Monday, 29 June 2015

Five tips for visiting Legoland on a budget

There is no getting away from it, Legoland is expensive, especially if you have to factor in travel and accommodation too but after our recent trip i have five tips for visiting Legoland on a budget.

Tips Legoland on a budget

1. Look for offers! Obvious I know but some people don't realise that there are regular offers to help you get in a little bit cheaper. It is worth spending a bit of time digging around to see what you can find. Money Saving Expert has a whole page dedicated to the most recent Legoland deals.

2. If you are travelling a fair distance and  need to stay over somewhere try looking  a little outside of Windsor. We stayed in the Bracknell Central Premier Inn, 20 minutes drive from Legoland. Our family room was £49 and had everything we needed the receptionists gave the boys colouring packs when we arrived which i thought was a nice touch and kept them amused for a while plus there is a reasonably priced chain pub next door (£35 for the 4 of us to eat including alcoholic drinks for Phil and I).
3. Take your own food and drink. Food and drink in the park is EXPENSIVE! Take your own picnic, there are plenty of grassy areas where you can sit and eat. Miniland is a good area for this as it has loads of grass around the edges and you can admire the models while you picnic. We picked up a whole host of picnic goodies plus water at a supermarket for around £10, you wouldn't get much food for that price in the park!
4. Arrive early. Make the most of your day by arriving early, we arrived on site about 30 minutes before the rides opened, it gave us time to park up, collect our tickets and get our bearings. Plan your must do's first and head to them first before the queues get too big or wait until the very end of the day when the park is calming down. We stayed until closing and stlll didn't see the whole park so it is worth a bit of forward planning and considering which parts you wouldn't mind missing out. Legoland have a great app which can help with this.
5. Set a shopping budget and shop first. Decide roughly how much you want to spend in the shop. There is a huge amount of choice, you can spend less than £1 on a postcard, £4.99 on 3 minifigures or go for a huge set costing £££'s it would be really easy to get carried away in there. Head to the shop first.  Early in the day the shop was quiet and easy to browse. You can buy your items and the park will store them for you until you want to collect at the end of your day, it's really easy. Simply pay and fill in a form at the till, keep your part of the form and head back and collect before you leave. I am honestly so glad we did this as the shop was rammed when we went back at closing time to collect our shopping, it was a warm day and the boys were tired and really not in the mood to look around by this point and we would have had tears.
Have you visited Legoland? Do you have any tips for visiting Legoland on a budget?

Sunday, 28 June 2015

An afternoon in Windsor

As I mentioned in my Legoland post, we had travelled down to Berkshire the day before our visit. We had decided in advance to spend an afternoon in Windsor and luckily for us the weather was beautiful.
I grew up not too far from Windsor, so the castle is a familiar sight from my childhood and I have memories of exploring the town with my mum and going to see Queen Marys Dollhouse as a little girl. Windsor Castle is up there with the best, it is stunning and impressive and I was excited to show the boys (and Phil).
An afternoon in Windsor

We managed to park in a car park near Windsor train station which is central so from there we headed out towards the castle walls. We pottered along and ended up on the long walk. Of course we pressed our noses up to the gate and discussed if we thought the queen was home and which room we would sleep in if it was our house.

We then sat in Windsor Great Park for a while, had a snack and let the boys run off some energy after spending the morning in the car. It is such a lovely place to sit in the sunshine and relax.

An afternoon in Windsor

We headed back to the town and popped into a few shops (Cath Kidston sale anyone?) along the way before going to see the boats on the River Thames.
River Thames Windsor

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Rainbow Cookies

On Friday we made rainbow cookies. There is something about rainbows that makes me smiley and happy, maybe it is the promise of the pot of gold at the end of them or maybe it is just the combination of pretty colours.
Rainbow cookies recipe

Anyway back to our rainbow cookies.  A friend on Facebook had shared a link to unicorn poop cookies (they look so cool!) and it inspired me to make some rainbow cookies with the boys. I whipped out my trusty gel colours and dug up a basic sugar cookie recipe that I bookmarked ages ago and I was pretty pleased with the results.

225g softened butter
200g sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla essence
340g self raising flour
gel food colourings; red, yellow, green and blue
Preheat the oven to 190°C. In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugar and butter together, once fluffy add the egg and vanilla and beat. Slowly mix in the flour, we got our hands in to help bring the dough together.
Split the dough into four and add your colouring to each before kneading it through the dough. Take a small amount of the blue dough(about a fingernail sized piece) and place onto an ungreased baking tray, then take some green dough roll into a sausage and place it around the blue dough on the tray, repeat with the yellow and then red until you have a rainbow. Repeat until you have a tray of rainbows. Make sure to leave a little space around each to allow for spread. Any spare dough can be used to make plain coloured cookies.
Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool slightly before moving onto wire cooling rack.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Berry Oaty Muffins

Berry Oaty muffins

Of course I had a little helper in the shape of Alex. Muffins are great for little ones to help with, they are so simple and don’t require too much beating. I always find when i am making muffins that to get them to rise nicely and to have that muffin look on top I have to start them off at a high temperature before turning down the oven down slightly about halfway through cooking time to stop them burning on top.
I made 9 muffins with thsee ingredients though my muffin tray is smaller than average, so it would probably make 6 large muffins.
1 egg, beaten
60ml vegetable oil
125ml milk
100g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
2tbsp porridge oats
Berries(I used a couple of handfuls of blackberries and raspberries)
Preheat your oven to 200°C, and prepare your muffin tin. In a large mixing bowl, measure our your flour, sugar and oats, make a well in the centre and add your wet ingredients and your choice of berries. Stir together until the ingredients are just combined. Add the muffin batter into your muffin tin, fill them until about 3/4 full and pop into the oven. Bake for 10 minutes before turning the temperature down to around 180°C for a further 10 minutes(longer if needed).

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