5 Stocking Filler Gifts for Young Kids (that aren't toys!)

Christmas gift guides for kids often feature a variety of toys, from the latest craze to traditional wooden offerings and whilst I'm all for buying toys at Christmas, I think it's possible to have too many! So if you're looking for stocking fillers for young kids that aren't toys but still have an element of fun to them, take a look at my ideas below...

1. Fun Cake Moulds for Kids

If you know a little one that loves baking, fun cake moulds like these lego-themed ones will go down a treat! I bought the Lego Man Cake Mould on eBay for just £5.99 and the Mini Lego Bricks baking moulds (which could be used for sugar paste, fondant icing, chocolate or fudge) for £2.99 on Amazon. 

2. Beautiful Woodland & Garden Bird Stickers

For children that love animals, birds and crafting, these beautiful woodland and garden bird vinyl stickers from Particle Press* (£5.50 per pack) will make such a lovely stocking filler. The detailed designs are so pretty and Arthur's little face lit up when I showed them to him. They can be stuck on anything you like and are easy to unstick and re-stick if you wish to move them. 

3. Personalised Christmas Bauble

If you are after a pre-Christmas gift or something to finish off your child's Christmas Eve box (if that's something you do) then why not pick up one of these beautiful personalised baubles from the Handmade Christmas Co.* The personalised baubles are available in a number of different designs and cost £15.00. Your bauble will arrive in a cardboard presentation box and is sure to be something your little one treasures for many Christmas Days to come.

4. Crazy Soap for Bath Time

Make bath time a little more exciting for children with this fantastic bath foam by Crazy Soap (£2.00)! The bath foam, which is available in blue, pink and white, can be moulded into whatever your child wishes. Let their imaginations run wild and encourage sensory play at bath time. The soap has a gentle formula and simply melts into the bath water once playtime is over. 

5. Personalised Children's Books

Books will always make fantastic stocking filler gifts for children but if you're looking for one with an extra special touch, why not pick up a personalised story from the likes of Wonderbly and Penwizard? Wonderbly has a range of beautifully illustrated stories, each of which can be tailored to your child in some way and are targeted at children age 0-4 and 4-8. One of Arthur's favourites is 'A Letter for the Littlest Bear', (£19.99) which I bought him last Christmas. The story is not only customised with Arthur's name but those of his family members and even features a personalised letter at the end.

Penwizard also has a fantastic range of personalised books for children*. If your child enjoys watching shows such as Paw Patrol and Blaze and the Monster Machines on Nickleodeon, then they're bound to love these books, which insert them right into the heart of their favourite stories. 

Christmas Stocking Fillers for Kids

I hope you've found my stocking filler gift guide for kids useful and that it's given you a little inspiration, if you are looking for something a little different to toys. Feel free to share any other ideas of a similar nature that you have in the comment section.

Megan x
*Gifted items
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LEGOLAND - Better with a Q-BOT?

If you read my recent Legoland Windsor review, you'll know that as a family we had a fantastic day out. There were plenty of rides Arthur could go on with us and we really enjoyed some of the exhibitions too. What really made our family trip to Legoland a whole lot better was the fact we had a Q-BOT Ultimate. For those wondering what exactly a Q-BOT is, it's basically a queue jumping device that can be used on a lot of rides at Legoland, so you don't have to queue up.

As a full disclaimer, we DID NOT pay for our Q-BOT. Prior to our trip, we were kindly asked on Twitter if we would like our family trip to Legoland upgraded in some way, by the lovely team at Tesco Mobile, who were running a competition called #LittleLifeUpgrade. In the spirit of honesty, I told Tesco Mobile we had already been given complimentary tickets to the park in exchange for a blog review and after acknowledging this, they asked if there was any other way they could make our trip a little bit more special. Of course, as a parent to a wonderful but rather impatient toddler, I knew what would really help us get the most out of the park would be queue jumping tickets and that is exactly what Tesco Mobile booked for us - the Q-BOT Ultimate. I was over the moon!

Legoland offer three different levels of their Q-BOT queue jumping devices, each varying in price:
Q-BOT Regular (£25 per person): Allows you to reserve your ride time, so there's no need to stand in line. The device lets you know when it's time to go, so you can do other things while you're waiting.
Q-BOT Express (£40 per person): Book your chosen ride on your device and cut your waiting time in half. As with the Q-BOT regular you can do other things while you're waiting. There's no need to queue!
Q-BOT Ultimate (£90 per person): With the Q-BOT Ultimate you get near-instant access to your chosen ride. It doesn't matter if you're not located by the ride at the time, just head over when you're ready and you'll get on virtually as soon as you get there.

If your child is under 3, you will not need to pay for them to be on a Q-BOT device. Children under three can accompany adults on the Q-BOT, providing they meet the height and age restrictions for the chosen ride.

Is a Q-BOT worth the money?

As someone who didn't have to pay £180 for 2 adults to queue jump at Legoland, it's a hard question to answer. What I can say is that it really made our Legoland visit an extremely positive experience and I'm not convinced we'd have had as much fun if we'd had to queue, especially with an impatient toddler!

We visited LEGOLAND on a Saturday and the queue times for some of the rides were an hour or more, which is absolutely crazy! If we didn't have the Q-BOT Ultimate, we wouldn't have been able to go on half as many rides or see as much of the park as we did. Hats off to the parents that queued for that long. You are good people, let me tell you!

We discussed on the way home, whether if we decided to visit Legoland again in the future, we'd purchase Q-BOT tickets and we came to the conclusion that whilst expensive, it really did make our trip 10x better and yes, we would purchase queue jumps of some form next time. Having said this, we would be unlikely to purchase the Ultimate, as at £90 per person, it's a luxury that we (and I assume many other families) probably couldn't justify, on top of ticket prices. I suppose you have to weigh up whether it's worth paying more to have a better experience. In this case, I'd say it is.

Can Q-Bots be used on all the rides at Legoland?

On the Legoland website it says that the Q-BOT can be used on over 20 attractions including:
  • The Dragon Dragons Apprentice
  • Knights Quest
  • Pirate Falls
  • Spinning Spider
  • Viking River Splash
  • Thunder Blazer
  • Aero Nomad
  • Desert Chase
  • Mia's Riding Adventure
  • L-Drivers
  • Atlantis
  • Coastguard H.Q.
  • Driving School
  • Fire Academy
  • Balloon School
  • Fairy Tale Brook
  • Duplo Valley Airport
  • Raft Racers
  • Sky Rider
  • Jolly Rocker
  • Laser Raiders
  • LEGO® NINJAGO® the Ride
Obviously you do have to keep in mind that some of these rides have age and height restrictions, so you may not be able to take young toddlers on all of them. I have highlighted in bold the rides we took Arthur (over 0.9m in height but under 1m) on using the Q-BOT.

How does the Q-BOT actually work?
There are two options for the Q-BOT. You are either given a device that looks a bit like a Tamagotchi or you can go for Q-BOT Mobile (which I assume involves downloading an app but I'm not 100% sure). We chose to use the Q-BOT device and had to leave card details, as a £50 refundable deposit is required per rental. They load you onto the device and then you can simply select the ride you want and it'll tell you when it's your time to go on. Once you get to the Q-BOT entrance of the ride, the operator will hold their Q-BOT against your device to confirm entry and allow you to book your next ride (as only one ride can be booked at a time.)

You can purchase Q-BOT tickets online before you go to LEGOLAND and pick them up from the Q-BOT Office, which is located by the entrance. This is also where you return your Q-BOT at the end of the day so you don't get charged the £50 deposit.

Q-BOTs could be deemed unfair...
It's worth mentioning that not everyone is a fan of the Q-BOT - namely the people who haven't bought one and are having to queue for hours with their children for rides that are only a couple of minutes long. LEGOLAND Windsor tickets for the whole family can be expensive (though it is worth looking out for free passes and deals) and to then have to pay extra for a Q-BOT, may not be an option for everyone. I can see that it's somewhat unfair and therefore completely understand why people would be disgruntled by those who have paid to jump the queue.

But I'm so glad we had one!
Having said all this...and I'm going to sound so selfish here (for that I'm sorry) I didn't feel guilty on the day because I know we would have struggled with Arthur had we not jumped the queues! And really, I'm pretty sure most toddler parents would say the same. We were VERY VERY lucky to be offered the Little Life Upgrade from Tesco Mobile and so grateful to them for giving us a huge treat, we wouldn't have been able to afford ourselves. Thanks Tesco Mobile!

Have you purchased a Q-BOT at Legoland and do you think it made your visit better? Would you consider buying a Q-BOT if you're visiting Legoland soon? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!

Megan x
Disclaimer: We were kindly offered Q-BOT tickets as part of Tesco Mobile's #LittleLifeUpgrade Competition.
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We Moved House!

I'm back after nearly a month away from my blog and I have to say, I've really missed creating content for this little place! But as anyone who's moved house will know, it can be pretty all-consuming. Between packing up and cleaning the last property we were in and unpacking boxes, cleaning and making our new house a home, it's been pretty hectic!
I say 'new house' but actually the barn we've moved to is o-l-d! So old. And whilst I was initially worried we were going to be overrun by spiders or unable to cook a meal on the Rayburn, now that we're a little more settled, I can really appreciate it's beauty. Sure it's not perfect and hey, we won't be here forever (Josh, Arthur and I still have plans for our own place) but it's home for now and I truly love it.
The thing that made us fall in love with this house wasn't actually the barn itself but the outdoor space that we get with it. As well as a lovely garden, it has a small paddock, which is amazing! At the moment it's pretty overgrown and my dad and Josh have already started sorting it out but once it's done it'll be lovely for everyone - especially Arthur and our dog, Oby. I'll definitely share some pictures once it's finished but as you can see, at the moment it's a little on the wild side!
Speaking of wild (and wonderful), our gorgeous Arthur Daniel turned three at the end of the month and we had such a lovely celebration in our new home. We kept it simple, with good food and family time and it was everything I hoped it'd be for him. He was truly spoilt with lots of lovely gifts, including things for his new garden and the smile on his face said it all! Arthur was one very happy little boy.

Moving house isn't easy and rarely goes to plan but we're in, we're getting settled and we've already made some lovely memories. Here's to many more and the next chapter! 

Megan x
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A Family Visit to LEGOLAND

One of my most vivid memories of my childhood is the night before my parents took me and my brother to LEGOLAND Windsor. I couldn't sleep. I was so excited. I remember going into my parents' room, asking if we could go yet and gently being told to go back to sleep. I couldn't contain my excitement and although I can't remember every single part of that day, there's so many things I can remember; from the log flume ride that drenched us, to the awesome face paint, driving the LEGO cars and panning for gold.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I was lucky enough to get to visit LEGOLAND Windsor again, this time as a parent! I was so excited for Arthur, as I knew, even though a little younger than I was when I visited LEGOLAND as a child, he was in for a day full of adventure and fun. In fact, we all were. LEGOLAND is one of those places that is magical for all the family.

LEGOLAND Rides

For most, the main reason for visiting LEGOLAND is the theme park rides and what I personally love is that because they're designed for kids, they're fun but not too frightening! From rollercoasters like the Dragon's Apprentice to water rides like Raft Races and even interactive rides like Laser Raiders, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Height Restrictions for LEGOLAND Rides

Something you do need to consider is which rides your child will be able to go on, as there are various height restrictions in place on many of them. For a lot of the rides your child needs to be 0.9m tall and accompanied by an adult if they're under 1.3m. Arthur thankfully met the 0.9m height requirement, so we were able to take him on a lot of the rides! Please, please do check the height requirements before you queue up and make sure your child is tall enough because there'd be nothing worst than queuing up, getting to the front and then being told they can't go on!
Here are the rides we went on to give you an idea of what you can go on if you have a toddler (who meets the height requirement):
Aero Nomad, Atlantis Submarine Voyage, Balloon School, Coastguard HQ, Desert Chase, Dragon's Apprentice, DUPLO Valley Airport, Knights' Quest, Laser Raiders, LEGO NINJAGO The Ride, Raft Racers, Sky Rider, Spinning Spider, Thunder Blazer.
Arthur loved all of the rides but I think his favourite was the LEGO NINJAGO ride. This was a 4D interactive family ride that puts your ninja skills to the test! It was good fun and we must have looked hilarious doing the ninja actions. Josh of course scored the most points on our team and I think we came third overall!
We all agreed that the Submarine Voyage was up there as a favourite too. It was something quite unexpected for LEGOLAND and Arthur was so excited to see the sharks and fish up close. I don't think he could quite believe what he was seeing!

You can find out all about the different rides, along with any height requirements, here.

Queuing times

I think one of people's biggest concerns when they visit any theme park is how long they're going to have to queue for and I'm not going to beat around the bush, the queues for a lot of the rides at LEGOLAND were pretty long. We visited on a Saturday and for some of the rides, the live queue time was '1 hour' which when you think about it, is quite crazy! You can view the live queue times while you're visiting the park by downloading the LEGOLAND app. It's also got a pretty handy interactive map, which is great for planning which rides you are going to go on next.
I feel like I can't say too much about queuing though, as we were lucky enough to have a Q-BOT ultimate, which was kindly gifted to us and meant we could jump a lot of the queues. I have a separate post on this coming up so keep an eye out!

LEGOLAND Attractions 

As well as fantastic rides, LEGOLAND has a whole host of attractions for all the family. One of our favourites was Miniland, which showcases landmarks from all over the world and is made out of over 42 million lego bricks. It really is impressive and provided some great photo opportunities! There was also interactive elements for the kids and remote control boats on the Miniland Lake.

Fire Academy

Another attraction Arthur particularly enjoyed was the Fire Academy! This involved family teamwork, as we had to hop into a fire engine, pump it across to the burning building and use the hose to put out the fire. It gave us adults a giggle, especially as Josh is so competitive and you're against the other families! I think we came second - so not a bad effort!

Lego Starwars MiniLand

If you're a fan of Star Wars, you must visit the Lego Star Wars Mini Display at the theme park. There you will find iconic scenes from the films that have been created out of 1.5 million Lego bricks. Some of the displays are interactive, which is fun for the kids. Obviously Arthur is a little young for Star Wars but he recognised R2-D2 straight away! Again, it's great for photo opportunities and you can even take one next to Darth Vader, with your very own lightsaber. 

Food & Drink

There are plenty of places around LEGOLAND to purchase refreshments but like at many theme parks and attractions, you may pay a little more than you would at say a supermarket. We had such a big breakfast at our hotel that we didn't really need a proper lunch, so settled for a cup of coffee (water for Arthur) and a bag of dipping doughnuts to share. The doughnuts were delicious and totally worth the queuing time! Arthur actually fell asleep in my arms while we were queuing - I think he'd had so much excitement, he needed a 20 minute power nap before continuing with our day.

Shopping

We wanted to treat Arthur to a little Lego present as a token of his day and decided the best thing to do would be to purchase it from the LEGO shop, just before closing, so we wouldn't have to carry it round with us. Turns out, everyone had decided to do the same thing (hardly surprising) so the shop was absolutely packed! Having said this, the staff worked really efficiently and the queue time to pay wasn't bad at all considering. The shop has a fantastic selection of products, all in themed sections and we ended up treating Arthur to a monster truck, which he absolutely loves. We also purchased a couple of key rings as a token of our day; Macy from Nexo Knights for Arthur (I love that the female knight is his favourite character - and that he says she's like mummy!) and Yoda for Josh!

There are a few shops dotted around the park, if you'd rather be sensible and make a purchase earlier. Do keep in mind that you'll have to carry it round with you though, unless you get a locker.

LEGOLAND - A fun family day out!

As a family, we thoroughly enjoyed our day at LEGOLAND and it's a theme park I would really recommend to other young families, as it's very family oriented. It has a lot to offer, from child-friendly rides to awe-inspiring attractions that are sure to impress. If your child loves Lego, you can guarantee they'll love LEGOLAND.

I guess like with all theme parks, lengthy queue times are the biggest problem, especially if you have young children who don't understand and can quickly get irritable. We were obviously lucky enough to have the queue jumping ticket (again, I'll talk about this in another post) but I think we may have struggled with Arthur in some of the queues, had we not had the Q-Bot.

For the most part it is a fantastic place; truly magical for children and a great day out for adults too.
We feel really lucky to have been able to take Arthur and it's a family trip we'll never forget! A big thank you to 365 Tickets and Merlin for working with us.

Have you visited LEGOLAND with your family? What did you think?
Are you planning a trip soon? Comment below or feel free to tweet me @meganjane03 if you have any questions!

Megan x
Disclaimer: We received complimentary tickets to LEGOLAND in exchange for an honest review.
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New Look Autumn Fashion Wishlist

Mustard Pinafore Dress // Green Striped Top //  Burgundy Pinafore Dress
Chenille Colour Block Jumper // Rust Cord Pencil Skirt // Orange Lattice Back Jumper
I've got a confession to make...I practically live in skinny jeans. Before becoming a mum I was all about the cute dresses but since then I've always gone for the comfortable and shall we say, practical option? Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with skinny jeans, especially when autumn rolls around and you can pair them with a lovely oversized knit - take a look at the two featured above, aren't they gorgeous?! But this season, I'm hoping to step a little out of my comfort zone and treat myself to a pinafore dress and perhaps even a midi-length skirt. I'm soooo risky.

The thing about pinafore dresses is that I always find them to be a little on the short side. As in, barely covering my bottom. And at the grand old age of...27 (well actually, 28 tomorrow) I feel like my dress should cover what my other half and son would describe as my 'rather big bum.' The two I've featured above look to be a decent length so I'm hoping that if I get round to ordering one that it will tick that box. The mustard and burgundy pinafore colours are dreamy - so perfect for autumn and I think they'd look lovely paired with a stripy top (a staple in my wardrobe.) I've got my eye on that khaki green stripy top!

I'm also loving the rust cord pencil skirt from New Look. It'd go with so many things, from basic long-sleeve tops to roll neck jumpers. I'm just trying to work out whether I could get away with wearing it with tights and ankle boots...I think I could right? I'm just not really a ballet pump or heels kinda girl these days. Again, it's all about the comfort!

So yep, that's what's on my autumn wishlist and since it's my birthday tomorrow I may just treat myself to a piece or two. Decisions, decisions!

What will you be wearing this autumn?

Megan x
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Boots for Adventurous Toddlers

H&M is one of my favourite places to buy kids' clothes and has been ever since I started buying outfits for Arthur, before he was even born. To me, the quality is good, the prices are fair and there's something for everyone. I often see mums complaining on social media that they can't find decent boys' clothes 'that aren't blue' anywhere but I can't say I've ever had that issue myself, as H&M (and Next) have always been my go-to. For me they do 'boys clothing' and kids clothing in general really well.
One of my favourite ever purchases from H&M was a lovely pair of brown walking-style boots for Arthur. He looked absolutely adorable in them and I remember when he wore them during our Cornwall holiday last year, a number of people actually told me how much they loved them! Of course, kids' feet grow so quickly and it wasn't long before he wasn't able to wear them any more. I was sad because they were a favourite and hoped they'd be available on the H&M website for autumn this year and thankfully they were!
With a 20% off code from H&M Club I managed to pick up a new pair for under £20! And they're just as lovely as I remembered - sturdy and supportive for our weekend walks, easy to put on with a loop at the back and zips at the side and fleece-lined, ready for the colder winter months. The fleece-lined boots are perfect for the adventurous toddler; the one that likes to stomp through mud, climb trees, collect conkers, pick up sticks, examine leaves. The toddler that loves to be outdoors, at one with nature and isn't afraid to get a little messy. The boots are Arthur to a T!
He usually wears his boots with a pair of skinny jeans tucked into them but they look great with his printed leggings too. Although they're found in the boys' section, there's no reason why girls can't wear them too and in fact, I'd totally wear a pair with an autumnal dress and tights if they had them in my size!

H&M has some gorgeous pieces, so if you are looking to update your toddlers' wardrobe for the new season or find a robust pair of boots for their autumn adventures, I highly recommend heading to the website and seeing what's on offer. Oh and definitely sign up to H&M Club - it's completely free and you will get access to regular discount codes, as well as free standard delivery.

Where's your favourite place to buy kids' clothing?

Megan x
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Pinch Me Moments.

Do you ever have 'pinch me' moments? I do. But not for meeting idols, getting amazing promotions, winning awards or seeing the world's greatest sights (all very good reasons for pinch me moments, I may add,) but rather seeing my family together and thinking just how lucky I am.
These moments can occur at the simplest of times - when we're out on a family walk and Arthur is holding hands with my partner. When my dad is zooming Arthur along in his buggy. When Arthur gives my mum a kiss goodnight. When my boys are cuddled up asleep and I'm getting myself ready. Often I'll find myself pausing for a moment and thinking just how lucky I am. I've even whispered it to myself.

Sometimes I'll snap a picture. Maybe I'll share it on Instagram. Maybe I'll keep it for myself. But often I'll take a mental picture and savour a moment before it passes. I'll try to imprint it on my mind. And whilst I may not remember that exact moment in all the moments we'll share together, it will fuel the feeling of happiness, a now constant in my life.

Have you had any pinch me moments recently?

Megan x
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Our Summer Highlights

With autumn fast approaching, I thought it'd be fun to put together a little post featuring some of our summer highlights. I've seen a couple of bloggers doing a similar thing, including the lovely Sophia from Tattooed Tealady and it seemed such a nice idea that I wanted to do one myself. The perfect opportunity to look back on our summer of fun in the sun!

Strawberry Picking

We had so much fun strawberry picking at Thurloxton Fruit Growers back in July! It was something a little different to do (even if every family in the UK seemed to be out doing it) and a great opportunity to pick some delicious fruit...oh and capture some insta-worthy photos of course!

Passing my driving test

My biggest achievement this summer was passing my driving test! I had been nervous for weeks and weeks, knowing my test was booked for 13th August but was so proud to pass with just two minors. I started my driving lessons at the beginning of the year and although it took me a little while to build my confidence up, I got there in the end!

Ice lolly making

Another fun toddler-friendly activity we got up to this summer was ice lolly making, with some lovely products sent over by the team at Steamer Trading. We made lots of fun and fruity flavours for Arthur and even some alcohol-infused ice lolly recipes for us grown-ups - tasty!

Fun at local parks

One of our favourite daytime activities this summer has been trips to our local parks. It's a win-win really because Arthur loves a park trip and it's completely free! We're lucky to have three in the village and with it being so hot and sunny these past few months, we've been able to spend lots of time there and have even made new friends with families doing the same thing. 

Exploring the countryside

We're lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country and have definitely made the most of the warm weather this summer by exploring as much as we can of the local countryside. Family walks are one of my favourite weekend activities, as I love getting some fresh air and seeing new places. Although it's not always easy getting toddlers to walk the distance, family walks are great getting them comfortable with nature and letting them burn off some energy! We've had tasty picnics, enjoyed paddles in beautiful rivers and even encountered some rather friendly ponies on the moor. It's wonderful knowing there's always a new place to explore!

Catching up with friends

Of course, summer wouldn't be the same without good friends and I'm pleased to say we've not only made some new friends this summer but had the opportunity to catch up with old friends too. Our friends Liz and Will came down to see us May Bank Holiday and then we saw them again in Derbyshire at the beginning of the month and our friends Hannah and Joe popped down for a rather rainy (rare this summer) but fun afternoon at Brean Beach. We're hoping to see them again soon!

Derbyshire wedding

And speaking of friends, I couldn't finish without talking about our family trip to Derbyshire for Abbie and Dan's wedding - a definite highlight! It was so good to see them after so long and their wedding reception was such a lovely night. We also got to spend the weekend in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, re-visiting places like Matlock Bath and venturing to new heights at Black Rocks. It was a wonderful weekend and a lovely way to round off the summer holidays.

Although summer is drawing to a close, I can't help but welcome autumn with open arms as it's there's so much to look forward to including LEGOLAND, birthday celebrations and of course, Halloween fun! It's probably my favourite season, if I'm truly honest and I can't wait to see what else it brings.

What are your summer highlights and do you have plans for autumn?

Megan x
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