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Are we nearly there yet? Games for a long car journey

As we get towards Summer people are starting to get excited about their holidays. I thought I would give you some ideas of games you can play on a long journey so you arrive on your holiday without too much shouting and grumpiness!

Yellow Car

This is our on-going car game for any journey. My Mum’s friend told us about it and we have played it ever since. There is no winner and no loser (except my sister and I still manage to argue about it!) and the game never ends. Basically it doesn’t matter where you are in the World or what you are doing, if you see a yellow car you have to shout ‘YELLOW CAR’. My little brother does not yet know his colours but he does recognise yellow! The only time this game gets old is when driving past a post sorting office in France!

I went to the Shops…

This is a memory game that runs through the alphabet- the first person starts with ‘I went to the shops and brought an apple (anything beginning with A), the next person says ‘I went to the shops and brought an apple and a banana (anything beginning with B) and so on through the whole alphabet… by the time you get halfway through it gets very tricky to remember whatever everyone else has said.

I Spy…

Everyone knows how to play ‘I Spy…’ it’s the perfect game when you are on a long drive, especially on country roads where there is lots to see.

Car Bingo

My friend and I created an alphabet of all the cars we could think of and managed to cover every letter and now we both use them to either play bingo with or I spy with when we are out in the car- you get the most amount of points for a yellow lamborghini!

Twenty questions

You have to think of a thing or a person and the other people can ask up to twenty questions before they have to guess what you are thinking about.

Name that Tune

You need a spare adult in the front who isn’t the driver for this one, they just have to play a few seconds of a song and then everyone guesses what they think it is. You can do it just for fun or you can give points to how quickly the correct answer is given.

Hopefully these ideas might make long journeys go a bit quicker-we would love to know if you have any others you play in your car- especially before we go on our ten hour drive to France in a couple of months!

 

Lots of points for spotting a yellow Lamborghini!

 

 

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Book Review- On The Trail Of The Missing Pets by Marianne Su Yin

It’s always great to come across a new author who you haven’t seen before and I love it when I find a book that is very different to any others I have read before so was pleased when Marianne Su Yin contacted me and asked if I would review her new book- On The Trail Of The Missing Pets, A Mystery In History.

I really like history and have enjoyed reading fact books about World War Two for a long time but I haven’t read any fiction before so this was something a bit different.

It follows the story of Violet Vintage and her dog Spike who travel back in time by using a wardrobe of magic clothes and accessories and this time they find themselves in 1944 in bombed London. All the pets have run off in fright when the bombs were going off and Violet and Spike make friends with their owners and promise to track them down. The mystery is where could they have all gone?

Spike and Violet hatch a plan and travel around London hunting down the person who appears to be taking the pets but will they track him down?

I really enjoyed the style of this book- it’s written in rhyming though the whole thing which is really clever and the drawings are brilliant with lots of detail-my favourite drawing was the very last one, I won’t say what it was off but I like the way it was mainly black and white with certain things in colour.

On The Trail Of The Missing Pets is a good story, suitable for younger children, especially because of the rhyming style it is written in but it’s also got quite a lot of facts in so it’s good for older children too- I didn’t know Buckingham Palace was bombed nine times in a row and that the Royal Family decided to stay.

After the story there was several pages of information about WW2 that was really interesting and had lots of facts that I didn’t know so I especially enjoyed this addition to the story.

I enjoyed this book very much, it was a quick read for my age but I would go back and read it again and my sister loved it being read to her so I would probably suggest it was suitable for children age 6 to 10.

I am looking forward to Violet and Spike’s next adventure!

 

Family Fever
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Star Wars Aquabeads Set Review

My sister was recently sent a Disney Princess Aquabeads set to review which she loved. I wasn’t so sure if it would be my kind of thing but I kept watching over her shoulder and helping her out with bits and pieces so I was pleased when Aquabeads asked if I would like to review a set myself.

I was happy to have a go but wasn’t sure if they would really have anything for older children- although I would have been happy with just making patterns I wasn’t so keen on princesses! Aquabeads got it just right though by sending me their Star Wars set so I could make C3PO, R2D2, Darth Vader or a Stoorm Trooper.

This set is great, like the others it is all set out in compartments so you can find the right colours quickly and easily and is really easy to set up. I was able to get straight on and decided to make C3PO. My sister gets a lot of craft type gifts and while I like doing this sort of activity there aren’t really many specifically aimed at my age so I really enjoyed having something to make, not only to doing some craft but to make something I was happy to have in my bedroom afterwards.

 

I actually found it quite relaxing to sit and put the beads in the right place and follow the colour patterns, it was a nice activity to do after I had finished my homework. My Mum enjoyed the peace and quiet of my and me sister sitting together doing our Aquabead sets!

I had no problem with getting it to set, I just used plenty of water and left it before removing it from the template ready to make another one.

I was really pleased with how C3PO came out and am going to be making R2D2 next. I thought this was a great set as it appeals to both boys and girls from age 4 right up to my age and it was easy to get on and do it without needing an adult around to help.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I was sent a set of Star Wars Aquabeads to review but all thoughts are my own

 

 

 

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Clever Tykes Books Review and Free Books for Primary Schools

I was pleased when a set of Clever Tykes books arrived in the post for me to review recently as I love having something new to read.

This set contains three books- Walk-It Willow, Code-It Cody and Change-it Cho and all three feature stories about children using their skills for a project or venture, facing challenges along the way and how they overcome them.

My favourite was Code-It Cody but my sister liked Walk-It Willow best, we both thought this one was quite funny, but they were all good and we both enjoyed all three.

I liked the way there were lessons within each story that the main character learnt and also that they made the point that even grown ups make mistakes when trying something new so it doesn’t mean you have to give up. I also enjoyed the way that the books encourage you to come up with new ideas of things you can do using your own skills. There were lots of ideas and advice within the stories for children wanting to learn a bit about running a business but because it’s in the story it doesn’t feel like you are learning which is great for children my age.

The books are easy to read for my age group and are a nice fairly quick story to enjoy, they are a little harder for my sister’s age but she enjoyed them being read to her. I think because of the message within them the books are correctly aimed at KS2 children but they are also good for slightly younger children to enjoy the stories. The illustrations are great too and there are plenty throughout to break it up for less confident readers. I also really like the type of print they have used in the book as it is very easy to read.

The books are sponsored by an initiative by Lloyds Banking Group which means they are offered free in Primary Schools- I had actually already seen one of them on my class bookshelf!

To find out more about the books you can visit the Clever Tykes website where you can buy them individually or as a set to read at home but if you are a primary school then you could visit the Clever Tykes Primary Enterprise Education  page where you can sign up for your school and access free books and teaching materials.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I was sent a set of Clever Tykes books for review purposes but all comments are my own

 

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Our Day Out with Summer Saturdays at Newmarket Race Course

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when we were invited to Newmarket Race Course for the first of their Family Fun Summer Saturdays last weekend. I have been horse racing before and enjoyed looking at the horses and watching the racing but had found it was often quite a long day without much for kids to do.

I was excited to hear that Newmarket Race Course had a play area that had recently been renovated and thought that might make the day more interesting for me, my sister and brother but actually it was nothing like the horse racing I had been to before and we all had a brilliant time from start to finish.

The racing was starting at 1:25 and we arrived in good time to have a good look round before things got going. We were hugely spoilt as the people at the Race Course gave us a delicious picnic. We were taken to the Family Enclosure where you are able to enjoy a picnic and there were plenty of places to sit and eat it. We got set up on one of the benches next to the track- there is quite a lot of benches and the are all in good view of the finishing line.

The family enclosure was soon busying up and lots of people were arriving and getting set up for the afternoon. We had a bit of a play in Rowley’s Play Area before settling down to eat. Before long it was time for the first race, I helped my Dad choose a horse and it was very exciting when it won.

 

We then decided to have go exploring- as well as the family enclosure passes we had Premium Passes which meant we could go in the other sections, there was lots of things to see and plenty of places to buy all sorts of things- we even added to our game collection by getting Dad a limited edition Newmarket Race Course Monopoly set for Father’s Day!

We headed round to the parade ring and got to see the horses after they had finished the second race, it was brilliant to see them so close up.

After our walk around we went back to the family enclosure and spent the rest of the afternoon there- there was loads to do. There was the new Rowley’s Play Area with a huge tower with a big slide and a climbing wall, a smaller slide, a sand area, a clubhouse hut and a huge swinging log that lots of children could go on at once. There is plenty for younger children as well as lots for my age.

Along with the play area there was plenty of other things going on too -there was a bouncy castle, people selling those walking animal balloons (my brother was obsessed with them!) and a animal area. The animal people had tarantulas, snails, snakes and a tortoise with them which were awesome. There was also face painting, my sister wanted this and while she had to queue for quite a while it was the best facepainting we had seen before and it was free!

The Family Enclosure tickets for the Family Fun Summer Saturdays events are £11 for adults and children get in free so with so much going on this is a great family day out. There are lots of different ones planned throughout the Summer with different themes including a visit from Paw Patrol and a Great British Summer event .

We really enjoyed our day at the races and are making plans to go again with my cousins in a few weeks. My Mum has been to lots of race courses and she said this was the nicest one she had visited, she also said I should mention that there are plenty of places to buy a drink or ice-cream and there are lots of toilets which were all really clean- apparently this is useful information!

Thanks very much to Newmarket Race Course for inviting us along, we will definitely be back really soon.

 

Disclaimer: Newmarket Race Course generously provided us with tickets and a lovely picnic (with the nicest scotch eggs ever!) but all thoughts are our own.

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Making My Dad’s Day with bakerdays

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to treat my Mum with something lovely for a blog post so I was thrilled when the people at bakerdays got in contact with me to see if I would like to treat my Dad.

bakerdays make the most amazing range of personalised cakes for all occasions- you can literally have anything on them…including your own face!

They suggested we might like to order one of their cakes for our Dad for an early Father’s Day treat which was a brilliant idea. We got to choose from the selection and personalise it as well as deciding which flavour to go with. You can imagine Lottie and I had lots of discussion about that! We eventually picked a Darth Vader cake as Dad and I both love Star Wars and added our names to it. We didn’t take quite so long to decide that we both wanted to try the chocolate cake!

It arrived on Friday and I couldn’t believe it but it really did fit through the letter box! I was a bit worried that it might get smashed but it was so well packed it was in perfect condition. It came in a tin that fitted it brilliantly and then this was wedged inside the outer packaging so there wasn’t much room for it to move.

   

 

 

 

 

 

Along with the cake itself bakerdays also put some candles, some balloons and a party whistle in the package which makes it all really fun and is great for a celebration.

My Dad was really surprised by the cake and very pleased with his treat- he let us all share it and it cut into 6 proper size pieces. We thought the cake was delicious, it had lovely chocolate pieces in and the icing was sweet and tasty. It made a brilliant and unusual early Father’s Day treat.

bakerdays have kindly offered one lucky reader the chance to surprise their Dad with an amazing personalised cake for Father’s Day- the winner will be able to choose from vanilla, chocolate, lemon or fruit and can even specify gluten, wheat or dairy free. For your chance to win make sure you enter below! Visit bakerdays for more information.

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AniMalcolm By David Baddiel- My half term read!

I was lucky enough to review a The Parent Agency by David Baddiel last year and loved it so was thrilled to be asked to review his new book AniMalcom.

The problem with really enjoying a book is that you never know if the author will be able to pull it off again, so whilst I was looking forward to reading AniMalcolm I was a bit unsure as to whether it would live up to my expectations. I needn’t have worried!

Animalcolm is about a boy called Malcolm whose parents LOVE animals. Malcolm is not so keen. His birthday is coming up and he really wants a laptop, he gets… a new pet! He is amazed that he is also allowed to go on the school trip- however he soon finds out they are heading for a farm- not exactly ideal for someone who doesn’t like animals!

When Malcolm arrives at Orwell Farm he meets a goat, called K-Pax, who the farm owners claim is very wise, although Malcolm doubts that! He changes his mind though when the magical goat hypnotises him!

 

Suddenly Malcolm is changing and AniMalcolm appears- will he ever be himself again?! It’s quite hard being an animal when you are not used to it and AniMalcolm has some difficult times –  being stuck on his back as a tortoise (it takes a very long time for another tortoise to help you from that position!) discovering that humans can no longer understand him and coming up against a cat who really doesn’t want to share her spot with another cat.

I was so pleased with this book- David Baddiel is just as funny as ever and really ‘gets’ children’s humour. I read this book in two sittings – I barely put it down and I literally laughed out loud so many times! My very favourite characters are The Dolly’s – Dolly 1, Dolly 2 and Dolly 3 but there are so many great characters that you get into the book really quickly.

The illustrations were great too and really added to the story.

Whether you are an animal lover or not this book is a brilliant read. I would happily give it 10/10. I think it’s perfect for kids age 8 plus to read easily on their own and am definitely going to recommend it to all my friends, but I think younger children would also enjoy sharing it with an adult- my sister is 5 and has just started reading it with my Mum and she loves it.

AniMalcolm is out now in paperback published by Harpur Colins and is available to purchase from Amazon

I can’t wait for David Baddiel’s next book!

 

 

Please note this is a sponsored post and contains an affiliate link but I read the book, loved the book and all views are my own!

 

 

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Pusheen Cat-The cat with it’s very own blog!

Some of the girls in my class have Pusheen the Cat stickers and notebooks but I hadn’t realised what a big thing Pusheen was until we were offered the chance to review a Pusheen plush which has recently been added to the range of soft toys available from GUND.

Pusheen is a huge star- she is a domestic short-haired grey tabby cat who has her own blog and over 9 million facebook likes, along with loads of followers on Twitter and Instagram.

I knew as soon as I was offered the chance to review one of the plushes that this was something my sister would love as she is obsessed with teddies and loves cats too so it would be perfect for her. The new range of Pusheen Plushes from GUND includes Pusheen in different poses, colours and costumes and they also do a Pusheenosaurus, a Pusheenicorn and a new Pusheen Mermaid.

Lottie was so excited to receive a Pusheenosaurus, she has been learning about dinosaurs at school so this was perfect. Lottie loved the teddy- it is amazingly soft and looks really good as a dinosaur. She has taken it everywhere with her recently and has shown all her friends. She says Pusheen is very cuddly even though she looks a little grumpy!

The Pusheenosaurus is £26 which is quite a lot of money for a teddy but it is so soft and still looks just as good as when it arrived despite being dragged around everywhere so if you are a Pusheen fan this would be great for you. Lottie’s Pusheenosaurus has been out for walks, tucked up in bed and dragged around the park so has done very well to stay just as soft! Any of the Pusheen plushes would also make a great present for Pusheen fans of any age, my sister loves the idea of Pusheen as a unicorn!

The Pusheenosaurus is available for pre-order for August from GUND UK

 

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Baking for Kids- Really Easy Cheesy Scones

These cheesy scones are so easy to make and only really need adult help with the oven and supervision with the cheese grater so are great for kids to make. Mine haven’t risen brilliantly but I think that is because I used plain flour with baking powder so instead I have swapped this recipe for self raising flour- they still tasted amazing though!

Ingredients (makes around 8-10)

225g self raising flour

55g butter

60g cheese

160ml milk

pinch of salt

pinch of pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 210C and cover a baking tray with grease proof paper

Mix salt and pepper into the flour and rub in the butter- try and use cold hands and not rub it too much- it should sort of look like breadcrumbs

Mix in nearly all of the cheese (leave a little for topping) and then slowly add the milk (again leave a few ml back)

Use your hands to pull it all together into a ball

Sprinkle flour on your worktop and rolling pin and roll out the ball until it is about 2cm thick. Stamp out circles using cutters.

Brush the scones with a little milk and then sprinkle with the leftover cheese

Bake for 12 -14 minutes and then leave to cool for a few minutes.

These scones are delicious eaten warm with butter.

 

 

 

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My Favourite Reads This Year

My Current Favourite Books and a Chance to Win an Amazon Voucher

I have read lots of books this year so far and thought I would share some of my favourites for any children looking for a good read. I still have loads of old favourites that I would read time and time again, such as anything by Roald Dahl but these few are some of my new favourites that I would recommend.

Hello, is this planet Earth? by Tim Peake

I absolutely love this book, it has the most amazing pictures and I have looked at it time and time again. There are also some really interesting bits to read but it is mostly the photos I keep coming back to. We have given copies of this book to several of my friends for their birthdays and they have all really liked it – it’s definitely one of those books for all ages.

The Night Spinner by Abi Elphinstone

You can read my full review here but The Night Spinner is easily one of the best books I have read in ages. Full of magic and mystery and plenty of suspense this is definitely worth reading. Best suited to children age 8 plus.

The Midnight Gang by David Walliams

I have not finished this book yet but so far it is brilliant and certainly as good as anything else I have  read by David Walliams, I think I will whizz through it in no time!

The Enid Blyton Mystery Series

I have been working my way through these 15 books over the last few weeks and although they were written years ago and feel quite old fashioned in some ways they are still really good stories. I would also recommend these for children age 8 plus.

Star Wars Absolutely Everything You Need to Know

This is a brilliant book for Star Wars fans and is absolutely full of facts and information. I have been dipping in and out of this for months.

What books would you recommend? Why not enter our competition to win a £10 Amazon voucher and maybe you can treat yourself to one of my recommendations.

 

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