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unusual

Days Out, Home, Outdoors, Parks, Shows, Unusual

The Halloween Train – Audley End Miniature Railway

Halloween Train

Halloween Tradition

So Autumn is almost upon us and it’s time to start planning for one of our most favourite holidays… Halloween! It’s become part of our Halloween tradition to visit Audley End Miniature Railway and ride the Halloween Train. This will be our third year and Eden loves it so much she talks about it all year round!

If you haven’t visited Audley End Miniature Railway before, it’s definitely one to add to the list. It’s a wonderful train ride through the forest spotting Teddies with an enchanted fairy walk and fairy & elf festival! It’s such a lovely day out with the kids. You can read our previous post about it here.

The Halloween Train

Come Halloween time… Everywhere is decorated and themed in a spooky Halloween theme, even inside The Signal Box Cafe! It always looks so amazing! All the staff are dressed up too, it’s a wonderful sight. Every year so far the Halloween Train at Audley End has not disappointed.

 

Halloween Train Entrance

Halloween Train inside Signal box cafe

 

You are able to book the time of the train and then you can play and explore the rest of the facilities at your own leisure. At the platform you board the train and are waved off by the creepy conductor on a journey through the spooky forest. On your travels be sure to look out for all the spooky goings on! There are lots of fun Halloween things to spot whilst on your train ride but all aimed at children so nothing too scary. Halfway round you stop to visit the Witches who dance and cook up a witchy spell… if you’re lucky they may even give out a sweet treat too! Or as Eden would say ‘candy’!

 

Halloween Train Platform sign

Halloween Train

Halloween Train Conductor

Halloween Train

Halloween Train Deep Forest Halt

Halloween Train ghosts

Halloween Train Witch

Halloween Activities

After you return back to the station you are free to explore the rest of the Halloween fun. It’s got better every year adding more fun things for the kids to do. This year they are promising: A Train Ride through the woods to visit the witches, craft making, face painting, story telling, a visit to the dance tent and a gift for every child.

 

Halloween Train Sign

Halloween Train Eden the witch

Tickets are now on sale on their website! We can’t wait to get dressed up and go again this year!

Thank you for reading ‘The Halloween Train – Audley End Miniature Railway’

Castles/Houses, Memories, Unusual

My Sunday Photo – Lullingstone Castle

For My Sunday Photo this week I have a photo of Lullingstone Castle. 

We visited Lullingstone Castle in Kent on their Fire engines event day. They had fire engines from all eras, showcase of fire-fighting history with over 20 fire engines and carts. They even had demonstrations of the engines in action. We had a lovely family day for my dad’s birthday. 

The Castle has the gorgeous World Gardens to walk around, with flowers and plants from across the world. The Moroccon blue room was my particular favourite. 


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Days Out, Eating Out, Farms, Food, Outdoors, Parks, Unusual

Strawberry Picking in Essex

Strawberry Picking In Essex

What a glorious sunny day spent strawberry picking in Essex. We visited Cammas Hall Farm. Set in the Essex countryside, just outside Bishops Stortford.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm
I haven’t been strawberry picking since I were a young girl. I can remember spending sunny days picking strawberries with my family. Crouched  in a field filling my basket with just as many strawberries as I ate! I’ve been meaning to take Eden for some time now and thought Cammas Hall Farm looked like fun.

The venue

There was plenty of parking, a well stocked farm shop, fruit picking, tea barn, play area and a nature trail onsite. It was free entry too which was brilliant and makes this a cheap day out!

We visited on a Saturday lunch time and although it was busy, it was big enough that it wasn’t a problem.

We enjoyed a ploughmans in the tea barn before setting off to pick our strawberries.

There were plenty of ripe strawberries for picking. A huge field full of rows and rows of raised planters full of strawberry plants. No back breaking bending over here, the plants are brought to you! They also have gooseberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc throughout the year.  Just check their website first.

Strawberry picking in Essex rows strawberry plants

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberries

Strawberry picking in Essex Eden picking

Strawberry picking in Essex Eden picking
Eden loved searching through all the strawberries to find the bright red shiny ripe ones. We filled a punnet quite quickly and were very surprised it only cost around £3.50! We thought this was a bargain. The strawberries were delicious and so sweet.

Play Area

We popped to the play area afterwards so Eden could blow off some steam. There were plenty of picnic benches outside over looking the play area. They also had a separate gated play area for the little ones under 3.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm play area
Nature Trail

After Eden had made herself dizzy spinning on the tyre swing, we took a walk along the nature trail. It was a short walk that went through a small forest and along the edge of their crop fields. A nice walk that wasn’t too long. It was even fairly buggy friendly.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm

Strawberry picking in Essex nature trail

Strawberry picking in Essex field crops
The Tea Barn & Shop

After the nature trail, we treated ourselves to strawberries and cream in the Tea Barn. Eden had an ice cream! Perfect! The tea barn is quite small inside but has plenty of extra seating outside and in a covered marquee.

Strawberry picking in Essex Cammas Hall Farm shop

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberry latte

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberries and cream
Eden had one last play in the park and we bought some goodies in the farm shop before returning home. They had a really good selection of pickles and sauces, unusual flavour crisps, jams and other treats. The most important purchase was the ‘Extra Thick Jersey Double Cream’ for our strawberries.

We were there for about 4 hours and Eden had a fabulous time. From picking the strawberries to playing in the park and exploring the nature trail. Lots of fun was had.

Strawberry picking in Essex strawberry fields forever
I would definitely recommend a visit there. It’s best to check their website or Facebook page first before going to find out whether they have strawberries ready for picking.’

We will be trying other ‘pick your own’ venues for Strawberry Picking in Essex and will reporting our findings soon!

Strawberry picking in Essex Eden picking strawberries

Thank you for reading ‘Strawberry Picking in Essex’. Please enjoy our short film of our trip!

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Strawberry picking in Essex

Real Mum Reviews
Days Out, Home, Unusual

Alice in Wonderland – Nevendon Manor Events

Unusual themed day out for Alice fans

Sometimes it’s nice to disappear down the rabbit hole and away from reality. What better way than getting away from it all by having a morning with Alice in wonderland. Nevendon Manor Events in Wickford, Essex organise really amazing events. They normally have them running during the school holidays and are themed. You can purchase time slot tickets several months in advance. Tickets cost on this occasion £14.30 per person.

This was actually my third time attending one of their events. We have previously attended both Willy Wonka and the Wizard of Oz themed events. Both were so good that I knew the Alice In Wonderland themed ‘Hatter’s Wonderland’ wouldn’t disappoint!

I can only describe the events as emersing yourself in a live action theatre production. For Eden, being 4 years old, this is truly a magical experience. Like the most amazing role play game where everyone is dressed up and playing along with her. During the 1 hour duration it takes to walk round the grounds, Eden is transported into a fantasy world that she really believes is real.

Morning in Wonderland Alice in wonderland
The Characters

The grounds are always decorated so beautifully, truly theming it to the event. Today the garden was dotted with toadstools and flowers as you walked between the areas. We were lead around the grounds by Alice as we followed her on her adventure through Wonderland. Each area had a new character to meet from the story, the white rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, the Mad Hatter and my personal favourite, the Red Queen! She accused me of eating her jam tarts and ordered the executioner to chop off my head, luckily Alice and the children saved me. It was all so much fun!

Morning in Wonderland with Alice
Morning in Wonderland walking with Alice
Morning in Wonderland Tweedle Dee and Tweedle DumMorning in Wonderland Caterpillar Morning in Wonderland red queenMorning in Wonderland mad hatter
The actors and actresses are all really professional, never breaking character and interacting so well with the children. Many of them children themselves.

Morning in Wonderland mad hatter close upMorning in Wonderland Mad Hatters Tea PartyMorning in Wonderland Eden as Alice
It was such a magical experience. We look forward to going to more events with them! Would recommend popping it on your list of things to do, especially if you’re a fan of Alice!

Morning in Wonderland Door KnobMorning in Wonderland
Morning in Wonderland Eden as Alice
Thank you for reading A Morning in Wonderland, for more information pop over to Nevendon Manor Events!

Pin for later, Emma x

Pinable image of Alice in wonderland event at Nevendon Manor

Days Out, Home, Unusual

Is Comic Con for kids? A review.

Comic Con for kids

So is Comic Con for kids?

I never would have thought Comic Con was for kids before actually attending one myself. The idea of ushering my child around in huge crowds in London actually made me shudder. I never would have thought it was a particularly child-friendly place but in reality…. it absolutely is and I’ll tell you why!

We attended the London MCM Comic Con at the Excel London on Sunday 28th May. We were part of the 131000 strong crowd that attended over the space of 3 days. For those of you who don’t know, it is the ‘biggest and best celebration of modern pop culture’, covering film, sci-fi, gaming, anime, manga, online video, comic books and cosplay.

The event normally runs Friday to Sunday. During the weekend they have special guests attending for meet and greets and various shows and competitions running. To be honest we rarely go for either of those but purely for the great buzz of Comic Con.

Comic Con for kids MCM Comic con

I have to admit both myself and my husband are a bit geeky. We love browsing the many stalls for cool merchandise and seeing everyone dressed up in costume. Eden thinks it’s like Disneyland, she gets to walk around, have pictures and chat to all her favourite characters! Don’t get me wrong, some costumes are a little more ‘crafted’ than others but people put so much effort in, it adds to the charm. Some costumes are so lifelike, they are incredible! It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing your favourite Batman Tee or a full blown costume, everyone is welcome. It is such a relaxed environment, everyone there for a shared interest and to have a good time.

Getting there

If you drive you can park there in the car parks below the centre! Super easy! If going by Train then go to Prince Regent or Custom House station on the DLR line.

Even though there are thousands attending, it is really well organised and appears to be improving and evolving each year. You can pre order your tickets online. The queuing system to collect your wristbands and go through security was very quick considering the number of people there. We were moving the whole time, there was no standing still for ages with a fidgety child, so that was good. The staff were all clearly labelled and helpful.

Comic Con for kids venue
Food

This year there were more food options. The usual venue eateries in the centre of the Excel can get quite busy but they also had brought in more food stalls inside the actual comic convention and they had a large catering area with chairs and tables. They had a few food options from noodle bars, deli sandwiches, coffee shop with salads and sandwiches, to ice cream vans and my particular favourite, a stall with chocolate fountains!!! Milk or white chocolate!!! One happy mummy right there and Eden!!! I don’t know how she managed to avoid her dress, I was quite impressed… it was everywhere else though!

Comic Con for kids eating waffle
Child friendly

This year there was also a very nice addition of a child friendly area, making sure Comic Con is for kids. They added a chill out spot with bean bags, books and toys. This was a really nice clean area and it was really calm surprisingly. A nice little spot to rest those tired legs. They were also offering kids tattoos and face painting for a small fee.

Comic Con for kids Kidzone

Comic Con for kids kidzone beanbags

Comic Con for kids reading
Facilities

There were plenty of toilet stops available and we didn’t need to queue. We walked straight in, I did also see signs for baby changing too, however I had no need to use these.

The Costumes

Eden loved spotting all the characters we knew and she wasn’t shy about asking for her photo with them. It was so lovely seeing her excitement getting to meet them all. Both myself and hubby were quite excited about meeting some of our own heroes! Such Geeks! Some of Eden’s favourite characters she met were Smurfette, Snow White, Wonder Woman and Groot, plus we met lots more.

Comic Con for kids smurfetteComic Con for kids Guardians of the Galaxy
Comic Con for kids character meets
Shopping

Eden enjoyed walking about and looking at the various stalls, there were plenty of Funko Pop vinyl figures there and lots of cute things for her to look at. She did beg me for a giant hamster rucksack the whole way round, the thing was bigger than her and would have needed an extension to live in our house! I managed to distract her with a little pack of sweets! Sometimes it’s the lesser of the two evils! Giant £20 hamster that will take up 1/5th of my house or a little pack of sweets?!! We went with the sweets!

Comic Con for kids sweetsComic Con for kids funko vinyl pops stall
Doug was super happy with his ‘Keyblade’ purchase, a piece of memorabilia from one of our favourite PlayStation games Kingdom hearts. Eden was equally happy with her Nightmare before Christmas and Harry Potter figures!

My 16 year old nephew came along with us too, he had a great time, even met one of his YouTube heroes Tonska and got his horse mask signed. One very happy boy!

Comic Con for kids Funko pop vinyl stall
We all had such a great time, we walked 6 miles and my legs were killing me after but definitely worth it and we will be going to the next one! Now I just need to get Eden’s outfit sorted!

If your kids (or you) like film, games, cartoon characters it’s a great place to visit for an unusual day out! Pop it on your list!

Thank you for reading Is Comic Con for kids? A review.