Wednesday 26 August 2015

Peppa Pig World for Bert's Second Birthday

Hello lovely blog readers! I hope you're all well and enjoying the summer holidays...

Blimey, with the rain pouring, and having to have the lights on indoors at 2:30pm it seems virtually impossible that just a few days ago I was smothered in suncream and enjoying a blissfully hot weekend on the south coast!

Our gorgeous little man Bert turned two on Saturday, and to celebrate we took him away for a little mini holiday to the seaside. Joining Liam, Bert and I were my mum and sister, and my in-laws Ruth and Paul - we stayed in an 8 berth caravan on the Haven site 'Church Farm' in Pagham - the caravan is owned by my cousin, and she kindly let us stay for a long weekend free of charge (thank you SO much Denise!) 

We arrived late Friday night with just enough time to unpack, make up the beds, set out all of Bert's cards and gifts for the next morning, and enjoy a glass of wine with the adults while Bertster snoozed away the final moments of his time as a one year old! 

Bert's birthday morning comprised of 7:30am snuggles and bottle in bed with Mummy and Daddy, followed by opening lots of amazing presents and cards - he really 'gets' presents now, and loves looking at the wrapping paper first before tearing into it. We laid out all of his presents and he chose which ones he wanted to open in which order. He wanted to open/use/wear/play with each present as it was opened, so it took quite a while!! Hehehe. We even managed to save a bag full of presents for him to open in the evening - spreading out the joy! 

Birthday snuggles and present opening! 

We are so lucky to have amazing friends and family who showered him in the most beautiful, thoughtful and so 'Bert' gift and card choices - from a John Lewis train set, Janod wooden garage, small trampoline for the garden, to loads of beautiful outfits, some brilliant books, chunky wax crayons and colouring books, a bubble machine, Bing bunny DVD, Bing bunny puzzle, wooden tools and tool belt, Flop (from Bing) soft toy, wooden threading beads set, a beautiful dinosaur dinner plate, wooden Great Little Trading Company transport set, a Mr Potato Head set, a pair of Converse high top trainers, a Peppa Pig ball, and even some new Dinosaur wellington boots! I've probably missed some out too... what a lucky, lucky boy! He literally is so happy to have so many new things to play with and enjoy. 

After all that present opening we packed up a picnic and headed an hour down the road to Peppa Pig World at Paultons Park, Southampton. 

I guess it is not really standard for six adults and just one toddler to hit a toddler theme park, but it was important to me for Bert to share his birthday with his very favourite people, and I wanted to ensure that his grandparents and auntie didn't miss out on seeing his happy face as he experienced Peppa Pig World for the first time...

I don't know who was more excited... 

I want to say first off that I haven't been asked to write this post, it isn't a review that I've been paid for to write. We booked our tickets for Peppa Pig World ourselves online, and paid about £23 per head, with Bert getting in for free as he is under 1 meter tall. I want to write about our day a) to be able to look back and remember what fun we had, b) to share our amazing day with you all and c) to encourage parents who were perhaps feeling reticent about paying out/making the journey to Peppa Pig World to go - it is an amazing place and I promise you won't regret it!

Peppa Pig's actual factual real house! ;-)

Peppa Pig World is a section within the bigger Paultons Park, and tickets to PPW include access to the rest of the park too - having spent the whole day there I think it is incredible value for money - especially if, like us, you pack a picnic...the only extra money you are looking at spending is a few pounds for an ice cream/hot drinks (weather depending) and maybe some spending/pocket money for the shop(s). There is so much to do for bigger children/adults within the rest of Paultons Park, and PPW is just absolutely perfectly pitched for toddlers, so there really is something for everyone. We arrived at the park at 11.15am and stayed until 5.30pm (closing time)...we definitely didn't see everything, and could have easily packed in another couple of hours. If only the traffic had been better on the way we could have arrived at 10am (opening time) as we had initially planned to do. 

"We're going on holiday in a camper van" all Peppa Pig fans know that song! And Miss Rabbit among the flower beds outside the 'Miss Rabbit's Helicopter Ride' ride. 

The whole park is absolutely beautiful - spotlessly clean throughout - no where looks old or tired, all the rides look shiny and colourful, vibrant and new. The park doesn't scream "tacky" like most theme parks - there are gorgeous manicured flower beds and gardens nestled between the rides and attractions, and even the cafes look stylish and super fun in terms of decor. 

Peppa Pig World itself has been done to the very highest of standards - it is literally like stepping into the cartoon - with huge grassy hills where the houses sit atop, and fun brightly coloured rides which are pitched perfectly for little people - nothing too fast, too whizzy, and only a couple of rides which are high up...most are perfectly tame for little toddlers. 

There is also an outdoor play park (Mr Potato's Play Park) which has equipment just right for toddlers - Bert could play happily without too much help from us, and there is an incredible outdoor splash park attached aptly named "Muddy Puddles" which is just brilliant! Full of lots of sprinklers, hoses, showers and splash tables which means that your little ones can run around splashing to their hearts content without the fear of a big body of water that they could fall into. Make sure you bring spare clothes for the kids (and for the adults if they're likely to join in!) We all got a little bit soaked...luckily we had spare clothes for Bert, and the adults all dried off quickly thanks to the gloriously hot day we had been graced with. 

We were lucky that the weather was fabulous on the day we visited but you could play happily in the splash park in welly boots and a rain mac if the weather wasn't great. 

Daddy got a little bit wet in the Muddy Puddles splash park! 

After a play at the splash park we headed to one of the beautiful grassy picnic areas and enjoyed our yummy picnic lunch - the weather was glorious and it was so nice to be eating al fresco with all our loved ones around us. 

After lunch we took Bert on his first ride: Grandpa Pig's Train Ride, and he just loved it - screaming out "choo choo" as we queued you could see how excited and stimulated he was by the whole park. We only had to queue for around 10-15 minutes, and Bert did extremely well - it might have been something to do with the six adults to work his way round, and the fact that he was in such joy-inducing surroundings. 

Grandpa Pig's Train Ride

I think my favourite part of the day was just wandering around the park - taking in all the sights, watching all the rides go round, admiring the gardens, looking at the animals (flamingos, penguins, pelicans, meerkats, giant tortoises, tropical birds) and seeing all the happy toddlers cuddle the 'real' Peppa Pig characters as they came out to greet them. We were lucky enough to see Mummy Pig, Daddy Pig, Peppa, George and Zoe Zebra during our visit, although Bert is still a little wary of these types of 'people in suits' characters: he did lots of waving and blowing kisses, but didn't want to get too close. Nanny Seaside gave Daddy Pig a cuddle on Bert's behalf instead ;-)

Real life Peppa Pig characters! 

The next (and probably Bert's favourite) ride we took him on was the tractor driving ride, where he got to sit up front and "drive" his very own tractor. He grabbed onto that steering wheel and didn't let go for the whole ride - it was magical to watch our grown up little man being so independent and having so much fun! All the adults went on too, naturally! Liam and I sat behind Bert in his tractor, and Nanny Seaside/Jojo and Grandad Paul/Nanny Ruth took over the two tractors behind us - Bert thought it was brilliant that he could wave at them across the tracks! 

The Tractor Ride

After some great queuing, riding and a walk round to see the animals it was time for the obligatory ice cream pit stop! We all tucked in to delicious Mr Whippy's courtesy of 'ice cream pocket money' given to Bert from my lovely Auntie Sandra! Thanks Auntie Sarn! 

I think Bert considers ice cream to be one of the main food groups! Ha! He is definitely his father's son! 

"Pick me up Mummy!" while queuing for a ride - Ice cream o'clock at PPW. 

We posed for an 'ice cream selfie' to send to Auntie Sandra to say thank you for treating us all - this picture is one of my favourites I have ever taken - it truly sums up my wonderful family - everybody smiling, having fun, getting the most out of life, and Bert in the middle of us all - providing endless happiness, making us all infinitely better people. I love how he is in the centre of the photograph, being adored by every one of us - and by the looks of it eyeing up his Nanny Seaside's ice cream, which she undoubtedly would have given him should he have asked. Spoilt or what? 

Best. Photo. Ever!

After our ice creams it was time for a quick loo break. The toilets were very clean every time I used them, and the baby changing facilities were great - with a room specifically for baby changing with multiple change tables available, which any gender parent could use, as well as a changing station within the female toilets as well. Nice one Paulton's you really do seem to have thought of everything. 

Once the loo break was over we headed over to the Paulton's train ride to take in more of the park, and to hear another round of Bert's "Choo choo" chorus. 

Silliness on the train ride with Mummy! Lick, lick! 

Bert made me proud all day long - his happiness and joy for life is infectious - and considering how new it all was, and how potentially overwhelming it could have been for our only-just-two little tot, he did amazingly! After an initial slightly nervous/wobbly period at the muddy puddles splash park when we arrived (he wanted to be held at first and was a bit nervous to run around), he soon warmed up and from that point on he seemed to enjoy every single second of the day. He loved getting out of his buggy and holding hands with his family as we walked around, he never once tried to walk/run off, and his behaviour was incredible all day. Not a tantrum in sight, that's my boy! Saying that - we didn't encounter a single tantrum from any other children at the park all day either - a testament to how spot on Paulton's have got it maybe? 

Hand in hand with his wonderful family...

There were a couple of rides we didn't take Bert on due to him being a little too small at the moment - the high up 'Windy Castle' and 'Miss Rabbit's Helicopter Ride' - both of which we are excited to try when we undoubtedly return to the park! There is also a huge bumpy yellow water slide called 'Wave Runner' which Bert would have definitely been too scared to try out - instead Liam, Grandad Paul, Nanny Ruth and I gave it a test run (it had to be done!) it was AWESOME! The grown ups had to have a little fun of their own...hehehe! 

Rides at Peppa Pig World

After the fun of a day filled with rides, picnics, water play, play grounds, ice cream and animals - it was time to head to the squeal-inducing Peppa Pig Shop. This place is heaven-on-earth for any hardcore Peppa fans like us...I could have spent a small fortune - but luckily managed to get away with spending just £12 in total. I bought Bert a gorgeous George/Dinosaur Tshirt which was just £4.99 in the sale (I love a bargain, me!), a souvenir story book and some Peppa Pig toothpaste! Other family members didn't get away so lightly, and Bert was kindly also bought a Peppa Pig Camper Van set, Peppa Pig 'My Mummy' book, and a pair of George pyjamas from his super-generous Auntie Jojo, and his Nanny's bought him some new TY Beanies to add to his collection: Rebecca Rabbit, Emily Elephant, Pedro Pony and Susie Sheep! What a lucky, lucky boy! 

Having said all that - you can absolutely avoid even setting foot in the Peppa Pig shop if you don't have money to spend. It isn't hugely obvious, and would be easy to bypass. The bigger toy shop at the entrance/exit of Paultons Park isn't avoidable as you have to pass through it to exit (very clever Paultons!!) however, there are a wide variety of items at all sorts of prices, so there is something for everyones' budget. I'd definitely suggest saving up pocket money or bringing along birthday money if you are coming for an occasion as there are so many lovely things to buy. 

After our shopping spree we headed to the Wildwoods Family Restaurant at the entrance/exit to the park for a well earned cup of tea before we headed back to the caravan for a treat fish and chip supper! Bert couldn't wait to get his toys out so he enjoyed a good play whilst we drank our drinks and reflected on our amazing day! 

New toys for Bertster! What a lucky chap! 

I would happily return to Paultons Park and Peppa Pig World time and time again - I'm pretty confident it will become a family favourite while our children are small. Liam and I are now hoping to return with Bert mid-week during term time for another visit when it will undoubtedly be slightly less busy - plus Bert will hopefully be bigger braver and able to try the few rides he didn't want to try at the weekend. I also really fancy attending their Santa's Christmas Wonderland days, which sound awesome (I'm a complete Christmas nut!)

Have you been to Peppa Pig World? What did you make of it? I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

Mrs B 


Check out the blog tomorrow for more wonderful pictures from Bert's birthday weekend!