Thomas Land expansion at Drayton Manor Theme Park

FatcontrollerI thought we’d start today’s post with a sing-a-long. My rhyme is sung to the tune of Thomas the Tank Engine’s theme song (we’re two, we’re four, we’re six, we’re eight, counting trucks and hauling freight…) and sums up the brilliant time my family had at the opening of the Thomas Land expansion at Drayton Manor Theme Park. So here we go…

‘We’re one, we’re two, we’re three, we’re more, gone to Drayton for a tour, of the brand new Thomas Land, its got bigger and so grand! With some brand new rides to play, we had a merry lively day, Thomas makes us really glad, for the fun we had.’

thomaslandexpansion

On the 8th April Bloggers and VIPs made their way to the grand opening of the Thomas Land expansion at Drayton Manor Theme Park in Staffordshire. The expansion has seen Thomas Land grow 40% in size and gain three brand new rides, an airport café, band stand and even old fashioned fairground games.

fatcontrollerfountain

My little engine drivers were completely over excited when the day finally arrived and we stepped foot into Thomas Land. They’ve all loved the programs, books and toys and of course when you throw rides into the mix you’re guaranteed a fabulous day out. I on the other hand was rather apprehensive, the opening took place during the Easter holidays and I was imagining queues and chaos everywhere I looked. Admittedly Thomas Land got a bit crowded once it opened to the public, but chaotic it was not. All the rides were easily accessible and our longest wait was 15 minutes which as any theme park visitor will tell you is really not a long time. I was also seriously impressed with the staff. We had Granny along for the adventure and at one point she dropped a box of popcorn while holding too many things. She came to grab me to go back and help scoop it up but when we turned around it was already being swept away by a diligent member of Thomas Land’s crew, now that’s an efficient service! On to the new rides…

Flynn’s Fire & Rescueflynnsfirerescue

In Flynn’s new ride would-be firefighters climb aboard a fire engine and shoot water at a burning tower (no real fire though parents). The cherry picker goes up and down as you try and aim the water through holes in the tower sides. Younger firefighters can ride along in the engine below. This was by far my youngest favourite ride and we had several goes, a word of warning though you may get splashed!

Captain’s Sea AdventureCaptainsseaadventure

Climb aboard Captain as he twirls in circles around the centre of the ride. Crank your water cannon and try to shoot everyone in the boats nearby or even those waiting in the queue! My eldest two loved this ride and had several turns until they had perfected their watery aim.

Toby’s Tram Expresstobystramexpress

I would love to be able to give you a detailed description of Toby’s new ride but unfortunately while he was working initially, he’d had a few teething problems and we never got to have a go. From what we saw he rises into the air and swings around for a thrilling aerial adventure.

A short video

I took a few videos of all our fun and you can see a small selection here (including a talking Cockatoo!)

Other new additionsmerrickbluemountain

The Blue Mountain Engines now have Merrick overseeing their journey, which really brings the ride to life.

jeremyjetsflyingSodor Airport sits at the heart of the expansion and offers views across the park from its balcony. A café below is a welcome respite for any weary parents and is situated right by Jeremy Jet’s Flying Academy which looks perfectly at home in its new position. Incidentally this is my daughter’s favourite ride :)

ThomasCranky

After a ride on Thomas and the Troublesome trucks overseen by Cranky the Crane, Granny and Mummy were feeling rather tired so we popped into the Thomas Soft Play Centre which is located by the large gift shop. Comfy sofas were provided for the parents while the kids had a fabulous time climbing and sliding within this brilliantly equipped play area.

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Drayton has much more to offer for the whole family but it would easily take me another post to cover even some of it. There’s a zoo, 4d cinema, rides aplenty and even a Dino World. Suffice to say another visit will have to be planned!draytonmanorextra

For more information

Visit Thomas Land online for more details and to book early bird price tickets.

 

I’m Crackers for Ritz!

Crackers for RitzThis shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias We’ve been going Crackers for Ritz!

Crackers are a staple you’ll find in most food cupboards but they’re often maligned as plain or boring. The secret to their success lies in their versatility; top them with cheese for an after dinner digestif or load with various antipasti to create a simple starter. However the humble cracker is more than a base for toppings, some variants (cheese, herb, sea salt etc) can be downright tasty with just a slither of butter or eaten straight from the pack.Ritz Aisle

My family are massive fans of this crispy treat and my children request them almost daily. One of our favourite brands is Ritz because they offer mini snack size packs which are perfect for days out and picnics. We bought some from our local Morrisons supermarket and we’ve been coming up with fun and unique reasons why we’re crackers for Ritz! We’ve even made a hashtag #crackersforritz if you’d like to join in the fun. Here’s the top reasons why we love them.

I go crackers for Ritz in a chocolate spread tower!

Ritz Chocolate

My youngest son can be rather awkward when it comes to his food (think plain rolls and an absence of key ingredients normally seen on the dinner plate) but we can always rely on Chocolate Spread to make him happy. When asked what made him love Ritz crackers so much he said, ‘because I can have a giant chocolate cracker tower!’

I go crackers for Ritz while holding up trees!

Ritz Tree

My eldest is surprisingly strong for a child (I’m counting on his future abilities to open jars and hold onto our dog who pulls like a steam train on a walk). He told me, ‘food gives you energy, so I love crackers because they make me strong’. Admittedly this tree (while leaning dramatically) was completely wedged into the earth below but it still made for a great leaning post.

We all go crackers for Ritz on family days out!

Ritz Picnic

Crackers are an essential part of our picnic bag on most family outings, not just because of their flavour but for their ease of transportation. In my head I was going to take a beautiful picture to illustrate this, with my (well-arranged) family smiling sweetly on a recent springtime stroll. Unfortunately the kids were too busy trying to feed Grandpa their crackers while Granny was being stared at by a cracker loving pooch!

I go crackers for Ritz when I get the box to play with!

Ritz Dog

All these crackers were driving our dog a bit mad. He desperately wanted to eat them and so far had only managed a few that the kids had accidentally dropped. The truth though is that he loves playing with the cardboard box as much if not more than eating the contents!

Ritz Dog 2

We’ve had loads of fun coming up with new ways to enjoy crackers to their full potential and I think I’ve started a family trend, going ‘crackers for Ritz’. For myself I’m planning on a secret midnight feast when there’s no little hands to steal the cheesy crackers away from me. How would you go Crackers for Ritz? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #crackersforritz .

Fishing Game Craft Tutorial with Bostik!

fishinggametutorialYar, good morning to ye me fine readers, we be feeling all nautical here at the Angel Eden Blog today so I’m sharing our quick and simple Fishing Game craft tutorial. We created this fine fellow of a game using craft supplies from those land lubbers at Bostik as I’m a Bostik Craft Ambassador  ‘Pirate’! It be perfect for small hands and trainee sailors to make and play, sure to be enjoyed by any true lover of the sea.

What ye be needing

Empty cardboard box

Shiny card and cellophane

Bostik Blu Tac Blu Stick

Foam fish (stickers are perfect)

Stickers for decoration

Cardboard

Pipe cleaner

 

bostikocean1Step 1

Start by cutting off the top flaps from the cardboard box.

BostikOcean2-3Step 2

Cover the bottom of the box with a piece of shiny cardboard (the sea bottom). Secure this into place with the Bostik Blu Stick. This glue goes on blue and dries clear making it really easy to see when applying. We used blue cellophane to stick to the sides of the box, you could also use cardboard or colour it in with a pen.BostikOcean4Step 3

Finish off the sea bottom by cutting wavy seaweed from green cardboard, glue into place.BostikOcean5Step 4

We used sea themed stickers to add creatures to the bottom of the sea.BostikOcean6Step 5

Now to make the fish! We used foam fish stickers which is definitely the easiest option. Cut a small length of cardboard, remove the sticky back from the fish and attach one edge of the cardboard strip. Bend the cardboard around the front of the fish and secure the other end at the back. Then stick the entire fish onto blue cardboard and cut around. Write a random number onto the back of the fish (this will be the amount of points the catch is worth).BostikOcean7-8

BostikOcean9-10

Step 6

To make the fishing rods just bend the end of a pipe cleaner into a U shape. Decorate the outside of the box however you like (we used foam stickers and pens). That’s the game completed, now it’s time to play!BostikOcean11BostikOceanSide

How to Play!

Undoubtedly the most important element is how you play our fishing game. There are two versions of this game depending on the age of the children or how hard you want it to be.

BostikOcean12Easy Version:

Each player takes it in turn to ‘fish’ a creature from the sea. Once all fish have been caught they are turned over to reveal how many points they are worth. The winner is the fisherman with the most points.

BostikOcean13Harder Version:

Exactly the same as the version above except that players wear a blindfold during their turn so they can’t see which fish they are hoping to catch. We gave each player a couple of swipes in the box and if they caught nothing then that was the end of their turn.