What to do with a toddler this summer: Review – Chessington World of Adventures Park & Hotel

We recently had a little adventure to celebrate my husband’s 30th. It was also one of our first trips away as a family with our now 18 month old.

I booked Chessington World of Adventures park tickets and the Chessington Safari Hotel for one night. There is an array of different packages available when you book online but ours included free parking, meet and greet with the Gruffalo, a safari themed room, breakfast and 2 days in the theme park with VIP early access entry.

The hotel was easy to find, any Sat Nav should take you to the road and then there are clear signs directing you to the entrance. The car park was busy but we were able to find a space and there was a parking attendant too. Some packages offer an allocated parking space which is handy but not a necessity.

All of the staff were really friendly and even though check in is not available until 3pm, a pre-checkin is available if you arrive earlier. We were lucky when we arrived at lunchtime that our room was ready for us straight away.

Everything was explained to us on arrival in terms of tickets and schedule for the evening and morning. The hotel has a children’s splash pool that you can use during your stay for a fee. Again, some packages include this. Unfortunately the splash pool was closed when we arrived so we didn’t get a chance to use it which was a shame but there is a separate larger pool that we used instead that was great to take our toddler swimming in.

Our room was fantastic! A safari themed room with a view overlooking the ‘Savannah’ with grazing zebras and giraffes roaming quite freely. A cot was provided free of charge, we had a very comfortable bed, all expected amenities  (plug by the mirror for your hair straighteners for example!) The room also had safari decorated bunk beds, so if you’re a family with 2 children and a baby, it’s perfect too. It was also very clean and there’s space to wheel and manoeuvre your pram in there too if needed.

Once settled, we spent our first afternoon in the park. As soon as you leave the hotel back doors, music starts playing through the trees and our little one became an explorer. His face was a picture. As you enter the park, the first you see are monkeys followed by penguins and meerkats, all extremely exciting and stimulating for any child.

We began our adventure and walked around the park picking and choosing what we wanted to do. Having 2 day access in the park definitely helped us to plan more and with a toddler who is currently going through an unpredictable routine change, this really suited us. The pressure seemed to be taken off and we could enjoy our time a little bit more.

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This was the first time I had visited Chessington World of Adventures with a little one and the last time I visited, I was a child myself. The ‘zoo’ is now known as Wanayama Village offering a lovely walk outside in the open to see the animals. There’s also a Sea Life Centre, a petting farm and a monkey walk.

That bright yellow ‘Monorail’ is no more (I was actually looking forward to that) but they now have the ‘Zufari’ which takes you around the ‘Savannah’ in Jeeps instead. Sadly, there is a height restriction on this but I look forward to going back and trying this when my son is older.
However, we all enjoyed the famous Gruffalo River Ride which is the new replacement to the popular Bubbleworks. Nothing can really replace the Bubbleworks for me as it was such a good childhood memory, but having seen how much my son loves the Gruffalo, I hope this ride will have the same effect on him. It was lovely to see his face light up as we sailed around in our little boat.

Other rides that we enjoyed included the Jumbo Elephants, Hocus Pocus Hall, Tiny Truckers and Tomb Blaster. The Gruffalo Arena also offers entertainment and a popular meet and greet with the Gruffalo (be prepared to queue). There are also various animal talks, feeding times and shows you can watch as a family. All of this is detailed further in this useful parent and toddler guide the park provides:-

https://www.chessington.com/downloads/cwoar-parent-and-toddler-guide.pdf

Walking back to the hotel through Wanayama Village was a great end to the day and as it was my husband’s birthday, I had booked a table at the hotel’s Zafari Bar & Grill Restaurant with a window seat overlooking the ‘Savannah’. The price of the meal was what you would expect for a theme park hotel so it wasn’t cheap, but I have to say it was one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever eaten and our son was transfixed with pointing and looking at the animals as we ate – the perfect entertainment to occupy any toddler!
Our breakfast the following morning was a buffet and it included anything and everything you could want to feed a fussy toddler! The restaurant was in the neighbouring Aztec hotel which was a very short walk away. This restaurant was also themed and displayed videos of different species of wildlife; again providing that one bit of occupancy for our son so we could eat too!

We skipped the queues and went on the Gruffalo River Ride for the second time with our early morning access pass and our day came to an end at around 2pm where we escaped the rush hour traffic and home in time for dinner.
Overall, I have to say, our mini break to Chessington World of Adventures was so much better than expected. I enjoyed it, my husband loved it and my little boy had a wonderful, magical learning experience. It wasn’t cheap as chips but I think for everything we managed to squeeze in, it was great value for money.*

So if you fancy somewhere different to go with a toddler this summer or if you have a toddler and bigger kids to entertain too – I would definitely recommend a visit!

…And we can’t wait for all of our photos to be printed to add to our very own Photobox!

Order yours from http://www.BipBopShop.com

Prince Photobox with albums

Until next time!

Charlotte x

*Prices may vary depending on the date and length of stay.

The Blogger is Back!

Well, as you may have noticed there has been a slight gap between my blog posts lately. Nothing bad has happened (thank goodness) and sadly I can’t blame it on being away on a fancy holiday.

The truth is I fell victim to a serious lack of creativity AKA Writer’s Block (or ‘Blogger’s Block’ I prefer to say).

And ‘Blogger’s Block’ is horrible! I tried writing first thing in the morning, late at night, while at events, even while trying to cook dinner and all I managed to produce were a couple of sentences – boring sentences at that!

As writer’s block is defined as being completely psychological, I had to really think about the reasons why this could have been affecting me. After all, if you don’t understand the problem, how can you find a solution?

My first reason was actually quite obvious. I was fortunate enough to have my first ever blog published in the Huffington Post recently, which raised awareness and encouraged people to give blood as a result of writing about my birth story. After this post went live, I received so many lovely messages from complete strangers who had gone through a similar experience, thanking me as they no longer felt alone. Others just popped me a message to say they gave blood as a result of the article and my friends and family congratulated me on my first piece of published writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I was so happy that I managed to make a little bit of a difference. That was the whole reason behind writing the post. Yet a few days after it had been published, I had a sudden sinking feeling and huge sense of vulnerability. I was now no longer in control of who knew my birth story; anyone who wanted to could read it and I wouldn’t even know. It was as if I had given away a small part of my privacy and now people were now sharing and judging which made me feel open and slightly paranoid. I would think to myself at toddler classes if any of the other mums had read it and if they were secretly judging and thinking – ‘Why would you do that? Why would you write about something so personal?’

But then a blog is personal isn’t it? It’s an infrequent diary of your thoughts and emotions available for the world (well, those who are interested) to read and judge as they see fit and that is what I had signed up for! My blog posts being out there in the World Wide Web forever!

That feeling did take me a little while to get used to but I have been determined to pursue things and not feel embarrassed about what I write. I don’t really have a creative bone in my body but I know I can write a half decent piece when I want to; plus if my writing can help just one person out there, that suits me just fine.

Then popped up reason number 2 of the ‘Blogger’s Block’- what could I write next? My last post had been published in one of the most popular online magazines in the world and there was no way I was going to match that. The pressure just kept building and building until I decided ‘stop trying, an idea will come’. So I waited and waited and waited but no blogging ideas miraculously came into my mind which led to reason 3…

…Complete lack of sleep! Sadly waiting for inspiration to come just led to me staying up later and later doing other things – scheduling social media posts, doing the tax return, whilst still writing boring half-hearted blogging sentences! One night I had a complete time management meltdown and stayed up the whole night! I was still downstairs when my husband got up to go to work at 4am! This stupid mistake ultimately led to severe sleep deprivation and a very low immune system susceptible to attracting every toddler bug going. Of course as we all know you can’t be a mum and be ill! So I think it took me about 3 weeks to fully recover. I even had to cancel an event I was attending as a result of it. I was a silly, silly girl. I won’t be doing that again!

All I can say is thank god for Mother’s Day and a bank holiday weekend because with some lie ins under my belt – I managed to snap back into my old self again! I also received my first International order this week which gave me back the drive I needed!

Then it dawned on me. Why not write about ‘Bloggers Block’? I’m sure other bloggers out there have had the same problem and have wanted some saving grace? Sadly I’m not a miracle worker but for me I learnt that while waiting for that light bulb moment, you cannot sacrifice sleep. You certainly cannot have it all if you don’t doze off into the land of nod every night. It sounds obvious but it is so important to manage your time in order to fit sleep in.  Sleep will be your saviour!

I do still consider myself a night owl and rarely go to sleep before midnight. (I’ve posted this just after 12am) But burning the candle at both ends too often can lead to serious problems if you’re not careful. I’m just pleased mine were only toddler bugs and not being able to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard).

So there you have it – the reasons for my absence but I’m currently cooking another idea to write about, so fingers crossed I don’t let it go that long again!

I’m off to bed!

Until next time!

Charlotte x

Ps Check out the new stock now available to order at BipBopShop.com  X

Blood Donors Gave Me The Chance To Be A Mum

AS FEATURED IN THE HUFFINGTON POST

When you become a mum, your birth story is a testament to you. A sentimental story of how you brought your baby into the world and an experience us mums should all be proud of.

Yet, I almost wasn’t able to tell my birth story. After a very fortunate and simple three hour labour, things took a horrifying turn for the worse…

15 minutes before my son was born, I remember laughing in the birthing pool because I accidentally dunked my head under water during a contraction. It almost seemed too easy as I welcomed my beautiful Alfie into the world weighing 7lb 4oz.

‘I had a kidney infection that was worse than that!’, I told my husband, as I cradled our beautiful new son in my arms.

For those mums reading who may be beginning to feel a hint of jealousy. Fear not. These were my famous last words!

In fact, about two hours after Alfie was born, just as I was beginning to think I had been blessed with the perfect labour, everything went wrong.

My husband who was holding our baby, started to shout for help because I had suddenly lost consciousness.

I had slumped down in a chair and was unaware of the commotion, as a swarm of doctors and midwives surrounded me and hoisted me up onto a bed. A short time later, I opened my eyes to find myself breathing through an oxygen mask and shaking uncontrollably. All I could hear repeatedly were the words, ‘We need blood!’

My body had gone into shock due to a severe postpartum haemorrhage and after a drug free labour, I was now being pumped with every drug under the sun.

In the sea of chaos, my husband stood in tears whilst our new baby quite happily slept in his arms, completely oblivious to what was happening.

I was rushed to theatre and put under general anaesthetic for an investigation that lasted over four hours – a gruelling wait for my husband who was left caring for our baby alone.

I had haemorrhaged so badly that I required not one but two urgent lifesaving blood transfusions because my womb didn’t contract back to how it should after giving birth and there were additional complications with remaining placenta.

In total, I lost a dangerous four litres of blood (just over seven pints). To put this into perspective, women have around nine to 10 pints of blood in their body on average.

What’s even more shocking is that the reason my body reacted in that way was completely unforeseen. I was 28 years old and other than bad sickness throughout my pregnancy, I was otherwise healthy. As the doctors and midwives have since told me, I was just incredibly unlucky.

Before you start to panic though, severe life threatening postpartum haemorrhage only affects 0.6% of women in the UK. It is extremely rare.

To know that I could have died that night is something I still can’t quite comprehend. It’s something you only see in films or associate with what commonly happened in olden day history. I am just so thankful to the fantastic medical staff for acting so quickly and especially grateful to those who donated their blood. They saved my life.

Without those people, my little boy would have grown up without his mum and my husband would have lost his wife. This second chance I have been given has allowed me to become the mum I had spent nine months preparing for.

I savour every moment with my new family. I’ve now even realised my dream and started up my own business and now a blog too!

I would love nothing more than to express my gratitude by giving blood again myself to help others in return; but as I am now a recipient of a blood transfusion, current medical regulations in the UK no longer permit me to donate. Whilst it looks like this may be changing in the future, in the meantime, the only way I can try and repay my debt is to share my experience and use my birth story to encourage others to donate blood in my place.

Donating blood is easy and painless, plus you get a free cuppa and a biscuit afterwards. If you currently don’t do it, please sign up as you will be saving a life.

Blood banks urgently need blood for all sorts of reasons; cancer patients, premature babies and those with blood disorders are all common causes that require blood too and it goes a lot further than you think.

What is a tiny needle’s pin prick in comparison to the lives it will save? You may even help another new mum like me.

Please give blood today and encourage others to do the same.

Click on the link below to register and find your nearest blood donation venue.

http://www.blood.co.uk

Charlotte x

14 Reasons to Thank the Dads This Valentine’s Day

Becoming a mother is a life changing experience that seems to turn your whole world upside down and inside out. But it’s easy to forget about our other halves who have just become new dads too.

So with Valentine’s Day on the 14th, here are 14 reasons us new mums should be thanking the new daddies in our lives.

Thank you Daddy…

– For coming home from work after a busy day and quite happily looking after the baby while I have a shower/eat/go to the loo/do that thing I have been dying to do all day!

-For telling me I still look great with a post pregnancy body and dark circles under my eyes!

-For making me laugh when I wanted to cry.

– For actually offering to change the smelliest most disgusting nappy and not moaning about it!

– For getting up to do a night feed – even if it was just the once.

– For letting me have a lie in on a Sunday – allowing me to realise what sleep is again!

– For working out how to take that toy apart that’s needed new batteries for days and then replacing them.

– For going to the nearest open shop at 2am to get more milk

– For cooking your speciality dish once a week

– For emptying your pockets before putting your clothes in for the wash!

-For telling me I’m a good mum when I’ve needed to hear it the most.

– For not waking us when you leave for work.

– For recording all my favourite programs on the telly. Even though I probably won’t get a chance to watch them all.

– For loving our little family so much and making us all so happy.

Had to end with a soppy one!

Wishing you all a lovely Valentine’s Day!

Still need a gift? Why not treat your other half to a Best Dad Light Up Photo Frame? Only £14 from Bippity Boppity Shopity @bbshopity Twitter/Facebook/Instagram

 

dad-youre-the-best-lightup-on

Until next time!

Charlotte x

Daddy Pig!

Who else shops for nearly new, second hand toys at bargain prices? Whether it’s on Ebay; Facebook or at nearly new sales -as a mum starting a business,  I am on a tight budget and so I love picking up a good deal!

Recently I bought the ELC Buggy Steering Wheel from another mum over Facebook. Retailing new at around £25, I bought it second hand in immaculate condition for a fiver and no haggling necessary! What a bargain! Overjoyed at said bargain and after my son clearly now loves his new toy to play with in the pushchair;  I can’t stop telling my mummy friends what a marvellous deal I’d grasped and therefore I can meet for a coffee after swimming because I have change to spare – I feel like I’ve won the lottery!

I’ve now had the steering wheel for less than a week. It works perfectly, I still want to shout from the rooftops about my amazing thriftiness and just to reiterate – my son LOVES it! Then step in his father who I shall aptly name ‘Daddy Pig’… (for those who watch Peppa!)

You know what’s coming don’t you? ‘Daddy Pig’ and I are walking around our local shopping centre with our little boy in the buggy – ‘BEEP BEEP BEEP’ he bangs on the horn. He is quite happy and so are we. Until ‘Daddy Pig’ decides against my better judgement that the steering wheel needs to be screwed tighter to the pram.

Yes, you guessed it!- he snapped the fixture that holds it into place and the steering wheel is now being held on to the buggy only on one side. Cue my son wanting to bang on the horn again and the whole thing is off!

To make matters worse, after trying to temporarily fix it to avoid a tantrum as well as expressing my annoyance to ‘Daddy Pig’ as calmly as you possibly can do in front of a 1 year old; a little boy who is about 5 is passing by with his mum. He points to the steering wheel in excitement but then stops to tell his mum (loudly) that it’s broken.

His face of disappointment mirrored my feelings. Even though my son was quite happy with the temporary fix, this toy was no longer the same in my eyes. It was broken and my bargain achievement of the decade was no more. Chances are I wouldn’t be able to get the same bargain again and the thought of buying this same toy again new at full price would feel like some sort of defeat.

It’s the little things isn’t it!

Thank you ‘Daddy Pig’!

Until next time!

Charlotte x

Dirty 30

February is now upon us as well as Valentine’s Day.; but while everyone may be talking about love and romance at this time of year, I have a more pressing issue on my mind.

Turning the grand old age of 30.

Initially, the thought of turning the big 3.0 didn’t bother me in the slightest, but now the day is getting forever closer, it has given me the opportunity to reflect on things more.

Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? What have I achieved? Am I on the right track to achieving my dreams?

Now as a mum, questioning my happiness brings huge amounts of guilt and of course I am so happy and proud to have my little boy and incredibly supportive husband who I wouldn’t change for the world. But am I fulfilled? Personally – yes but professionally? – no. When you start your own business, if you have that inner strength and drive to succeed, there will always be something else to achieve and something else to do, and as I have only just started, there’s a LOT! It’s that niggling feeling that gets bigger and bigger unless you do something about it. That said, I have to remember my rule to start small and dream big without letting my new responsibilities as a mother and a wife dwindle- just the standard work/life balance dilemma!

What of my achievements so far? Well, my website and online shop will be launching soon which is a huge milestone for my 6 month old business that I have managed to reinvest in. I’ve now also set up this blog and even if one person other than my mum reads it and finds it useful in any way, that makes me happy!

Am I on the right track?  This thought has circulated a lot in my head over the past few weeks. I’m self employed for the first time in my life and have a brand new family with the responsibility of a mortgage to pay. Not quite the ideal situation I’d like to be in financially and what mother wouldn’t want to give her child everything? I find myself regularly quoting Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses ‘One day Rodders we’ll be millionaires’ while window shopping! Although it’s really been the choices I have made so far in my 30 years of being on the planet that have led me here and I actually wouldn’t want it any other way.

So here’s to 30 and embracing the next chapter of my life as a Mumpreneur and doing it the best way I can.
Perhaps this birthday should be a celebration of you finding 30 instead of 30 finding you.
Until next time

Charlotte x

First Blog Post!

Hi, I’m Charlotte! Owner, founder, creator of Bippity Boppity Shopity (BipBopShop for short!)-  An online and pop up baby & children’s gift shop. I’m also mum of one and trying to juggle setting up a brand new startup business with running a brand new family. So, welcome to my blog and thank you for reading my first post! I hope you enjoy!

I’ll start by explaining a little about me as you join me on my new journey.

I started in July 2016 when my little boy, Alfie was just 7 months old. Truthfully, I have always wanted my own business but never had an idea but after Alfie was Christened that summer, Bippity Boppity Shopity was finally my lightbulb moment.

Warning! *plug of business* so please go and check out my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages @bbshopity to have a nosey and a like/follow!

Back to the blog!…Since launching – my world seems to have become a rollercoaster of me trying to sustain a new business venture as well as being the best mum and wife I can be and I won’t lie – it’s been tough!

A classic example – today my little boy decided to poo for the first time in the bath! Yes, I’m saying this in my first post because it’s real life and it happens. Soon after clearing it up and putting him to bed, I was on the phone to a web designer discussing layouts and wording. Poo to web design within about half an hour. Don’t think you would find that in the usual workplace! Unless you were re designing the 💩 emoji which we all love!

I’ve been fortunate in the last 6 months of having this business, that I have been a finalist for Homepreneur of the year, traded in my local shopping centre (that was an experience I promise to share soon) and I’ve also been a guest speaker at Successful Mums Business Workshop. Things I would never have seen myself doing this time last year!

So now 2017 has hit, I would really like to document my journey a bit more and share it with you – all the highs, the lows, the scary times and the fun times.

Hop on this new blogger’s train! I don’t know if I’m doing it right but everyone needs to start somewhere and if you’re still with me, thank you very very much for your support!

Until next time!

Charlotte x