He had lots of fin skating with big sister, Ellie, but look who else joined in...
Wills was pretty surprised to see Father Christmas in July! Our fantastic afternoon included, not only Father Christmas, but snow, hot chocolate in all sorts of amazing flavours, chocolate, elves and new friends and was all thanks the the wonderful people at Thorntons who decided to make their Christmas and centenary preview a magical Christmas wonderland for children, and their journalist parents. It was a great idea. The children had an amazing time, as did we parents. A lot of my colleagues and friends were there so it was lovely to meet their children.
We had another event at Warner's in the morning (which I'll talk about more another time) and Wills did really well being in two busy places, with lots of bustle. Last Christmas, we went to a Starlight Christmas Party at Number 11 Downing Street and Wills wouldn't join in with any of the activities because there were so many children around him. This time, he had a fab time playing with Batman and Green Mask toys at Warners and icing a chocolate plaque at the Thorntons party.
He did pretty well with it too. What was really great about this party is that the adults could join in too. I didn't skate, instead I took the opportunity to talk to some of the Thorntons staff and PRs while I could concentrate on what they were saying - and, of course, enjoy watching William and Ellie and taking loads of pics. I did join in with icing chocolate. What do you think?
There are loads of fantastic products you can ice - some Christmassy, like Santa here and the advent calendar.
Others are not specifically Christmassy, like the plaques and there are handbags and even a beer glass. What I like about the personalised icing is that you can order online or in the store and have any message at all on it. Some of our children have some important milestones that the shops don't cater for. We celebrate William's life and the amazing and brave donor family who made it possible for him to still be here with us every year on his 'transplant birthday' on which he gets some cards and gifts, including a helium number balloon and some iced Thorntons chocolate. This year, it looks like he'll actually eat some of it for the first time. It will be his third transplant birthday in November - where does the time go?
Wills was too busy skating and telling Father Christmas and his elves some of his stories about kings and queens and battles to eat chocolate yesterday but Ellie and I certainly enjoyed the samples.
To celebrate their centenary, Thorntons have developed a chocolate range of traditional tastes all made into chocolate bars. The Bakewell Tart chocolate is immense! I'll be popping into or Thorntons for some next time I'm in town. A new flavour has just been launches - traditional lemonade. It is also wonderful and even fizzes thanks to the addition of some magic popping candy. It would be great for children who enjoy sensory experiences and, according to one of my friends this morning, tastes great with a cup of freshly brewed coffee. I was still in a chocolate hangover this morning and haven't tried any of the samples I took away with me but will give that one a go tomorrow I think.
We played a great game of 'guess the flavour' of hot chocolate. Thorntons do white and milk hot chocolate with real chocolate flakes to add to milk but also do ginger, chilli, toffee and mint. Guess the flavour would be a great game to play on a cold winter evening (or a wet and cold summer one!). Ellie liked the toffee one best while favourite was the ginger. I'm going to get some in as a soother for winter colds, flu and just a general bad day.
The party was a wonderful end to the 'Christmas in July' preview season.
I'm as exhausted as the end of Christmas itself. I've been keeping an eye out for the great things for children with all kinds of special needs this Christmas, and ideas to make Christmas as magical but as easy as possible for everyone. I have some products, toys and food to review on here between now and the big day and am still looking for reviewers. All you have to do is receive a parcel, play with it, send me a photo and let me know what you think. Most of the time, you'll get to keep it as thank-you. Please get in touch on here or facebook if you'd like to know more.