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Things I have loved whilst blogging

Last week I posted about things I had learnt from blogging over the two years I had been doing it and today I am going to share some of the amazing products and places I have discovered thanks to blogging.

As I mentioned blogging can be hard work sometimes but the experiences I have had from it have been well worth it.

There are lots of things that stand out as being great but these are some of my very favourite things from the last two years.

  1. So many great books. I have read too many awesome books to list them all individually but have loved having lots of brilliant books to review and it has been fantastic to discover new authors who I might not otherwise have come across. One of my favourites is Abi Elphinstone who I am a huge fan of since reviewing her Trilogy on my blog.
  2. Finding new games- I especially like games that the whole family can enjoy together and we have found some great ones through the blog. One of our family favourites is the Randomise Game If you haven’t come across Randomise before then you should read the review I wrote a while ago- it’s really great fun and so very funny to play. We have played it so many times since and I would recommend it to any family that enjoys playing games together.
  3. Things that other people enjoy. It’s awesome finding a new product that I love but I have really enjoyed finding things my sister and brother love too. My sister has especially liked Aquabeads and Pusheen, both of which is she has been lucky enough to review for the blog.
  4. Challenges- I would never have even known about the kids version of Tough Mudder without the blog. My friend and I were lucky enough to do the Fruit Shoot Mini Mudder last year and it was an amazing experience. I would love to do it again and it got me into running a 5K run for charity too and helping as a steward at another.
  5. Amazing days out. We have been lucky enough to be invited to lots of great days out, I have enjoyed them all but some of the ones that I really liked were BRICKLIVE and the ‘Summer Saturdays’ Day at Newmarket Racecourse
  6. New experiences. It also falls under points 4 and 5 too but was so amazing it deserves a heading of it’s own! Our favourite experience as a whole family has been our visit to Camp Wilderness– the bushcraft day was so unlike anything that any of us had ever done before, we all learnt loads and came away having had a really fantastic day. It was such a different thing to do with my Mum and Dad- I would recommend the camps to anyone!

 

  

 

As  you can see I have been very lucky over the last two years, I have had lots of fantastic experiences, met some brilliant people and learnt a lot. I have loved having my own blog, even though at times in has been hard work and I have caught ‘writer’s block’.

I can’t believe I have managed to keep it up for two years and am holding a competition to celebrate this! One of our lucky readers will win their own copy of the brilliant Randomise Game, a copy of a fantastic children’s book -my current read- The Midnight Gang, by David Walliams, a £10 Amazon voucher to treat themselves to one of the amazing products we have reviewed and a 3 day place for a child age 6 to 15 at one of the awesome Camp Wilderness camps during the Summer Holidays- the lucky winner can choose between Oxfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cheshire or Kent subject to availability.

This prize bundle is worth over £260! Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Heat Holders Thermal Slipper Socks Review

We are working on getting my Mum to agree to take us camping in the Summer holidays but she isn’t keen- it was really cold last time we went and that has put her off, but I think I have found the perfect solution.

We were recently sent some Heat Holders Slipper Socks to try and they are literally the warmest, softest, most comfortable pair of socks you could ever find. I think these will be perfect to keep you warm when you are camping.

Heat holders do lots of different products including adult socks and tights but we were pleased to try the socks from the children’s range. I have a pair of R2D2 socks and Lottie has a Disney Princess pair and they are both equally warm and comfortable, we both found the sizes were what we expected them to be too.

They do loads of other options for children including Frozen, Minions, Hulk and Spider-Man. The character socks are £7.99 a pair, which seems quite expensive until you try them on and realise how much better than normal socks they are! They also do children’s socks without characters on for £4.99 which looks like a great deal.

I can see these being perfect for Summer Nights sitting outside or if you go camping or to a festival and I also think they will be brilliant for the cold winter nights so I think they will be used most of the year round. Heat Holders tell me they are 3.1 tog so it’s like having a little duvet wrapped around you feet keeping you toasty warm! I like the grip on the bottom too as we have wooden flooring and it makes it much less slippery!

Heat Holders do lots of other things too including blankets, hats and thermal clothes- I think I might have to get my Dad to order it all for my Mum and then maybe we will be able to get her back into the idea of camping again!

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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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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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Oh Help, Oh No… It’s A Gruffalo- A visit to Salcey Forest

We are lucky to have some great walks on our doorstep and Salcey Forest is one of the nicest place to spend an afternoon. Until 30th October 2017 you can go on a Gruffalo trail there, we popped over the other week and decided to see what it was all about.

My little brother LOVES the Gruffalo and we all know the story off by heart having heard it since we were tiny. To take part you either just download the app and get going or you can buy an activity pack for £3- this was quite good because it had some fact cards with information in about animals and activities of things you can find in the woods, some things to spot and some stickers and some drawing things so we got one of these to share.

We weren’t sure what you would have to do but it soon became quite obvious. The younger children would peek through binocular cut outs and spy a picture of the creature they were looking for and then you used the app to register the image and all of a sudden it would appear through the phone as it if it was actually there. We also worked out that you could take a picture as if you were next to them which was quite good.

We had fun running through the woods and splashing in the puddles and found all the creatures before arriving at the Gruffalo. At some point we did have a few issues because the mobile signal wasn’t great- we never did manage to get the snake but that didn’t matter too much and Lottie and Sam had lots of fun spotting all the other animals- the Gruffalo was enormous.

This is a nice way for children under 6 to spend an afternoon and quite fun for older kids to help with.

We then went and had a huge piece of cake, two pieces between five of us was more than enough! Once we were all full again we headed off to the tree top trail which is amazing- you can see a really long way across the forest.

If you are in the Northamptonshire area then it is well worth a visit. It costs £1.50 to park for an hour or £4 for the whole day and there are lots of picnic benches as well as a café.

 

 

Potty Adventures
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My Top 10 Days Out for Easter and a Chance to Win an Amazon Voucher

We have been working with a great new website, Wiki Places For Kids to share some of our favourite days out and have found some brilliant suggestions from other people.

When they asked us to team up with them and come up with a list of suggestions for family fun in our local area (Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire) over the Easter holidays we got straight to work.

So many other schools seem to have broken up already and I are feeling quite jealous as we are still a week away from our holidays. Even so we are looking forward to visiting some of these places when we finally get there!

Great Days Out in Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire

Stanwick Lakes

We have had a pass for Stanwick Lakes ever since I was a baby and it is one of our favourite places to go- especially when it is warm enough to get soaking wet in the sand and water play areas. It’s nice for a walk and has a great play area to run around it. There is an indoor play area and a café too. They often have other events going on too.

Salcey Forest

There are lots of different routes you can take at Salcey Forest including an awesome treetop trail and currently the Gruffalo Trail which we did the other week- my little brother and sister loved it!

Xtreme360 Trampoline Park

I recently discovered Xtreme360 for a friend’s birthday and it was brilliant. We had such a good time on the trampolines and I liked the fact there were different types. I am hoping to go back soon and my sister is desperate to visit. This is definitely on my list for a fun few hours.

Spy Mission

Spy Mission is an awesome place to visit with a couple of friends. I have been to a few birthday parties here and it is always brilliant. I would recommend this for children age 6 and upwards.

Twinwoods

Twinwoods in Milton Ernest is just about the most amazing place you can go for any sort of adventure you might be looking for-you can do the climbing wall, drive in the race room, fly in the wind tunnel, surf, swim or go to the play area- there is something for everyone and I would love to go back and try surfing again.

Wood Green Animal Shelter

I really like visiting Wood Green Animal Shelter, it’s a great place for all the work they do with animals and it’s a nice place to visit too. Even if you aren’t looking to adopt an animal you can still have a look around- see the animals who are waiting to be rehomed, visit the maze and little playground and pop to the café. It’s a lovely place to have a walk around.

Wicksteed Park

We haven’t been to Wicksteed Park for a couple of years but now my brother and sister are both old enough to come with me I would love to go back. I really enjoyed all the rides there and have had a great time when I have been in the past.

Woburn Safari Park

For a bigger day out we really like Woburn Safari Park Even if it’s raining there is still plenty to see and as you do most of it in your car it doesn’t matter if the weather is bad. We spent ages watching the monkeys last time- they are so funny. I like the fact that you can drive round the actual safari park more than once if you want. There is also plenty of other animals to see when you get out of the car-we loved the penguins. We enjoyed riding on the swans on the lake too.

Laser Planet Milton Keynes

I went to Laser Planet in Milton Keynes with my friend a couple of months ago and we had a fantastic afternoon, we played team games and individual battles and got a score sheet after each game. It was really cool. You can go with friends or on your own and can either have one game or play for the whole day. If you like computer games this is awesome!

Daytona Milton Keynes

Daytona Race track is one of my favourite places to go. I love doing their Arrive and Drive sessions and have been a few times- I have raced against lots of different people and it’s great because you never know who you are going to be up against. It isn’t a long outing but it makes a great activity for a special treat.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about my favourite local days out. If you are looking for inspiration in your own area then you can visit Wiki Places for Kids for some brilliant ideas.

Win!

In the meantime we have teamed up with Wiki Places for Kids to offer our readers the chance to win a £20 Amazon Voucher- check out the rafflecopter form for details.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Into the Wilderness

I am so excited!!

We have been invited to go on an adventure tomorrow and I can’t wait… I don’t think I will be able to sleep tonight!

We are joining some other bloggers on a day out at Camp Wilderness and it looks amazing.

The people at Camp Wilderness run Summer camps, school trips and all sorts of fun things but they are also having some open days for families to enjoy outdoor adventures and learn more about bush-craft.

My sister and I have been looking at the itinerary all week and we can’t decide what we are most looking forward to- she is very excited to make campfires, I can’t wait to do everything! We are going to be doing exercises with camouflage, learning how to make fires and cooking on them, learning about trapping  and doing camp crafts- it all looks awesome. My Mum says she is looking forward to toasting marshmallows!

I have just finished getting ready to go and have got my walking boots, raincoat and water bottle so I think I am set- just got to try and get some sleep now ready to leave early in the morning!

 

 

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Splashing About- TERM Wellies Review and a chance to win!

We seem to have spent the last few weeks battling illnesses and bugs so when the weekend came and everyone was well we were all desperate to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air. It also seemed a perfect time for Lottie to try out her lovely new Term wellies that she had been sent to test.

Lottie had a birthday party in the morning so we  all went off to pick her up and after a short delay with a very flat tyre we headed off to the lakes.

We had a great afternoon scooting and running around and enjoyed the play area. Lottie really enjoyed wearing her new boots which until then she had just been wearing to dance around the house in.

She says they are REALLY comfortable and lovely and warm. I am quite jealous as they don’t go up to my size! I would definitely have a pair if they did. Sam loves them too, he keeps stealing them from the cupboard and putting them on when Lottie isn’t looking! We will need to get him his own pair so that she actually gets to wear them when she needs them!

There is a really good choice of colours. Lottie went with the bright red pair and they are really nice. They have a toasty inner lining which keeps them warm in the winter and can come out in the Summer. This also allows a bit more room when your feet grow. They have a little reflective bit at the back too which is useful to help keep you safer at night.

My Mum says that at £21.99 they are a little more money than she would normally spend on wellies but that she can see why because they are much better quality and Lottie can wear them for hours without complaining they hurt her feet which she normally does! She also says they are ‘true to size’. We got Lottie a size larger than her normal shoe size which is what we do with wellies but actually the normal shoe size would have fit her fine.

Maybe no party clothes  next  time!

 

I really like the Term wellies and my sister would definitely recommend them (she would wear them all the time if she was allowed to wear them to school!) We are pleased to have been able to team up with Term to offer you the chance to win a pair of these fantastic wellies in your choice of colour and size EUR 21 to EUR 35.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A Great Day Out for LEGO Fans!

Brick 2015 A Great Day Out for LEGO Fans 

This weekend I was lucky enough to travel to The NEC in Birmingham for Brick 2015. I was expecting a lot of LEGO but I can’t believe just how many bricks there were!


They are also holding a Brick Show at the ExCel Centre in London on 11th – 13th December so if you think this might be for you read on to find out what we got up to at this weekend’s show.



When we arrived at the NEC we headed straight for the exhibition and got going with exploring all the activities. There were some amazing displays and models- we all had different favourites but there was a huge Titanic and a Colosseum that were both really awesome that we all loved and there were models of characters like Hagrid, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and R2D2 which I really wish I was able to build.


         

We joined in with making a huge mosaic- everyone had a base plate and a tiny section of a large picture to create which was then put together to form the whole thing. 



We made our house out of LEGO which was then added to a huge map of the UK and placed where we asked for it to go. As Lottie had made our house I made a floating building and asked the man to put it in the sea!


There was a chance to make racing cars and test them and race them on the ramps, which was good fun and we also attempted another Guinness World Record challenge- there were several different building challenges to complete.


We got to try the LEGO Dimensions computer game which is really really awesome and I would love to get at some point and the Avengers one which is coming out next year which was good too – although Lottie was cross that she couldn’t make Captain America fly (he doesn’t fly but she wouldn’t believe me!)

Along with all the activities and all the amazing displays there were huge pits of LEGO each in a different colour which you could either sit in or grab a handful of bricks from and just build- it was fantastic- like a ball pool for big kids and grown ups! I think it would be my dream come true to have my very own LEGO pit, although Mum says we’d definitely need a bigger house then!

After that there was plenty of chance to add to our own LEGO collections with a huge Toys R Us selling just LEGO- there was so much to choose from! 

There were plenty of other sellers to buy from but I have picked out my favourite three stalls for you to keep an eye out for at the ExCel Show:

FAB-BRICKS.COM – we didn’t get to see them at the show as they closed the queue off an hour before the end of the show so they could get everyone finished and we didn’t arrive at their stand until then but they make personalised mini figures- you choose the hair, head, body, and legs and then they will engrave it for you. It looked amazing and both Lottie and I really wish we’d got them done so I would definitely recommend visiting them early on in your day.

Base Ace- 3D play platforms – My Mum had seen these online before we went and we were really excited to see what they were like- they are a brilliant idea and really good quality. The man showed us how you can have them upside down or add extension packs and lights and basically use them to come help play with your LEGO in any way you like. Lottie loved the treehouse type set but I really liked the one that reminded me if a rocket but I think you could use them all in so many different ways- I would love to create a fort or a space ship.

Mechabrick- the people there were really friendly and have created a game that has a large board and robots, weapons and people that move around but basically you use your existing LEGO and create models from you imagination which the robots then move round and blow up. It is also compatible with your base boards so the game can become as large as you like. It looks like a great way to enjoy LEGO with your friends and see where the game takes you. 

As you can see I now have a whole load of new ideas of what I would like to start saving up for!  

I would really recommend Brick 2015 as a great day out for any LEGO fan- there are plenty of chances to shop but there are also loads of chances to just play and enjoy LEGO alongside loads of other people who also love it.

Tickets for the show at the ExCel Centre can be ordered from here


A Note from Mum….

We had a great day out as the whole family- we all like LEGO (well except baby Sam who would just eat it but he was happy to sit in his pushchair and watch the world go by!) I felt there was plenty to do for children of Luke and Lottie’s age groups and we easily filled the whole day and I also saw plenty of people with much older children who still seemed to be enjoying themselves- if anything I would have said we could have gone for longer as we didn’t spend very long playing in the big LEGO pits or looking at some of the models. 

I have seen some people saying the tickets are pricey- they are right- it isn’t a cheap day out. However, it is comparable with other Exhibitions we have been to and if your child enjoys LEGO then they will definitely get enough out of it to make it worthwhile. Our friends also went and they thoroughly enjoyed the day and again their son would have been happy to stay all night! It should also be a consideration that parking is £12- however this is the standard rate at the NEC for any show I have ever been to there and would be expected anywhere. The products being sold start from £1.50 upwards so you don’t need to have a huge budget for treats to still enjoy the day but with Christmas fast approaching the December show will be a brilliant chance to get stocked up for it. 





We were lucky enough to be given tickets to the Brick 2015 Show and would like to take this opportunity to thank Poppyseed Media for their generosity. However all thoughts and opinions within this post are our own.