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  1. A few days into the Summer holidays we were strolling through Salisbury with my Mum, when a Peppa Pig walked by. As you'd expect Peppa was soon surrounded by small children wanting a hug. I looked down at Olive (who LOVES Peppa) and enquired as to whether she'd like a cuddle. She looked up with her big brown puppy dog eyes that melt me daily and said “I only want Peppa this a man in a suit” ….. So here we are at the grand old age of 4 shattering all the illusions around her! Where had the magic gone? I'm sure at 7&8 M&M realise these aren't real BUT not once have they ever utter these words “a man in a suit”!

    I also started to have a mini panic as I had won quite unexpectedly a VIP experience with Paddington Bear. The experience included meeting Paddington Bear, a goody bag and lunch at Nando's. While I had been really excited I suddenly felt full of dread. The game was rumbled .. there was no Paddington Bear just a man in a suit! I decided to tell the children about the event rather than spring it on them as I was unsure how Olive would react. Having quite recently seen the film, the news seemed to be met with joy. 

    paddington bear

    We arrived at Castlepoint Shopping Centre and went to the office to receive our goody bag. The bag was filled with items from M&S a Paddington Bear teddy (quickly claimed by Olive) a flask and a backpack. We made our way up M&S where Paddington was doing his meet and greet there was already a large queue of children who were all pushed aside for the VIP winners (I felt so mean! BUT it was so hot I was glad we weren't waiting ages!).

    #PaddingtonBear VIP experience

    A photo posted by Joanne Dewberry (@charliemoos) on

    Before I had chance to sort my camera out all 3 children were all over Paddington Bear, hugging, kissing, hi 5's (and not one mention of it being a man in a suit!).

    marmalade sandwiches

    Afterwards we made our way downstairs where tables were set up with colouring, a TV showing Paddington Bear cartoons and marmalade sandwiches! The marmalade was met with mixed feelings. Moo loved it but I have a sneaky suspicion that Moo would eat his shoe if he was hungry enough! Olive and Megan weren't keen but luckily there was orange jelly too!

    And of course we had a cheeky Nandos ;)

    cheeky nandos

    (Although Megan looks like she is picking a hair from her corn and looking disgusted this was not the case!) 

  2. the joy of picking your own

    Having a green fingered Daddy we are no strangers to growing our own fruit and vegetables. However with moving house last September and so many jobs to do in the garden we hadn't got round to growing much this year.  After dropping Megan off at a friends house I decided to stop off at Sopley Farm as it didn't close until 6pm, which was lucky as it was already 5:20pm! It was a beautiful summer evening and we had the place to ourselves. 

    strawberry picking collage

    We decided to pick strawberries as these were a firm favourite over the summer holidays, topping most breakfasts and puddings! Armed with their punnets we were off. It didn't take long to find some big fat strawberries ready for picking. There may or may not have been a spot of sampling beforehand! 

    fruit picking

    pyo tractor

    We had two pretty full punnets and it came to £4 which is far cheaper than the supermarkets AND the children go to pick them. Which of course makes them just that much better! 

    I'm planning to take the children again in a few weeks time so we can pick our own pumpkins ready for Halloween! 

    If you are planning to start growing your own fruit and vegetables there is no better time to start than now! September is the prefect time to start sowing onions, radishes, cauliflower and brocoli. You don't even need a huge allotment, if you don't have a raised flower bed or ground you can use then look at containers. Plant pots are great ensure you have good drainage and protect from slugs