Half Term Day out Idea – with The RAF Museum, London

With Half Term looming on the horizon for all of us (HURRAH!) we will all be looking forward to no school runs, hopefully a little lazy day thrown in there (everyone loves a cheeky PJ day now and then) and ideas for a few days out to keep the little pickles entertained.

Finding things to do can often be stressful, expensive and dependent on decent weather, so why not consider going somewhere that is none of those things?

Why not try The RAF Museum, London?

We haven’t been ourselves as a family yet but it is up there on my ‘to do’ list. I think now the boys are a bit older and have some concept of and interest  in aviation (the middle one who is 7 is currently learning about Concorde so he is aeroplane mad at the moment!), the world wars and their impact on the world and engineering, it is certainly a place we are going to end up very soon.


Getting there…

The museum has a car park but this is currently unavailable due to it being resurfaced (correct as of February 2017 – please check their website for updates on these works) but don’t let this put you off! It’s extremely easy to get to via public transport so if you’re within firing distance of London (we are very lucky where we live and can be in the city within 30 minutes) do not rule out a trip here.

Have a watch of the below video to see a mum and her kiddies going there on public transport to see simple it is:

If you are getting there from Waterloo you just need to hop on the underground there, get on the Northern Line heading NORTH and stay on it until you’re at Colindale Station. It’s 16 stops down but no changing! Perfect! It is a journey time of 34 minutes from Waterloo to Colindale. Once at Colindale, exit the station (there is only one exit at this station) and turn left. Walk straight along the road for about 10 minutes – you will need to cross a roundabout and stay on the right hand side of the road as the pavement runs out on the left after the roundabout. The RAF Museum is on the right hand side of the road.

 For other stations and routes, use TFL’s route-planner.


 What is there to do at the Museum?

There really is so much to see and do at the RAF Museum, and best of all, entry is entirely FREE!

You can easily have a full day out here, not just a couple of hours, so bring a packed lunch or make use of the museums cafe which serves hot and cold food/cakes/drinks and snacks.

There are various exhibitions open all year round, Chinook helicopters, WW1 exhibitions, loads of buttons for the kids to push and even an air traffic control display. My kids would absolutely love that part of it. It’s an educational place to visit but also full of interesting things for the kids to touch, investigate and learn about so it’s sure to be a place to keep everyone happy.

There is an Airfix make and take craft activity on there for February 2017 half term (13th-17th Feb) which costs £3.00 per person and is suitable for ages 8+. You can find out more about this here – unleash your inner child folks! Who doesn’t love a bit of retro Airfix crafting!?

If you have an autistic child, or know someone who does, the RAF Museum has a specially adapted trail for you to enjoy so everyone can be included in the day out which I think is wonderful. You can find more information on this here.

There is a 4D cinema experience there showing various ‘films’ (all of which are between 5 and 10 minutes long) which do cost extra but would be a worthwhile addition to the day. Become a Red Arrows Pilot, fly in a B17 as you embark on a mission or take part in a WW1 Dogfight! Tickets are £5 each for this or £16 for a family of 4.

There are also 2 flight simulators which are £3 per person, however the rides are only suitable for people of 3ft 6 and 3ft 11 or over so do bare this in mind.

For opening times, please check the museums website.

So, what are you waiting for? Getting planning your half term fun and help support our museums by paying them a visit!

RAF Museum London


Over on my Knutty Explorers section of the blog you can find write ups about days out and holidays we have been on. If you’re looking for some inspiration for that next trip away, do head on over and see if I can be of any help.


 Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for the RAF Museum London to promote the museum and travelling there via public transport. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Cooking up a Storm! (with Thaikhun Cookery School)

I love food. Sadly for my waistline and ‘shapely’ butt.

via GIPHY

There isn’t much I don’t like food wise to be honest (except offal, oysters, mussels, black pudding, haggis…ok, there is a fair bit I don’t like) but one of my most favourite cuisines has to be Thai.

I love Chinese food but there is something really special about Thai food, the fragrant curry’s, the unusual herbs and spices they use, that I really like. That said, I am useless at cooking anything Thai. I don’t know what it is, I think that possibly I’m a bit daunted by all the ingredients and it can sometimes look a bit fiddly or time consuming. More often than not I have just had a long day of chasing a toddler about, as well as dealing with my older two, and I am too tired to even think about cooking something new and exciting. I try my best but sometimes, when you come downstairs at 8pm after putting your kids to bed you really don’t feel like slaving over the stove for ages.

Because of feeling uninspired in the kitchen, I was over the moon to hear from the lovely folks at Thaikhun, Guildford to see if I wanted to go and take part in a new cooking school they have started. I was a bit nervous about it but I put on my big girl pants and said yes. It helped that I could take a friend and I immediately knew who that would be. No, not my husband! Hahaha! You guys. No, my best friend, Chloe. A girls night out accompanied by Thai food. Win!

Chloe is a foodie if ever I saw one.  Seriously, this woman knows her stuff. She enjoys food, loves cooking, likes discovering new things and is literally one of the best cooks I know. Very different to myself. Sorry kids. Thankfully she jumped at the chance to come along with me so we got booked on and waited for the day to arrive.

Just before the event, we were told what we would be cooking to whet our appetites. Starter would be Vegetable spring rolls and Main was Thai Green Curry, which is Chloe’s favourite. I am also a fan but only if it isn’t too hot with chili! I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice.

The day arrived and we got to the venue 15 minutes before it was due to start so we could sign a disclaimer. I can’t recall what was on it particularly now but I think the jist was that they wouldn’t be held responsible if we were completely inept with a knife and hacked one of our fingers off whilst chopping a carrot nor sue them if you made yourself sick by not cooking your food properly. Both things were entirely feasible with me there!

We were in a group of 9 people and everyone was really lovely. We were all eager to get started and hungry too!

Upon signing our disclaimers, we were bought a welcome drink which was a non-alcoholic mocktail. It was served in a noodle pot with a chili on the side which was different but funky and it tasted very nice. We both enjoyed it. They also bought us over some prawn crackers to chomp on – nom, nom, nom.

ThaikhunMocktail

After a few minutes, it was time to get cooking!

We had to don an apron and a fantastically flattering white paper chefs hat to turn us into master Thai chefs. I honestly looked so classy folks. The main issue was I had tied my hair up because we were cooking and the ponytail was impeding the hat from staying on my sodding head. It kept popping off and I was having visions of it flying off onto the hob, setting alight and then me being responsible for a mammoth fire. I will tell you all I ‘lost it’ after the starters were made. I still have no idea where it went… (*Bin*ahem*)

Thaikhun Cookery schooll

We headed over to the demo table to watch the pro chef make his veggie spring rolls and then, after a watch (I literally gazed on in amazement at how quickly the chef could chop veg and roll these things!) and a taste, it was time to get cooking. It was a bit like the Generation Game! My memory is as bad as Dory’s from Finding Nemo so thankfully Chloe had taken it all in and I happily became comme chef. Chloe is a ninja with a knife so she did the chopping and I did the grating/frying. I am an expert with a deep fat fryer. Deep fried Mars Bar anyone?!

 Thaikhun cookery school

I made the first spring roll and it was a little on the small side shall we say. I should have gone bigger but I was being cautious. Chloe made one next and hers was far larger than mine so I decided to make my next one the same size as hers. It was spring roll wars. Being the div I am, my next one was even bigger than Chloe’s! By the end of making 5 of the things, we had 5 very un-uniform (thanks to me) spring rolls. Bigger is better folks. Bigger is better. Paul Hollywood would have given 0 for uniformity put it that way.

Vegetab;e spring rolls Thaikhun

The recipe was really simple and we were stunned by how good just a few simple ingredients (veg at that!) could taste. Frying does make most things taste amazing though doesn’t it. After cooking our 5 spring rolls, we were allowed to sit down and scoff them. We thoroughly enjoyed this part!

Vegetable spring roll filling Thaikhun

We then went back to the demo table to learn how to make the Thai Green Curry. This was more complex because they showed us how to make a green curry paste from scratch which was really interesting.  However, the best bit is…even they use ready made paste in their currys! Woo hoo! I loved that. So, if you buy your green curry paste ready to go, this dish literally takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. Super quick and easy.

Thai green curry thaikhun cooking school

Once it was our turn to have a go, we went back to our work station (it was a large table set up with the ingredients, camping stoves and chopping boards for each couple which worked well). Chloe was once again on chopping duty and I stood and watched, sorry, learnt. I also had a chuckle to myself at the rubber gloves that were put out for us because they were called, Feelers ‘Food mates’. Don’t know why I found that funny, but I did. Simple things, eh?!

Feelers rubber gloves

The curry was made in no time at all and a real revelation to us both was not to fry the chicken before putting it in the curry. It goes in raw and almost poaches in the curry sauce which makes it really tender and juicy. It was so scrummy.

Thai green curry we made

Luckily for me it was spicy but not too much so I scoffed my bowl full, as did Chloe. Any leftover ingredients that we hadn’t cooked (like veg for the spring rolls) were boxed up in takeaway boxes so we could bring them home rather than them go to waste.

At the end of the session, we were asked to fill in a feedback form and we were all given a lovely goodie bag so we could recreate the dishes at home. It was a really great touch at the end of a smashing evening. With full goodie bags, full tummies and a new found confidence to cook Thai food more at home from scratch, we went on our way and I got home to bend my husbands ear regarding how good it was. I think he was a bit jealous so he pretended to not be too interested until the next day when I made Green Curry for dinner. Then he perked up. The way to a man’s heart and all that…


Myself and Chloe would honestly recommend Thaikhun cooking school to anyone. We learnt a lot, had fun, came away inspired and decided it would be a wonderful thing to do as a Hen-do or birthday party for adults. I know we would happily both go back.

Thaikhun cooking schools are available at various locations across the country. Prices (at the time of writing) are £50 per person which includes all ingredients, sitting down to eat your food, a welcome drink and a goodie bag. Pretty good value for a lifetime of cooking knowledge.

You can book on to a local Thaikhun thai cooking school session by clicking here.

Thank you for inviting us Thaikhun, Guildford. We shall be back!

Sa-wùt dee kà




Walking in the footsteps of Wizards – A Harry Potter Bus Tour in London

“I solemnly swear that I am up to no good”.

Harry Potter.

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This is probably my favourite Harry Potter quote due to how appropriate it is regarding my children. I love them dearly, but they are cheeky little blighters sometimes. ‘Spirited’ is a more pleasant way of saying it isn’t it. Spirited little blighters, there we go.

We were asked the other week, by a lovely lady called Pascaline, if we would like to go on a Harry Potter Bus Tour of London. Pascaline is starting a new business called Culture and Adventure and she runs different tours all over the place. Keep your eyes peeled on her Facebook page for any upcoming events! I was desperate to do it because me and Luke (my eldest) are huge Potter fans, but due to being absolutely useless on the London Underground  by myself, and my kids being ‘spirited’, I have never been brave enough to take them there by myself. Anyway, it was an opportunity too good to miss so I said yes and began frantically swatting up on my underground map like Harry Potter does with his Marauders Map. If only I had broomsticks to get us there rather than Southwest Trains.

The tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours and costs £20 per adult and £15 per child (price correct at time of writing).

The day came for our Harry Potter Bus Tour and it was a glorious winters day. Cold, but sunny, just how I like it. I sorted a bag with some snacks, drinks and tissues – I was able to travel a bit lighter because Mr Knutts had the toddler for me so I could enjoy the day with the older two. No nappies and wipes this time!

We set off for the station, which thankfully is only a 10 minute walk from our house, and excitedly got our train tickets and waited on the platform for our train. The kids still love the novelty of getting a train somewhere and I love seeing their excited little (spirited) faces as they wait, full of anticipation (and mischief).

The train arrives and we hop on, managing to get seats. It’s a miracle! All is well and the boys chat with me and we stare out of the window like excited tourists…

Harry Potter Bus Tour Train

As we near Waterloo, completely out of the blue, my eldest says he doesn’t feel very well. In fact he says, “I feel a bit sick mummy”.

Great.

Bloody great.

“Ok,” I reply, “We are almost at Waterloo, just hold on until then if you can chap”.

Dear god, please don’t let him throw up on the train…

As we get off the train at Waterloo he goes ghostly white and says, “IT’S COMING!”

Action stations!

We sprint over to a bin and he manages to throw up into the bin rather than all over the platform. A minor miracle. However, he then thinks he is finished when he isn’t and throws up again down his front. Kill me now. I tell him not to worry and we will sort it out. We head out of the barriers and go to find the toilets at Waterloo. Being the novice Londoner I am, I don’t realise you have to pay to use the toilets there…and I have no change.

Nooooooooo!

I have an 8 year old lad, threatening to throw up again, who is covered in puke, and no change to get in the poxy toilets.

Thankfully, the lovely toilet attendant saw my quandary (and the 8 year old covered in puke – thankfully his body-warmer was waterproof!) and  let us in for free. I couldn’t thank her enough but she was reluctant to shake my hand when I offered it. Can’t think why? He goes and throws up again whilst I wash his body-warmer and dry it under the hand dryer. Luckily it comes up ok and as Luke appears from the toilet he announces, “I’m all better now! I don’t feel sick anymore! Can we still go on the bus tour?”

Kids.

A mystery to us all.

“Are you sure?” I ask nervously. “I can’t have you being sick on the bus tour…”

“I promise you mummy, I am fine. The sick has all gone now and I feel like eating a McDonalds so I think that means I’m better” he says.

“Right you are then. Off we go!” I say, and so off we trot.

We stop on the Southbank for a little while to have a look about and then continue our walk over Jubilee Bridge towards our bus tour start point near the Sherlock Holmes Pub.  All is still fine and Luke seems to have perked right up.

Thank goodness for that.

The bus arrives and it is an old Routemaster. Absolutely glorious. It’s bright red, shiny and completely immaculate. I do love these old buses.

 The boys zoomed up to the top deck and sat right at the front. The had planned to sit here for the last 3 days and thankfully our lovely tour guide Pascaline said it was fine to sit there. She also very kindly gave Luke and Zak a wand each which they treasured for the whole tour and have pride of place in their bedrooms now. Sadly the wands are pretend and don’t magic the kids to sleep nor do they do their homework for them, which is what my eldest had hoped for!

After 10 minutes or so, the bus set off for our first stop. The driver did very well navigating around the narrow streets full of parked cars, I was in awe of his driving skills to be honest! I’d have got road rage at numerous points.

Pascaline spoke to us on a microphone so we could all hear what she was saying, even up on the top deck. She told us some fun Harry Potter facts and gave us clues as to where we were headed. The boys loved guessing what our first stop was going to be.

When we arrived at the destination, we hopped off the Routemaster and congregated by a very large building. We were asked if we knew which place this represented in the movies. Luke shouted out random places, but wasn’t right, and then one of our fellow group members got it right. It was called Scotland Place and it was used as the location where Harry and Mr Weasley entered into a phone box to access the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

 As we were stood listening, Luke said, “I am going to be sick again Mummy!” just completely out of the blue again. He ran off over to the building, yep, the one used in the film, and threw up.

For goodness sake.

Everyone very politely checked if he was ok and Luke said he was and we went back onto the bus again. I was mortified but he assured me he really did feel better this time…so on we went.

Routemaster Bus London Harry Potter

Our next stop was the place called Cecil Court, which was used as inspiration for Diagon Alley.

It was a beautiful little street full of curious little book shops. Had Luke not been telling me he was going to throw up again the whole way down it I might have taken a bit more in. The poor lad. We did see a shop selling some Harry Potter money there which was quite cool.

Cecil Court London

After taking some photos, we hopped back on the bus and went off to see some more of the sights/venues.

I don’t want to give all the stops and venues away in case you want to do the tour yourselves, so I won’t do a stop by stop rundown, but I can assure you it was interesting, fun and  my Potter mad boys LOVED it (yes, despite one of them being very sick).

I do just need to give a  special mention to my favourite stop on the tour however which was Leadenhall Market. This Victorian market has hardly changed since it was built and the grandeur of it is truly something to behold. It’s easy to see why they chose it as a Harry Potter film location when you’re there. I haven’t been to Leadenhall Market before but it is now top of my list for places to return to when I make it back into London. It would be magical anytime of year but seeing it all decked out for Christmas with its beautiful lights and traditional tree was really quite special.

The poor lamb managed to push on but he was sick near the steps of St Paul’s cathedral, in the Tate Modern (we all stopped here to use the facilities), Leadenhall market and again once we were back at our home town station. Needless to say the little chap went to bed once he was in and mummy vowed never to go anywhere with the children on her own again. True story.

The end of the tour was at Kings Cross where we went to see where the ‘entrance’ to platform 9 and 3/4 is. There is nothing there to mark the spot anymore but there is a pretend trolley going into a wall near the entrance to Kings Cross station which you can have your photo taken with. It was originally in the exact spot used in the films on the platform but, due to health and safety, it was moved. Sadly Luke was too poorly to do this bit but we plan to return one day to get a photo.

 I would absolutely recommend this Harry Potter Bus Tour of London. If you’re a fan yourself, or you have older kids who are (I would certainly say this is an age 6+ tour and they will only find it interesting if they have watched all the films) then you’re guaranteed a super day out. The fact the tour is on a bus is fabulous because you get to cover a lot of ground in a short space of time. Doing it by foot on your own would take an entire day and you would get very tired!

Pascaline our guide was nothing but brilliant (especially seen as I had a puking child with me) and I hope her Culture and Adventure tours go from strength to strength.

She is running another tour on Sunday 12th February 2017 and you can book your slot on the Routemaster Bus here

(If you’re unable to book for any reason, please contact Pascaline on: info@cultureandadventure.com)


Disclosure: I was given 3 tickets to attend this Harry Potter Tour in return for this review. All words, thoughts, images and opinions are my own.



Teletubbies are back with Big Hugs! (Plus a Twitter Competition!)

Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are back in an all new DVD entitled, Big Hugs!

Image result for teletubbies

The lovable foursome return today (Monday 16th January 2017) with some all new episodes.

For those of you who somehow aren’t familiar with these characters, firstly, where have you been?! And secondly, let me fill you in…

Teletubbies is a British pre-school TV series by Ragdoll Productions. The show revolves around 4 main characters, Tinky Winky (Purple), Dipsy (Green), Laa-Laa (Yellow) and Po (Red). The general idea is that each of the characters has an antenna on top of their head which acts like a TV aerial. This glows when it receives a video message from a child and the lucky chosen Teletubby has the clip shown on a TV in their tummy! They live in Tellytubby land (over the hills and far away…I am just, sadly, over the hill) and they indulge in fun, frolics, silliness and Tubby Toast.

The clips shown in their tummies are always from children and can be from anywhere in the world. They often show normal day to day activities and experiences that our own children are familiar with such as going to the shops, going in a lift, washing a baby, watering flowers, etc (Sidenote: I haven’t seen a, ‘mummy goes mad because the child has drawn on the wall wither permanent marker’, episode yet though. I might suggest that to the producers). My little one’s favourite clip is of some kids playing hide and seek in a park. He literally thinks it is the best thing ever and is always giggling at it. He does love to hide does Ben, especially when he has been naughty.

Yes, I too thought the show was a bit of an odd, and perhaps even a slightly bonkers, idea when it was released back in 1997 (I know, I cannot believe the show is 20 years old this year either!) but do you know what, the kids LOVE it (and I secretly think they’re pretty cute too). I vividly remember my cousin being little watching this and she was absolutely spellbound by it. She barely blinked. Meanwhile, all the parents hovered around at the back of the room wondering how anyone that wasn’t drunk could dream something like this up.

I always have the best ideas after a G&T, ’tis true.

The Teletubbies communicate by using jibberish and basic words, a bit like our own toddlers do. This makes them resemble young children and means our little tots are able to relate to them easily. I know my toddler thinks they are hilarious and he LOVES to sing along with the theme tune (and show his belly off like a Teletubby because, well, why not when you’re 2?!)

 

The show was revived again in 2015 with the voices of Jane Horrocks as the voice on the tubby phone, Jim Broadbent as a trumpet and Fearne Cotton also as a trumpet (nope, I had no idea about that either!) New voices joining the show for this 20 year celebration are David Walliams and Rochelle Humes!

To further mark the 20 years since the start of the show, we will see a brand new song for the Tiddlytubbies (Mi-Mi, Daa Daa, Baa, Ping, RuRu, Nin, Duggle Dee and Umby Pumby). These little rugrats are baby Teletubbies. They’re pretty cute and seen as a lot of young children have baby siblings, it’s a wonderful way for them to understand how to interact with them.

Having now aired in 120 different countries in 45 different languages, I think it is pretty safe to say that Teletubbies are now part of Children’s TV history.

Slightly surreal, imaginative, curious, educational and magical. Sit down with your little one for a watch, I am sure you will enjoy it!

You can buy your copy of Big Hugs today via Amazon!

To find some wonderful Teletubby related activities to do with your little one, head over on the CBeebies website!


 Win one of 3 copies of Big Hugs by entering my twitter competition!

To be in with a chance of winning one of 3 copies of Teletubbies Big Hugs DVD’s I have up for grabs, simply head on over to my twitter page, give me a follow and re-tweet the below tweet – that’s it!

CLICK HERE TO ENTER ON TWITTER!

3 winners will be chosen at random.

All entrants must have followed @lifeisknutts on Twitter and re-tweeted the competition.

Competition closes on Monday 23rd January at 10am. 

Winners will be contacted via direct message on Twitter.

Copies of the DVD’s will be sent once the winners names and addresses have been received.


This is a sponsored post. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



#capturingtheday – Week 15 Roundup

This is it folks. 7 days to go until the big day and I am still not ready!

When will I learn?!

Next year, I vow I won’t leave all my shopping until the last minute (I almost certainly said this last year and ignored that).

I hope you guys are all set.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for joining in with our new Instagram community and to wish you all a VERY merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2017.

2016 has been a bit of a bugger for most and I certainly can’t wait to see the back of it. I truly hope you and yours have a smashing time this festive period making lots of happy memories.

Yvonne, over at Double the Monkey Business, and I have decided to have a little break over the Christmas period so we can spend time with our families. We will be back with our roundups in 2 weeks time (8th January). Do keep tagging us and we will be keeping an eye on your fab festive photographs for our first roundup in 2017.

Gems.xx


So, without further ado, here are my 4 choices for #capturingtheday…

A Santa themed one from me this week: A very happy (and cute) little girl upon Santa’s knee, a gorgeous family grotto snap, a gorgeous little one in a festive hat and another little one upon Santa’s lap.

#capturingtheday

Top left: Hey Little Sweet Thing

(Visit their blog)

Top right: Five Little Doves

(Visit their blog)

Bottom left: Midwife and Life

(Vists their blog)

Bottom right: Soppy Mum

(Vists their blog)


Yvonne over at Double the Monkey Business has chosen 4 festive stunners. We were so lucky to have so many wonderful photos to choose from!

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Top left: Winnettes

Top right: My Petit Canard

Bottom left: Pink Pear Bear

Bottom right: Bump and Beyond


Congratulations to all of you and thanks again to everyone who linked up.

Do spread the word and join in again!

#capturingtheday

All photos are welcome.

Baking, crafts, days out, sunsets, tantrums, rain, crappy Christmas presents, poonamis. well earned nights out for the parents, whatever it is you’ve captured during the week.


 To finish, here is my favourite photo of the week by my lovely friend Yvonne over at Double the Monkey Business

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I have always wanted to go to a German Christmas market. I’m very jealous of Yvonne’s outings at the moment. Yvonne, I hope you all have the best Christmas and New Year. Thank you for being such a fab friend, blogging and personally, and I hope to go drinking Gin and Bailey’s with you in the Summer of 2017.xxx

You can find Yvonne on Instagram, here.

You can read her blog, here.


 See you all again in 2017!