We are going on holiday over half term so the ‘I Can Spot’ books are going to come in useful for the journey. They have lovely pictures in them for children to spot. They are good because you can do them with someone else or on your own so they can keep you busy in the car. Some of the things are easy like animals and some are more difficult because they are very specific like ‘a lady carrying a brown handbag’ so whilst they are suitable for my toddler brother because they have nice clear pictures they are also still interesting enough for children Lottie’s age. Hopefully these will keep them busy during our long journey!
We also received Volume One of the Children’s Coffee Table Book This is amazing, I really like it. The pictures are so nice- they are all different things from around the world and are so interesting to look at. On the opposite side to the photos is a page with some information about each for the pictures, I have really enjoyed reading these pieces and have learnt some new things. I never would have thought to buy a coffee table book and I was surprised by how much I liked it. I think I will go back to it time and time again. This would make a lovely present for children age 8 plus.
We have loved everything we have seen from Two Little Boys, they do some great things for children and lots of nice stationary and gifts for adults, we would all recommend the things we have had from them and will definitely be using them for presents for other people.
My cousin is really lucky- she has a Flip Out Trampoline Park near to where she lives in East London- it’s quite a long way from us but it looks great and we are hoping to go there when we visit her.
We have been reading about Flip Out, in London E6 because they are letting us run a competition for our readers to win themselves a session! They aim to deliver massive amount of healthy, awesome fun which sounds good to me! They have huge trampolines, stunt box zones and a DJ but it’s more than just trampolines (although there is three floors of them to get started with!)
They also have twelve warrior climbing walls, I love climbing and these look awesome. You can dual on battle beams and dive into the foam pits or test out the 30 foot slide. There is even a 100m caving system and a Ninja Warrior Course! This is definitely not your average trampoline park!
If we lived nearer to here I think I would be asking to go to Flip Out all the time. There’s loads of different sessions to suit everyone- Family Time, Toddler Time, Students and even an After Dark Friday Party.
If you would like the chance to win for you and a friend to visit the amazing Flip Out Park in E6 then enter our fab competition below. Flip Out will even give the winners a Polar Krush Ice Drink each to cool down with after all that bouncing too!
We actually had a lot of fun looking through their online catalogue and choosing the balloons we would like- they have loads. I really like their Star Wars ones but funnily enough Lottie wasn’t keen on then for a Fairy Garden party! They had plenty of choice for any theme though and it gave us some great ideas for future parties we would like to have! In the end we had quite a long list of balloons we liked the look of and were able to start getting them organised.
The balloons arrived really quickly and we were even able to get the weights and ribbons we needed with them and as soon as our helium arrived we were ready to get them blown up for the party the next day.
The balloons looked absolutely amazing when they were inflated, Lottie thought they were beautiful. Some of them- like the trees and bumble bees are absolutely huge and the others inflated to be really round and looked really good.
When everyone started to arrive at the party the children were all really excited about the balloons- we put some of the normal latex balloons at the end of our path, there was a huge bumble bee outside the front door and some normal ones attached to the door, the children then went through to the garden where they were able to see loads of fantastic Tinker Bell balloons, another bumble bee, a huge butterfly and some pretty round flower and butterfly balloons.
My Mum had asked if we needed to do anything special to set the balloons up as Qualatex do some really fancy displays with arches and things that looked like they could be a bit tricky but these ones were very easy to set up- they suggested using a regulator to fill them to the right amount and that the round ones looked nice in groups of three of each of the same balloons. We grouped them like they suggested and they did looked really good in a small bunch and it meant they could be used to decorate each table.
All the parents said how much they liked the balloons and asked where we got them. The garden looked perfect for a fairy garden party, Lottie was so pleased with it.
At the end of the party we gave each of the children a balloon to take home with their party bags, they were very pleased to have one to keep especially when they found out they could be refilled.
The balloons that were left over lasted quite a long time after the party and still were completely inflated for our family tea party three days later and we really like the idea that they can be blown back up.
We loved the balloons, they looked brilliant and were great fun to set up and play with later. The people at Qualatex recommended a regulator when filling them and we didn’t managed to get one in time but my Dad said we definitely should use one next time as the round balloons could have been even bigger if he hadn’t been worried about bursting them, although they were still fantastic ever so slightly less filled!
If you have a Birthday, Christmas or Halloween party coming up soon we would definitely recommend you take a look at the Qualatex catalogue from Pioneer Europe. If you don’t have anything coming up then have a look anyway as you will probably then want to organise something!
I have loved cars since I was tiny and my Dad has watched just about every type of motorsport for as long as I can remember. One of my earliest memories is of staying with my Granny and Grandad when my Mum and Dad were invited to watch the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone and they came back with Brookland Bear for me, I watched it on the TV all day to try and see if I could spot them and I still have Brookland Bear!
I love anything to do with fast cars and over the Summer went to a Supercar event at Santa Pod and watched plenty of other racing events on television but one of the highlights of my Summer was going to Snetterton to watch BTCC.
I love the way the BTCC circuits are so different and the teams have to plan different things for each of them- sometimes they need to change the brake pads loads, other times it’s something else. It’s brilliant to see how different drivers are better on different tracks and I love the way that almost anything can happen and just about anyone can win depending on the circuit.
My favourite cars in BTCC is the BMW’s because they are so fast, although sometimes the rear-wheel drive can cause problems! I do like to watch Jason Plato drive though- my Dad likes the Subaru!
I really like going to BTCC, it always feels exciting and it’s a good day out for the whole family. We all like watching the racing and then there is loads of other things going on, last time we got to race remote control BMW’s before going in the pit lanes. Even my little brother gets excited- he likes the yellow cars best! I can’t wait for the final on Sunday and to see if Colin Turkington can win for BMW.
I was so excited to see that Scalextric have made a BTCC Touring Car Battle Set– it looks absolutely amazing. You can make four different tracks and it comes with Jack Goff’s BMW and ‘Flash’ Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic which look awesome. I can imagine playing this with my friends and having a real Championship of our own. It says it is suitable for ages 5+ and I know that both Lottie and I would love it, I think my Dad would want to play too so I think it would be great even for adults. I know when we had a Scalextric championship at our school fayre the grown ups didn’t let the children have much chance to play because they were enjoying it so much!
I am definitely adding this set to my Christmas wish list, it looks like it will be amazing!
I had the best day today because I have found out I am going to be going to the BTCC final at Brands Hatch on Sunday, I am so excited but just as exciting is that I am able to offer one reader a chance to win a pair of tickets (under 13’s go free with an adult) to be there as well AND one of these amazing Scalextric BTCC Touring Car Battle Sets thanks to Scalextric and DunlopBTCC – how lucky are you?! Don’t miss your chance to be there too!
I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Kate Scott’s book Giant to read and review over the Summer. It was so easy to get into that I read it over just a few sessions.
Giant is about Anzo who is 11 and very, very short. This probably wouldn’t be so bad if the rest of his family weren’t very very tall and everyone didn’t call him ‘peanut’. He gets teased at school and has to play ALL of the seven dwarfs in the school play. His family want to open a restaurant together and everyone has a job to do except Anzo. He wishes he was tall so that someone would notice him. It makes me feel sad for Anzo that he is so worried he will never fit in.
Anzo’s friend Elise suggests he tries positive thinking. He is not convinced but gives it a go. All of a sudden, over a week, Anzo starts to grow and grow. However, Anzo soon learns that being tall perhaps wasn’t the answer to all his problems. Anzo starts to learn that if you want things to change you have to change them yourself. He starts to follow his dreams of becoming a comic book creator and goes on an adventure with Elise.
I really enjoyed this book. It was a great story while covering topics like being proud of who you are and how everyone is different. It made me feel sad at times when it made me think about how sometimes people at school can be horrible but it was good at reminding me to be kind to other people and that everyone has different strengths. I like how it shows it doesn’t matter who you are, you can still do anything you want if you try hard enough.
I think this was a book about feeling different and being lonely but also about friendship and having courage. This book is aimed at 8 to 11 year olds and I think this is about right. I am sure my sister would enjoy the story but she is perhaps a bit young to understand it all, whereas if you are a bit further through school you have probably felt exactly as Anzo has. I think this would be a great book to read as a class, from year 3 onwards as it would have lots of things for the teacher to discuss that are relevant to their children.
As you might have seen already Lottie loves fairy gardens. She even had a fairy garden party for her birthday party the other week. She loves to create her own little secret fairy gardens and when she found out that she was being sent some things from Gardens2You to turn our family garden into a fairy garden she was really excited.
Our garden needed a lot of work at the beginning of the Summer and it has never really been safe for small children so Mum and Dad were very happy when one of our friends who is really good at gardening offered to help make it safe so my little brother could go out and play. This soon went from being a quick tidy up project to a full garden make over and our friend even learnt how to concrete and put in new steps!
I had lots of things to do like cutting the grass, cutting hedges down and generally helping tidy up but fortunately unlike the rest of us Lottie has got what my Mum says are ‘green fingers’ (I think she means messy hands!) and she got involved in all the planting and helping build a rockery which she loved. She has learnt lots about planting and looking after plants, which I think she will share in another post, but mostly loved creating her own little fairy garden.
Once it was planted and filled we used the main flower bed for most of the area secret fairy garden and made our own magical stepping stones using old baking trays filled with concrete and setting glass gems in it in patterns, we then topped up the concrete and let it set for a few days before turning the stones out to place in the garden. These stepping stones looked great but we needed something special to turn it into a proper fairy garden. The people at Gardens2You had sent us a bundle of fairy items and Lottie decided the Strawberry Pixies would be perfect to live here- she loved then, they look very cheeky and she likes the idea of them watching out for fairies!
We then had to find the perfect spot for our fairy door– Lottie says this comes to life at night when we are all asleep so the fairies can bring their treasure back. We tried a couple of different spots- against the wall, in among some flowers and against the flower pot- Lottie likes it best against the flower pot so I think we are going to attach it here for her. The door is really nice because it is quite heavy and thick and can be used in lots of different places.
We haven’t yet found a permeant place for the little pixie twins and the toadstools because Lottie keeps liking taking them out to play with. She thinks they like hiding behind the plants! We think they are great because they still look lovely even after being in the garden for weeks and also because they are strong enough to cope with being played with.
Lottie loves her fairy garden and has been looking at the Gardens2You website to decide what else she would like to add to her collection!
We have been trying out different recipes for Rice Krispie cake and we think this is the best one yet! I had lots of fun breaking up the chocolate and stirring all the ingredients together. I didn’t really like waiting for it to set for too long though!
2x Fingers of fudge
70g any other chocolate (we used up leftover mini Easter Eggs!)
4 level tablespoons of golden syrup
75g of Rice Krispies
25g of mini marshmallows
Grease a baking and line a baking tray.
Melt all the chocolate, butter and syrup in a saucepan
Remove from the heat and stir in the rice crispies
Allow to cool for a few minutes and then stir in the marshmallows
Put in the fridge for about an hour and a half before taking out and cutting into squares. Pop them back in the fridge for a bit longer (after testing one or two!)
It’s my sister’s birthday today and she has been excited about it for ages. She had been planning her birthday Fairy Garden Party for months! We had it on Friday and she said it was the best party ever! I promised her I would write about it because she was too busy enjoying herself to take photos!
The Fairy Garden Party invitations were made by Diana Evans Artist and each was a tiny glass bottle with a fairy charm inside a jewellery pouch- inside the glass bottle was a glittery scroll with the party details on it, Lottie loved giving these out because they were so unusual and all her friends were excited to get a secret message in a bottle.
It was easy to decide where to hold it because the best place for a fairy garden party has to be in the garden. It did take quite a lot of work getting our garden tidied up and ready but luckily one of our family friends loves gardening and had lots of great ideas and did loads of work to make sure it was safe for everyone.
With garden looking nice we didn’t need too much in the way of decorations, just a few banners but we also wanted something eye catching that showed it was a fairy garden party rather than any other party. We were so pleased with the balloons we were sent from Qualatex UK as they really helped with the theme. We are going to review them in a separate post but they are definitely essential to anyone planning a fairy garden party and made the whole garden look amazing.
Lottie was only having a few children come so it meant we could get a few extra treats and activities for each of them than we would normally do. We got fairy wings and wands for the girls and an elf hat for the boys for when they arrived which they all loved.
We started off with making fairy gardens, we had got some large flat pots and mixed some top soil with sand. We put a little bit of gravel in the bottom for drainage and then added the soil and sand mix. The grown ups helped the children plant their plants- marigolds and little alpine plants. Then the children were able to choose from a selection of fairies, elves, houses, bridges, signs, benches, little creatures, ponds, and sparkly stones to decorate their gardens and had a lovely time doing this. They all looked amazing and everybody had make them different.
It was soon time for some food so the children all had lots of party treats and a few special fairy garden foods including twigs and berries (pretzels, blueberries and strawberries) snails (homemade cheese twists) and toadstools (strawberries on marshmallows). They then all tucked into ice-cream factory which isn’t very Fairy Garden but is really popular with all our friends!
After the children had eaten we got out lots of other fairy arts and crafts we had ordered from Baker Ross. They were able to colour in stain glass creatures, make fairy mirrors, decorate heart shaped boxes and do fairy scratch art. The children stayed busy for ages doing their crafts.
Then it was time to sing happy birthday. We had planned to make Lottie a toadstool cake but found a really nice Woodland one from Tesco which we ordered in the end. It was really tasty!
We then had a fairy treasure hunt in the garden and it was soon time for the children to go home. They loved their party bag treats- they all got a fairy book and some sweets and were able to take home their wings and wands, all their arts and their fairy gardens which will grow so went home with lots of goodies- they even had a beautiful fairy balloon each to take thanks to Qualatex UK!
Lottie loved her party- she said it was her best one ever and all her friends seemed to enjoy it. I had fun too because when I didn’t have to help I got to have an Xbox tournament with the other older brothers!
My Mum is feeling quite happy at the moment, she has already sorted out one of the jobs she hates the most for the school holidays and can tick it off her list! She has got our school shoes already and she didn’t even have to leave our house!
A while ago my sister tested Term Footwear’s wellies and loved them, she still wears them all the time and gets a bit cross when our little brother takes to try and walk in so I was pleased to try their school shoes for myself and see what she was making a fuss about!
I was able to choose a pair of Term’s school shoes a few week’s before the school holidays. We printed off the size guide and were able to measure my feet easily at home. Obviously then my brother and sister had to have a go too! Then we went on the website and choose the shoes we liked the best. There was a really good choice for children of all ages, with lots of styles, all which would have been ok for our school uniform rules. We ordered a pair in the size I had measured and they arrived two days later. My Mum was a bit wary about measuring me herself but they came in exactly the size we had checked and fitted perfectly.
I expected to have to wear them around the house a bit to get them comfy enough for school but actually they were comfortable enough straight away. My Mum said I should wear them before the holiday for a couple of weeks in case I grew again and didn’t get to try them (I am currently outgrowing all my clothes and think I am going to be taller than her soon!) but to try not to ruin them straight away! I think she was amazed that they still look as good as new two weeks later as that never happens. I have played football in them, run around the playground and even been to the park in them and they still look really good.
We would definitely recommend Term footwear for school shoes- I loved how comfortable they were and my Mum loved how much choice there was, how easy it was to order and how well they fitted. I am so happy not to have to be dragged out school shoe shopping next week!
We have a great end to the school holidays planned- we are off to Wellington Country Park between Reading and Basingstoke on 2nd and 3rd September for Refresh Festival.
Refresh Festival is an outdoor health and fitness festival for all the family. It is being hosted by Dame Kelly Holmes and there is going to be lots of workshops and activities that people of all ages can join in with however sporty they are.
The event runs both on the Saturday and the Sunday and you can either go for both days or just one but there is so much going on then I think a weekend pass will be the best way to do everything.
There are eight different zones- Regenerate Zone has workout sessions, Re-Energise has performances, Revitalise Zone has workshops and nutritional advice, the Recharge Zone is running Pilates and Yoga sessions, In the Revive Zone there is reflexology and spa treatments, Refuel Zone is full of juice bars and healthy food, the Relax zone is perfect to just relax and recover and the Rejuvenate Zone gives you chance to do some shopping from local traders.
I can’t wait to see TEAM3RUN who are performing at Refresh and Lottie is looking forward to trying Yoga with Young Yogis .There is even something for Sam because Mr Bloom will be there too! I am looking forward to getting my Dad to come and visit The Travelling Puzzle Emporium who are going to be there with a portable mini golf course which should be fun, and hopefully he will do some workshops with me. I think my Mum will be able to fill most of her time between the Revive zone and the Rejuvenate Zone!
On the Sunday there is even a Children’s Sports Day- you can sign up in advance to take part in different Sports Day events such as the Egg and Spoon Race, the Sack Race and the 100m within your age group. The winners even get medals presented by Dame Kelly Holmes.
I think it looks like Refresh Festival is going to be an awesome way for us to finish the school holidays and think it will be well worth a look for families looking for something fun to do, tickets are available here and start from £25 for a day with under 13’s going free.
We are pleased to be able to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a family ticket for either the Saturday or Sunday- Good Luck!