Friday, 25 July 2014

London In The Summer With Kids By Jess


We love London; no surprise there! Out of the four people living in our house, three of us have lived in London for their whole life, and we all agree that it is an incredible place to visit. Lately, our family have been involved in two amazing projects to do with London, and really enjoyed them both.

Mum and Rob meeting the "Lord Mayor", Morris (as opposed to Boris!)
Firstly, we were invited to go to the opening of Top Trumps: 30 Things To See In London, where they launched their newest theme - all about London!

My brother Robert loves Top Trumps, so we were all very excited to attend the launch. We discovered that the new game would have information about different landmarks in London, and that children and their parents would be able to use the Top Trumps as a kid friendly tour of the best places to go to in the city.
Rob on an old bus in the transport museum

First of all, we were greeted by the Night-Mayor in front of the London Transport Museum, and were given a sheet full of questions about London landmarks. For half an hour we looked around the museum, and learnt cool facts about trains, buses and more. After this, we went on a bus and saw sights such as Big Ben and Tower Bridge. The day finished with a trip up the Shard, which was looads of fun.

Another amazing experience that Rob and I loved was helping to film a video about the best things to do in London, which is here. We were asked to get involved by Bound Round.



It was a really strange experience to be filmed and talk to a camera, but it was loads of fun and we love the video. We hope you find it useful!

Read more posts about London:

A Great Trip To Buckingham Palace By Me


The London Dungeons By Robert


Monday, 21 July 2014

Carlton Towers: an unusual overnight experience staying in a stately home


Jess and I had an unusual experience a few weeks ago when we stayed overnight in a stately home. This is not something we - and I am guessing you - are used to. And it was unlike anything we'd experienced before...

The stately home in question is called Carlton Towers and is in the small village of Carlton (now, there's a surprise), near Selby in Yorkshire. We were there to make macaroons (and you can read about this, excellent experience, on the Britmums blog) and, because we live in London, it was suggested that we could stay overnight before the course began the following morning. This option is something that other guests coming to Cooks, the Carlton School of Food, are offered, as otherwise all attendees would have to live nearby. However, I imagine that the experience will be rather different from ours. I am assuming that, as Cooks becomes more established, the overnight issue will evolve.


I should say first that Carlton Towers is glorious. It is a magnificent house, the ancestral home of the Duke of Norfolk and can trace its roots back to the Domesday Book of 1086. Today's house (the residence of Lord Gerald Fitzalan Howard, a direct descendant of Edward I) dates back to early Jacobean times although much of it was built in the 19th century and is Victorian Gothic. It really is a spectacular building, set in 250 acres of land. You can see at first glance, especially once you've walked through the very beautiful Venetian drawing room, why it would be an excellent wedding venue, and indeed it does host a number of these. As we found out.

Monday, 14 July 2014

An Amazing time In Northern France With School Part Two

As I explained in my last post, I went on a trip with the rest of my school year to Northern France (mainly Normandy and Brittany) to learn French, and had a fabulous time. Here are some more things that I really enjoyed...

The Chateau Of Fougères
The Beautiful Castle In Fougères
Fougères is a lovely town on the border of Normandy and Brittany, and it is fascinating - the castle was originally only a wooden fort, but was destroyed by King Henry II of England in 1166, and quickly rebuilt by Raoul II Baron de Fougères. The castle wasn't involved in the Hundred Years' War until 1449, when it was taken by surprise by an English mercenary. In 1488 the French troops won the castle back after a siege and the castle lost its military role. Today the castle belongs to the municipality and is one of Europe's largest medieval fortresses.

There is loads to see inside the castle, as there is just so much history to explore. We walked up one of the 13 towers and looked at the sublime views, before learning about what life was originally like in the castle and discovering cool facts about battle tactics. Something that really interested me was that French windows were slimmer than English ones, as they used crossbows for defence, whereas Englishmen used bows and arrows.

The castle also provides audio tours.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

An Amazing Time In Northern France With School (Part One)

 The Chateau
Zipwire
A few weeks ago, I had the amazing experience of going on a trip to Normandy with my school to learn French. We visited lots of wonderful places in Northern France, and here are my highlights from the trip...

Accommodation
Our year stayed at Chateau Beaumont, a lovely chateau built between 1837 and 1852. It is surrounded by loads of grass and places to explore, and on some afternoons we took part in fun activities, such as tir à l'arc (archery), tyrolienne (zip wire) and escrime (fencing). All of the instructors were so much fun, made us use French as much as possible and were really encouraging - so much so that they somehow managed to get me to climb all the way to the top of an incredibly difficult climbing wall!

Our room was nice, and actually very spacious for a group of ten people. I was lucky enough to be placed with my best friends, and we had a fabulous time together.

Friday, 27 June 2014

5 top tips for visiting Legoland (by Robert, aged 9)



I am sure most of you have heard of or been to Legoland. I love going there and wanted to share my top tips for when you go again (or for any first-timers).


5  Try and plan out your day before you get to Legoland because it saves a lot of time.


4 Try to go on the Dragon rollercoaster and Laser Raiders late in the day because the queues can go on for more than 45 minutes.

3 Go on the wet rides at the end so that you aren't wet for any of the other rides afterwards!


2 If you are not sure if to go on a ride or not, watch the ride one to three  times before you go on. That way you will know if a ride might be too scary or too babyish.

1 Unless you have a Q-Bot or there is hardly anyone at the park I recommend to not go on a ride more than twice.




More by me:

A Harry Potter walking tour in London

Monday, 16 June 2014

A Delicious Breakfast in London By Jess



Last weekend, my family and I stayed overnight at the five star Marriott Park Lane Hotel near Marble Arch and Oxford Street (we stayed using Marriott Miles!), and got to try out breakfast at its new restaurant - Lanes of London.  This is what I thought...




Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Harry Potter Walking Tour in London

We started the tour at Embankment tube station which is featured in the Harry Potter films when Harry goes to the Ministry of Magic with Mr Weasley
Me and my mum went on a Harry Potter walking tour. On a walking tour, you walk around and look at places connected to a popular film. I was in a group of 15 people and the walk took two hours. I had a fantastic (but tiring) time.

We went to loads of Harry Potter related places, like Diagon Alley and the Ministry of Magic which are all in central London. These were my favourite places, as I had seen them lots of times in the films, so it was really exciting to see them in real life. It felt like I was inside the story! 

This was me and June re-enacting a scene when Ron is keeping a look-out

Monday, 2 June 2014

Visiting Selby Abbey: nearly 1,000 years of history


One of the joys of travelling is stumbling on gems you don't expect to find. That's what Jess and I did last week in Yorkshire.

We were on a trip to make macaroons (yes, really) in the glamorous Carlton Towers near Selby and will tell you all about that another time. We had a few hours to kill before our train back to London, and luckily a helpful taxi driver was on hand.

"Did you know that we have a near 1,000 year old abbey here?" he asked us. Funnily enough we didn't, but we asked him to take us there to have a look.

We arrived at Selby Abbey 3.50pm and were disappointed to see that it closed at 4. Fortunately we were then told we could stay as long as we wanted and we found it fascinating. It has rather an impressive, and turbulent, history, as well as marvellous architecture and beautiful stained glass windows.



Friday, 30 May 2014

One word - joy (aged 8 and in Paris!)


One word - joy. I took this picture of my son in Paris and remember being thrilled to capture the sheer happiness on his face. We were on a Bateau Mouche (the best part of our trip to the French capital) and each time we approached a bridge, Robert would run up and down the boat with an expression of utter joy. It was magical, though you can probably see that.

This post is part of Tara Cain's photo Gallery, where bloggers share their pictures. When I saw that the theme was one word, this photo immediately came to mind. Pop over there to see more pictures.

More from Paris:

Robert writes about parks in Paris

Watch our (very shaky) video of our trip to Paris


Tuesday, 27 May 2014

What We Like To Do On A Hot Sunny Day - Video Post

Our favourite way to spend a sunny day OUTDOORS is: well, there are just too many to choose from! But this is the kind of thing we would like to do if we were allowed to (oh, and if we lived near the sea!)


Rob: My favourite way would be meeting my friends. First, we would go and get ice-lollies and then, using our scooters and bikes, we would ride to the park and play basketball and tennis. After that, we would find a pier, although there aren't many near us! My friends and I would play on the beach for a bit then we would go to the pier and buy things from the shops. And then we would go to the ARCADE! All of us would go right at the front of the scariest rides like the ghost train, roller-coasters and ones that go upside down. Knowing us, we might even spend about £20 doing the games…

Friday, 23 May 2014

How I learnt to drive (by Jess, aged 12)

As I am only 12 years old, I didn't expect to find myself driving a car until I was at least 17. However, this didn't turn out to be the case...

A few weeks ago, I spent a fantastic afternoon learning to drive in a real car on top of Brent Cross Shopping Centre in North London. I learnt this with a company called Young Driver and here's what I did.


I had my first taste of sitting behind the wheel on the top-floor car park of Brent Cross, and was instantly struck by how much space there was. There was a bridge, lamp-posts and obviously, loads of flat spaces to drive around, meaning that there was something for all levels of drivers.

In my 60 minute lesson, I learnt to start and stop my car, move away, change gears and steer. In the car, there were two pairs of controls for my feet - one for me and one for my instructor, Mike. I had control of the steering wheel, but he could easily reach over me and change the direction in which the car was going (just in case he needed to!)

Mike was really helpful and he taught me a lot. Although I was absolutely terrible at braking, he managed to A) keep a straight face B) not have a heart attack and C) help me improve. We had a very interesting discussion and he make my experience even more special.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The London Dungeon by Robert


I just turned 9! To celebrate me, dad and three friends were lucky enough to go to the London Dungeon

Me and my friends were creeped out from the moment we stepped inside. The rooms were made of old rocks and there were big holes in the walls. Fake blood was spread on the floor. There were cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and when I walked past an old door, it began to shake and the lock started to rattle. The Dungeon was busy, but it was fine because the staff split us into small groups. In each room a new person (all dressed up) would tell us about their point in history, usually involving explosions, drops, moving chairs or fake poo.

My favourite bits were:

Jack the Ripper. I walked into The Ten Bells Pub, happy to have a rest and sit down. I wasn't happy for long because soon enough Jack the Ripper was standing right in front of me with a bloody knife. That really surprised me and my friend. I admit that I was a bit scared.

Henry's Wrath boat ride. The boat ride was my favourite part of the London Dungeon because :

  • It was really loud
  • It was in pitch black
  • The boat went backwards
  • I got really wet

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