A Fun Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine

If your little boy is anything like BattleKid, he is a huge Thomas the Tank Engine fan. Every afternoon after nursery before we left the UK, BattleKid would make a beeline for our cwtch room and ask for Thomas and his friends to be put on the TV. It was on so often I even knew the words to the theme tune. But imagine my delight when I discovered we could bring BattleKid on a fun day out with Thomas the Tank Engine.a fun day out with Thomas the tank engine - blog graphic

While researching family days out in the UK, I came across the Thomas the Tank Engine Days Out. I discovered that these days out were held across various locations in the UK and were a chance for fans to meet Thomas the Tank Engine and friends. Looking at which locations were near us in South Wales and on what dates Thomas and his friends would be there, I found a suitable date at the end of October at the Forest of Dean Railway. This was just over an hour drive from our house in South Wales, perfect for a family day out.

I booked our tickets many months in advance on the Day Out with Thomas website and they arrived promptly in the post. All that was left to do was wait until the day for our visit arrived.

A Day Out with Thomas is a family day in which your little fans can meet a real Thomas the Tank Engine and some of his friends, as well as the Fat Controller. There are many locations across the UK to choose from and I’m sure there is one near you. There’s even a chance to meet Thomas and friends in Denmark in 2018!

We left our house just after 9am on the Saturday of our visit with Thomas and friends, and headed for the Forest of Dean Railway. We arrived before our friends who were joining us for the day and parked up. There is a large car park just a short walk from the entrance to the Railway. Once our friends had arrived we got ourselves ready and headed in for our fun day with Thomas.a fun day out with Thomas the tank engine - photo collage from Forest of Dean Railway Thomas day out

A day with Thomas the train starts at the entrance to Norchard Station and we immediately had a certain little boy shouting “Thomas”, who happened to be pulling into the station just as we arrived. Norchard Station was decorated for Halloween as we visited towards the end of October. After we had handed in our tickets at the office, we were given little goodie bags for the boys which had some activities and sweets inside. There was even a Halloween spider in the bag for BattleKid, much to his delight.a fun day out with Thomas the tank engine - photo collage from Forest of Dean Railway Thomas day out

We decided to leave our ride on Thomas himself until the end of our day and we began by heading to the café for some breakfast rolls and a cuppa while we caught up with our friends who joined us for the day. Next up, we went to Platform 3 for the train to Parkend. As we waited for the large steam train to arrive, we spotted a naughty Diesel on the tracks. Once our train arrived, we found a seat and off we set, bound for Parkend.a fun day out with Thomas the tank engine - photo collage of Thomas and a Diesel engine

We were greeted by a marquee and a large bouncy castle. This is where the other fun activites were held. There was a Brio-type train set on a table for little ones to play with. Story-tellers were reading different Thomas the Tank Engine characters’ stories, and there was also a magician. We spent about an hour in the marquee and managed to avoid a rain cloud that had rolled in.

After this, we let the boys run off steam at the bouncy castle before getting the train back to Norchard for our date with Thomas himself. Thomas pulls Toad the brake van up and down the track and this is your opportunity to meet Thomas the Tank Engine and ride with him. BattleDad agreed to stay with S, who had their buggy with her, while BattleKid and I went on Thomas with W and L. You are pushed back along the tracks a certain way before Thomas pulls you back to Norchard Station, leaving a trail of steam behind him.a fun day out with Thomas the tank engine - photo collage from Forest of Dean Railway Thomas day out

With peep-peeps and a steam trail, BattleKid was thrilled to be on real life Thomas the train and was singing the theme tune the whole way. We left the Forest of Dean Railway just after lunch with a very happy boy who slept the whole way home. He talked about his visit with Thomas and friends for months afterwards. Here’s a little vlog from our fun Day Out with Thomas the Tank Engine.

Things to note if you are planning a fun day out with Thomas the Tank Engine

  • A Day Out with Thomas is held across various locations in the UK (and now in Denmark) on selected dates throughout the year. Check out the website for more details and the Day Out with Thomas schedule.
  • Day Out with Thomas tickets cost £16 per adult, £10 per child and under 2’s are free.*
  • For the Forest of Dean Railway, we had unlimited train rides throughout the day between Norchard and Parkend, and all fun activities were included in our ticket.
  • Norchard Station had baby-changing facilities, toilets, a gift shop with lots of Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise and a café.
  • There was ample parking at Norchard Station.
  • The station was also wheelchair accessible.
  • I would suggest you look into the facilities available at your location of choice as they may differ slightly from place to place.
  • The Forest of Dean Day Out with Thomas opened at 9.30am and closed at 4.30pm.

We had a great time during our fun Day Out with Thomas and I can highly recommend it, especially if you have little Thomas the Tank Engine fans in your house. With lots of activities and unlimited train rides included in your ticket, it’s great value-for-money and makes for a brilliant family day out.

If a Day Out with Thomas isn’t enough for your Thomas fans, why not spend an entire day with Thomas and friends at Thomasland at Drayton Manor. Here’s a great post with hints and tips from Learning Escapes.

And if you are looking for another train-themed day out in South Wales, I highly recommend a visit to the Brecon Mountain Railway!

Cath x

*Prices correct at the time of writing this post.

**We were not asked to write this review.

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Living Arrows 06/52

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

~ Kahlil Gibran

This weekend I finally pulled myself together and set up a photo shoot for a cake smash for BattleKid’s 3rd birthday, albeit a month late. I know they are more popular for 1st birthday’s but I did one last year and was very happy with the results so I thought why not.

I got my lights out, chose a background and flooring and used a decorate-your-own cake. I bought a cake topper from the lady on Etsy who made BattleKid’s Curious George cake topper for last year. This year we had a Thomas the Tank Engine theme so that’s what I went for and I must say I was quite pleased with the final cake. All that was left to do was put some bunting up and get the birthday boy.

BattleKid, like previous years, didn’t quite smash the cake, instead getting inside very gently and helping himself to handfuls of icing and cake along the way. Soon after he let his foot hover over the cake and we said “go on”, so he did! Here are a few pictures of said foot-in-the-cake moments.

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And one if my personal favourites of the shoot was this one below. I love his smile in this, happy and natural.

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Childrens Bedding from Character World

We’ve been thinking of updating BattleKid’s bedroom as he approaches 3, so when we got the chance to receive some childrens bedding from Character World for review I jumped at the chance and knew exactly which character we’d like to receive.childrens bedding from character world

BattleKid’s bedroom has very much been a place for sleeping and only sleeping. He very rarely ‘plays’ in his room and we’ve kept it this way since he was little. He has a few toys in there but they are more for distraction while getting dressed in the morning or while getting ready for bed. He doesn’t play in his bedroom during the day and we like it that way. It keeps it as a room for sleeping in and quiet times. However, that said we still want it to be a room he likes to go to, for obvious reasons.

When BattleKid turned 2 at the start of this year we decided to update his room from a nursery to a toddler’s room. It had been a traditional kind of nursery with the Next Cheeky Monkey theme running throughout. But after we had his Curious George themed birthday party we decided to convert his baby nursery to a toddler room using Curious George as the feature.

Now that he’s getting a bit older we’re thinking it’s time for a change again. We had to stop him watching too much Curious George as he was starting to respond to us in monkey noises rather than speech, and while he still likes George, he now enjoys watching Thomas the Tank Engine in the evenings before dinner. With that in mind I asked if we could receive Thomas the Tank Engine childrens bedding from Character World and we were pleasantly surprised when we received a junior bed set, a fleece blanket and a towel poncho.childrens bedding from character world

Character World started in 1998 with the aim of being the number 1 licensed textile manufacturer in the UK and they are, both in the UK, and now Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Character World provide the best bedding textiles for all major entertainment companies from TV, movie, gaming and music. Their collections include characters from things such as Thomas the Tank Engine, Frozen, Star Wars, Peppa Pig, Marvel Heroes and many, many more. Their huge range includes bedding, cushions, blankets, towelling, curtains, rugs and beanbags.

The first item to be reviewed was the Junior childrens bedding from Character World. BattleKid’s cot was a cot bed so Junior bedding fits it perfectly. I sneaked into his room before collecting him from nursery one evening to change his bed. childrens bedding from character world childrens bedding from character worldThe first thing that struck me about the set we were sent was how vibrant the colours are. Now, I haven’t washed this set yet, so I am hoping the colours don’t fade but I will update you all if they do. I doubt it though. The actual Thomas the Tank Engine design is lovely and a certain little boy was only thrilled to see him on his bed that night.

Oh mama, it’s Thomas. What he doing on my bed?

He was more than happy to jump into bed that night under Thomas, and he slept really well, with no problem. I’ll be honest and say I was a bit apprehensive as we’ve been using a bedding set that has zips up the side to ensure his duvet doesn’t slip down off him but we had no problems that night or any since. He likes to move outside his duvet and it seems this non-zip version doesn’t cause him any problems. Perhaps he now finds it easier getting the duvet back on him during the night if necessary. So our Junior childrens bedding from Character World has gone down a storm with BattleKid.childrens bedding from character world

The next thing we used and loved was the Thomas the Tank Engine fleece blanket. I gave this to BattleKid after swimming one Sunday afternoon and he was toasty and warm under it while watching the Jungle Book film. He doesn’t nap in the afternoons anymore but he was close on this occasion under his new Thomas fleece blanket. Again it was a case of “oh mama, Thomas”. This blanket is really warm, despite appearing thin on first glance and the colours and design again are colourful and beautiful too.

Last but not least we’ve used the Thomas the Tank Engine towel poncho after swimming and showers at home. I haven’t taken pictures after swimming as our changing room is on the small side and I don’t want to include pictures of other children without their parent’s permission. So I’ve stuck to a few pictures at home.childrens bedding from character world childrens bedding from character world

Once again I had a very happy Thomas the Tank Engine fan who was only more than happy to get out of the shower when I showed him this. BattleKid often kicks up a fuss about getting out of the shower (bet he changes his tune when he gets older) and it can be a struggle to get him out but not when I produced this Thomas towel poncho. Out he came with a grin as I put it over his head! And on several occasions he has asked for his Thomas towel after showers but it is washed and ready to take on our forthcoming holiday to the Canaries!

What we love about the childrens bedding from Character World:

  • A huge range of characters to choose from.
  • Vibrant colours on our Thomas the Tank Engine bedding, blanket and towel.
  • Designs are lovely and will definitely appeal to young fans.
  • Lots of items to update your child’s bedroom with from bedding to cushions to rugs.
  • Value for money and available through a number of retailers including Argos, Mothercare and Amazon with prices typically ranging from £15-25 depending on the retailer and product.

What we didn’t like about the childrens bedding from Character World:

  • Nothing. Although I would have loved to have seen Curious George in their range when we were searching for things to update BattleKid’s bedroom earlier this year.

Overall, both we and BattleKid are thrilled with the items we received for review from Character World. So much so that we are intending to update his room after his birthday in January to a Thomas the Tank Engine theme to carry on from what we’ve received. I have already ordered a rug (Character World one), lamp shade and wall decals to use during the update so stay tuned for that post in January.

All that is left to say is that we are very happy with the bedding and towel we received from Character World. So if your little one is a big fan of a particular character make sure you check out the huge range of childrens bedding from Character World!

Thanks for reading,

Cath x

*We received a junior bedding set, fleece blanket and towel poncho in Thomas the tank Engine from Character World for the purpose of this review. However, as always, the opinions of the items expressed in this review are wholly mine.