I was waxing lyrical in this paper last month about our great family trip to Lapland UK, where we had a magical time seeing the snow, the husky dogs, the ice-skating, the great Father Christmas and much more.
So, I couldn't have been more shocked when everyone I know who had read my column started asking if I'd seen Lapland splashed all over the newspapers, the TV and the internet with stories saying how awful it was and what a rip-off and how so many families had been let down.
I am pleased to report that this was NOT the Lapland we went to; Lapland UK is in Kent www.laplanduk.co.uk and although very expensive, is well worth a trip.
Lapland New Forest is clearly a poor imitation and, from what I've read is a muddy hell hole where Santa can be seen by children having a fag with his beard off round the back off the grotto, while a nativity scene is crudely painted on a bill board! It sounds truly terrible (and has since closed).
I promised then to let you now a bit more about our Breakfast With Santa at the Wyevale Garden Centre near Hillingdon Hospital. You can see from the smiley faces in these two photos that the kids had fun - we all did.
It's a great concept where you all go as a family and have breakfast together and Santa comes out and joins you.
There are lots of children who have a fear of the big man in red in person and a one-on-one in a grotto is therefore completely terrifying - this would be perfect for them.
Santa appears with his sack and spends a bit of time talking to the children before handing out pressies. Enough time, hopefully, for those who are a bit nervous to be relaxed enough to get the elusive shot with Santa for the family album.
The day we went for Breakfast With Santa was one of the coldest days we've had and the conditions were arctic inside the garden centre. They can't have it nice and toasty otherwise the plants would die, so if you go, wear lots of layers if it's still nippy!
The food was plentiful though could have been hotter, but I'm sure it probably cooled down on its way from the kitchen to the table as it was such a cold day. They do serve excellent fresh (and boiling hot) coffee in the café, though, which warmed us up. [25cf] To find out more or to book call 01895 236 141.
THERE are loads of great Christmas fairs, special events and more going on locally so it would take too much space to list them all here.
The best place to check out the pick of what's on for families in Hillingdon this month is to look at the what's on section on www.netmums.com/hillingdon our wonderful resource for local families.