refresh sports day

Getting Excited for Refresh Festival!

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!

 

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Disclaimer: We have been gifted a weekend family pass for ourselves and a family ticket to giveaway in exchange for our honest review of the event.

 

refresh sports day

Lottie Loves… Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage

This review is by Lottie age 5 (with typing help from Mummy and photos by Luke)

I was sent the Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage and the Chocolate Rabbit family to play with and see what I thought of them. I was really surprised and excited and jumped up and down when they arrived. I haven’t had any of the Sylvanian Families things before but I really wanted to play with them.

I couldn’t wait to open the boxes and have a look at it all. I was allowed to stay up a little bit late that night and see what they were like and have a little play.

The house has a kitchen, a table and chairs, a bed and a ladder that moves. You also get some food and cooking things. Cosy Cottage  comes with Freya who is one of the Chocolate Rabbit Sisters. You can take the top floor of the cottage out and open and close the door and you can make Freya’s bed up and cook her dinner. I really like the house and like setting it up. I am going to save up for bunk beds because I also got sent the Chocolate Rabbit family and so Freya’s twin sister needs somewhere to sleep too.

The Chocolate rabbit family have a Daddy Rabbit, Mummy Rabbit, Sister Rabbit and Brother Rabbit, the all have clothes on, which you can take on and off. They came with a little story book which I liked. I have read it lots of times and have a favourite picture in there. The other Freya rabbit isn’t in the story so I think she must have gone to the shops. The Chocolate Rabbit family are really cute. I love playing with them and sending them on adventures before tucking them up in their Cosy Cottage for the night.

I am so lucky to have these Sylvanian Families toys, they are one of my very favourite toys now and I have asked for some others for my birthday which is in two weeks… I hope I get some! My friend came to play with them the other day and she really loved them too, we had lots of fun making up stories and chatting with the Rabbits.

My Mummy is a bit worried that I have started another collection now…I think she is right!

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: I was sent the Sylvanian Families Cosy Cottage and Chocolate Rabbit Family to review but all thoughts are my own.

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refresh sports day

My Summer Holiday Bucket (and spade!) List

I recently learnt what a bucket list was and decided I would write my own of what I would like to have on my ‘bucket list’ for the Summer Holidays. Although I would like my list to have a spade on it too please!

  1. Visit a beach (see I said it needed a spade with the bucket!)
  2. Do the Summer reading challenge
  3. Go to a sporting event (cheating a bit because we actually have already done this!)
  4. Use my telescope to go Stargazing
  5. Use my microscope to look at something interesting
  6. Do some baking
  7. See my friends
  8. Play lots of sport
  9. Visit somewhere interesting
  10. Help throw my sister an amazing birthday party!
  11. Have a picnic
  12. Make a new friend
  13. Do some metal detecting
  14. Visit a museum
  15. Eat something I have never eaten before!

Let’s see how I get on over the Summer. I would love to know what is on your bucket list for the Summer?

 

refresh sports day

Into The Trees – A Family Adventure

I am really looking forward to going to Into The Trees over the weekend of the 9th and 10th September. We have never been before but it looks like it is going to be a fantastic family adventure.

There is loads of different activities going on- Slacklining, Story Telling and Den Building. I am most excited to try out Archery, Axe Throwing and Mountain Boarding which all sound awesome!

Mountain boarding looks awesome!

 

It looks like there is going to be plenty to do for all the family at Into The Trees including pond dipping and mud monsters which even my little brother will be old enough to join in with and will love doing.

Into the Trees takes place in the heart of the Ashdown Forest within the protected ancient woodland of Pippingford Park and runs from 10am to 5pm on the 9th and 10th September. You can buy a family pass for either day for just £22 in advance.

We are looking forward to sharing our photos from the day and are very excited to be offering you the chance win a family pass for either the Saturday or the Sunday too.

 

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Aquabeads Cars 3 3D Set Review

My sister, Lottie, has been doing a little bit of a project with our latest Aquabead set.

She is making a 3D Lightning McQueen from the  Aquabeads Cars 3 3D range. It is more complicated than the Aquabead sets we have reviewed previously because it is built up in layers, so you do a layer, spray it with water and leave it to set before taking it off and starting the next one.

 

Lottie has really enjoyed this and has done a layer each day over the last week. You only need to leave it for a short time before you can remove each layer but we have found the longer you can leave them the better they set so doing a layer each day has worked well.

 

Lottie is really pleased with how Lightning McQueen came out- it’s brilliant how ‘real’ it looks when made out of Aquabeads. You can even drive him around because the wheels really turn but Lottie is so pleased with it she is going to put it on display in her bedroom.

We had already been enjoying our Aquabead sets but Lottie enjoyed the challenge of making a more tricky set. She did need some help with stacking the layers to make the final car but otherwise, other than needing Mum to cut up the templates which are on the instructions for her she was able to do it all herself. Her tips are to use loads and loads of water (far more than you think you need), leave them to set slightly longer than you think they need and be really careful to not use the grey beads instead of white! We also found that you need to try and squash the layers together a bit so it’s useful to have a heavy small box to put on top of them to keep it all flat.

We really like the 3D Aquabead sets, and they do some other ones as well as Lightning McQueen, including Cruz in the same range so you could have a pair! They are aimed at children age 4 plus and I think a four year old could make this with some help but we think they are perfect for children age 6-8 and would make great birthday presents for children of this age group.

 

Disclaimer: We were sent this awesome Aquabeads Cars 3D set to review but all views are my own and my sister’s.

 

 

refresh sports day

A Day Out with Hamerton Zoo Park

We recently discovered Hamerton Zoo Park is on our doorstep and were pleased to be invited for a day out there so we could see for ourselves what it was like.

We found it easily met up with our friends before heading in. Even though the car park was really busy it quickly felt quite peaceful and quiet once we got through the gate and although there were plenty of other people there it didn’t feel at all crowded like lots of places do in the school holidays.

I really liked the set up of the zoo. There were lots of animals I had never even heard of before as well as some that I had that were very rare. I really liked the white tigers, they were awesome and I had only ever seen one before in a zoo in France.

Taking a break from the admiring visitors!

 

I especially liked Hamerton Zoo because it felt more like a conservation place than a zoo. The animals all had nice big enclosures and plenty of things to keep them busy- some had long tunnels and runs going off their enclosures too. There was a lot of information about the animals and their habitats as well as explaining how their population was in different parts of the world, this was really interesting to read and some of it was quite shocking.

My very favourite animal was the white tiger but I also loved the chipmunks who were great fun to watch, the monkeys and meerkats who are really entertaining, the kookaburra who made a brilliant noise and the tortoises who are actually surprisingly fast and have an enormous enclosure that they race around. Actually I am sure there are lots more animals that are on my favourites list!

 

    

Along with the enclosures and information we were also very impressed with how the zoo managed to blend with the environment generally. We saw two nests with baby swallows in and my friend’s Mum, who loves all things to do with nature and wildlife pointed out that there was lots of plants like buddleia that were good for bees and butterflies and plenty of bamboo and other plants too so it was good to see that Hamerton are supporting all the other wildlife too.

Tiny baby swallows in their nest.

 

One of our tests as to if somewhere is a good family day out is whether or not it has something that keeps us all happy and Hamerton Zoo seemed able to do that. My brother, Sam is two and liked being able to see the animals himself through the little windows in the side of the enclosures- he also absolutely loved the train. My Mum felt this was a little pricey at £2 per person (although she is judging this for our family of 5 which can make things seem expensive) but she said it wasn’t too awful because it was a longer ride than we expected and you got to see quite a few animals on route.  Lottie and I also loved all the animals, I especially liked having all the information to read but also we both really enjoyed the play area too, this had a great selection of play equipment, with a huge climbing frame and a zip wire. There was a smaller play area for under fives too which had much better things than a lot of areas aimed at small children and kept Sam entertained for a fairly long time. There is also a stone maze within the play area which we all had fun walking on.

There is a café which served a selection of snacks and things like hot dogs and sausage rolls as well as lots of benches that you could use if you had taken a picnic so it had a good set up for having a long visit.

We spent most of the day at Hamerton, it was a great place to visit, we loved the fact that there was plenty to do but also liked the fact it wasn’t so big you couldn’t go back round and see things again.

 

My Mum felt that although a zoo visit is always quite an expensive day out Hamerton Zoo was good value for money at £13.99 for adults and £8.99  for children with under 3’s going free- we will definitely be going back again and have already suggested it to lots of our friends for the Summer holidays.

 

Disclaimer: We were lucky enough to be given free entry to the zoo in return for our honest review and all thoughts and comments are our own.

Please note several pictures in this post were taken by Diana Evans. For more of Diana’s projects or to contact her directly please visit Diana Evans Artist

The Places We Will Go
Plutonium Sox
refresh sports day

Rainy Day Activities for Children

We have been quite lucky so far this holiday, despite there being heavy rain every single day we have only had one day where we really felt a bit stuck in and have so far managed to avoid getting soaked.

I do have lots of things ready to do if it does rain though and these are a few of my ideas.

Build a Den

We love building a den- it’s something you can do indoors or outdoors and it can be as big as you have space for or tiny and cosy. You don’t need loads of equipment, blankets and a clothes horse are fine or you can use other furniture and bedding or picnic rugs. If it’s outside then logs, sticks, string and tarpaulin are perfect. Once you have built it you can decorate it and make it comfortable and then decide what you want to do in there- read a book, have a picnic, do some writing. I am not sure den building is something you ever completely grow out of!

LEGO Challenge

Tip out a big box of LEGO, set a timer and challenge everyone to make something on a theme (vehicles, space, food, animals etc) when the time is up you have to stop and can pick a winner. This is great because you can have quick builds or longer builds with more difficult themes. For younger children you could do this with Duplo or even using Playdoh and you don’t even need to pick a winner, it could just be for fun.

Cinema Day

Agree on a film, and then plan to spend an afternoon watching it. Younger children might enjoy making tickets but everyone can get involved with making cinema snacks. You can pop some popcorn and make some crispie cakes to eat while you enjoy your film.

Baking Day

Spend the day doing lots of baking and hopefully you can enjoy it all for a picnic the next day when it’s nicer!

Games and Puzzle Challenge

Invite some friends over and set up lots of boards games, card games and puzzles and have a tournament. If you are allowed then you could do the same type of thing on a computer or games console.

Play Rain Games

Get your raincoat and wellies on and go and splash in the puddles and dance in the rain. You can then come back in and dry off while having raindrop races on the window!

Messing about in puddles!

 

I would love to know what sort of things other children like to do when the weather is bad?

 

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Awesome New Airfix Quick Build Sets

I have been interested in learning about both World War One and World War Two since I went to Ypres last year and have read a lot of books about history and fighter planes. I am now really looking forward to going to see the new Dunkirk film with my Dad, I have read some really good reviews of it.

I was very excited when Airfix asked if I would be like to try out their new Quick Build Sets ahead of the release of Dunkirk. They sent us a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt in the Quick Build version and the same in the normal Airfix starter model sets.

  

I had tried Airfix a couple of years ago when I was 6 or 7 but had found it quite tricky at that time and so although I love any building toys and activities it hadn’t really been a range I had looked at recently. When the sets arrived both my Dad and sister were keen to get involved. The Airfix Quick Build Sets are aimed at children age 5+ so it seemed like it would be alright for Lottie to try and we set a challenge to see if we could build ours quicker than Dad could. I got started on the Quick Build Spitfire, Lottie on the Quick Build Messerschmitt and Dad on the original sets.

 

I was able to get straight on with the Airfix Quick Build, the instructions were really easy to follow and it went together really well. Lottie found it slightly more complicated but still managed to follow the instructions and build it mostly herself with just a little bit of grown up help- sometimes she wasn’t quite sure what she needed to do next and a couple of times she couldn’t quite clip the pieces together fully . We think it was still very good for the first time she had made something like this and we also think if she was more used to building construction type models she wouldn’t have needed any help so think the guidelines of 5+ are about right- she is 5 and didn’t need too much help really. We were both very pleased with the finished models and Lottie was really proud of her building.

 

 

We easily beat my Dad in the challenge- mainly because we kept stopping him to ask him questions but he and I were able to sit down and build the Airfix Starter Set Spitfire over the next couple of nights. I think I am nearer to the right age to be able to do these now too.  It is still a bit tricky to do the fiddly bits but I was able to follow the instructions easily enough and had enough patience to sit down and do it over time including letting it dry. My Dad also really enjoyed it, he likes doing practical things and making things but hasn’t done any model making since he was a child

 

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Once we finished Dad let me paint this one- I think it came out quite well for our first attempt!

We will definitely be revisiting the Airfix range- I loved the idea of the Airfix Quick Build sets. It was good that we were able to get on with it ourselves and it didn’t need lots of setting up or worrying about paint, glue and making a mess. I also like the fact that it comes with a display stand too so you can play with it and also display it like a proper model. I really loved doing the Airfix starter sets too as although I found bits of it difficult I really enjoyed this as an activity to do with my Dad.

 

 

 

Disclaimer: We were sent these Airfix kits to review but all thought are our own

 

refresh sports day

Fletter- A brand new word game!

I was really excited when I was asked if I would like to review a brand new word game. If you have been reading the blog for a while you will know we often have family game nights and this Fletter sounded exactly like the type of game we would enjoy.

It arrived the other day and I was excited to test it with my friend this afternoon when he came round for a play. I asked if he wanted to try Fletter out and he shrugged and said we could give it a go. Within 5 minutes my Mum said she had never heard us both laughing so hard when playing a game and by the time it was time for him to go home he was telling his Mum that Fletter was brilliant and really, really funny and that they had to get it to play with his big sisters.

You get two boxes of cards with letters, each worth a certain number of points and these get divided out between the number of people playing (at least two). Each player puts down a card in turn and then it is a race against players to find words whilst adding more cards to the game. The first person to make a word from the letters gets to claim those letters and the points they are worth but if two people shout the same word at the same time then neither can claim and the cards get taken out of the game. If you shout out a word that doesn’t exist then the other players can give you a special card that makes you ‘Flettered’ and this means you have points to deduct from your total. Once you have put down all the cards and made up as many words as possible you can tot up your total from your letters, deduct any ‘Flettered’ cards and the person with the highest number of points wins the round. The game winner is decided after four rounds.

 

You can even make the game more difficult by playing in specific rounds- so on round one you make three letter words, on round two you do four letter, on round three it’s five letters and on round four it’s six letters which would really make your brain work! If you get the wrong length of word you would also be Flettered!

I like the fact that it’s an exciting game, you are immediately in the middle of playing without waiting round. It’s quite noisy with words being shouted out and very funny with silly words and trying to shout the loudest the fastest. I don’t think you have to be an amazing speller but you do need to be a quick thinker and be able to make yourself heard. It’s also great because you could take it and play it anywhere. I also think lots of people could play it together so it would be great for a holiday, sleepover or school trip.

I really enjoyed playing Fletter and I know my friend did too, it is my turn to choose the game for our game night on Saturday so I will definitely be getting my parents to play this with me. I think grown ups will enjoy this game just as much as children. I think the age rating of 8 plus is probably right but my little sister will join in and make a team with my Mum – she will enjoy being in charge of the dictionary and giving out the Flettered cards for any made up words! Lottie and I just had a practise run of playing a round together and she really liked it.

Taking over Mum’s office with a quick practise round of Fletter!

We will definitely be introducing all our friends to Fletter and would recommend you keep an eye out for it’s arrival in the UK as this is the perfect game for a family celebration.

 

 

 

 

refresh sports day

Buttoonies- Build Your Own Toy Review

We were recently sent some of the new Buttoonies Under The Sea sets from Craft Yourself Silly to try out and see what we thought of them.

Buttoonies arrive in small packets priced at £3.99 each and contain everything you need to make your toy. They don’t need any glue, scissors or needles and you can get straight on with making it. There was a good choice of toys within the Under The Sea range including a Clown Fish, Crab, Frog, Octopus, Pirate and Turtle. The packets are all marked with a difficulty rating out of ten.

Once we had decided what we were making to start with we unpacked the parts and had a look at what we had to do. Each pack contained thread, buttons and foam shapes. It was really easy to understand the instructions- they were pictures of the parts in the same size as they actually were and then these were numbered with a diagram showing exactly where each number had to be threaded on.

I thought the Buttoonies would be really quick to make but actually it took a little while- they weren’t difficult but they did feel like a proper craft activity rather than something easy that was over and done within a few minutes. We did have to slightly enlarge the holes in the foam parts but otherwise threading the buttons on in the right order was simple if you concentrated.

 

Once we had finished threading the parts on the models looked really good and my sister took them to school to use as puppets. She absolutely loved making these and really liked having a craft she could get on with on her own with hardly any help. I enjoyed them too- I liked the pirate as that was more complicated to make (it was rated as a difficulty of 4/10) and Lottie loved them all.

Buttoonies also make bigger versions which are made from MDF which can be decorated- these look good fun, they are £9.99 each.

We really enjoyed the Buttoonies Under The Sea range, they do several other ranges too including witches and bats. These crafts are great for children age 5 and upwards and I think they would be perfect as rainy day activities. My Mum suggested they would be nice to give instead of a party bag so we might do this at one of our birthday parties- she likes the fact there is no mess and that we didn’t even have to get the glue out to make something!