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Most parents know the reality of the struggle of trying to balance a busy work schedule with an even busier family life whilst chasing the Holy Grail that is a social life with kids in tow. The need for flexible and easily available childcare has never been greater. Yet with so many families living away from grandparents and established support networks there is a significant need for a reliable childcare service.

Since launching in 2009 childcare.co.uk has become the trusted childcare service of over 2 million users. The website offers the services of a range of childcare professionals including babysitters, nannies, au pairs, childminders and tutors. A simple search tool allows your search to highlight relevant childcare providers close to your home address with clear filters to allow searches for specifics such as first aid training, SEN experience or DBS checks.

I decided to put childcare.co.uk through its paces to see how easy it is to find a last minute babysitter for our 4 children for a Saturday night. Something we have struggled with in the past. Here’s my blow by blow account of using childcare.co.uk as a busy parent desperate to enjoy a social life!

Signing Up

Most importantly childcare.co.uk is free to join. Signing up takes a couple of minutes as you enter your email address, chosen user name and essential personal details. You’ll receive an e-mail almost immediately to verify your account and you’re good to go.

Searching for a Babysitter

The search tools at the top of the screen make it incredibly easy to search for the exact childcare relevant to your needs. In my case I input ‘babysitter’ within 5 miles of my home postcode. Despite living in a fairly rural area I am presented with 39 options for babysitters within 5 miles of where I live! I decide to narrow my search to those willing to an offer evening service narrowing the search to 26. I’m amazed at the range of choice I have so close to my home address!

Narrowing the search

I continue to narrow my search by clicking on ‘advanced search’ where I request details of those able to providing services on a weekend evening. My options suddenly narrow significantly. But that’s okay. I now have just 3 options for a Saturday night babysitter. When I click on their ‘view profile’ buttons I can read about them in greater detail. The pages are set out so that key information such as qualifications, experience and fees are all easy to locate. There’s also a reassuring review area where former clients can sing their praises. I am able to narrow my search down to two potentials based on their profiles within a matter of minutes.

Messaging

Once I had decided on my two potential babysitters I send them both a message asking about their availability for this evening. The messaging service runs through childcare.co.uk so there’s no need to share personal information like email addressees or phone numbers until you feel comfortable with the person you’re communicating with. I receive two replies within an hour…one saying they are unavailable, and one saying they are free!

Verdict

I’m thrilled. With 4 children and living in a small village I have often struggled to find last minute childcare. I can’t believe how simple the process has been going through childcare.co.uk. Our babysitter is a great success with us paying her directly as the norm at the end of the night. I’ll be using both our new-found babysitter and childcare.co.uk again and will be saying ‘yes’ to last minute nights out more often!

This is a sponsored post.

The post A busy parent’s guide to the perks of childcare.co.uk appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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Sleeps: Up to 4/5 adults

Price: £120 / night

Location: Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, North Wales

Llechwedd mine was established back in 1836 being one of the world’s busiest mines in its time. The dark days of grueling labour when workers spent up to 12 hours a day underground are now an important part of local history…but the life of the mines continues! Llechwedd has opened a new chapter, reinventing itself as Slate Mountain, a thriving tourist attraction offering a range of adventure sports, mine tours….and now luxury glamping.

The glamping tents

The set of 6 ‘luxury safari lodges’ were opened in May 2018 offering a unique place to stay for visitors wanting to make the most of the activities on site. Sat overlooking the quarry the lodges all enjoy sweeping views across the slate mine and beyond into the surrounding mountainous valleys.

The accommodation is a real mix of tent and lodge. The insulated glass doors at the front ensure that those incredible views can be enjoyed whether inside or out. These large windows also create a bright, indoor space – unlike most safari tents. Each lodge sleeps between 4-5 guests with solid floors, wood burner, electricity and bathroom. Everything you might need for a base for your Welsh adventure.

Setting

All six tents are pitched up a steep, slate path over looking a large quarry towards the main slate mine. Zip World run one of their sites from Slate Mountain with one of their zip wires running straight in front of the tents. A great way to spend an afternoon on the deck watching the zip liners whizzing past! The glamping team offer a concierge service driving arrivals and their luggage up the track if you arrive before 6pm. Sadly for us our journey from Sussex meant we rocked up out of hours so it was a steep hike carrying our supplies! All part of the adventure of course…but something to consider in advance. The location of these safari lodges is really something quite unique with the novelty of their environment being a huge part of their appeal. The surrounding mountains are strikingly beautiful with snow capped summits, rolling foothills and hidden lakes. A perfect blend of rugged escapism and stress-free comfort.

Interior

The lodges are smartly presented with plenty of creature comforts. The main living area is bright and spacious with a large dining table, wood burner and small kitchen. The kitchen comes complete with a wide range of utensils including cutlery, crockery, bbq tools and even a cork screw. Cooking facilities include a microwave and a bbq on the decking area. One bag of fire wood and kindling is provided with further supplies being available to buy in the main reception area. Small touches like a basket of local produce and pictures of the slate miners act as a reminder of the historical significance of this place.

Beyond the living space is a snug sleeping area. We had the choice of a double bottom bunk with three further single bunk beds. The beds are made up with heavy duvets, heavy woolen blankets and hot water bottles. Despite feeling more like a lodge than a tent in lots of ways at night when the temperatures dropped we were starkly reminded that we were certainly still under canvas. During our stay, over the May bank holiday temperatures dropped below zero with fresh snow fall overnight. Despite the wintry conditions our bedding ensured we were all warm and slept well…it was hard getting up in the morning though!

At the far rear of the lodge is a toilet and shower room complete with heated towel rail, fresh towels and Cole & co wash products. No need to worry about cross country late night trips to use the facilities here…this bathroom is more akin to a boutique hotel than a regular campsite.

Activities

Slate Mountain is situated near Blaenau Ffestiniog in Gwynedd. The area is a paradise for adventurers with Snowdonia National Park being a stones throw away, as well as a number of activities based at the Slate Caverns heritage and adventure hub. The attraction has a range of Adrenalin fuelled activities on offer including a Deep Mine Tour, off-road Quarry Explorer, zip lines above and below ground, world-class mountain biking and a unique underground trampoline complex.

Deep Mine Tour

During our stay we were invited to take part in one of the mine tours. Having spent a full on day climbing Snowdon the day before we opted for one of the more laid back tours: Llechwedd Deep Mine. The tour takes you back 160 years and 500 feet underground offering an eye opening insight into the hardship of life for the slate miners who once lived and worked here. History is brought to life through clever story telling using visual effects and light displays. We are also given the opportunity to try some of the mundane daily tasks like digging holes for gunpowder or swinging from huge caverns on the end of a precarious metal chain. The experience culminates in a fantastic light display in one of the larger caverns. A really thought provoking and engaging educational experience for guests of all ages.

Eateries

There are three places you can grab a bite to eat on Slate Mountain. The Llechwedd Cafe is a warm escape from the cold mountain temperatures outside. Open throughout the day for warm drinks or a bite to eat.

The Emporium and the Quarryman pub are open until early evening serving hot food including pizza and burgers. Having a drink sat outside the Quarryman on a warm evening seemed the absolute perfect way to finish an active day in the Welsh mountains to us!

Future plans

Slate Mountain continues to expand as a one stop adventure resort with the addition of a brand new luxury hotel which is due to open in early 2020. The 24-bedroom hotel will give allow even more visitors to the adventure hub the option of staying over and will also serve as a wedding and events venue.

Verdict

The glamping lodges at Slate Mountain are not only comfortable and well presented but a truly unique experience. As a parent of young children I would recommend staying here with older children…I’m not sure how my 3 year old would have coped on the steep paths and slate scree…but I think primary age upwards would get a lot out of both the glamping and slate mines tours. So whether you’re an adrenaline junkie looking to get stuck into the extreme zip wires, or you’re looking for a more sedate stay taking in the views across the Ffestiniog Valleys this place is somewhere you won’t forget in a hurry.

Disclosure: We received a complimentary stay at Slate Mountain glamping in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 

The post Review: Glamping at Slate Mountain, North Wales appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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Getting children away from their tablets, televisions, and computer screens can sometimes be a difficult task. There is perhaps no better way than to enlist the aid of a well-designed, safe, spacious, and above all – fantastically fun playground.

Among the very first lessons children learn at school is how much fun a wide open space with some great equipment dotted around can be and you can click here to learn more about the less noticed benefits of play and playgrounds. When you’re away from school though, wherever in this sceptre isle you find yourself, there will surely be somewhere nearby to take those lessons and apply them on a much bigger scale.

The Vyne, Hampshire

Heavily inspired by the worlds and environments of Middle Earth from Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, this play-space is littered with tunnels, streams, a mountain, and all kinds of other curious areas. Perfect for running wild and free and having the best possible time. If your small ones dream of making their own questing way to Mount Doom, this could be the perfect destination.

Heartlands, Cornwall

A former industrial site, this space has been turned into a place of climbing fun, clambering adventure, and general good times for all the family. Twist and turn through an array of tunnels, explore the strange shipwreck, and run up and down the roofs, stairs, and spires of a collection of climbing frame buildings that could easily be mistaken for a wooden city. One of the best family destinations in the southwest.

Bodelwyddan Castle, North Wales

While you would never openly tell your children that you want them to get lost, the maze in this castle does give a more enjoyable version of that same sensation. Alongside a wide selection of swings, climbing frames, and many other fun and game activities, Bodelwyddan also features a museum for kids to better understand the Victorian age.

The Web, North Yorkshire

Just outside the Minster city of York, you will find an amazing adventure playground that’d guaranteed to fill your children with fun memories as much as it drains them of energy. With a giant rope jungle bridge, scores of slides, and slightly out of place hair salon, this is one of the more eclectic locations you can take your children this summer. There is also a small menagerie of ponies, rabbits, chipmunks, and guinea pigs to pet and admire. A great all-round destination.

Bowood House, Wiltshire

When it comes to themes and schemes that inspire fascination and fun, there’s not much better than the golden age of swashbuckling and a pirate’s treasure ship. Bowood’s central attraction may well be enough by itself to get your car bombing down the M4 with Kidz Bop blaring in the background, but then you discover that there’s a flume there known as the “death slide”. Sounds dangerous! Probably something an adult should test first, just to be sure.

Oasis, Stockwell, London

You might think that London is a bit too claustrophobic and compressed to have the kind of space necessary to really allow kids to let loose and run wild and free. Yet the facilities on offer at the Oasis in Stockwell put pay to that assumption. With facilities ranging from a BMX track, to an array of tyre swings, go-karting track, climbing walls, and a zip wire or two, the capital is no slouch when it comes to fun outdoor family adventure times.

Wherever you find yourself holidaying this summer, or if you are looking for more of a ‘staycation’ type option, there are plenty of places to take your children that will get them out and about, running and moving in the real world the way they might have previously only reserved for Minecraft.

This is a sponsored post.

The post Six Amazing Playgrounds from around the UK appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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For most families a trip to Florida is a once in a lifetime experience. For this very reason it’s important that you make the most of all the incredible opportunities available to you when you visit. Forward planning is crucial if you want to make the most of your visit, especially if you’re planning on including a trip to Disney in your stay…and let’s face it…what family goes to Florida without visiting Disney!?

Getting the most out of your Florida itinerary:

· Be prepared to visit a number of parks to make the most of your trip. You’ll be making memories that you and your children will cherish forever so get set to go the extra mile making time for plenty of shows, rides, characters, and meals out.

· The Magic Kingdom should be at the top of your ‘must-visit’ list. A thrill-seekers paradise with all the classic rides including Peter Pan’s Flight, Space Mountain, the Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

· A trip to a water park is also a priority. Make the most of a day spent cooling off whilst having a huge amount of fun! Make sure Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are at the top of your list for guaranteed giggles whilst riding tube rides, speed slides and epic wave pools.

· Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes you right into the big screen bringing some of the best loved classic movies to life. Go under the sea with Voyage of the Little Mermaid, meet Woody and Buzz for real in Toy Story….or get your light sabres at the ready to meet Darth Vader, the Stormtroopers, Chewbacca and Kylo Ren.

· Disney’s Animal Kingdom lets you experience everything from a safari to coming face to face with prehistoric dinosaurs. A must for all animal lovers here you can take it easy on the gentle rides or catch a Broadway style show like the Lion King. It’s all totally roarsome!

· Disney World has so much to offer families of all ages and interests. Current family favourites include the ‘Festival of the Lion King’ and ‘Muppetvision 3-D’ both proving to be big hits! Entry for all the shows is included in the main entry The best part is that admittance to these shows is included in the general entry price so you can watch as many as you can fit into your visit!

· EPCOT gives visitors a unique glimpse into the future where you can visit Spaceship Earth. Travel around the world indulging in the chance of sipping prosecco in Italy or meeting Anna and Elsa in Norway. Make sure you don’t miss the evening fireworks and laser show around the lake.

· Disney World is well known for having awesome family-friendly amenities along with loads of child-friendly attractions. You can even indulge in some child-free time thanks to on site babysitting services, spas, and fitness centres. The range of attractions appeal to all ages so whether you are looking for baby friendly, teen-friendly and for all those adults who are still kid-at-heart there really is something for everyone! the look on any child’s face as they meet their Disney hero like Mickey Mouse, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, Mary Poppins, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck really is a precious experience that can’t be recreated.

· If you’re thinking of staying on one of the parks you’ll be able to pick from a variety of family-friendly accommodations that suit every budget and taste. There are log cabins, villas, and campgrounds as well as themed hotels which are as much fun as some of the attractions!

· You could make your holiday even more memorable by dining out at some of Florida’s fantastic restaurants. Disney World boasts of some of the best table-service restaurants that include both high-end and budget priced. Our top picks include The Cooking Place, Jiko, Flying Fish Café and Flame Tree Barbecue.

Finally its worth taking advantage of the FastPass+ to skip the standby queues for major attractions and shows during your holiday to Disney. The best part is that the FastPass+ service is included in the price of the theme park ticket. However, make sure you check availability for FastPass+ selections for each day of your ticket. Another tip is to use MagicBand to enter the FastPass+ line to enjoy the fun faster. There are unique theme park tickets for Walt Disney World allowing you can visit multiple parks on the same day.

The post Tips for Creating an Itinerary for the perfect Disney Trip to Florida appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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The Dukes Head at Crawley Down near Turners Hill opened its door to the public last weekend after a huge refurbishment project. We were lucky enough to be invited to a preview night in the week leading up to the big reveal..and were blown away by the whole experience. Here’s what to expect from a visit to the new and improved Duke Head..

First Impressions

I had to ask myself a number of times during our visit ‘Are we really in the middle of Sussex?’ The venue offers a high-end experience I’d expect from eateries in the heart of the West End rather than deepest, darkest Sussex. A welcome addition to the area the decor is elegant yet low-key with a number of interesting art pieces and features throughout the restaurant. The bar area is cosy with luxurious seating providing guests with the perfect reason linger oversampling the cocktail list in intimate comfort.

Starters

The small plates menu is helpfully divided into meat-free, land and sea sections making decision making that bit easier. We were spoilt for choice with the range of tasters presented to us for sampling. The platter looked almost too good to tuck into with bite-size nibbles of Sashimi tuna tartare, chargrilled octopus and chorizo, grilled lamb kofta and delicious panko crusted fried brie. All this with a side of osyters ensured that the bar was set high by the first course.

Mains

The main course menu offers something for all palettes. There are healthy nourish and Poke bowls with a choice of extras including tofu and salmon fillet. A good range of rotisserie and grill dishes for meat and fish lovers, including sticky glazed pork belly and seabass fillet and charred octopus. A range of generous sharing dishes – another one for the carnivores with a tantilising trio of pork and eight bone free range lamb rack. Then finally there’s the hearty comfort food classics with options including pan fried pumpkin gnocchi, beer battered fish and chips and dirty cheeseburger.

Not ones to take dining out lightly we opt for the 16oz Chateaubriand shared platter. At £54.50 this dish comes with a hefty price tag but with the sides of twice cooked chunky chips, confit of tomato and flat mushroom included this meal is guaranteed to leave both diners more feeling well and truly indulged. The Chateaubriand looks impressive as it arrives on a long wooden board. We’re offered a choice of two sauces to accompany the steaks, we settle on peppercorn and Bearnaise which arrive as generous portions in cute mini-saucepans. The meat is succulent and cooked to our liking. The sauces deliciously rich and perfect for mopping up with the twice cooked chunky chips. We struggled to finish this course due its size…and of course the fact that we both wanted to save space to try out some of the desserts!

Desserts

By this point we’re really wondering where we’ll fit another course in! None the less we persevere finding it hard to resist the tantalising options put before us. Our attention is immediately drawn to the Icon Dessert Platter: a three tiered spectacle including home baked brownie, brûléed banana and pecan praline ice cream making up just part of this pudding option. We decide this is just too much on this occasion…but we manage to squeeze in a sticky toffee pudding and a stunning melting chocolate bomb. Both arrive presneted beautiflly with edible flowers and tasting just as good as they look.

Wine

I have to mention the Coravin wine technology that the Duke’s Head uses enabling guests to enjoy some of their finest wines by the glass. The through cork system uses a syringe to remove the wine whilst protecting the remainder of the bottle from being exposed to the air. The whole technique of removing the wine form the high-end bottles was quite fascinating…and of course it means you no longer have to have an excuse to enjoy something a bit special.

Verdict

The new Dukes Head offers a truly indulgent experience from the moment you walk through the door. The interiors offer a dose of pure luxury whilst the food will have local foodies marking this place as a must visit destination. We certainly can’t wait to return!

The post The Dukes Head, Crawley Down: Bringing a new level of sophisticated dining to Sussex appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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With Summer well on its way we also welcome festival season. Each year seems to see more local festivals welcoming families..and 2019 is no exception! We are lucky to have everything from jazz, Americana, great food, outdoor play and even freedom of speech featuring in some of the events taking place across Kent and Sussex…not to mention some world class musicians. Here are some of the best events taking place right on our doorstep this festival season..

Yoga-Camp

17-19 May, Wowo Campsite, Uckfield.

Yoga-Camp is a gathering of people of all ages and abilities who love yoga, camping and good food. A wonderfully relaxing, educational and fun weekend at the wonderful Wowo campsite in the heart stunning Sussex countryside. Join some of the best yoga teachers and massage therapists from Sussex and beyond for this nurturing weekend. 

Alfresco Festival

23-27 May, The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood

Alfresco will be playing host to a range of different artists on the electronic music spectrum. The line up for 2019 includes 2ManyDJ’s, Erol Alkan and Joey Negro. The event will have a whole host of family activities on offer. A unique experience for all festival goers, finding the perfect balance between being a musically driven party event whilst still providing an enjoyable, welcoming environment for families.

Elderflower Fields

24-27 May, Pippingford Park, Nutley

Elderflower Fields allows you to escape to an enchanting Sussex wilderness and explore your wild side this May. A weekend of discovery, activity and family adventure in an idyllic countryside location now in its eighth year, Elderflower is one of the leading family festivals in the UK.

Woodlands Festival

7-9th June, Hawkhurst, Kent

Woodlands Festival is an intimate, magical family festival set in beautiful Hawkhurst. It’s somewhere you feel you can truly relax & unwind, have some fun in the field & where kids can be kids again! There will be entertainment & activities for all ages, from the smallest festival goers through to the grown-ups… including arts & craft, circus & magic shows, woodland treasure hunts, Mums the Word #Wild_Child Family Dance Party, story-telling corner with guest authors, bush craft workshops & much more!

Black Deer Festival

21-23 June, Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells

This award-winning Americana and country music festival is back for it’s second year with a fantastic line-up of music, food & drink, live fire cooking, Americans lifestyle and dedicated young folk area for families. With over 70 international bands playing across six stages over three days, there’s more than enough to keep you involved with acts including Band of Horses, The John Butler Trio and Billy Bragg.

Read our 2018 review here.

Love Supreme

5-7 July, Glynde, Lewes

Love Supreme Jazz Festival is regarded as one of Europe’s most prestigious jazz festivals, bringing a touch of the European scene to the UK and jazzing it up with the country’s famed camping culture. This year’s line up features Jamie Cullum, Ms Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight and The Brand New Heavies.

Pub in the Park

12-14 July, Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells

Pub in the Park brings together brilliant food, live music and Michelin-starred chefs all served up in a beautiful park, making for the ultimate pub garden unlike any other. Music acts will rock the main stage throughout each session with the lube-up including Rick Astley, Basement Jaxx (DJ Set), Will Young, Gabrielle, Soul II Soul Sound System, KT Tunstall.

Chilled in a Field

26 – 28 July, Bentley Estate, Uckfield

This intimate, feel good, modern, family-friendly festival was originally grown from the 90s London party scene. Chilled in a Field is a not-for-profit, environmentally conscious social gathering, put together by a talented team of volunteers, where adults and children can make new friends, discover new experiences, and enjoy nature, as well as having a whole lot of silly fun!

Read our 2018 review here.

Neverworld

1-4 August, Hever, Kent

This spectacular kingdom of music, party and wonder is made up of three magical realms: The Neverwoods, Skull Ridge and Mermaids Lagoon. With 11 stages and 24 hours of music and partying, it’s bound to be an unforgettable weekend for those lucky enough to attend. Headliners for 2019 include Craig David, The Vaccines, Grandmaster Flash, Sleeper and Professor Green.

Byline Festival

23-26 August, Pippingford Park, Nutley

If you are looking for a festival that has a sense of purpose, a social conscience and a lot of fun, then Byline Festival is for you! Opened by John Cleese the event offers over workshops, comedy, live music, debate and great food. Highlights for 2019 include music from Matt Bianco and the Blow Monkeys; comedy from Hardeep Singh, discussion with Martin Bell and the Bad Press Awards.

Read our 2018 review here.

Into the Trees

13-15 September, Pippingford Park, Nutley

A host of sports, arts and nature activities from the team behind the award winning Elderflower Fields offer the perfect way to spend time together. Into The Trees is a new type of family festival with a focus on relaxation and new experiences in harmony with nature.

Read our 2017 review here.

The post Kent & Sussex Family Festivals 2019 appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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It’s been a bit of a revelation for me…but apparently pantomimes are not just for Christmas! Last year we enjoyed our first ‘Easter Panto’ in the form of Alice in Wonderland, so we were thrilled to hear that this new tradition was set to continue with the arrival of The Jungle Book to the Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall Theatre. From the same team of producers that delivered last year’s show Wicked Productions work the same magic bringing a level of hysteria to the audience that leaves you wondering – was that really supposed to happen?! The tour is set to continue around the country over the next few months… so if you’re thinking of watching the show…here’s what you need to know:

Audience

This is a proper family show so all ages should feel welcome to attend. The running time is 2 hours and 5 minutes (including a short interval), however, restless toddlers and multiple toilet visits are all acceptable in this laid back performance.

Highlights

Without a doubt the show is made by Payne and Swift (playing Bagheera and Baloo). Their slapstick comedy and cheeky innuendos had all ages in stitches…almost relentlessly! The standout moment for me was their brilliant Boom Box scene where, in a confused state Baloo tries to woo his pal through a series of sexy dance moves.

Another brilliant scene, again with Payne and Swift this time joined by Monifa James as Mowgli, involves a ridiculous game where they tease each other with a ‘surprise’ taste of honey…which turns out to be a face full of water. The scene carries on until the cast are all in a state of chaos, slipping over and seemingly off-script…but an absolute joy to watch!

All this in addition to Baloo’s gospel choir, plenty of booing each time baddy Shere Khan (played by Ed Wright) graces the stage and Wicked Productions customary dance session in the finale…the Jungle Book has all the ingredients of a brilliantly fun, family show.

The Jungle Book continues to tour in Stevenage, Hastings, Kettering, Chatham, Birmingham, Sheffield, Rickmansworth, Kings Lynn and Eastbourne. Catch it if you can…. I promise you’ll walk out smiling!

The post Review: The Jungle Book at Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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Drusillas is already regarded as one of the best days out for families in East Sussex, so the recent arrival of another exciting ride comes with great excitement for regular visitors to the park. We’re already huge fans of Drusillas and have really enjoyed watching the park develop in recent years with the arrival of the Hello Kitty Secret Garden and Go Safari!

The start of the Easter holidays saw Drusillas open their newest addition to their collection of rides: The Rainforest Carousel! Guests can choose their favourite rainforest animal to ride on with exotic creatures such as a sloth, river dolphin, poison dart frog and giant anteater all for the taking. There’s even a wheelchair friendly river turtle making the ride fully accessible for all visitors to the park.

Of course there’s so much more to do at Drusillas. We were thrilled to meet some other new additions to the zoo..Oli and Diego the giant anteaters! This gorgeous pair had us in stitches as they scaled every inch of their enclosure for crawlies to munch on.

We made sure we stopped off at one of our favourite parts of the zoo – Lory Landing. We love buying a small pot of nectar each for the lorikeets to feast on. They’re so friendly!

Another favourite are the fennec foxes with their huge ears and tiny faces. We really enjoy all the interactive features around the park..I find these really help the children remember the names and habitats of the more unusual animals.

And finally, no visit to Drusillas is complete without a trip to Hello Kitty’s Secret Garden. This is the perfect place to introduce little ones to the concept of a theme park. The queues are always fairly short and the rides tame..but fun!

For full details on what to expect from a visit to Drusillas and news on special events please visit their website.

Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to visit Drusillas and review their new Rainforest Carousel. All thoughts and opinions are our own.

The post New: The Rainforest Carousel at Drusillas Park appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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Canvas Holidays are one of the leading UK holiday companies, offering families camping holidays across Europe. With over 50 years of experience guests are now able to choose from a wide range of camping packages including safari tents, tree houses and mobile homes.

Over the Easter break we were invited to stay in a Privilege Club Mobil on Les Dunes Camping, just outside of Perpignan on the French Mediterranean Coast. As a family of 6 this type of laid back, active holiday has always worked well for us. The range of activities on offer guarantees all ages are kept entertained whilst down time can be spent relaxing in comfortable accommodation that surpasses other camping experiences. 

The following review reflects our experience of a week long stay during the opening week of the season for 2019. The resort was quiet and temperatures were around 18 degrees. We are an adventurous family of 6 with children ranging from toddler through to teen. 

Accommodation

Holiday properties across the site are all smart, well maintained and thoughtfully landscaped. I was struck by the amount of attention that had gone into the appearance and privacy of each pitch. Most cabins are presented in attractive wooden style cladding alongside an enclosed garden space surrounded by hedges. This not only gives the whole site a high end feel, but also means time spent in your own living space gives a more relaxed and secluded experience. 

We stayed in a Privilege Club Mobil Baneo for 6 people. The overall feel…particularly the outside space gives a sense of luxury I wouldn’t expect from a mobile home. Looking more like a lodge than a caravan the exterior of our property included a large, private garden space with covered dining area, decking, sun loungers….and best of all…a huge hot tub big enough for all 6 of us! 

Inside is equally as smart with fully kitted out kitchen, heating, air-con, bed linen, dishwasher, TV….even a welcome pack of essentials like washing up liquid, shampoo and dishwasher tablets. All the small things that make a big difference when you’re away from home. Meals were easy to prepare thanks to the gas oven and microwave allowing us to keep costs down as a large family. Room sizes are as you would expect in a mobile home although storage is well thought out with hangers and hooks  throughout.

About the site: Campsite Les Dunes 

Les Dunes is a a 5-star campsite located in Torreilles in Roussillon. Situated right next to a beautiful sandy beach that stretches for 2.5km and shadowed by the Albères mountains to the rear. Les Dunes is perfect for exploring the surrounding Catalan region. 

The camp site hosts around 400 mobile homes and 600 camping pitches. Despite its size the site maintains a friendly and intimate feel. Les Dunes offers a wide range of facilities and activities for families throughout the season including an incredible pool area with splash features, slides and indoor swimming!

The Pool Area

The pool at Les Dunes offers something for everyone. There’s a heated, indoor pool for cooler days or swimmers wanting to focus on their lengths. A fun splash play area for toddlers and younger children. Slides for thrill seekers. A lazy river for those who prefer to take things easy and landscaped lounge areas with cushioned sun beds for the sun worshippers. 

Play Areas

Les Dunes has one main play area right next to the beach. The playground is a large, spread out area catering for a range of ages and interests. The main play area incorporates an outdoor gym, a trampoline cage, zip wire and play castle…all set amongst sandy surfaces and palm trees giving a truly tropical, holiday vibe. 

In the same area you’ll find the campsite Kids Club based in a cool, rotund, yurt-like building. Here children aged 4-12 are invited to join activities like craft, painting and treasure hunts run by the campsite’s own friendly staff..with the cost of these sessions are included in the price of your stay! 

The fun continues with mini-golf, tennis courts, an all weather football pitch and volley ball court. There’s also a large pétanque area on the main thoroughfare as well as a bike hire shop and small games room. The range of activities meant that our children always had something to do and somewhere to go…either as a family or embracing their own independence. 

Facilities

Next to the pool is a large theatre, bar and dining area where there’s a choice of entertainment most evenings. There’s a kids party club in the early evening followed by karaoke, bingo or quizzes through the week. We found all the staff incredibly welcoming…they felt like friends by the end of our stay! 

For campers there’s a riad style toilet and wash block next the the pétanque area. In keeping with standards across Les Dunes the wash facilities are not only clean but well designed and presented. 

Verdict

Without a doubt this is one of the smartest mobile homes we’ve stayed in. The accommodation was made by the outdoor living space…especially the hot tub which allowed us endless opportunities to spend fun time together as a family in a unique and fun way. The private garden space also offered a level of seclusion that allowed us to completely relax whilst using this space. 

As a campsite Les Dunes is not only well maintained and tidy…but also has a huge amount to offer families in terms of activities and clubs. We weren’t able to make the most of some of the activities due to the timing of our visit…however I’m certain that during peak season this place will be incredible for children looking to make friends and enjoy a bit of independence during their stay. 

A stay with Canvas Holidays at Campsite Les Dunes offers a high end, intimate camp site experience in a fantastic part of France – whether you’re into water sports or exploring historic cities this idyllic corner of Catalonia has it all. 

Look out for Part II of our review featuring family days out around Perpignan.

Disclosure: We received a complementary week stay at Les Dunes with Canvas Holidays in exchange for this honest review.

Canvas Holidays has been arranging great outdoor holidays for UK holidaymakers for over 50 years – you can call their UK based call centre on 0345 268 0827 for advice and bookings. They’ve recently launched a new loyalty programme MyClub where holidaymakers have the chance to win the cost of their holiday back (one winner each week) as well as extra discounts and offers.

The post Review: Canvas Holidays – Les Dunes Camping, Perpignan, France appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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With Summer well on its way we also welcome festival season. Each year seems to see more local festivals welcoming families..and 2019 is no exception! We are lucky to have everything from jazz, Americana, great food, outdoor play and even freedom of speech featuring in some of the events taking place across Kent and Sussex…not to mention some world class musicians. Here are some of the best events taking place right on our doorstep this festival season..

Yoga-Camp

17-19 May, Wowo Campsite, Uckfield.

Yoga-Camp is a gathering of people of all ages and abilities who love yoga, camping and good food. A wonderfully relaxing, educational and fun weekend at the wonderful Wowo campsite in the heart stunning Sussex countryside. Join some of the best yoga teachers and massage therapists from Sussex and beyond for this nurturing weekend. 

Alfresco Festival

23-27 May, The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood

Alfresco will be playing host to a range of different artists on the electronic music spectrum. The line up for 2019 includes 2ManyDJ’s, Erol Alkan and Joey Negro. The event will have a whole host of family activities on offer. A unique experience for all festival goers, finding the perfect balance between being a musically driven party event whilst still providing an enjoyable, welcoming environment for families.

Elderflower Fields

24-27 May, Pippingford Park, Nutley

Elderflower Fields allows you to escape to an enchanting Sussex wilderness and explore your wild side this May. A weekend of discovery, activity and family adventure in an idyllic countryside location now in its eighth year, Elderflower is one of the leading family festivals in the UK.

Woodlands Festival

7-9th June, Hawkhurst, Kent

Woodlands Festival is an intimate, magical family festival set in beautiful Hawkhurst. It’s somewhere you feel you can truly relax & unwind, have some fun in the field & where kids can be kids again! There will be entertainment & activities for all ages, from the smallest festival goers through to the grown-ups… including arts & craft, circus & magic shows, woodland treasure hunts, Mums the Word #Wild_Child Family Dance Party, story-telling corner with guest authors, bush craft workshops & much more!

Black Deer Festival

21-23 June, Eridge Park, Tunbridge Wells

This award-winning Americana and country music festival is back for it’s second year with a fantastic line-up of music, food & drink, live fire cooking, Americans lifestyle and dedicated young folk area for families. With over 70 international bands playing across six stages over three days, there’s more than enough to keep you involved with acts including Band of Horses, The John Butler Trio and Billy Bragg.

Read our 2018 review here.

Love Supreme

5-7 July, Glynde, Lewes

Love Supreme Jazz Festival is regarded as one of Europe’s most prestigious jazz festivals, bringing a touch of the European scene to the UK and jazzing it up with the country’s famed camping culture. This year’s line up features Jamie Cullum, Ms Lauryn Hill, Gladys Knight and The Brand New Heavies.

Pub in the Park

12-14 July, Dunorlan Park, Tunbridge Wells

Pub in the Park brings together brilliant food, live music and Michelin-starred chefs all served up in a beautiful park, making for the ultimate pub garden unlike any other. Music acts will rock the main stage throughout each session with the lube-up including Rick Astley, Basement Jaxx (DJ Set), Will Young, Gabrielle, Soul II Soul Sound System, KT Tunstall.

Chilled in a Field

26 – 28 July, Bentley Estate, Uckfield

This intimate, feel good, modern, family-friendly festival was originally grown from the 90s London party scene. Chilled in a Field is a not-for-profit, environmentally conscious social gathering, put together by a talented team of volunteers, where adults and children can make new friends, discover new experiences, and enjoy nature, as well as having a whole lot of silly fun!

Read our 2018 review here.

Neverworld

1-4 August, Hever, Kent

This spectacular kingdom of music, party and wonder is made up of three magical realms: The Neverwoods, Skull Ridge and Mermaids Lagoon. With 11 stages and 24 hours of music and partying, it’s bound to be an unforgettable weekend for those lucky enough to attend. Headliners for 2019 include Craig David, The Vaccines, Grandmaster Flash, Sleeper and Professor Green.

Byline Festival

23-26 August, Pippingford Park, Nutley

If you are looking for a festival that has a sense of purpose, a social conscience and a lot of fun, then Byline Festival is for you! Opened by John Cleese the event offers over workshops, comedy, live music, debate and great food. Highlights for 2019 include music from Matt Bianco and the Blow Monkeys; comedy from Hardeep Singh, discussion with Martin Bell and the Bad Press Awards.

Read our 2018 review here.

Into the Trees

13-15 September, Pippingford Park, Nutley

A host of sports, arts and nature activities from the team behind the award winning Elderflower Fields offer the perfect way to spend time together. Into The Trees is a new type of family festival with a focus on relaxation and new experiences in harmony with nature.

Read our 2017 review here.

The post Kent & Sussex Family Festivals 2019 appeared first on jugglingonrollerskates.

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