London: Winter Wonderland, Zippos Circus, and Mr Men & Little Miss

On the rare occasion we went to London as a child, my fondest memory was always the wonderful window displays in places like Oxford Street and Regent Street at Christmas time. They always looked so grand and somewhat magical. I remember spending a long time mesmerised by the lights and winter animals.

Now that T is of an age where he’s into Christmas and all it’s magic and wonder, we decided to take him to London last weekend to get the Christmas season started with a bang. We had also been invited by the YHA to stay in one of their hostels so we thought we’d take full advantage and take a look at what London had to offer.

I was also interested to see if it still had the same magical feel as it did when I was a child.

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Monster Splat [AD- Review]

With family game nights being a firm favourite when it comes to things we like doing of an evening, it’s becoming a challenge to find new games to play. Don’t get me wrong, there are several games that we play time and time again, or ones that are always at the top of T’s suggestion list if given the choice. But, sometimes, we don’t fancy playing tumbling monkeys four times in a row.

This month, we were sent Monster Splat to play with, a game by Ravensburger that requires a little bit of coordination and skill, but is a lot of fun at the same time!

Please note: At the end of this post is an affiliate link, meaning I get a few pennies if you purchase the game via my link.

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Rainbow Family Cards by Love Outside Lines [Gift]

For those of you who do not know much about my backstory, you probably didn’t know that from the age of ten I was raised by two mums after my mum came out as a lesbian a few years after my father passed away.

This meant that at Christmas and Mothers’ Day my sister and I had the difficult task of finding cards that represented our family unit. What we wanted was a card that said ‘Merry Christmas to our Mums’ or ‘Happy Mothers’ Day’ (with the apostrophe in the located we wanted it!) but in the end we would simply have to get two separate ‘Mum’ cards, as we didn’t feel happy simply getting ‘To Mum and her Partner’ or ‘… To Our Step-Mum’.

It’s only now, several years later, that the likes of Hallmark have embraced rainbow families and have (albeit slowly) introduced ‘Mrs & Mrs’ wedding cards, but we’re probably a long way off before we see ‘Merry Christmas to my Nanas’ on the high street, although I did recently see a ‘To My Daughter and her Girlfriend’ card once!

Therefore, in episode 698 of ‘Things Straight People Take for Granted’ I give you a new range of cards by ‘Love Outside Lines‘ the online store by everyone’s favourite LGBTQ family Instagram feed; Same Sex Parents:

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Night Out: Curry Leaf Cafe (The Lanes), Brighton [AD – Review]

Last week, we were invited to dinner at the Curry Leaf Cafe in The Lanes, Brighton, which was a new one for us, surprisingly, considering they have been in the city since 2014 – serving authentic Indian street food. During the day, the cafes offer a wide range of ‘nibbles’ and light bites; such as naan wraps, Thali platters and salads, and at night the cafes turn into buzzing restaurants serving a variety of curries.

Curry Leaf Cafe actually have two cafes in Brighton, as well as two take-away kiosks located at Brighton Station and, more recently, Churchill Square! Their original, and first, cafe is located in the heart of Brighton Lanes and a few yards up from the seafront in Ship Street. Their other cafe is located in Kemp Town.

We were lucky enough to be invited for dinner at their cafe in Ship Street, which couldn’t have come at a better time as we had just arrived home from our holiday the day before.

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Milestones: T’s First Trip on a Ferry (with Red Funnel) [AD]

Last week, during school half term, we visited the Isle of Wight. We’d never been before as a family, and didn’t know much about the area, so we thought we’d take advantage of the bargain we’d found and booked a little break.

You can read more about our holiday and what we got up to here.

What made this holiday extra special though is the fact that it would offer T his first trip on a ferry. Prior to this, his only experience was a small car ferry in the Lake District or the cargo ferry that comes in at a neighbouring town, so this was going to be a whole new experience!

After then speaking to the lovely folks at Red Funnel, and letting them know about this exciting milestone, they kindly provided us with outward and return tickets! Here’s how we, or more so T, go on:

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Games night! Our Favourite Family Games (Ages 4+)

We’ve always enjoyed playing games, even before T was born. On holiday Sharon and I would take a few games with us to enjoy of an evening, and when friends come round we often get the games out after dinner.

When T then came along it was natural for us to start shopping for age appropriate games for us to play with him, starting with matching games and pairs. When he then became old enough to understand more intricate rules he would join in on family games nights. This would often be limited to weekends, but now that T’s in school we try and avoid going straight for the television of an evening, and instead will often get a short game out to play together.

We’re probably a minority when we say we enjoy playing games as a family, but there’s just something really enjoyable – once you know how to play (!) – about sitting round a table and playing a game together, and not just at Christmas! I remember doing it when I was young and I hope T remembers it when he’s older. We find I’m more present and whilst you’re waiting for your turn you can talk about your day.

If you’re thinking of introducing family board games into your evening, here are a few of our favourites:

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