthdays, with a hired Snow White, Ariel, then last but not least Elsa from Frozen. These all worked out well. However this year, though we toyed with the idea of a huge joint soft play party, I finally fell upon the idea of having two smaller parties, at our house. This way there is no gargantuan party, and we could do the entertainment ourselves, as I quite like the idea of doing some traditional party games. Additionally the two older ones can choose their themes, and get a chance to be the only birthday child on their special party day. For my almost 4 year old son this seemed a particular bonus, as he has never had his very own party before!

Our party planning step-by-step

1) Choosing themes:

Luckily my almost 8-year old daughter has been quite decisive about the theme she wanted. In fact she has planned quite a lot of this party herself (in her own “bullet journal”, would you believe? Read my post about bullet journals, link below, if you’ve never heard of it…literally a mum’s life saver!) She has decided upon a joint  “ever after high” and “my little pony” them. In case you haven’t heard of it, the former is a programme on Netflix, which features cartoon characters who are the children of characters from fairy tales. For example one of the characters is called Apple White, and she is the daughter of Snow White. I’ll assume you’ve heard of my little pony!

My son has chosen a pirate theme. At one time he almost switched to a Lego theme, but he has reverted to pirates, which I am quite pleased about as it is easier to find a pirate costume for him to wear and pirate-theme party paraphernalia!

2) Party bags and other paraphernalia:

So far I’ve bought the following items for my daughter’: party bags –

– My little pony notebook, pencil, eraser, sharpener

– Sweets!

For my almost 4-year old son –

– Story books (10 for £10 at the Works)

– Sweets!

3) I’ve also purchased one canister of helium for inflating balloons. A further bonus of clustered birthdays is being able to just buy one of these a year! Probably we would not bother with helium balloons if the birthdays were spread out over the year.

4) Invitations

My husband is the creative one so I got him to make these on the computer, with the kids project managing…! I think they turned out rather well!

Pirate party invitation
Homemade Pirate party invitation
Homemade Ever after high party invitation
Homemade Ever after high party invitation

5) Party food and cake

My mother has kindly said she would make an ever after high birthday cake for my daughter. I’ll attempt to make a pirate cake for my son.

Another lovely grandparent will hopefully make my youngest a teletubbies cake, as that is his current favourite programme!

As for party food, I am considering trying to make cake pops and perhaps brownies this year. There’s a tremendous amount of baking to do, as the kids want to bring cakes in for their entire class at school on their actual birthdays. Plus you wouldn’t believe what luck I have…my daughter’s birthday is on the same day as the class bake sale! Talk about overload!

Other than that we will probably have some sandwiches, crisps, fruit, and squash.

Update 11/9/16

Cake pops were a success! I can highly recommend making these in a cake pop maker and using candy melts. So easy and I think they look quite good. Little one loved them anyway…

I bought the cake pop sticks and the chocolate candy melts from Lakeland. The candy melts come in many different colours.

 

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Update 30/11/16

Please read my latest post to see how the pirate cake turned out! I made it with the help of a YouTube video by the icingartist.com. I worked on it over two days but it didn’t take too terribly long considering, and dare I say it was almost fun to make!

Pirate party success

6) Games

These are yet to be confirmed, but pass the parcel and pin the tail on the donkey (or a variant thereof) are likely to feature. My daughter has a few ever after high-specific games. My husband might organise a treasure hunt for the pirate party. Musical statues and bumps, and another game “who’s missing?” in which all the children lie down with their eyes shut and one child is covered by a blanket, then the others have to guess who is missing. And another game where everyone has to try and make one child who stands at the front, laugh.

And finally, last but not least, I have decided to have a little party for my almost two year old son. It will be mostly mums and babies/toddlers, and we will have it on a Friday while the older two children are at preschool/school.

Phew!

Watch this space for further updates on the parties, and my stress levels!

And read about bullet journals here if you’re interested in getting more organised

Bullet Journals

Accidental Hipster Mum
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