Roald Dahl’s BFG and the magic of dreams

Roald Dahl books were hugely influential to me as a child, I voraciously read my way through his classic children’s books with Matilda and Revolting Rhymes being my particular favourites. Now that my girls are older they are discovering the joy of Roald Dahl books for themselves. I often find N hiding under her covers with a book and torch late into the night reading the colourful tales and E loves it when I read to her at bedtime, giggling away at the ‘cheeky bits’. I just love how irreverent the books are, they really tap into the imaginative and albeit rebellious child!

Even my girls’ school honoured the man himself by making him the theme of their World Book Day celebrations. Each child had to come dressed up as a Roald Dahl character, and of course my two loved that. We ended up with a Mrs Twit and Sophie from the BFG, as you can see from the picture above! It was fantastic seeing all the children dressed up and be reminded of the plethora of funny characters Roald Dahl created.

My two may love being read to by myself or their dad, or even reading to themselves now they are older, but neither of my girls have really been interested in audiobooks, well that was until I tried them with the BFG. When we last travelled down to stay with grandparents I put it on and to my amazement they stopped squabbling and listened in silence! It seems to be one of the only things they’ll agree to listen to together without the prerequisite sibling argument! I need to make sure I’m loaded up with a few other titles in preparation for our next trip!

With this love of the BFG and all things Roald Dahl in mind you can imagine that we are super excited about the new BFG film that comes out later this month. We’ve seen the old animated one, obviously, but this live action and animated one looks amazing! Ever since my girls spotted the trailer while surfing around Youtube Kids they have been obsessed asking me constantly when they can go and see it. The week it hits our cinema is the week that my girls break up from school so I think it’s obvious where our first summer holiday trip will be!

One of our favourite things about the BFG and the imaginative tale told by Roald Dahl is the magic of dreams. We’re not alone in this love, Classic British Hotels have cleverly put together a BFG dream inspired list of a variety of hotels to visit around Great Britain. I don’t know about you but a list of hotels inspired by dreams sound pretty perfect to me! I could do with a few nights in any of these dream like hotels!

Do you love Roald Dahl as much as us?

Who’s heading to the cinema to see the new BFG movie?

This is a collaborative post – for more info on what this mean click here

morganaRoald Dahl’s BFG and the magic of dreams
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Everyone needs a Unicorn scooter

I’m constantly being berated by the five year old for forgetting to bring her scooter with me when I pick her up from school. The scooter she’s currently got she’s had since she was 3 and as soon as she mastered it she’s been zooming ahead of me ever since. She’s recently informed me, however, that she now needs a big girl scooter so that’s the next thing on the list to get, apparently!

I like to keep an eye out for new design led products and brands so when GoGo Heads popped up on my Instagram I took notice. I immediately knew that my youngest would love them. They are bags that clip onto the handle bars of a scooter and shaped like a character and then there’s a high vis sleeve that also has wings, or hands, obvs.

gogo heads scooter

As you can see there’s a few different designs to choose from but of course as soon as the unicorn was spotted it was a foregone conclusion that that was the one for her.

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Flappy Unicorn

When the Unicorn GoGo Head arrived E could not have been more excited about it. Of course we had to put it all on her scooter straight away so she could try it out in the garden.

She’s always been a child that loves to fill bags with all sorts and then take them out with her. I love that the GoGo Head is a bag and so does E. She’s crammed all sorts of ‘essentials’ in there, and if we take the scooter to the shops she can just unclip the head and take it in the shop as a bag.

I found that it really tapped into E’s imagination, I could here her chatting away outside involving the unicorn in some story and acting it out. It’s a hit with all her friends too, we took it to the park the other day and E hardly got a look in as her bestie took the unicorn scooter for a spin and then reluctantly gave it back when it was time to go!

We took a trip on Saturday morning to a park in town where daddy and N were doing the Park Run. This was the perfect moment to really take the scooter and GoGo Head out for a spin.

 

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E absolutely adores her ‘Unicorn Scooter’ and we would both really recommend the GoGo head as a fun addition to a child’s scooter. Of course the combination of safety and practicality with fun will always be a winner. As a parent you want something functional and kids want it to be fun and I really think that GoGo Heads have found this balance perfectly. A big thanks to the team at GoGo Heads for sending us this unicorn to try out!

Head on over to their website to take a look – GoGo heads – you can also find them on social media – Facebook, and Instagram.

 

We received a GoGo Head for the purpose of this review, as always our opinions are our own.

morganaEveryone needs a Unicorn scooter
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My girls get into science with Project Mc2!

You know by now that while my youngest is all about YouTube my oldest is definitely more of a Netflix kind of girl. A few months ago she discovered a show called Project Mc2 and was immediately hooked.

There are four main characters in the show – each with a different personality, interests and sense of style.

  • McKeyla McAlister (Mc2)
    • Writer, hipster and undercover spy! When McKeyla isn’t writing in her journal, you’ll find her reading a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, upcycling or saving the world! Her catch phrase is “I’m smart. Get over it!”
  • Adrienne Attoms (A2)
    • Made of a more complex recipe than sugar and spice. Adrienne is a culinary chemist! Originally from Spain (her father is a diplomat), she just loves to host dinner parties. Her catch phrase is “Pretty Brilliant”
  • Bryden Bandweth (B2)
    • Bryden loves tweeting, digital photography, streaming music and anything tech! Just don’t ask her to go camping in the wilderness or anywhere without a hotspot! She’s a 24/7 #digitaldarling. Her catch phrase? “Stand Back, I’m Trending”
  • Camryn Coyle (C2)
    • Known for her high IQ, Camryn’s real genius comes out in the garage – especially when it comes to her souped up skateboard! Her catch phrase is “Nailed It” 

The four girls attend Maywood Glenn Academy – but are also part of a secret, seriously cool organisation, NOV8 (pronounced ‘Innovate’). Even their friendship makes mathematical sense – based on the Pythagorean theorem that A2 + B2 = C2

It’s just a shame that we only seem to have 3 episodes of it, fingers crossed they are making more! So why am I telling you about this TV show beloved by my pre-teen child? Well, even though I don’t do many reviews anymore knowing how much N loves the show I couldn’t resist the opportunity of reviewing one of the dolls that accompanies the series.

mc2

We were sent ….

McKeyla McAlister (Mc2)

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Of course N LOVES the doll and to be honest I was really impressed with the quality and the extras that came with it.

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Each of the dolls comes with it’s own science experiment. So N got to make her own mini lava lamp!

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It was so easy! I think she went a little crazy with the food colouring so the lamp doesn’t really glow, but I think it’s still pretty cool.

It’s actually National Science Week this week so our little experiment was well timed!

Project Mc2 is just perfect for my girl, she loves fun and fashion but also loves science, tech and is constantly wanting to learn. Far too often it seems that shows cater to one or the other as if you can only like science or fashion exclusively and I find that such a lazy stereotype.

N is so obsessed she has even downloaded the accompanying Project Mc2 app – NOV8 (available in the app store) With the app you get to go on missions for NOV8, collect evidence, analyse the clues and solve the case! There are over 1,000 missions to play on the app, enough to keep N busy for a while at least! 😉

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We were gifted a Project Mc2 doll for the purpose of this review, as always all views are our own 🙂

morganaMy girls get into science with Project Mc2!
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A delicious Mother’s Day hamper of treats

Being a mum can go from being the most wonderful thing in the world to the most thank less task all in the space of a day. Sometimes my children are a joy to be around and other times they have me screaming into a pillow! Though I’m sure they could say the very same about me!

Mother’s Day is the perfect chance for a little treat, whether it’s something I’ve listed here, a bunch of flowers, a hand made card or breakfast in bed, or even a fab little hamper of indulgent treats such as this one from Spicers of Hythe

mothers day hamper

Now don’t you worry I’ve been hard at work testing it all out to make sure all the contents are good enough for us mamas!

My hamper is aptly named ‘Mother’s Day Treats

mothers day hamper

It contains –

Cocoabean Love Heart Plaque
Belvoir Blackcurrant & Cox Apple Cordial
Farmhouse Rolled Oat Fruit Flapjacks
Verduijns Black Pepper & Seasalt Biscuits
Cocoabean Chocolate Coated Marshmallows Cubes
Farmhouse Chocolate Chip & Orange Biscuits
Taste Old Fashioned Milk Chocolate Eclairs
Sally Williams Milk Chocolate Coated Nougat  (instantly spotted and claimed by my husband!!)

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You can safely say this cute little heart didn’t stick around for long!

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A box of large chocolate covered marshmallows you say? Yes please! Now these definitely need to be well hidden* from my children.

(* in my tummy!)

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This cordial looks delicious, and I’m going to have some fun creating cocktails with it. 

mothers day hamper

mothers day hamper

mothers day hamper

As you can see this is a lovely hamper of treats and well worth checking out for your own mum, or just drop lots of hints about it to your partner and children!

 

A big thank you to Spicers of Hythe for sending this yummy hamper. As always all views are my own.

morganaA delicious Mother’s Day hamper of treats
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DAY TRIPPING – Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester

 

Now that the girls are five and eight gone are the days of having to bring everything but the kitchen sink out with us. I remember going out anywhere when they were babies and toddlers and having to have a checklist before going anywhere. A bag full of nappies, clothes, snacks, drinks, toys – everything! Now I can grab my handbag and head out the door with the girls, I forget what a luxury that is! It certainly makes day trips a lot easier I must say. I don’t envy those who still have pushchairs and overflowing bags to cart around. I think we go out on day trips a lot more now that the girls are bigger to be honest.

We had a fantastic day out last weekend in Manchester, at the Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester. They are both located next to each other at the Trafford Centre and are great fun for all the family.

Sealife Manchester

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Considering it’s really not a very big space I’m always so impressed with the way the centre has been designed and laid out. You follow a path around the attraction and there is so much to see and learn about. The giant turtle Ernie is always our favourite sea creature to spot.

There’s a touch pool where you can learn about crabs and starfish. My eldest always loves to share one of the facts she learnt there, that crabs actually drink through their bottoms!

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Even though there’s lots to look at (and there’s even a little soft play section) it doesn’t take more than an hour or two to get round and have a good look at everything. This is why we recommend considering a double ticket deal for the Leogland Discovery Centre, which is situated less than a minutes walk away.

Legoland Discovery Centre

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We love Lego and have lots of different kits so a trip to the Legoland Discovery Centre always goes down well with my girls. Like Sealife the centre itself isn’t huge but they have really made the most of the space and there’s lots to see and do.

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At first there’s a fun talk about how they make Lego, this is informative and really interactive and my girls love it. Once you’ve done that section there’s a fun ride and a mini land to walk through to get to the main section where there’s lots of rides, a soft play, 4D cinema, cafe and of course plenty of areas for building Lego. At 5 and 8 my girls are the perfect age for this and can go on all the rides.

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TOP TIPS

  • Make sure you book in advance as the queues are eye watering, even for those that have pre-booked, especially at weekends and school holidays. So be prepared to queue either way. If you don’t book in advance you will have to queue to purchase your tickets and be given a time slot to come back to the attraction at. This is to ease congestion as the centres are only small.
  • Make good use of the Sealife log books that the children get. My girls enjoyed collecting the stamps on the way round and learning new facts.
  • If there are queues for the first ride in Legoland then skip it and come back, unlike Sealife you can move around most of it without following a route.
  • The main part of Legoland can get crazy busy so keep a close eye on your kids. We found a toddler wandering round on their own after presumably coming out of the soft play section in the middle.
  • Take your own snacks – the queues for the cafe in Legoland are long and its not particularly cheap either.

We loved our trip to Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester and will no doubt be back again sometime this year!

Thanks to 365 Tickets for making this trip possible – check them out for fantastic attraction tickets, deals and offers

morganaDAY TRIPPING – Legoland Discovery Centre and Sealife Manchester
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Taking the Aldi Challenge

I’m pretty strict when it comes to budgeting our weekly shop and as a family of four I don’t think we spend a fortune, maybe up to £80 a week (including household items like washing powder, loo roll etc). When I was on maternity leave and the mister was setting up his business we lived on a much more frugal £40 which we did but I found it rather  very stressful, especially when that covered things like nappies as well. Our lifesaver at this time was Aldi, I couldn’t believe the saving I made just from switching supermarkets. Now that we are both working I must admit that I now shop at another supermarket that does home deliveries as I find this so much more convenient.

Recently, however, I was approached to try the #AldiChallenge and do a weekly shop with them for £70. I have to say that it wasn’t a huge shock to me that I could easily do a weeks shop for our family of four for even less than this at Aldi. I spent £62 and I wasn’t even being frugal or only putting in the basics of what we needed. Hey, I even got a bottle of Prosecco!

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I planned out our week’s meals and now a week later we still have lots left. I’ll highlight some of our favourite meals and buys from the shop.

E was particular excited to have the mini chocolate brioches back in her life! Not the healthiest of snack options but they are great as a treat and so yummy!

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With it being the week of our anniversary I couldn’t resist adding this bottle to the trolley. I LOVE this Prosecco and cannot believe that it’s only £5.99!! I’ll certainly be back to stock up.

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Not only was it our anniversary, we also had the mister’s birthday during the week and for our dinner I made sweet potato saag aloo, (and of course the girls loved having poppadoms and naan bread). He is currently in training for a half iron man so I have to balance his strict diet with what the girls like and then meet somewhere in the middle with it – it can prove quite a challenge sometimes! I found the recipe for the Saag on Pinterest you can follow the link here. It was really easy to make and tasted so good, though it’s not the most photogenic of meals as you can see!

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I’m endeavoring to stick to healthy lunches and I loved this simple salad.

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I just squeezed over a lime for the dressing, it was so yummy!

Another simple meal favourite was baked potato, sausages and green beans, such a winning meal for our family!

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I grilled the sausages rather than frying them and I baked the potatoes in the oven – so much nicer than microwaving them.

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Aldi is fantastic value and I found that the range or products and quality has gone up since we shopped there a couple of years ago. I was pleased to see that their chicken had Red Tractor symbols and notes about animal welfare on the front, I even got a free range whole chicken that we roasted and used over a few meals. Including curry, fajitas and salads. The two negatives for me is that it doesn’t always have everything we need and I end up having to top up from another shop sometimes, I was so surprised that our store didn’t have brown rice for example. Also I did miss the convenience of an online shop which I’m so used to now. However, when it’s the school holidays and I am working less I’ll definitely be switching back to Aldi. I’ll have more time and it will be great to save money on those weeks to put towards trips and treats for the girls.

Thanks to Aldi for inviting us to put them to the test on the Aldi Challenge, you can find out more about the challenge here.

morganaTaking the Aldi Challenge
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The Ultimate Unicorn Party

Every since the New Year started I’ve been in birthday and unicorn party planning mode. With E’s birthday being on the 12th it’s always a bit of a rush to get everything sorted post Christmas. When it comes to presents I usually buy them when I’m getting the Christmas presents but this time I wanted to shop the sales in my favourite kidswear boutiques to get my hands on a couple of AW15 dresses that I’d had my eye on. This meant waiting and hoping I’d be able to get them in the sales after Christmas. E got lots of lovely toys for Christmas and I knew she’d be getting a lot from her friends at the party so I felt I could get away with focusing on clothes a bit more. After sorting her presents it was all systems go for the unicorn party I’d talked myself into throwing. Believe it or not besides her first birthday this is the first proper party I had ever thrown for my kids! I’m not sure how I’ve got away with it these past 8 years but I felt that I had to do it sometime, like a mum rite of passage or something!

In all honesty there’s a big reason I don’t do parties. I get far too stressed and take everything too seriously. If there’s a theme then EVERYTHING has to fit it. The decorations have to co-ordinate and look perfect. I can’t relax and think ‘oh well the kids will be happy with whatever’. I hate to say it but it the party takes over and even the birthday girl takes a backseat. Oh the shame. With all this in consideration my husband is rather pleased that I don’t do parties every year, I don’t think he can cope with me or the effect it has on my mental health, pahaha!

Putting all that aside, because let’s face it you didn’t come here for my confession you came here to find out how to throw a unicorn party and what I did. So, let me get on with it!

Of course, like most things in my life I started with a Pinterest board

Follow Coffee Work Sleep Repeat’s board Unicorn Party! on Pinterest.

There are so many fantastic ideas on there so whatever your party theme it’s the best place to start. There were going to be 16 girls at E’s party so I thought a mix of games and crafts would go down well. In the end these are the things I did.

Unicorn cookie craft

unicorn cookie cutter

The day before the party I got my bake on and made some unicorn cookies. I got the cutter from Esme Grey Designs and used a basic biscuit recipe (Nigella’s butter cut-out cookies). I made sure we had plenty just in case any broke (which they did!). I bought some sprinkles and icing pens to make it easier for little hands.

unicorn party cookie craft

unicorn party craft

unicorn party cookie craft

Unicorn craft necklaces

I printed these little unicorns from here and spent the best part of 2 hours cutting them out (!) If you do this craft I suggest cutting round them in circles or rectangles to save time. Oh hindsight what a wonderful thing you are. I then punched a hole in them and cut lengths of pink ribbon to tie them on.

unicorn party craft

I tipped a load of pens, pencils and crayons and let them go to town.

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Food

 

unicorn party food

unicorn party food and cake

 

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Cutie rainbow cupcakes

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These little cupcakes are a basic plain sponge cupcake with pink icing and Haribo Rainbow Strips bent and pushed into the icing. So very easy, but super cute. I’ve shared the full recipe over on the Little and Fierce blog.

The party table

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and of course no unicorn party is complete without a unicorn pinata!

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We scooped up all the sweets I’d filled it with into party bags along with the cake for the girls to take home.

I wish I’d got more photos and better ones, but running around like a headless chicken and working away in the background through out the party meant I just didn’t get the opportunity. Not to mention the fact we had half an hour either side of the party to set up and pack down. If I was a proper blogger I’d have got a photographer friend in to take a load for me!

Over all despite my stressing the party did go really well, with the birthday girl and her friends all having fun. The mister stepped in to run the party games and did a fantastic job hosting while myself and a few friends worked behind the scenes. I couldn’t have done it without him and the friends that helped out that’s for sure. Oh and the promise of a bottle of Prosecco waiting at home for me!

A huge thank you to Party Kitsch for the table ware and decorations!

They have a beautiful curated range of party kits and party wares that you simply must check out. Don’t forget to use the discount code THANKYOU10 when you place your first order.

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Useful links

Unicorn Pinata – Party Puffin

Unicorn cutter – Esme Grey Designs

Table ware – Party Kitsch

Unicorn printable – A Subtle Revelry

Unicorn birthday cake – Dancers Delights

What do you think of the Unicorn Party?

morganaThe Ultimate Unicorn Party
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The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home

You know us, we are massive fans of children’s books, in fact I think I need to feature more of them really. The book shelves in my girls’ bedrooms are overflowing and we even do regular trips to the local charity bookshop to donate ones they’ve grown out of!

A book that we have been proud to champion from the beginning, when my former blog butwhymummywhy.com was still just starting out too back in early 2013, is the Lost My Name series. We were lucky enough to be sent out books for the girls..

I can’t get over how tiny my girls are in those photos!

The concept is that it’s a personalised book with a special little twist. As someone with an unusual name, and children with equally unusual names we never see our names in the souvenir sections of shops that are emblazoned on cups and keyrings, so when something has our names on, or in it is so special. In these books the character has lost their name and goes on an adventure trying to find it, along the way they meet characters that help and give the child letters that at the end form their name. I’ll never forget my girls’ little faces when they realised it was their names in the books, such a special moment.

The Lost My Name team have come such a long way in the last few years and I was so proud when I saw the team on the BBC’s programme, Dragon’s Den. It felt like we’d been part of their journey, a tiny part yes, but it was wonderful to have supported something so special and see it get the success that it deserved.

This is why we are more than happy to share with you their new book, The Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home.

I cannot express how fantastic this book is, as always the book is packed with fantastic art work, each page is a joy to look at and really innovative. Good art work and illustration in children’s books are super important to me. I love the attention to detail and the quality of the art work something that is often lacking in average personalised books in my opinion.

The story centres around your child and their friend a robot, they get lost in space and while finding their way home they go on an adventure in space. E loved spotting her name throughout the book.

Now this bit is so special..

lost my name

As I was reading the words on this page aloud to E, I stared at the satellite picture thinking that it looked very familiar. I stopped and studied it closer only to yelp in surprise “That’s where we live!” E and I pored over it until we excitedly figured out which was our house. How fantastic is that?

These books are such a delight and make a really thoughtful present that will truly be treasured. They are available on the Lost My Name website and are priced at £19.99.

Thanks to the wonderful team at Lost My Name for the girls’ books.

morganaThe Incredible Intergalactic Journey Home
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Family adventures with BMW 2 series Gran Tourer

Now we’ve covered the everyday family life with the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer it’s time to share how we got on with the bigger trips, a look back on those summer time adventures! We’ll be sharing the day trips we went on, what it’s like for long journeys, changing it to a 7 seater and much more.

As both my husband and I run our own businesses we can be a little flexible with our time (in theory!) so we made sure that we planned in some family day trips over the girls’ summer holidays. The fact that we had a super duper car to go out in was the icing on the cake! Here are our favourite trips and how the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer helped make them even more special.

Trentham Gardens
For the past few years we have been meeting up with friends at Trentham Gardens at the start of the summer. We’ve known Esther and Ash for over ten years now and it’s lovely to get the chance to at least meet up once a year and spend time together.
Trentham Gardens is about an hour and hour away from us so I knew that this would be a good time to put the car to the test with a family road trip. There was no need to look up directions on our phones or laptop as the Navigation System enables you to search for places and postcodes. Using the iDrive Touch Controller you can write where you want to go on the pad or there is voice recognition.

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The girls made use of the iPad holder though I must say it was tricky for E to see the screen so you’d need one on the back of the other chair ideally.

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Once we’d inputted where we were going and the girls were happy and settled we put on Spotify and headed out on our way. It was great to be able to connect to our Spotify account with the help of the free BMW Connected App and the Spotify app so that we could enjoy our playlists as well as still having the route guidance navigation on.

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We arrived without a hitch and had such a wonderful day.

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At the end of the day we rounded up the kids to head home and the mister decided to try out the BMW owned Remote App, part of the BMW ConnectedDrive services, to start the air circulation system easily via his smartphone. This app allows you to remote lock and unlock the car, flash the headlights (great if like the Mister you lose your car in car parks all the time) and, like I’ve just mentioned, it can turn on the auxiliary ventilation. You don’t even need to be able to see the car or be in spitting distance to use it! This starts the air circulation system going which on a hot day cools the inside of the car and gets rid of that horrid stuffy hot box feeling cars sometimes get. Whilst not full Climate Control (as this needs the engine running) it is a very cool feature! On this occasion it was brilliant as I hate the way cars heat up like ovens in the summer and it had cooled the car down to a normal temperature by the time we arrived back at the car.

Media City with the grandparents

The mister’s parents came to stay with us one weekend so we seized the opportunity to put the 7 seater option to the test. It was great fun all travelling together and saved us taking two cars.

Can you see myself and E poking up at the very back?

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It’s really easy to adapt the car from a five to a seven seater. The fold-out third row of seats which is lowered in the boot floor just pull up and you can get to them comfortably by pulling the folding backrest of the second row forward with the ‘Easy-Entry’ function. I could have sat on the main backseat with Noo and my mother in law quite comfortably but I thought I’d keep little E company. I didn’t feel like we were stuck in the boot as the seats were comfy and there was room for my legs and we even had storage areas and cup holders.

If you’re taking your children’s friends out or like us, making trips with the grandparents, the third row of seats suits that really well. So if you are looking for an occasional seven seater then this is just perfect.

In general, the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is very flexible when it comes to space requirements. All seats are variable in their adjustments. Depending on what you want to transport, all you need is some simple pulling, pushing and folding to quickly transform the seats into additional luggage space. The passenger seat also can be folded down to extend the luggage space of the boot. Additional storage space can be found under the boot floor. To access this space, the folding boot floor can be opened easily with just a few simple hand movements.

We set off for Manchester but because of a motorway closure ended up on a detour that took forever and we ended up with some very rumbly tummies. There was a shout from Noo for Wagamama, her current favourite, so we used the Concierge Service to find out where our nearest one was.  The Concierge Service, which is part of BMW ConnectedDrive, is such a great feature, you call up and get to speak to an actual person, it’s not automated and they can help you find what you’re looking for and even send over the directions to your navigation system!

So thanks to BMW we ended up at Media City’s Wagamama for lunch. We’ve not been to Media City yet so it was really good to get the chance to take a look around.

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Blackpool Pleasure Beach

This was a trip much anticipated by our girls who’ve been desperate to go for a while now.

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We had a fantastic day out and there was plenty to keep both girls entertained. E loved the rides in Nickelodeon Land and Noo loved the challenge of the bigger, scarier rides. When the day was over it was nice to know that we had a comfy car to travel home in.

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BMW ConnectedDrive Service ‘Real Time Traffic Information’ (RTTI) really helped us out in quickly and easily providing us with the route home. This RTTI brings provides you with precise most up-to-date information on the current traffic situation and also calculates any delays that are to be expects and can even recommend detours alternative route suggestions. This is definitely is bonus when travelling in the summer holidays as there is so much traffic so anything that helps with that is fantastic.

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Noo never falls asleep in the car anymore, it must have been the winning combination of lots of scary rides and then the comfort of the BMW highbacked junior seat!

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The misters thoughts

Overall I thought this was a great family car. In a practical way it was spacious, economical, practical and allowed us to have a few adventures along the way too. But also if you, like me, spend hours of your life in a car every week you need more than just practical, economical and spacious. The interior had that distinct BMW quality to it which is so important if you spend any amount of time behind the wheel every day, the gadgets work really well with the ability to browse podcasts or Spotify playlists proving a very useful feature.

With the different driving modes you were able to Sport it up a little when you wanted to but tone it back to Comfort or ECOPRO for everyday driving. The different modes are part of the Intelligent Management System. The ECOPRO mode allows you to reduce fuel consumption. Additionally to that you’ll reduce fuel consumption through Automatic Start/Stop function while being stuck in a traffic jam or at a traffic light.

I also found this car really good for my Piriformis Syndrome (a kind of Sciatic Nerve issue caused by driving and running lots). The upright seating position and the adjustable seat meant I suffered no symptoms during the long drive to Trentham Gardens.

We were driving the 1.5l 116BHP 216D manual for the week and the economy was very impressive. If you like smaller or bigger motorisations there is however something to suit all tastes when it comes to BMW’s big product range.

The girls’ thoughts

They loved the extra space and of course the added extra of the iPad holder. My seven year old also commented how comfortable her junior car seat was. In fact in her own word she says the car was ‘Amazing, spectacular and totally cool’, I think that’s as good as it gets! Both girls were really sad on the day that we had to give the car back. They waved it off and E nearly cried!!

Overall the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer works really well as a flexible, comfortable but also sporty family car. It’s spacious and all those gadgets just make life so much smoother, we all know how stressful travelling somewhere new with children can be. The proportions of the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer indicate the versatility of the vehicle as soon as you set eyes on it. When viewed from the front, it appears to be sportily low-slung. The wide kidney grille forms the optical focal point and is lower than the headlights, which creates a dynamic look that is unique in this vehicle segment. If you are looking for a roomy car that needed to be a 7 seater occasionally, for picking up friends or going out with grandparents this is perfect. I absolutely loved driving this car and it definitely took away any stress and anxiety I had when it comes to driving longer journeys.

Written in collaboration with BMW

morganaFamily adventures with BMW 2 series Gran Tourer
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The everyday with a BMW 2 series Gran Tourer

If you follow us on social media you might have noticed that we were lucky enough to have experienced the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer over the summer. The day the car was due to arrive I don’t know who was more excited, myself or the girls. They waited at our bay window, with their noses practically pressed to the glass in anticipation! Of course there were leaps of joy when it arrived and they were desperate to sit in it! After we’d been briefed on all the gadgets, E hopped straight in and made herself at home, even declaring she wasn’t getting out until bedtime! With an adjustable iPad holder on the back of the chair ready for endless Peppa Pig watching, who can blame her?

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This post is the first of two posts I’ve written with what we’ve got up to and what we thought of the car. This won’t read as a purely technical review but rather from the perspective of an everyday family, how we got on with it and whether it met our needs as a family of four. First of all I’m focusing on the everyday, you know the ordinary things that you do as a family, like shopping, trips to the park, ferrying around to various lessons, and how the 2 series Gran Tourer fared.

 

BMW 2 series Gran Tourer

I passed my driving test fairly late in life in comparison to most people, I’ve only been driving for 5 years and in that time I’ve had 4 cars and they’ve all had previous owners. This means that driving a car as big and comfortable, but nevertheless sporty, as the 2 series Gran Tourer was a new experience. If you’re used to brand new, high end cars, you might not be as bowled over by the tech in the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer as I was, but then again, you just might be! If I get a bit carried away talking about the tech, you’ll have to forgive me as this is the girl that’s used to a radio and a temperamental CD player being the height of technology! It feels so spacious on the inside and I love that it didn’t look huge from the outside like so many imposing seven seaters. The colour we had was Flamenco Red and the interior is Grey with red contrast stitching that looks so smart. It was wonderful driving a car that’s aimed at families yet doesn’t compromise on technology or style. There was so much to the 2 series Gran Tourer that made driving so much smoother and took a lot of the stress of driving with children away!

 

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We had BMW junior car seats that use Isofix to securely fit in the car. Noo informs me it was the most comfy highbacked booster she’s had, the ergonomic padding and the way it could be adjusted to fit her so well really helped. The car fits 2 highbacked boosters in the back comfortably and at a squeeze can fit a third seat in the middle but we preferred to use the extra seats in the boot when we had more than four people instead. I’ll be focusing on using it as a 7 seater more in the next post. The fold down tables with cup-holders as well as the pull down middle armrest with storage and cup-holders meant that the girls had everything they needed around them. They were able to do some colouring and have places for snacks on our journeys.

 

The day we got the car we all hopped in it when the mister got back from work and went out for ice cream. I drove the car first and then the mister drove it home.

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The drivers seat is fully adjustable in ways my previous cars have never been, so this means with a little adjustment it can be just as comfortable for little 5ft 2 me and my well over 6 ft husband. Straight away one of my favourite features was the full colour, high res head-up display, which projects all relevant driving information onto a panel in the driver’s field of vision. It rises up when you turn on the engine and will tell you, for example, your speed so you don’t have to keep looking down, and it even gives you directions when the navigation is on! Obviously this is tricky to show you as I can’t take a picture of it while I’m driving! It is fully adjustable, meaning that you can set it higher or lower for tiny me and my tall husband depending on who’s driving.

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This photo shows you what it looks like when it first comes on. A first I thought it might distract me when driving but it definitely didn’t and now I’m back in my own car I really miss it!

The typical job for a weekend with our family, and I’m sure it’s the same with many others, is the supermarket shop. We put the boot to the test with a normal weeks worth of shopping and it passed with flying colours. This shows the car as a 5 seater, the boot is smaller when all seven seats are up. But nevertheless it is still roomy and very flexible in the adjustments of all seats depending on what you need to transport. I will talk about that in the second blog post in more detail.

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The girls loved the buttons to open and close the boot – it worked like magic. They even fought over whose turn it was to press the button, though they had to be lifted up to it as it’s on the bottom of the boot door so it’s quite high up for them!

The girls and I loved driving around town in the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer, I found it such an easy car to drive once I got the hang of where everything was and what it did!

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Reversing into spaces was made much easier as the display showed the view from the rear camera and it had parking sensors, perfect for me as I’m notoriously bad at parking! This car even has a feature called the Parking Assistant where it can nearly parallel park itself, you just control the brake and it steers for you, even finding the perfect space for you. I must admit it was rather nerve wracking the first time we did it, just having to trust technology! It was really space age! Most of the time I was reverse parking into our drive or if we were out and about it would be reversing into a bay at a car park so the reverse parking display really helped.

 

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While we had the car the girls and I took a drive up to visit my dad and stepmum and I guess for most people visiting family is pretty everyday thing so I’ve included it in this post. Not only was it the longest journey I drove in the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer it was actually the furthest I’ve ever driven, oh yes, and throw into the mix the fact that this was the first time we’d been to their new place – 3 hours drive away!

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The Navigation Plus System was invaluable for this journey, having a big display with the map as well as the head up display giving me the next direction. I couldn’t have done the trip without it. I also loved that we could have our Spotify app on at the same time so we could listen to our music playlists via thanks to “BMW Connected Drive Services” that forms the basis for BMW ConnectedDrive functions, which provide the driver with a wide range of information, entertainment and service features while on the road. This also includes access to selected BMW owned or third-party smartphone apps like Spotify.

All I needed to do was to connect my iPhone via USB port or the Snap In iPhone adapter (this also charges my phone, win!) and then control the Spotify app with the iDrive Touch Controller.

 

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As I had my iPhone synced connected with the car this meant that I could have the mister’s phone number programmed in, so I could easily call him while driving to let him know how we were doing and when we’d be home. Through this the synchronisation of my iPhone with the car my entire address book is displayed on the Control Display which can also be navigated operated with the iDrive Touch Controller. We will be sharing more about BMW ConnectedDrive and its features in the next blog post.

Overall the BMW 2 series Gran Tourer is a superb family car for those everyday family errands. It’s level of comfort and spaciousness along with all those gadgets means it’s fantastic contender for a practical yet highend stylish family car.

 

 

 

Written in collaboration with BMW, all views are our own – as usual!

morganaThe everyday with a BMW 2 series Gran Tourer
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