Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Breakfast with Santa at Bridgemere Garden Centre, Nantwich - A Review

Last weekend we were delighted to be attending our first Christmas event of the year at the Wyevale Bridgemere Garden Centre, located in Nantwich, Cheshire. We have plenty of fun activities planned for the next few weeks, but what better way to begin our celebrations, than with a visit to see Father Christmas and the chance to enjoy Wyevale's Breakfast with Santa experience!

Having previously attended Bridgemere last year to review their Santa's Grotto experience, we were very excited to be invited back to enjoy this wonderful Breakfast with Santa event and find out exactly what it was all about. Although we have seen these kind of events advertised before, this was the first time that we had tried something a little different to a normal grotto and so we were all intrigued as to how it would work and whether it would be as much fun as it sounded.

Bridgemere Garden Centre is located in Nantwich and there are plenty of signs from the main roads helping to direct the way. As returning customers we already had a good idea of how to get there and so the drive was really simple and took us approximately 45 minutes from our home in North Wales.

On arrival we made our way to the main entrance and walked along the path through the outdoor garden centre area. I absolutely loved some of the creativity in the displays and before we had even reached the restaurant, we had all decided that we wanted to have a good look around after our meal and enjoy a little festive shopping. This Robin display was one of my favourites and I thought that the prices were really reasonable too.


As we entered the indoor shopping area, Riley spotted this wonderful polar bear display pictured below, which was absolutely beautiful. The large polar bear and baby bear also moved which really set the scene for this stunning winter toy arrangement.

We had arrived in plenty of time for our Breakfast With Santa, however we had become distracted by all of the lovely plants and gifts for sale. We soon noticed that we only had five more minutes to spare, so we quickly made our way over the restaurant.


We were a little unsure as to where we should go initially as we saw two signs for restaurants, but a quick chat with one of the helpful staff, soon led us to the correct place and we were greeted by a friendly lady who checked our name off a list and guided us to our seats. My children had asked whether we would have to sit with "strangers" meaning other families on the same table, and whilst the tables were arranged in three long rows, there was plenty of space left between each family, so that you had your own table area to enjoy your breakfast. This meant that there was no feeling of being too cramped in, or being in earshot of anyone elses conversations. We felt that the tables had been arranged perfectly and whilst everyone had their own space, the fact that the tables were joined together also gave the appearance of a celebratory feast, which we thought worked well.

The tables were neatly arranged with cutlery, crackers and colour in placemats for the children. There was also a Christmas card in the centre of each seating area for the attending families. We were immediately impressed with the set up of the event and took the opportunity to take some pictures of the lovely surroundings whilst waiting for the other guests to arrive.

The room had been decorated beautifully and was adorned with festive lights, a stunning Christmas Tree and a wonderful sleigh that was full to the brim with presents. There was a seating area with blankets and cushions, which we guessed would be where the children could meet Santa. It looked really cosy and a nice place to enjoy a sit down and have a chat.


We were invited to help ourselves to some refreshments, with tea and coffee available for the adults and unlimited squash for the children. A member of staff then came round and brought some toast to our table with both white and wholegrain choices available.

Once all of the families had arrived then the breakfast commenced and we were very much looking forward to our meal. There was a little bit of confusion to begin with as the tables either side of us had their sausage sandwiches served to them, but we then also noticed a queue forming at the opposite side of the room, so we were unsure as to whether we needed to collect our breakfast or if it would be brought to us. We spoke with a lovely member of staff who explained that guests who had purchased a cooked breakfast would be called up table by table to collect their meal which answered our question.


Whilst we waited for it to be our turn, Riley spent some time looking at all of the toys that had been displayed within the sleigh. He noticed a few things that he really liked the look of and was wondering if he had enough pocket money with him to buy one of the games that he really wanted. We had no idea at the time that children would have the opportunity to choose one of these toys following their meeting with Santa.


It was soon our turn to collect our meals and the food looked absolutely delicious. The lady serving asked each of the children if there was anything that they didn't like and offered them the opportunity to select something else which I thought was a great idea. One of my children doesn't like scrambled eggs, so rather than miss out on an item of food he was able to choose an additional sausage instead. We were told to help ourselves to sauces and once we were sat down a member of staff came round with more toast. We had a selection of white and wholegrain and both sets were toasted just right.

The food was absolutely delicious and just the right portion size for my children. The sausages and bacon were really good quality and the eggs were perfect with a nice runny yolk to dip the toast in. We all pulled our crackers and put on our party hats, whilst telling some Christmas jokes as we ate our meal.

Once we had finished a lovely lady called Emma came round and brought the children some snowman shaped biscuits, along with edible confetti and an icing tube. This meant that the children attending the breakfast could all create their own biscuit, exactly how they wanted to and with their own unique design. Whilst they were decorating, Emma spoke to each of my children individually asking their name, what their interests were and what they would be asking Santa for as a Christmas gift this year. I don't often highlight a particular member of staff but she was absolutely wonderful with the children. My youngest son Riley can be very shy at times, but he immediately chatted away with her and even offered to sing her a song. The way that she engaged with the children was really lovely to see and it definitely added to our experience.


Riley practiced a few times laying out the snowflakes in different formations before applying the green icing gel. Eventually he decided to use the confetti for the hat, scarf and buttons and he was delighted with the end result. As he had just eaten a large breakfast he didn't want to eat his biscuit straight away, so Emma kindly went and got some takeaway boxes for us and the children placed their biscuits in them to take away and enjoy later.


Of course Breakfast with Santa would not be complete without a visit from the main man himself and the Bridgemere Father Christmas was superb. At no point were children rushed to finish their meeting with Santa and Riley was with him for a good five minutes talking all about his Christmas list. I thought that the way it was organised worked really well and seeing such a huge smile on Riley's face throughout the conversation was priceless.


Riley told Santa all about his school and that he and his friends have been practising for the Christmas concert. He also told him about his favourite things to do outside of school and the shows that he loves to watch. There was no awkward silence during the chat and Santa seemed really enthusiastic and keen to hear more and I genuinely think that Riley could have carried on talking for hours!


Once Riley's time with Santa was over, he was told that he could go and select a gift from the huge sleigh that we had noticed earlier. I was quite shocked when I heard this, as the presents were really good quality items and there was plenty of choice to suit children of all ages. Riley selected a large jigsaw puzzle which also doubled up as a finding game, so once you have built it, you need to spot certain items and see if you can find them all.

It was Ben's turn next to visit Santa and again Ben told Santa about the things that he had asked for this Christmas. When Ben revealed that had asked for Fifa 19, Santa asked him which football team he supported and quite proudly he replied with Manchester City. This resulted in Santa sharing a little secret with Ben as he whispered his favourite football team in his ear too!

Lastly my 12 year old daughter visited Santa and although she is no longer a believer, this did not stop her from enjoying the experience. I felt that Santa was great with the kids and was able to easily adapt his conversation to suit the age of the child. All three of my children really enjoyed the Breakfast with Santa experience and we were able to create some lovely memories that will definitely stay with us in the future.


After leaving our Breakfast with Santa, we decided to have another look at all the displays as well as enjoy some Christmas shopping. I absolutely loved this unicorn display below and I could have literally spent thousands buying all of the items that I saw. Sadly these beautiful unicorns were beyond my budget and so we settled on purchasing some new baubles for our tree to add to our collection.


My husband gave each of our children £5 and told them that they could pick a bauble of their choice, which they were all really excited about. There was just so many to choose from and I adored this entire selection of white and silver decorations. They each had a good look around and Ben decided on a selection of Silver Car baubles which were in a pack of three. Riley opted for a personalised Santa bauble with his name on, along with a flashing Reindeer bauble where the nose would flash and light up. Lastly Emma chose a personalised snowflake bauble along with a flashing Father Christmas one and we were all really pleased with their choices.


After selecting our new baubles, we decided to have a look around the gift areas. Again these were all displayed beautifully and every shelf looked immaculate. The staff clearly work hard to make sure that all the products are displayed neatly and this definitely helps with the shopping experience. There was such a wide range of gifts to choose from and the food and drink gift sets were wonderful with something to suit all tastes.




Overall we had an absolutely wonderful time at Wyevale's Bridgemere Garden Centre and the Breakfast with Santa experience was fantastic. I believe that it offers exceptional value for money, as well as being a lovely variation to the traditional grotto experience. It is perfect for families looking for something a little bit different, as well as being an event that the whole family can enjoy together. The food was delicious and the staff were so friendly and welcoming that it made the setting a really enjoyable place to be and I wouldn't hesitate to return again in the future.

Attraction details

Attraction - Wyevale Breakfast with Santa 2018
Address - We attended Bridgemere Garden World, Bridgemere, Nantwich, CW5 7QB, however this experience is available at numerous other Wyevale Garden Centre's. Further details can be found here:
Cost - Child's Breakfast £10.95, Adult's Breakfast £8.50, Adult's Mini Breakfast £5.00
Dates - Various dates and times are available.
Times - Opening times vary, so please check their booking page for availability here: Tickets
Website - Wyevale Garden Centres
Twitter - @WyevaleGC
Facebook - Bridgemere - A Wyevale Garden Centre

As an alternative to Breakfast with Santa, Wyevale also offer Tea with Santa, where children can enjoy a choice of hot meals or a selection of 4 items from the Little Diggers Picnic Range for £10.95. At the same time accompanying adults can enjoy a festive afternoon tea with St Clements Cake, Blackberry Pavlova, Mini Macarons, festive iced fruit cake, plus cranberry and cinnamon scones with clotted cream and jams along with fresh finger sandwiches for only £8.50. A mini tea consisting of tea/coffee, a slice of festive cake or traybake, plus a bowl of seasonal soup with crusty bread or cheese scone is also available for only £5. Further details on both the Breakfast or Tea with Santa events can be found here: Breakfast or Tea with Santa


Disclaimer: We were invited to Bridgemere Garden Centre as guests of Wyevale for the purpose of writing an honest review of our experience.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn - A Review

Now let's be honest, as an adult the thought of a unicorn poo-ing out slime, isn't something that particularly appeals to me, but my five year thinks that the concept is absolutely hilarious. I have also seen Poopsie Surprise Unicorn feature on quite a few must-have toy lists for Christmas, so when the opportunity arose to write a review of this product, I was certainly keen to find out more.

With the use of slime growing hugely in popularity, it is no surprise that toy manufacturers have now began to involve its use within their products. This does of course mean that adult supervision is a must, as no one wants brightly coloured slime adorning their pristine cream carpet, or fabric sofa. However, when used carefully it can provide lots of fun and its easy to see why it appeals to children of all ages so much.


Poopsie Surprise Unicorn offers the slime factor in abundance and whilst the thought of running your hands through unicorn poo slime may sound disgusting, it definitely provides plenty of laughter and fun for the kids. So what is Poopsie Unicorn Surprise?

Poopsie Unicorn Surprise is a brightly coloured unicorn doll who comes with a selection of over 20 surprises! There are 4 different designs of unicorn to collect and the product is hidden from view inside the box, so you can't be sure which one you will have until you open it up. I have however noticed that some online retailers are advertising particular designs, so if your child is after a specific unicorn then it could be worth shopping around to find the one you want.

We were very keen to see which unicorn we had been sent, but first of all we set about unboxing the other surprises which were located within the packaging. This is great fun in itself as you peel the cardboard packaging around in a circular motion to reveal a collection of blind bags. This creates a sense of anticipation and excitement as you find each bag and open it up.


We received the Rainbow Brightstar Unicorn which looked fantastic with it's brightly coloured rainbow hair. I think if we could have chosen a specific design then this would have been the one that we'd have picked. After opening all the packaging and the individual packets we found the following:

1 x Rainbow Brightstar Unicorn
1 x T-shirt
1 x Nappy
1 x Golden feeding spoon
1 x Feeding bottle
1 x cleaning aid
1 x potty
1 x sachet of Unicorn Sparkle
4 x sachets of Unicorn Shimmer
2 x sachets of Unicorn Magic
4 x sachets of Unicorn Food
1 x Rainbow poopsie keyring
1 x hair brush


When it comes to creating the slime, I admittedly found this a little complicated at first as there were quite a few different steps to go through, so it took a couple of attempts to find the right consistency for the slime. Our first try didn't go particularly well and our poopsie was more like a wee! But we read the instructions again and our second go went much better.


Firstly there is a switch which is located on the rear of the unicorn's body and it is important that this is on the feeding setting. In the picture below you can see that there are two modes which are the feeding to the left and the rocking to the right. Our unicorn had the switch set in rocking mode, so you need to make sure you slide this to the correct side before commencing the feeding process. Next you will need a packet of the unicorn shimmer and you feed this using the special golden spoon before feeding 5ml of water too.


For the next step you need to use the feeding bottle provided and you pour one sachet of unicorn food inside and fill with 25ml of tap water. After replacing the lid, you need to shake the mixture together for around 60 seconds. Note that there is a straw at the top so fluid can leak from this if you don't make sure it is covered whilst shaking. It does state this in the instructions, though somehow I happened to miss this, so don't make the same mistake I did!

Once these steps have been completed, then you need to feed the unicorn by placing the straw in it's mouth and squeezing firmly but gently on the bottle until it is empty. You then need to change the switch on the rear of the unicorn back to rocking mode and move your unicorn around for 15 seconds. The instructions recommend moving it in a cartwheel motion, as well as back and forth. We actually did this for a little longer than advised for 20 seconds instead and we found that when we did this the slime was much better.

Nearing the final stage of the poopsie making process, you then remove the unicorns nappy and place it on the potty, pressing the belly button to make her poop slime. Unfortunately you cannot play with the slime straight away and you need to allow a further 20 minutes for it to set properly. This was my children's only annoyance with the toy as they wanted to be able to play with the slime immediately and aren't great at waiting, but we set a timer on my phone and played a game together to pass the time.


As you can see there are a few steps needed which could be a bit confusing for younger children, so I would definitely recommend that an adult is always on hand to help out with this process.

Once the slime had set, we added some sparkle and played with it for a while before placing it inside the provided keyring. My children immediately wanted to create some more Poopsie slime and now that we had a better understanding of the process, we found it much easier. There is also enough unicorn feed to have a few goes.

I had been slightly apprehensive about the cleaning process, as thought that this would be a nightmare, but it has actually been really well designed with an easy access compartment on the back. We have used several toys previously involving slime that have been hard to clean and therefore remained sticky or messy, so it was definitely a relief that the cleaning of our unicorn and her potty was very simple.


Top Tips

* Make sure that you place towels or sheets on the table or flooring where you intend to use Poopsie in case of any spillages
* Read the instructions carefully
* Double check the switch settings when starting to create the slime
* Be prepared for the slime making process and allow yourself plenty of time
* Plan something to do to make the time go quicker whilst waiting for the slime to set
* Clean the product after each use


Overall my children really enjoyed this and even my eldest two couldn't resist getting involved and creating some slime. I found the slime making process a little frustrating to begin with, but managed to figure it out on the second attempt and created some poopsie with success. I can understand why it is so popular with children and it provided us with plenty of laughter whilst testing it out. I think the RRP of £49.99 is reasonable in comparison to some other toys on the market, but for this price I would have liked it to have included a few more sachets of unicorn food, as if you struggle with the first couple of attempts then this can quickly be used up. This toy is ideal for children that love unicorns, slime and laughter!

Poopsie Surprise Unicorn is set to be a very popular Christmas toy and it is currently available to purchase from Smyths, Argos, The Entertainer and other good retailers.


Disclaimer: We were gifted this product in exchange for an honest review of the toy. All opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. This post contains affiliate links.

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas Comes to Waterside, Sale

Christmas fever is truly kicking in at Waterside in Sale, Trafford as it gears up to welcome Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas in just 4 weeks time! This heart-warming and much loved family tale is brought to you by the creative team behind last year's sell out, acclaimed and sensational show, The Bear.

Children of all ages will delight in Briggs' grumpy but loveable Father Christmas as he gets ready for his busiest day of the year: Christmas Eve. Watch as he prepares his Christmas deliveries, feeds his reindeer and finally takes flight into the snowy night.

Bursting with live music, songs, puppetry and enough theatre magic to win over and melt the hearts of any non-believers - this critically acclaimed adaptation of Raymond Briggs' cherished book is a delightful festive treat for all the family.

Photo Credit: Tom Gladstone
Darren Adams, Manager of Waterside says: "After a record breaking year and unprecedented audience response to The Bear (which has recently been shortlisted for Theatre Production of the Year in the Northern Soul Awards 2018), we are thrilled to be working with the same team to bring another Raymond Briggs' favourite, Father Christmas, to Waterside this Winter. Joining forces with Pins and Needles Productions are the highly prestigious Lyric Hammersmith, who have staged the production in London and around the UK, receiving critical acclaim from both audiences and critics alike. We are proud of our commitment to creating enchanting experiences for our young audiences, presenting work of the highest calibre and we cannot wait for Christmas to begin on 04 December."

Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas opens to the public on Wednesday 5th December and runs until Monday 31st December. School performances are also available and for a full breakdown please visit www.watersidearts.org/fatherchristmas.

Cookies and Milk Packs are also available to pre-order along with your tickets for just an extra £2 each for all shows.

Children (and adults too!) are invited to come in their PJ's and bring a favourite bedtime teddy to the 6pm Slumber Shows to make their theatre experience a real bedtime treat.

The show is recommended for children aged between 3 & 11.

Listing Details

Event: Raymond Briggs' Father Christmas
Venue: Waterside, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, Trafford, M33 7ZF
Dates: Tuesday 4th December to Monday 31st December
Times: Times vary, so please visit the Waterside website for the most up to date information.
Tickets: Ticket prices vary £16.50/£14.50/£12.50.
School tickets available for £10 and 1 teacher free with every 9 students booked.

Photo Credit: Tom Gladstone
Disclaimer: Details provided are believed to be correct at the time of publishing but are of course subject to change. I would therefore always recommend visiting the venues own website in order to obtain the most up to date information. This post does not contain affiliate links. Images are not of the 2018 Waterside cast.