Family Life

Dancing Into Advent


Da da da da da da da, Da da da da DA

Give me glitz, give me glamour, give me fake tan and a sprinkling of dancing dust …Give me Strictly Come Dancing baby! *pirouettes **falls over

Yes, this week saw me waltzing into the Strictly studio and loving every minute of it!  I’ve only got into the show this year as I (whispers) wasnt’ the biggest fan of BF (soz!) and LOVE Lady Winkleman with all my heart.

The kids adore the show and watching it in PJ’s on a Sunday morning has become somewhat of a weekend ritual – the only day we don’t have to be out of the door early.  I love watching the kids attempts at copying the dances so heading to Elstree Studios and being in the audience was pretty surreal.  I wanted to take Kaya as a surprise but the minimum age for the audience is 14, so my gorgeous mate Claire and I headed off for a fun Saturday night.  We were like kids on Christmas Eve and it was so much fun – I’m surprised we didn’t jump up and join in.  It’s even better in the studio than on TV.  I’m a BIG fan. HUGE!

UntitledPhones aren’t allowed in the studio but, given that I’m in this TV game too / know the rules / wasn’t about to publish any “spoilers” anytime soon, I might have “forgotten” to check mine in.  Although my pics from the night do make me smile as you can tell I know I’m being slightly illegal!  Friends commented they thought I was wearing a nighty (my new fave dress – a £9 bargain from the ASOS Black Friday sale) but given that these presenter types can witter on a bit (!) I thought I should prepare for a long night and be bed-ready!

Then it was a gorgeous Sunday of decorating the tree.  Yes Christmas Police, I know, technically not even December but I’m pretty much working every other weekend so gave myself special dispensation.   And the kids are finally at that age where Kaya can reach the top so I didn’t have to re-position even one decoration.  No more bottom-heavy tress in this house! *sobs

Then I thought it was a good idea to put together our “make in minutes” advent carousel. SIXTY (no kidding) minutes later –  it was ready!

And as if Christmas fever wasn’t already at 40 degrees in my house, this week also saw us heading to Lapland UK. You might have seen it on last years Strictly Christmas Special and it’s truly magical. I bumped into creator Mike Battle when we visited and thanked him for making such a magical place. It’s honestly like some kind of dream of a family Christmas.


Kaya is 8 so I’m not sure how much longer she’ll be in the believing camp, but this year she’s ALL in. I don’t want to say too much about the four hour experience but it’s honestly amazing – and I don’t use that word lightly.  It’s not cheap, but much cheaper than getting on a plane and flying to Lapland!   Put it on your family “wish list”, for this year or next year.  It’s worth every penny.  It feels like they’ve thought of EVERYTHING in their drive to make a magical experience for all – even one of Akira’s favourite things (no joke) – the colouring in at check-in!  Love kids – they’re so bizarre.


From the minute you check-in with an Elf… to singing magical songs to get the big wooden gate open, to making toys with the elves in the Toy Factory, to baking Ginerbread in Mother Christmas’ Kitchen…  it’s like being in a snowy dream!


Then there’s the Village Square where you can enjoy as much free time as you want –  skating, eating and drinking, shopping in the magical Christmas Shop, seeing reindeer shoes made in the Blacksmiths – or just wandering around drinking hot chocolate and mulled wine (yes please!).

SKATEThen, the REAL magic starts – and this is the bit where I *might* have had something in my eye.

We wandered along a path through a forest of snow-capped trees and fairy lights and I could feel the excitement building in the kids. After waiting a couple of minutes in a Lappish Tent an elf came and said “Kaya and Akira”? and marched towards my two who nearly fell off their benches!

She led us through more of the forest to a wooden hut with frosted windows and we knew we were “there”!  We sang some songs and waited a few moments… then the wooden doors opened, and a voice called “Kaya and Akira – I’ve been waiting for you”!  BOOM!


The Father Christmas experience at Lapland UK is mind-blowingly good. FC has a lappish costume and looks like a hollywood Father Christmas – the kind you thought couldn’t possibly exist! And he knows LOADS about your kids because you fill in a form before you go he’s Father Christmas, he knows this stuff!  We were in there about 20 minutes and I could have sobbed my way through, listening to the kids chatting away about their little lives. It was honestly like a dream.

Then it was off out to visit the reindeer, see THE sleigh and get in that motorised sleigh of our own to head off home with our two sleepy heads, clutching their huskies FC had given as an early gift.

I don’t know how much longer I have of my kids “believing” but I know Lapland UK has helped me bring the magic while they do and for that I will ALWAYS be grateful!

It makes believers of all of us!

K x






  • Reply Anonymous December 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Lapland UK looks incredible fun, we were invited to the Strictly Christmas special a few years ago, so much fun and the studio was so tiny-surprised me even though I was directing at the time-really thought it would be a bigger set though!

    • Reply Katy December 16, 2014 at 10:25 am

      Surprised me too! I thought it would be LOADS bigger! X

  • Reply Emma V December 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    I keep looking at Lapland UK and thinking we should go and then somehow just never get around to it, but after reading this I’m definitely booking next year!!

    • Reply Katy December 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      It’s a bit wonderful! x

  • Reply Louise December 6, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    We went last night and had a lovely time. The pic of my eldest waiting as the elf was seeing if Father Christmas was ready was worth every penny

    • Reply Katy December 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Sweet! x

  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily December 6, 2014 at 10:08 am

    That sounds like the perfect weekend!

    My little boy is 9 and he’s still a believer although I may have ruined the Easter Bunny and the Tooth fairy earlier this year which caused great trauma. Note to self: when child says he doesn’t believe in the Easter Bunny or to the Tooth Fairy, he may just be joking! Not a good idea to say that saves Daddy a job then 😉

    • Reply Katy December 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

      Oh my GOODNESS! Thanks for the tip off! I would TOTALLY have launched into the truth at that point too! xx

  • Reply Becky December 6, 2014 at 9:23 am

    we went to lapland Uk a few years ago…. LOVED it!

    • Reply Katy December 11, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      SO fab xx

  • Reply Mammasaurus December 5, 2014 at 11:12 pm

    Can you believe I’ve only started watching Strictly for the first time since staying at the inlaws this past 3 weeks? Totally love Claudia over BF, there’s something about the phrase ‘Brucie Bonus’ that creeps me out!

    I am feeling festive but am at least 2 weeks away from the tree putting-uppering yet!

    Looks like you have had a fun time lately! Ho ho ho!

  • Reply Liz Burton December 5, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I am dead jealous that you got to go to the Strictly studio. I bet it was amazing!

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 10:39 pm

      It WAS Liz! xx

  • Reply Actually Mummy... December 5, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    If she’s anything like you, and like my girl, she’ll believe until she leaves home. GG is 10 and has caught me with the sack before now, but I told her a tall tale, and she chose to believe it. If she doesn’t, the magic stops, doesn’t it? And there’s no way she’ll risk that!
    PS, my tree went up Sunday too 🙂

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 10:44 pm

      Yay! Love that your tree is up too! xx

  • Reply Joanne Brady December 5, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Loving the Lapland thing. I always fear these things will turn out badly but yours sounds amazing. I’m with you all the way on BF. I am much happier watching in real time now that the Winkleman is on the team. Am very jealous of your #SCD experience.

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Ah – it was so much fun! And even more stunning in reality than on TV. Just brilliant! x

  • Reply Penny December 5, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    In my excitement to tell you that, I forgot to tell you who I was! x

  • Reply Anonymous December 5, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    I thought you were going to say it was in Lapaland, SO Excited it is in the UK, as I really want to do something like this, while mine believe still – but Mr A has Raynaud’s Syndrome and can’t cope with cold of actual Lapland. Thanks so much!

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 10:38 pm

      Ah – my sister in law has Raynaud’s too. No chilliness needed! It’s in Ascot baby! x

  • Reply Clare Goldsack December 5, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    It looks an amazing place! What lovely family memories you’ve made. My eldest believed until last year (11) so I was pretty pleased with that. My 9 year old is getting suspicious! My tree went up on Sunday 30th too; well if the 1st December falls on a Monday what else can you do 😉 xx

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 10:37 pm

      Yay! Glad your tree went up then too! Ooh -and 11 – that means I may have 2 more years with Kaya although, like your youngest, there are lots of questions! x

  • Reply Suzie Douglas December 5, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Ah. It sounds wonderful We nearly did it this year, but at ages 3,5, 7 and 9, we reckon 2015 will be our Christmas ‘sweet spot’. Tabitha (9) is still desperately wanting to believe – but tests me every so often: “Mummy, why don’t the people in Africa ask Father Christmas for clean water?” How to answer that? Might have to prewarn that lovely Father Christmas about tough questions coming his way. Thanks for sharing Katy x

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 10:36 pm

      Ooh – you’re gonna LOVE it! I guess it’s the gamble – next year will be better for the littlest, and I guess it might make your eldest “believe” an extra year?! xx

  • Reply Claire Harding December 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    Katy – what an amazing Ho Ho Ho week you’ve had! Chuffed that I was privileged to share in that fab-u-lous time with you at Strictly! How envious we were of the dancing and those stunning costumes!

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      I’m STILL buzzing! 😉 x

  • Reply Tara December 5, 2014 at 10:58 am

    We’re hanging on by a thread in this house too. My daughter is 9 and she still believes but is teetering on the verge.
    Am really really going to miss (being able to use Santa as a consequence to her actions – cough)
    We went to Lapland a couple of years ago and, like you, I could have cried when my kids sat there with Santa chatting away all glassy eyed and innocent.
    Lovely lovely lovely x

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      So sweet! Hang on! xx

  • Reply Sonya Cisco December 5, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Syd LOVES Strictly, so he will be very jealous – he calls it his ‘favourite dancing programme’ – like he watchs any others?! LOVE that carousel, and Lapland UK looks AWESOME SAUCE – will have to check it out next Christmas as Syd will be 4 then which I reckon is pretty much perfect for a magic overdose!

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      Ooh – he would be PERFECT age then! xx

  • Reply Molly December 5, 2014 at 10:34 am

    Lapland UK looks amazing – I want to go! Love the atmosphere and attention to detail – definitely looking into visiting next year now!

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      2015 baby! xx

  • Reply Mummy Barrow December 5, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Wow so many Christmas experiences this week! You are in full on Advent mode!

    That Father Christmas story just gave me goosebumps! Me. 45 years old and I have goosebumps at the idea that Father Christmas, as busy as he is, knows who you are as you approach him.

    And as a lover of Strictly and Lady Claudia of the Winkle I trust you are on side for Team Honk 2015? I have said too much so you better be in or I might be killed by the others.

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 12:19 pm

      You KNOW I’m in! *starts dancing on the spot

  • Reply Donna @ Little Lilypad Co December 5, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Oh my goodness, I want to take my girls to Lapland UK!
    My eldest is 9 and is questioning everything this year ….. I just want to hold on to the magic for one more year!

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 12:18 pm

      Hold onto that magic! x *sobs

  • Reply maggy, red ted art December 5, 2014 at 9:53 am

    Oh my what a fun fun fun and exciting day! 🙂

    • Reply Katy December 5, 2014 at 9:56 am

      I know! It’s been a pretty special week! x

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