*Disclosure : We were invited to Hamleys free of charge in exchange for honest feedback*
Aria is a very lucky girl as she was invited along to a party with Santa and his elves at Hamleys in Cardiff. Hamleys are hosting Christmas parties in selected stores right up until 24 December. The parties are aimed at 2-8 year olds and promise to be packed full of fun with games, activities, snacks, time with Santa and a gift to take home.
We were met at the door by a group of very excited and enthusiastic elves who took us through to the party room, but they would only take us if we agreed to sing, yep, we walked through Hamleys in a line singing Christmas songs - the other customers weren't sure whether to laugh or join in, one or two did actually join the line and sing with us, I think they were a little confused!
We had a little bit of drama as the door to the party room was stuck, but thankfully with a little bit of magic we were in. The party room itself is lovely, the Christmas set up is very cosy with a little fire roaring away and an armchair for Santa. It is very small but lovely all the same.
We started with cookie decorating, unfortunately the tubes of icing were too hard for Aria to squeeze, but with daddy's help she managed to have fun. The promised snacks came in the form of the cookies that we had just decorated, but Aria refused to eat her piece of art work.
Once the cookies were decorated and we persuaded Santa to come and see us with a bit of singing the children sat on the rug by the fireside while Santa read Twas The Night Before Christmas to them. This was lovely, a really nice moment and I have to say that Santa was amazing, one of the best Santa's that I've seen.
Once the reading had finished the children were invited to play games with the elves and Santa, unfortunately the games involved walking/running which Aria isn't yet able to do unaided, plus they were generally a little bit too old for her, but she isn't yet two yet which is the suggested minimum age, plus she isn't quite up to speed with most other children her age.
Once the games are over the children get to write their wish list for Santa and meet the man himself. You get a lot of time with Santa, he takes the time to chat to the child and the parents, and really tries his best to make the child comfortable and, most importantly, smile for the camera! As well as having the time to sit on Santa's knee he also wanders around during the party and spoke to Aria on several occasions.
We had such a great time, the party was lovely and, as always, it was nice to meet up with local bloggers Cardiff Mummy Says, We Made This Life, All About A Mini Norris, First Time Valley Mam and Baby Holiday.
We came away with a lovely goody bag from Santa which included a new tree ornament, a gorgeous 'I Met Santa at Hamleys' teddy, a Mr Men Meet Father Christmas book and a big bar of chocolate. Aria was also handed a helium balloon which she loved.
Tickets for this event are priced at £19.99 per child and can be booked here. The massive down side for me is that you are only allowed one adult per paying child. I can see why they do this as the room is small and could very easily get overcrowded, but, as a one child family, this could be a deal breaker. If we were paying almost £20 for a Santa experience I would want both of us to be able to attend. They do say that two adults can go, and you can take it in turns while one waits in the shop, but it really isn't ideal.
Watch my short video to get in the festive spirit and see a bit more of the experience.