We had an early start to our first day in New York as we had a special tour of the American Museum Of Natural History booked. Before we had left, we used the internet to find possible autism friendly events which would be suitable for Dylan and struck gold when we found the ‘The Discovery Squad’, and you can read about everything we got up to that morning right here.
Having to be at the museum at 9 am and not wanting to experience the subway just yet we grabbed an uber cab which I had downloaded the app for a while in NYC. I like the idea of looking at the route, price and being able to grab a taxi which would fit us all in at the touch of a button. He dropped us outside the museum, and that’s when we felt like we were in New York City. There was a food cart on the corner and at the edges of the pavements where the remains of snow from the week previous still was.
After the discovery squad tour, we explored the museum and started our hunt for all the things we remembered from the Night At The Museum film. There were excited squeals from all of us when we came across Dum Dum (Easter Island Head) and posed for photos with it. You’ll see all those and more in our American Museum Of Natural History post (due to arrive on the blog very soon – will update this post with a link asap)
When we left, we came straight out the exit to see Central Park right opposite us so excitedly we headed off to explore some of the park. Central Park, was probably one of the places we were most looking forward to visiting while in New York, it’s just so famous and so especially amazing that there is this big huge green space in the middle of the city.
It did look overwhelming though, and we didn’t know where, to begin with exploring Central Park, so we stuck to the side where the museum was and didn’t go in too deep. Day 2 we had a Heart of The Park Tour planned for the morning which would give us that Central Park experience we were wanting.
Walking out of the park we came across Trump International Hotel And Tower, and it was one of those places we frowned at, but naturally, as tourists, we stopped to look and take photos. It was the president’s hotel, even if we didn’t like the idea of him being president and we thought it rather cool.
We then experienced our first Subway ride as we wanted to get back towards our hotel and our feet we were already aching. There was a subway which had a lift down to the platform where the ticket machines greeted us, I will admit to being overwhelmed by this experience which by the end of our two weeks was one which was second nature to us. I found the New York Subway easier than the London Underground to us. We managed to find our way from where we were to Times Square which was where out hotel was based. Also by the end of the fortnight, I realised we could have walked it just as quickly as taking the subway, that’s hindsight for you.
We came out of the subway station and found ourselves outside Midtown Comics which was pretty epic for this family of comic book lovers. Charlotte at two already has a big love of comics, so I have her the lead on hunting out our favourite comics. A place to add to your list if like us you’re a total geek.
It felt so surreal to be in Times Square after seeing this scene in so many of our favourite films. I remember the scene below with New York Police Dept being in The Amazing Spiderman Film.
We went to explore what Times Square had on offer and instantly discovered M&M World. Chocolate paradise and this huge M&M peanut fan was in heaven! Just like the one in London, there was so much to see, and the kids enjoyed looking around and taking it all in. One of those free to visit places where you could easily spend an hour exploring the three floors.
Another chocolate paradise just around the corner was Hershey’s Chocolate World. Now I’m not a big Hershey’s fan and I cannot stand that Reese’s peanut butter stuff, I hear you gasp, but I am a Hershey’s cookies & creme fan and must have had 20 odd bars of the stuff whilst in New York and did bring a fair few bars back home with me. The staff were incredibly friendly, and we got free hats and free chocolate.
By the time we had explored some of Times Square (lots of shops) we were starving so prompted by a flyer we got given which offered a free drink with food, we headed to Guy’s All American Food for our dinner.
The man had this very delicious mac & cheese bacon burger while I had some equally delicious pulled pork sliders with an extra side of garlic fries. Guy’s had the exact food we had been missing after our California holiday; we are yet to have a burger in England which match the quality of the burgers we have consumed while over in the US.
We saw some people with LEGO shopping bags which had us wanting to hunt out the LEGO store so headed in that direction. On our way, we saw Radio City and the home of NBC.
Then we came across the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck, and we thought that would be a good time to put our CityPASS to use for the first time. So saving our LEGO store visit for another day, we headed up the lift and was blown away by this view. Perfect end to our first day in New York.
It’s that time of the year where it’s Birthday galore in this household! Charlotte turned three while we were in New York which seems like just yesterday, then we have April which one day has Oli turning 8, and then the next day the Man turns a slightly bigger number.
For Oli’s birthday, we headed to Weston-Super-Mare as he so much fun at the arcade the previous weekend on our South Wales getaway. My best friend joined us for the day, well we weren’t going to turn down another pair of hands. Plus she’s Italian and new to everything British so we had to introduce her to Weston-Super-Mud and it didn’t disappoint. The sludge was out in force!
By the time Oli had finished browsing all the game stores buying 3DS games for his birthday present, we were STARVING. We’ve eaten at the Boardwalk Cafe before so knew what kind of food to expect along with the bonus of kids eating free with a paying adult, so we headed there for some lunch. Boo to the kid’s meals being smaller than last time, typical inflation but the cod was delicious and was a fairly decent size so worth the £7 something we paid for it.
The arcade was a hit as we thought with the kids. Even Dylan got out of his pram to have a go at the whack-a-shark. My friend thought it would be hilarious to drag me on the ghost train with her, cue screams from me and several English cursing words for her to learn. The kids enjoyed turning pounds into pennies for the 2p machine and must have spent a good £20 to which they exchanged for a cheap Rubik’s wannabe, two bouncy balls & 3 lollipops. *Reminds self it’s all about the fun through gritted teeth*
We headed down to the sand when we left the pier wondering who we could complain to about the fact the sun had been replaced with some epic wind. This made birthday candles on the cake impossible, so we had happy birthday with some pretend blowing going on.
I feel like I should use my personal space right here to remind myself that not long after fish & chips and cake that heading straight into Greggs to demolish a sausage roll was not a good idea. Even worse is as you’re taking that last bite admiring the fact there’s a Burger King which you’ve not visited in a while so should instantly grab a burger and chips. Heart attack immediate. (Squats for you missy when the kids go back to school!)
Because you know I hadn’t had enough food, the next day for the Man’s birthday we visited TGI Friday’s. That sesame chicken starter. o..m.g.. food heaven! Definitely going for the full version next time I visit. Next time being when I’m not so annoyed at their little hidden T&Cs for everything. So the birthday boy gets to bring five friends for dessert, but this is only for the adult meals (sorry kids), and because I got a special where I grabbed the starter & main together, that also meant no dessert for me. All of those terms being those hidden in small print. Gah. Still bought dessert though! Good main meal and The Happy Birthday song, cake and candle made up for this in a way. Watching the man turn red, hilarious.
We spent the afternoon at the park working off our food and as surprise in the evening, I had some babysitters turn up so I could whisk the Man off to the pub for a few hours.
Job done, two happy boys having had two Happy Birthdays.
Looking for a last minute Easter Egg for your little one? Warner Bros have the perfect selection of eggs for fans of Superhero Girls, Batman and even Scooby Doo!
This Scooby Doo Mystery Machine is adorable; it comes with an egg and a gift in the form of this fluffy Scooby Doo. I think my toddler may cast the chocolate in favour of her new cuddly toy. These Easter eggs are available at ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury’s for around £6.00.
You could team up this colourful gift with one of Hallmark’s Easter cards. These are available at Morrisons for around £1.50.
Happy Easter everyone! Have a lovely weekend 🙂
Some of my fondest memories as a child was sitting down to watch Disney films with my siblings, some of my clearest memories from my younger days are from when I watched movies like Bambi, Aladdin & Toy Story for the very first time. One week I would want to be Belle, and the next week the Genie. It was the start of bringing to life my imagination in a way that only classics from Disney could do.
Disney is one of those free past times which you can pass on to your children. It’s with great fondness that my three have discovered the films and have grown to love watching the Disney channel at every opportunity possible. Disneylife have helped to make it free for you to introduce your child to Disney with a 7 day free trial of Disneylife and with a fantastic offer of paying just £4.99 a month once the trial has ended.
It was simple to sign up for; I signed up using my Disney account which we already have thanks to our previous Disneyland trip. If you don’t have a Disney account, it’s simple to sign up for following the onscreen instructions. Then you add your payment card, don’t worry, your card will not be charged until your free trial ends unless it’s cancelled beforehand which you can do at any time.
We then came to a screen which told me I could download DisneyLife as an app so I popped it on my Android phone, the iPad and then proceeded on the laptop to set it up. It allowed me to create a profile for the family and via my account, I could add parental restrictions. The restrictions allowed me to stop the children from accessing content aimed at PG or 12+ and I had the ability to set time limits for during the week and weekend.
The kids dived straight in and our first night using it coincided with pizza and movie night, so up on the big screen, it went. Between us, we decided on watching Hercules, one of my all time favourites with one cracking soundtrack. It was the first time the kids had watched this film, and they thought it was fantastic, another hero to add to their collection. There are so many movies and TV programmes to explore that I don’t believe that we are ever going to struggle to find something to watch. It’s not just for kids either, the man and I are going to use it to re-watch the Pirates Of The Caribbean boxset.
I just love everything about this app, from the vast selection of images for the children to pick from for their profile photo to the fact we can watch it anywhere. We’re heading away during the school holidays and where we’re staying has wi-fi, so armed with their tablets, the kids will be thoroughly entertained thanks to DisneyLife.
I asked some of the UK’s top Parent Bloggers what their favourite Disney films are & why..
Emma Reed – My favourite more recently has to be Frozen. The first to have the ‘prince charming’ fool the woman and the first to show the love between two sisters. Loved that twist. Plus great songs!!
Champagne & Petals – I’m favourite Disney film has to be The Little Mermaid. I love the song/ and enjoying singing along to them with my little girl. It was also the first film I remember watching with my Mum at the cinema.
Boo Roo and Tigger Too – Beauty and the Beast, as it shows that you need to look past what’s on the outside to see the beauty within.
Twinderelmo – Toy Story. It’s absolutely timeless and has something for everyone in it no matter what age/gender. Plus it has two pretty awesome main characters that are so iconic.
Hello Beautiful Bear – Pocahontas. All about being at one with the earth, love between those who you wouldn’t expect to be together, nature and animals, etc. Also, my Mum took me when I was little, and we loved it so much we went to Woolworths across the road to buy the tape, so it has good memories.
Not A Perfect Parent – My current favourite is Moana! She’s not your stereotypical Princess! And I love that it’s a family film that everybody can enjoy! Plus the music is catchy but not entirely annoying!
Five Little Doves – The Lion King. I can remember pre-ordering it on video from W H Smiths and getting a free mug as part of the deal. I love everything about it, know it off by heart and every song word for word. We watch it at least 3 times a week, sometimes more!!
The Brick Castle – Up – it’s Pixar Disney, and I’m assuming counts. The most heartbreakingly beautiful love story ever – in 10 minutes.
What is your favourite Disney film?
This is a collaborated post
It had to be done! We just HAD to visit M&M World while in New York! It’s easily visible from across Times Square, and we found that early in the morning both Times Square and the shops was at it’s quietest allowing us to explore without the crowds.
It has a few floors packed full of M&Ms and merchandise for you to explore and enjoy. I could have easily blown our whole NYC budget on that first day in this store. There was eye candy (get it?) everywhere, and we came away with several of the Star Wars M&M filled fans for the kids and as souvenirs for our friends.
Even if you’re not an M&M fan (you crazy person) then go and grab an ice cream from the fridge (yeah so what if it’s February?) and take in all the colours and visual delights.
The store is located at Broadway and 48th and is open from 9 am until midnight.
That first day we didn’t have anything planned other than our Discovery Squad Tour around the American Museum Of Natural History. We had always planned to visit the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck during our stay as it was included in our CityPASS.
We came across the entrance as we were trying to hunt out the LEGO store and we decided it would be a fantastic way to end our first day in New York by taking in the view of the city it has to offer.
And my word! What a view it was! It gave us such a breathtaking display of Central Park which the kids thought was fantastic after having not long walked through it themselves.
We could have easily spent hours up there taking it all in and visually recording what was around us, the good news being that you can spend as long as you want up there without a time limit set. St Patrick’s Cathedral looked just as pretty from above as what it did back on the ground.
It turned into a game of spot the famous New York landmarks, and in the below photo we got to see the Statue Of Liberty which is just to the right of the One World Trade Center at the far end of the Manhattan island.
We used our New York CityPASS to visit the Top Of The Rock Observation Deck, children age 5 and under go free. Having this pass also allowed us to skip the ticket queue.
Be prepared for security searches similar to those in the airport once in the building, tell the children they were be going through exactly what they went through at the airport. By the time we returned to the airport on our way home, the kids could get their coats off, and bags open in record time.
Just like most places in NYC, it is entirely disabled friendly, and we had no problem pushing Dylan around in his stroller.
The main entrance to Top of the Rock is located on 50th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. Look for the big red carpet marking the entrance on the south side of the street. A second entrance is located on the Concourse level of 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
It is open Sunday–Saturday, 8:00 am – Midnight with the last elevator going up at 11:15 pm.
The world’s biggest LEGO NINJAGO fan receiving a surprise box of LEGO NINJAGO goodies is always going to go down well! Just look for yourself!
Keep an eye out for our reviews of the items in our box which will be coming in the next few days!
Charlotte loves going into big brothers schools to collect them. She waits for them to come running out of their classes to embrace them with hugs. We pick up Dylan first which involves going through an intercom door which is the door we are let back out of by one of his teachers. She usually excitedly runs towards these doors on the way out which I don’t mind as I know she will stop once out that door, but she’s often stopped by staff beforehand. Today one of Dylan’s teachers said in reply to my ‘she knows to stop’ that he’s so used to not stopping and rightly so. Just like Dylan, much of the attendees of his school have no danger awareness so preventing a child go out that door is second nature to them.
It made me think of the last couple of mornings where another parent on the school run has encouraged me to let Charlotte go that little bit further by herself on the school run. Other children her age at scootering along where as I’ve not long stopped pushing her in the pram on the school run in favour of pushing her brother in it instead. She can see I’m nervous and she knows why. Dylan has no awareness of the dangers around him; this includes traffic which is obviously our main worry. Charlotte is an intelligent girl and is outsmarting me by the day; I’ve been holding her back because of my gut instinct to protect from those dangers. It’s become second nature to me now to stop her from any potential hazards, but at the same time, I’m not aiding her in learning danger awareness.
Dylan’s autism has affected the way I parent Charlotte from day 1. Her first year was spent with us discovering that Dylan wasn’t like any other child and coming to terms with the way life was going to be for us. I’ve always said I wouldn’t let autism affect what we do in life, but today I realised I’m letting it affect how I raise our daughter. She doesn’t have autism; she is as normal as they get if you were to look at a health visitor’s checklist. Just last week we introduced drinking out a cup to her, she nailed it straight away and of course, she would as she’s at that age now. Dylan does not know how to use a cup, and I’ve let that blur the fact Charlotte would be able to. I’m sure if I was to think about it these aren’t the only examples.
She’s living in the shadow of Autism, and this is not fair to her.
The Man was buzzing so much about our Purple Parking experience that he begged me to write this review himself. I’m not going to complain, but I will make a side note of agreeing with everything he says and more. Now that we have experienced meet & greet parking with them, I wouldn’t go elsewhere.
Flights booked, hotel booked and now to round off the edges. The joys of holiday planning hey! After the big two are crossed off the list, it’s onto the other niggly little things that seem so insignificant but yet so important. You know, where is the dog going? Have we got travel insurance with the right visas? And where is the car going to once we get to the airport and what option shall we choose when it comes to our airport parking.
The last time we travelled and looked for airport parking we toiled through many different companies and tried to weigh up pros and cons from the prices to how far from the terminal are we. We picked one car park where we parked up and then had to wait for a bus where we then had to negotiate three kids on to it as well as a never-ending pile of luggage including car seats. Thankfully this time we were given the opportunity to work with Purple Parking and try out the Meet and Greet parking option.
Our experience with them started with receiving the essential details through email, with clear instructions we then knew where to park once at Heathrow and what postcode to put into the SatNav. We followed these exact instructions which included going through the barriers with it’s number plate recognition which made for easy entry and exit on the day we returned.
We came into the Purple Parking Meet and Greet zone for Terminal 5 where we were flying from and followed the instructions that told us to leave our car in the designated letter area. We parked up, grabbed a trolley, unloaded the luggage and the kids and headed to a desk where we swapped details with a man at the desk. A cheerful hello and goodbye later and we were officially off to enjoy our holiday. It was such a simple process and was over in no time at all. There was no waiting for a bus, no struggle with trying to load up a bus to only unload it again while keeping three kids safe from oncoming traffic, we just handed over our keys and headed towards the baggage drop off area.
Our return trip was just as smooth and stress-free. When you’ve been stuck on a plane for 3 hours, and if you’re someone like the wife who cannot sleep on a plane then all you want to do is get home to rest. You don’t need the hassle of having to wait for a bus or trying your car amongst thousands of other cars. We found the sign for the meet & greet car park after exiting Heathrow with our luggage, one lift ride later and we facing the desk where we were to collect our key.
Even before we got to the desk they already knew what car we were coming to collect (they have all our details about when our planes lands to know what time to expect us), we exchanged details, and our car was just a few seconds ahead of us in the carpark.
The whole process was just so quick that it was over before it even began, we were left enjoy our holiday and the everlasting memories that we brought home with us. The clear and helpful instructions coupled with the friendly staff got our holiday off to a perfect start. We couldn’t imagine going back to using the shuttle bus service now after realising how easy it was just to park up, hand our keys over and officially start our holiday.
This way of parking was a truly fantastic service, and this family highly recommends it! It’s the perfect airport parking solution for families who just want to enjoy their holiday without any added stress. Thank you, Purple Parking we look forward to using you guys on our next getaway!