Pirate Spiderman boy…

Is still dry at night – he's really proud of himself!

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Momentous times at our house…

Gosh, it's actually happening. They are growing up before my very eyes. Today Minnie, aged 6 and a half, announced that she has learnt how to open packets of crisps by herself (and then demonstrated with a bag of Wotsits). If that's not a milestone in childhood, I don't know what is.

But it doesn't stop there. Last night Monty (who'll be 4 in June) refused to wear his pull-up to bed. I took him for a 'second wee' (they do one before bath and one after) and he was dry through the night. Boom, right there, another milestone. And it was actually lovely that he'd decided to do it – it didn't come from us.

Recently I've noticeda fewmore things that Monty can now do that he couldn't do before. He can sort of blow his own nose. Not very well, his technique needs some finessing as he tends to wipe the snot in the tissue upwards and over his forehead in a flourish, but he understands the process of blowing out hard through his nose, rather than sucking in.

He can also now eat an ice-cream fairly neatly, without wiping it all over his face and chest. He can understand the melting issue and can lick the bits that are about to drip.Wow, when you think of the mental processes and coordination required to achieve this it really is a mini miracle.

Air Blade dryers no longer guarantee hysteria in public toilets.

On the whole, they no longer mistake women with short hair for men – loudly.

Monty now has a 50% chance of washing his hands by himself without getting his sleeves soaking wet. Although the other day when I left him to his own devices he left the tap in thedownstairs basin running and it wasabout two hours before I realised. It's all a learning curve!

Two things Monty still hasn't grasped – carrying things on a level. I think this is very tricky and probably not mastered til fourplus. If I give him a plate of toast to carry to the sofa I watch it slide off (sticky side down, natch) with grim inevitability.

And if he asks to do painting you can guarantee it will end up all over him (even in his eyebrows and down his pants). In fact, this is almost a skill!

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In which we finally reach Legoland….

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We only live about 45 mins from Windsor but we've never been to Legoland before – until Friday. Still feeling a bit under the weather, I took Minnie and Monty as a treat to round off the Easter holidays. Here's what we learnt:

I would definitely recommend paying extra for a Q-bot – these gadgets enable you to skip the queues, some of which were 45 mins long, which would have been a nightmare with my two (admittedly, I am not the most patient of people either, sometimes!).

Monty was under a meter tall which meant there were quite a few rides he couldn't go on. Luckily one of the lovely staff circled all of the rides he could, and we made for those. These were thebig hits:

Atlantis Submarine Voyage – you board a bright yellow sub (complete with screen and gadgets inside) and can see sharks and fish swim by through the huge glass windows, as well as models of divers, mermaids and Neptune – all made from Lego, natch

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Coastguard HQ. Oddly, we hadto pay extra for this ride (I couldn't get to the bottom of why, when there is already an admission fee to the park) but the children actually got to steerthe little boat which they lovedand surprisingly it wasn't too much of a white-knuckle ridefor me. Minnie assured me that she had her boat license as she put her foot to the floor and we cruised around spotting giraffe, hippos and elephants. There was a slightly hairy moment when she wasn't keen on giving up the wheel to let Monty have a turn and they were both on their feet but we all managed to stay on board.

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The oldies are the best, and the classic carousel ride was a hit, as well as the ride where they sit in chairs hanging from chains that swing out when the ride gets going.

Regular readers of the blog will know that Monty is pirate mad, so we had to go to the pirate stunt show, which included great theatrics including lots of pirates 'walking the plank' off the top of a very tall tower which really impressed Monty.

Lunch – if you haven't got your act together to make a packed lunch like me (I also didn't want to carry it all) head for the Lego Hotel for lunch. I collapsed at a table in the Skyline Bar and orderedwhile the kids played in the big fun house and pit of Lego bricks while they waited forour foodto arrive. Thank goodness for the entertainment – because we had to wait a lengthy 45 minutes. The food wasn't great but the children were excited to eat Lego-brick-shaped chips. If I come again, I'll bring sarnies.

Minnie enjoyed Mini Land, and not just because it was named after her. The set-ups of everything from NASA to Big Ben were all fashioned out of…. you guessed it, Lego! And there were lots of moving trains, boats and cars to catch their eyes.

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I am not the best map reader so we did a lot of zig zagging back and forth and a lot of walking due to my bad planning and map reading. We were all tired by the end of the day, so film seemed like a good idea. The 4D Lego film was actually very amusing – the plot centered around the characters being tricked into going to Brick Land, a poor imitation of Legoland. There was a lovely moment where Lego shapes were floating around in front of our eyes and the children had to point to a purple brick of a yellow cone, and thereal flames and spray certainlygot my two excited.

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After spending from 10.30-5pm there, we barely scratched the surface – there's so much we didn't get around to seeing. We'll be back Legoland, preferably when Monty has grown another inch and we haveJames with us to carry the packed lunch and planour route efficiently through the park!

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Now I've got Monty's lurgy….

He was poorly at nursery yesterday so my mum dashed to get him. He seems right as rain today but I am now suffering from the permanent headache, achy bones and sore throat. Finger's crossed Minnie and James won't get it!

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My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty – our review!

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My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty

Peacock Theatre, W1

4*

The English National Ballet’s new child-friendly production My First Ballet: Sleeping Beauty, claims to be for age three and above – so what would my two tiny critics, Monty, 3, and Minnie (dressed in obligatory tutu), 6, make of it?

Things get off to a great start when I realise the children won’t have to interpret the plot purely through the medium of dance – a narrator tells the story, making it easy for them to follow.

‘So beautiful!’ gasps Monty when the good fairies make their entrance to give gifts to baby princess Aurora. While he’s impressed with the sparkling diamante tutus and tiaras, Minnie’s old enough to appreciate the dancing, much of which is on pointes (‘How do they not snap their ankles?’ she ponders).

The male dancers cause a stir, too. ‘Why are the men wearing tights?’ asks Minnie, while Monty cuts straight to the chase and says loudly, ‘I can see their bottoms!’

All the exciting stuff seems to happen in the quickfire 40-minute first half. Bad fairy Carabosse sweeps on stage in a carriage pulled by sinister looking minions in masks; Aurora grows up and pricks her finger at her 16th birthday party, then falls asleep, with the whole palace, for 100 years.

In the 25-minute second half we meet the Prince. A long dance scene in the woods with no narration where he (slightly bizarrely) bumps into fairytale characters including Puss In Boots and Red Riding Hood loses the children’s attention. It’s pulled back though, when he fights with Carabosse and finally gets to kiss Sleeping Beauty.

A family ticket for four starts at £65, making this a very reasonable outing compared to West End prices. It’s rather like going to a posh panto – a lovely tale with tasteful Tchaikovsky music, and glorious staging and costumes that appeals to old and young. Just remember not to boo the baddie – this is the ballet darling.

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Monty's up at 4am

So he's had a strange virus since Sunday where he has a temperature unless he has regular medicine to keep it down. Last night he woke up hot at 4am then proceeded to get very excited and wake up Minnie and the two of them had a very noisy little party in their bedroom for about an hour, til they collapsed. Then seemingly 20 mins later James was up at 6am to get to work early. I then had to wake Montyup at 7.30am and whisk him out the house by 8am. Poor chap was really not very happy and was very weepy about going to nursery which made me feel awful. Luckily he cheered up when we found his new Lego Batman to take along. Thank goodness for Batman!

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Breakfast table tip…

The other day I hadn't tidied up from the day before when we sat down to breakfast (sound familiar?!) so there was still art stuff strewn on the table – colouring pencils and a huge sheet of white paper. The next thing I knew Minnie and Monty were happily chatting away and drawing lovely pictures of volcanoes, fairies, houses etc. It was a very creative breakfast and, with Monty starting school in September, he really needs to practice his pen control and this was a totally natural way of doing it -I now leave the art things out on purpose!

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Mudfest and butterflies

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Mud

Seconds after I took this picture the inevitable happened – Monty's welly got stuck in the mud and he steppedinto the mud in his sock. By the end of this brief visit to a local farm shop we were all covered in mud – on our coats, socks, jeans and arms. It looked like we'd been to Glastonbury.

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In other exciting news, all five of our butterflies from our Insect Lore kit hatched and we released them into the sunny garden yesterday. i learnt something fascinating – there was some red liquid dripping down the sides of the butterfly garden, we looked in the pamphlet and it said not to panic, it's not blood, it'sthe liquid the butterflies pump into the veins in their wings to strengthen them, once the wings are formed, the butterfly expels the left over red liquid. There we are, just call me David Bellamy!

Hope you all had lovely weekends…

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Minnie channels Bjorn Borg…

She was off to sport camp today and check out the outfit she chose!

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Sleep deprived and emotional…

Monty came in to our bed cold at god-knows-o-clock and I accidentally dozed off. He nodded off too then I couldn't face waking him up. or James up to move him (I am not sure my arm is up to carrying him yet). So from then I couldn't go back to sleep as I was worried about him falling out of our bed. My eyeballs have ached all day!

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