Modern Mummy

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Royal Mint Experience: A Review

Earlier this year, The Royal Mint opened its doors to the public for the first time in it's history - and this week the girls and I were lucky enough to be invited down for a tour. Pre-kiddos I studied archaeology and I still love learning about history (the history of the British Isles in particular) so I was extra excited about this road trip, although I must confess I did wonder whether the girls would enjoy it as much as I was expecting to.

We left Surrey at the crack of dawn to make the most out of our time away and got to Llantrisant, about 20 minutes west of Cardiff, in time for our tour which was scheduled for 10:30am.

When we arrived we were greeted by The Royal Mint's Shaun the Sheep sculpture (from the Shaun in the City trail in London last year) which immediately caught the girls' attention. Just inside the lobby was also The Royal Mint's contribution to the Gromit Unleashed exhibition a few years ago; a 5ft high Gromit sculpture covered in pennies! They kept the girls entertained while I collected our pre-ordered tickets and we waited for our tour to depart.

Proceedings were kick started with a little video all about our currency and the work carried out at The Royal Mint. Did you know that it produces 90 million coins every week? As well as making every single one of the UK's coins, it also makes them for 60 other countries across the world - and produces commemorative coins and medals for service men and women too. The medals for the winning athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games were even made here!

After the initial video, the tour left the visitor centre and crossed over to the manufacturing area, where we were talked through the minting process. We learnt everything, from how the blank pieces of metal are created, all the way to them being struck to become coins. I was pretty impressed at how interactive this element of the tour was - the children in the group were asked to guess the answer to lots of questions and they were also allowed to touch the machinery and coins in their different stages, which really kept their attention.

We then moved into a viewing room where we could see employees hard at work in the factory, with the store room behind them containing a VERY large amount of money. For security reasons, phones and cameras weren't allowed in here but it was pretty spectacular, and the girls loved watching all the machines buzzing and whirring and the brand new, shiny coins spilling out of them!

The guided element of our tour ended with the girls striking their own coins (which they were delighted about) and a photo opportunity (which I was delighted about - it's not often we have a family photo taken). The £1 coins that we brought home are actually very special indeed. I didn't realise that new, 12-sided coins are coming into circulation next year - and production of the current round ones ceased in 2015. Our £1 coins have the 2016 stamp on them, which makes them pretty rare!

We were then left to explore the museum area at our leisure and we spent about forty five minutes learning about the history of The Royal Mint from it's beginnings at The Tower of London right through to the current day, and what the future holds for it. As you can imagine, there was also a pretty impressive collection of coins and memorabilia. The girls loved the note in the visitors book from The Queen back in 1937, when she was known as Princess Elizabeth!

Lunch in the bright and airy canteen was lovely and definitely needs a mention. The team catered to my dairy free diet brilliantly and without any prior notice. The kids loved their lunch boxes and the coffee was one of the best I've ever had (although I was pretty knackered after a 5am wake up call!).

If you're in South Wales then I would definitely recommend a visit to The Royal Mint - we all had a great time and the girls are both very excited to tell their teachers and classmates some of the facts they learnt, and to show them the coins that they made.

Entry prices start at £10.50 for children and £13 for adults when booked online. There are also concessions and group discounts available.

It costs £3.50 to strike a coin and photos are £7.50.

DISCLAIMER: We were given tour tickets and a complimentary lunch in exchange for this review of The Royal Mint Experience

Monday, 22 August 2016

The BFG Dream Jar Trail

"Dreams is so quick on the outside but long on the inside" - The BFG.

This weekend, the girls and I are heading to London for a day of sunshine (fingers crossed) and sight seeing. Being ex-Londoners, we head into town fairly regularly, but this occasion is going to be a special one as, instead of the usual shopping/family visiting/theatre going, we are off in search of Dream Jars!

Yes, to celebrate Roald Dahl's 100th birthday and the release of The BFG movie this summer, Persil are supporting the launch of this new - free! - public art installation which is also raising money for Save the Children. Like me, Persil are big believers in getting kids outdoors (#DirtIsGood!) and what could be more fun than hunting for fifty huge, magical Dream Jars on the streets of London.... we can't wait to take part!

Sir Quentin Blake shares a dream with children all over the world; flight! His dream jar contains an illustration of himself flying together with characters from Roald Dahl books.
If you've not read the book or seen the film, Dream Jars are where The BFG keeps the good dreams that he delivers to children. The Dream Jars that you'll see dotted around London each contain a unique sculpture based on the childhood dreams of celebrities and artists from across the globe, including Steven Spielberg, Quentin Blake and Niall Horan from One Direction. You'll find them in iconic spots, like Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Tower Bridge, so hunting for them will make an absolutely brilliant day out! Check here to find out where all the Dream Jars are.

There are five trails of differing lengths, which pass by different landmarks, to choose from - or you could make up your own of course. We've picked the Persil Wild Explorers mini trail; it should take a little under two hours (which I think is a good length for littlies) and it covers the three main parks in the West End - St James's Park, Green Park and Hyde Park.

If you fancy heading off on a Dream Jar Trail yourself, then now is the time to do it as it finishes on 31st August. In September the jars will be auctioned, and the money raised will go to Save the Children, giving children in the UK and across the world the chance to dream big and fulfil their potential. If you do go on one, be sure to share your photos of the Dream Jars on Twitter and Instagram using the #BFGDreamJars hashtag - you could be in with a chance of winning some exciting prizes! I'd love to see them too.

In Partnership with Persil

This summer Persil launched The Persil Wild Explorers App, which has over 100 activities for families take part in over the summer (and beyond!). It's brilliant tool for those of you who, like us, like getting outdoors and is available from the App Store here.


Friday, 19 August 2016

Daily Outfit ♥ Ta-Dah!

Being the youngest, Evie gets a lot of hand-me-downs from her big sister. This isn't a bad thing as Daisy has BRILLIANT taste in clothes! - but there's nothing quite like brand spanking, shiny new togs of your own every once in a while. She was pretty happy when I let her pick her own outfit out  in town the other day and I was pretty happy as everything she liked was in the sale ;) In actual fact we picked up the whole shebang for just £16!

I love letting my kids choose what they wear. Admittedly sometimes they do look a little crackers but more often than not they put together some pretty awesome combos; stuff I'd never even contemplate. Like stripes and silver, which totally works!

How cute is this playsuit from Mothercare? I love the bold rainbow print and contrasting floral piping! They come up a bit small; we went for a 5-6 (Evie is only 3) but hopefully that means it will still fit next year. It also fits Daisy too.

I had a little bit of influence over the shoes. I wanted to get her a pair of comfy canvas shoes to see her through what's left of the summer so I led her away from the high heels (current obsession) and school-type shoes in M&S and then she spotted these straight away. Lucky for us, they were the last pair in the sale - and in her size! I love it when that happens!

Stripy jumpsuit, £9 (sale) - LittleBirdbyJools at Mothercare
Sparkly silver canvas t-bars, £7 (sale) - Marks & Spencer (sold out online, similar here)
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