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The 13th Reality Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner Review

“How lucky that you’ve found my message!

Reality is in danger of splitting at the seams and I hope you have the courage of heart to help. You will soon receive twelve clues: solve them and face an important destiny; don’t and many lives will be at risk.

The decision is yours.

M.G”

Atticus Higginbottom, Tick to his family, is a normal 13 year old boy. He doesn’t know anyone in Alaska so who could possibly be sending him letters from there, warning that dangerous events have been set in motion? Surely the strange message is someone playing a joke on him, or his sister, Lisa, playing a trick…but then would Lisa use words like ‘despicably’ or ‘indubitably’- probably not, and how would she manage to get an Alaskan postmark on an envelope?

Tick can’t quite bring himself to destroy the letter, even though the mysterious writer gave him the chance to burn it and stop the madness and despite the strange things that are happening when the next one arrives he feels he has made the right choice. However, even Tick, who is so clever that his Dad calls him The Professor, has to do some serious thinking to work out the riddles involved.

As the letters build up and the clues prove more difficult Tick turns to the internet to see if anyone else has received the strange letters, he eventually finds Sophia and Paul who are in the same situation and after some scary situations they finally meet up…in a different reality. Can they work together to help M.G stop dangerous Mistress Jane in time?

Luke’s Review- The 13th Reality, Journal of Curious Letters

I loved this book, it took me a couple of chapters to really get into it but once I did I couldn’t put it down. By the end of chapter three I wanted to read it all in one go! I really wanted to work out the clues with Tick and they all got me thinking. I can’t think that I have ever read a book like this before, it’s sort of a mix of science fiction, maths and magic and starts you thinking of lots of different things.

This book moves quickly as something interesting happens in each chapter and you just want to keep reading for the next clue, strange event or interesting character.

James Dashner introduces the idea of Quantum Physics in The 13th Reality which I had heard of but didn’t understand- I am still not sure I understand it but it definitely makes a bit more sense and sounds more interesting now!

I like the way that this book makes you think about how one small thing can have an impact on so many other things and how if you just change one thing it can completely change the outcome of something.

I thought the friendships in the book were good- Tick is badly bullied at school and he is very self conscious but his new friends are proper friends and they don’t notice any of the things that worry Tick- it is like he has found his group and he can be himself. I also liked how Tick was able to talk to his Dad later on in the book and tell him all the things that were worrying him and how his Dad helped him face everything.

I really can’t wait to read the next book in the series as I am desperate to know what happens next in the Realities. I would say The 13th Reality is probably best for children my age and over so probably 9+ but would also be enjoyed by children a fair bit older too.

Information from Mum

The 13th Reality Journal of Curious Letters is out on 8th February. You can find out what other book bloggers thought by following the Blog Tour over the next few weeks. Also check out Luke’s own version of alternative realities here-it’s made up entirely from books he has read- we’d love to know what would make up your favourite version of reality too!

 

 

Family Fever

 

Disclaimer: Sweet Cherry Publishing sent us a copy of The 13th Reality for review purposes but all thoughts are our own. 

 

 

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The 13th Reality… and Our New Realities!

We loved The 13th Reality Journal of Curious Letters  by James Dashner,  I can’t wait for the next one and we were excited to be involved when Sweet Cherry Publishing asked us to join in with their blog tour tag questions and think about our own new realities… we would love to know your suggestions too!

These are the new Realities we are creating purely from the book we could take with us!

1. No one can speak and you can only communicate through the words in one book.

The Dictionary!- I think even if no one could speak you could still point to plenty of different words and find a way to communicate this way. A BSL dictionary would be even better as then everyone would be able to learn to use Sign Language which would be brilliant.

2. The only other people that exist are the characters in one book

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton- lots of adventures with good friends sounds like a good reality to me!

3. The reality takes the form of a fantasy universe of one book.

I would live in Erkenwald, from Abi Elphinstone’s Sky Song, it might be cold but it would be brilliant being part of a tribe and learning how to live in the wild. Not so sure I would be keen on hiding from an Ice Queen who wanted to steal my voice though!

4. The reality only consists of the colours from one book cover

My little brother’s copy of ‘We’re going on a Bear Hunt’ – lots of different colours on this book cover which would make a good colourful reality.

5. You become the main character of which book

Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…mmmm chocolate!

6. You have the supernatural ability of a character from one book.

Peter Pan- I could fly and I wouldn’t have to grow up!

7. The season of the book you choose will be the permanent season of this reality.

I would choose Narnia as then it would be winter… it might be cold but my birthday is in Winter!

8. The best friend character of the book you choose will become your best friend.

Shawn from The Edge of Extinction by Laura Martin would be good- he gave up his safe life underground to help his friend Sky with her mission even knowing it was likely he wouldn’t survive topside, that’s definitely the kind of friend you need beside you!

9. Pick a book based on animals. This is your new reality.

Charlotte’s web- love the idea of talking animals!

10. Pick a book set in a different time period. This is your new reality

Hmm struggling on this one because a lot of the ones I like are set during wars which I wouldn’t choose to live in. I need to think of a book from the future really- any ideas??

11. Your new reality only allows one book to film adaptation, which one do you choose?

Any Harry Potter… I am hoping that I would get away with the whole series though!

12. Your new reality has lots of really tall people. Which is the longest book you have ever read?

The last Harry Potter, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- but it was so good I got through it really quickly

13. You’re only allowed to read one book in this reality, which book do you pick?

The Roald Dahl Treasury, it’s got lots of stories, poems and rhymes in it so if I couldn’t read anything else it would still keep me busy.

Don’t forget to read our review of The 13th Reality and follow the blog tour to find out everyone else’s answers to the questions! Over to Charlotte, Somewhere next!

James Dashner’s The 13th Reality is out on 8th February 2018!

 

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Decorating my Bedroom – Photowall Canvas Review and a Reader Discount Code

I was asked if I would like to review a canvas or wallpaper from Photowall and was really excited about choosing something nice for my bedroom. They had loads of different ideas you could choose from and you could even have your own one made from your own photograph.

I really liked the Fast Car ones and Football ones but I decided to continue with the Star Wars theme in my bedroom as just about everything else is! This was a really good choice as they had pages of ideas I could choose from. It took me days and days to decide which one I wanted as they were all brilliant and I finally narrowed it down to my four favourites so we could see which would fit best into the space.

My bedroom is quite small (that’s ok though because I don’t have to share with my brother or sister!) but we still managed to fit a really big canvas in- Photowall can do them absolutely huge and you could cover a whole wall with one if you wanted!

The canvas I eventually picked

 

When we ordered the canvas we entered the sizes into the site and adjusted them up and down to make sure the picture worked properly without cutting anything off,  then the site gave us a preview to check, showing us exactly what it would look like with the DIY frame and we were then able to place our order

It arrived really quickly, just a few days later, in a long thin box and one evening when I was in bed my Dad clipped it together, it was a good surprise in the morning as it looked amazing!

I absolutely love my Star Wars canvas, it is a really good picture and it looks fantastic in my bedroom. Everyone who has seen it has said how much they like it and my brother and sister are now looking at one for their bedroom- my little brother wants the BB8 one but my sister would like to go for another theme like the Space and liked the Full Moon one- although she does like the Princess one too. They do so many different ideas, both for adults and children, it’s really tempting to get more than one!

My canvas looks brilliant with some of my LEGO

 

A Note from My Mum:

Luke loves his new canvas and we were impressed with how much choice there was- Photowall had something suitable for every room of our house and the prices are very reasonable.

We were a little bit wary of the idea of the DIY frame as I was concerned about damaging the canvas but after initially being a little apprehensive it was actually very straightforward and quick to do. We found the instructions in the package helpful but actually it was the video demonstration on Photowall’s YouTube channel that showed us how easy it was and gave us the confidence to just get on an do it! It was actually very quick to put together and hangs beautifully on the wall- it looks really good.

Easy to follow instructions

 

I am planning on getting a couple more for other rooms and would very much recommend Photowall to anyone looking for something special for their house- I am quite keen to try uploading my image for printing as well.

We are so pleased that Photowall have offered us an exclusive discount code for our readers to use across their fantastic range- just enter code WLDNCampaign2018 when you checkout and enjoy 20% off Voucher is valid for the next 30 days only!

Next on our shopping list!

Disclaimer- We were given a Star Wars canvas of our choice for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions remain our own

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My Favourite Things- Lottie age 6

Luke wrote out all his favourite things the other day and now he has asked me all the same questions. Here are my answers:

My favourite film-

Frozen

My Favourite Food-

Sausage and Chips

My Favourite Television Programme-

Barbie and Miraculous

My Favourite Board Game-

Monopoly Junior and Scrabble Junior

Favourite Author-

Roald Dahl

My Favourite book-

Charlotte’s Web and anything by Roald Dahl especially the poems

My Favourite computer game-

Disney Infinity

My Favourite Chocolate-

Creme Egg

My Favourite Sport-

Dance

Favourite collectible

Shopkins and Zomlings

I wonder what I will chose for the answers next year?

By Lottie age 6, help from Luke

 

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Family Game Night- Quick thinking with Think Words

We have been enjoying our family games nights again the last few weekends and last week tried out Think Words by John Adams.

This game is aimed at age 8 plus but we all had lots of fun playing it together and whilst Lottie needed a few more seconds she didn’t find it too difficult most of the time.

In the Think Words box is 80 cards and a spinner with all the instructions you need. You get  a choice of 7 different versions to play so this can keep you busy for ages! Each card has a large letter on one side and four different coloured categories on the other. We started off with the straightforward game of putting 8 letter cards around the spinner and taking turns to spin it, the first person got the colour and everyone had to try and think of a word for that letter from the colour category that it matched- if you were the first one to shout it out then you got to win that letter, at the end of the game the person who had the most letters was the winner.

We liked the fact there were so many different ways to play and that you could also make your own rules as well. Lottie did find a few of the categories a bit hard but I think the age rating of 8 is about right.

Think Words is a good game to take away with you too as it packs up small, we took it to our friends at Christmas which was fun- we liked that you could play it just as well with 2 players as you could 8- although it turns out it is perhaps best not to make up your own rules with 8 people as it can lead to arguments! Even with a bit of bickering this the game was really funny especially when you were trying desperately to think of an answer really quickly.

The only little slightly bad thing we found with this game is that it doesn’t store very well in the box (it’s got a cut out bit to display the cards) and we had to find a different little box to store it in nothing too bad but worth being aware of so you don’t loose your cards!

I am looking forward to playing with some other friends after school next week- although I will steer clear of making up my own rules so we are all still friends at the end of it!

Family Fever

Disclaimer: We were sent the Think Words Game to review but all thoughts are our own.

 

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My Favourite Things – Luke age 10

One of the things I have really liked about blogging is seeing how much I have changed over the last few years and what I used to like when I was younger compared to what I like now. So here are some of my favourite things at the moment, just after my 10th birthday, I wonder which of them will still be the same next year!

My favourite film-

Star Wars The Last Jedi

My Favourite Food

My favourite food is spaghetti bolognaise or homemade chocolate mousse

My Favourite Television Programme

The Grand Tour

My Favourite Board Game

Chess

Favourite Author

Abi Elphinstone and JK Rowling

My Favourite book-

The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone or anything by Roald Dahl

My Favourite computer game-

Fifa

My Favourite Chocolate

Terry’s chocolate orange

My Favourite Sport-

Hockey and Karting

My Favourite collectible

Match Attax

 

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Family Game Night- Fun with Telestrations

Now that Christmas is over we have started up our family games night again on a Saturday evening, We make sure we have plenty of snacks and drinks ready and get set up for a fun night. The other week we played Telestrations by John Adams for the first time. I had seen the adverts for it and thought it looked fun so was excited to give it a go. Initially the instructions seemed a little bit complicated but we soon got to grips with it and were drawing our pictures and passing our books on over and over again and it was actually really easy.

Telestrations is for age 8 plus so we added a bit of extra time for Lottie to do her drawings because she is younger and we let her pick the colour topic for the drawings as some were a bit complicated for her to understand but otherwise just got on with it.

 

You pick a colour on the card and everyone writes that word on the first page of their book (they have already put their name in it) and then you set the timer and begin drawing the word. When the timer rings you pass your book to the next player whether you have finished drawing or not. They then get a certain time to try and guess what they think you have drawn. They write their best guess on the next page before passing it on to the next player. The book then gets passed to the next player who reads the guess and draws what they see that guess as before their time runs out. Finally you pass it back to the original player who gets to see what the last drawing is and what people have guessed their original artwork to be. This is where it gets really funny- some of the guesses are no where near the original drawing- it’s a bit like playing a drawing version of the game where you whisper and see what the person at the end of the circle hears and it is even funnier.

You then rub out the drawings and start all over again with a new card. I like the way it is all reusable and you can play over and over again without wasting loads of paper.

I don’t think you have to be good at drawing to play this game. In fact it’s funnier if you are not. I think this will be a brilliant game to play after a family dinner and is good to play with lots of people. It’s a great game because people of all ages can play it together and everyone is able to join in equally so it’s a real family game.

We are excited to be able to give away a game of Telestrations to one lucky family- we are sure you will enjoy it as much as us so to get you started we are asking you to us the link below to tweet us using the hashtag #telestrationsontwitter your guess as to what my drawing below is!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Baking for Kids- Really Gooey Flapjack

These flapjacks are really quick to make and taste AMAZING. They are delicious warm but I think they taste even better the next day, especially after a day of school!

Ingredients

250g Porridge Oats

125g unsalted butter

125g soft brown sugar

3 tablespoons of golden syrup

Method

Heat the oven to 180C

Line a baking tray (about 20cm square) with greaseproof paper and then grease with extra butter to stop it sticking

Heat the butter in a saucepan being very careful of the heat and when it is melted stir in the sugar.

Stir for a minute before adding the porridge oats and mix them in until they are coated with the butter and sugar

Add the golden syrup and mix in until it is spread across all the oats

Carefully take the mixture off the heat and then spread out and press down hard into the pan.

Get an adult to help you with the oven and cook for around 15 minutes until the flapjack is lightly browned.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before taking out and letting it cool on a cooling rack for a while.

You can then cut it into squares- it should make 12- 15 but I bet you won’t be able to resist just having one piece!

 

 

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Making a list and checking it Twice…Santa Claus is Coming to Wyevale!

We were lucky enough to be invited to go to Wyevale Garden Centre at Bicester Avenue and have afternoon tea with Father Christmas and so we headed over there the other weekend.

When we arrived at Wyevale we felt very festive because they had a brilliant wintery display of polar bears in the entrance and lots of decorations around and about. We weren’t sure where we needed to go but within a couple of seconds of looking at the signs an elf came over and asked if he could help us and took us straight through to the right place. There were lots of other families having afternoon tea at the same time but it was a big room and it didn’t feel too full. The decorations made it seem very Christmassy and each child’s place had a ginger man with some treats to decorate it with and everyone had a Christmas cracker to pull.

Once we had pulled our Christmas crackers and explained to my little brother that he didn’t need to put the cracker on his head and actually the hat was inside it our food soon arrived.

We had requested our choices beforehand so these were all ready with hardly any waiting  but they were still nice and hot and freshly cooked. Lottie and our brother had both chosen sausages, chips and peas and I had chicken nuggets, chips and peas. Mine was really nice but I wished I had chosen the sausages because I had a piece of Lottie’s and it was LOVELY!

My Mum and Dad had the Afternoon Tea and that looked really nice. They had little sandwiches, lemon mousse, scones with jam and cream, macaroons and some yummy cakes- we helped them eat some of it as there was plenty to go round!

The reindeer had his eye on the scones!

 

The sausages were delicious!

 

Once we had eaten our meals there was some time to decorate our ginger men and the ‘Elves’ came round and chatted to us- they were really good as Lottie and Sam found them very funny when they were playing around and joking with us.

All the children then got up and sang some songs and did actions which my little brother absolutely loved, especially because there were bells to ring as well.

It was soon time for Santa to arrive and each family got to go up to the grotto in turn and chat to him. We were the last ones but it wasn’t too long a wait, my brother is two and he had only just started to get impatient when it was our turn so that can’t have been too bad- we think it helped there was colouring and plenty to look at in the room.

We had our chat with Santa and he was very jolly- Lottie is convinced he was the ‘real’ Santa because he looked so good and had proper glasses! We thought that my brother might be scared but he was very happy and asked ‘Father Christmas Nee Naw please’ which was very sweet.

After we had seen Father Christmas we were allowed to go and choose one of the toys to take home. The Elves told us they were testing some toys they were making at the North Pole and we could try one- Lottie loved that idea and she was very happy to choose a pony toy. Sam picked a racing car and he wanted me to have one of those too so we have one in blue and one in red! There was a great selection of toys to choose from.

We had a really nice time at the Wyevale Garden CentreTea with Santa, it was a good afternoon for all the family and we all enjoyed ourselves. We think this is one of the nicest ways to visit Santa and make a fun outing out of it- perfect if you have children of different ages as there was lots the younger ones enjoyed and nice treats for the older children too.

 

 

Disclaimer: We were invited for Afternoon Tea at Wyevale Bicester Avenue in exchange for our review- all thoughts and opinions are our own

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Presents Under a Palm Tree!

I love having Christmas at home, we buy our tree, visit a Santa, see lots of friends and eat lots of food but I have always wondered what it would be like having Christmas abroad and I do think I would like to try it one year, I bet it would be brilliant. Imagine it being hot enough to go on the beach on Christmas Day!

The people at Destination2 have asked what we think Christmas abroad might be like, we had lots of fun imagining what we might expect. I would love to go to Ras Al Khaimah which is one of the seven Emirates in the UAE. My Mum went there before I was born and she has always wanted to go back for a holiday with us.

We think that Christmas would be the perfect time to go, it would be much warmer than here but it wouldn’t be too hot that you couldn’t do lots of things. I think we would be able to buy all the presents we need easily- they have a huge shopping mall which would be a good place to start and then we could visit the souk and try out our bargaining techniques to get a good deal on the rest.

I have been reading about Ras Al Khaimah and I think that would make Christmas a great time to visit, it sounds like it would be a really nice atmosphere. You could visit one of the Churches if you wanted to or you could go to the tree lighting or carol services put on at many of the hotels.

If you go at the right time you could even pop across to Abu Dhabi for Winterfest and see all the excitement going on there- I think that might be a bit like going to Winter Wonderland with Ice Skating and shows and rides.

I wonder what it would be like with so much sand at Christmas? I can’t imagine going in the sea on Christmas Day but perhaps we could build a sandman instead of a snowman! We could use shells for the buttons and eyes and seaweed for his scarf!

Lottie and I think that Santa’s reindeer might not be used to the heat so perhaps they get a rest when he gets there and he lets the camels take over pulling the sleigh. I wonder if one can do it all on their own or if he would need a whole lot of them- my Mum went to a camel farm and she said it was a bit smelly but I suppose Santa might be used to that with his reindeer!

Father Christmas dashing over the palm trees with his red nose camel!

 

We would really like it if the Palm Trees were all decorated with tinsel, lights and baubles and if the presents were left underneath them!

I don’t know what food they would eat in Ras Al Khaimah for Christmas dinner, I know you can get all sorts of things like you do in the UK but I would love to imagine it was a huge feast with a long table full of delicious foods and that it would last a really long time with lots of yummy desserts.

I know exactly what present I would like if I visited Ras Al Khaimah for Christmas- I would LOVE to go on one of the desert safaris in an open top jeep, it looks amazing. My Mum said it was brilliant and terrifying at the same time. I would send her on a camel ride which she has done twice before and said ‘never again’ about!!

I think it would be great fun to go abroad for Christmas and would love to do that one year. We had lots of fun looking at the Destination2 website  and imaging where we would choose!

Lottie wanted me to draw her a palm tree to decorate!

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post written for Destination2