finn and rose

Back to school

I can’t believe we are going back to school tomorrow. It felt like it would never come but at the same time feels like time has just disappeared.

We have been lucky enough to stay healthy during lockdown and for us it was only difficult because my Mum was shielded so it felt like a really long time before we could start seeing people again.

I am looking forward to getting back to school to see my friends and it will be better doing some of the subjects like science there than it was at home as we will hopefully get to do more practical things. I am not looking forward to early starts, homework and remembering masks for the bus.

I can’t wait for clubs to start up again and to hopefully be able to do hockey after school again as well as at the weekend.

The Summer holidays were really strange this year because we didn’t go on holiday or even for many days out really but we still managed to have a nice time and see some friends.

During lockdown and over the summer we have had three birthdays between the five of us so we have had a good time celebrating these- we even got a bouncy castle in the garden for Lottie’s last week which she loved.

Last weekend we set up our tent in the garden and my friend came over with his and we all camped out for the night which was a good laugh. We had a BBQ, toasted marshmallows and had hot chocolate while we tried to identify the stars and played some card games.

The other highlight of our holiday was the arrival of our two new ducks, Finn and Rose, who firstly kept us busy digging ponds and making sure the garden was safe, and then by generally entertaining us- they now come flapping up to us and have a little walk round us whenever we go out in the garden, it’s like they have been here much longer than they have.

Now it’s time to make sure the bags are packed and uniform is out, ready for the first early start in months.

Good luck to everyone going back this week!

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Star Wars Day Competition

If you have been following our blog for a while you will know that we are Star Wars fans- although my little brother Sam is probably the biggest fan of us all and knows more about it than any other 5 year old I know (except possibly his best friend who is equally obsessed!)

We have asked him to tell us some of his favourite things about it:

Favourite Characters

  • Luke Skywalker
  • Han Solo
  • Darth Vader
  • Emperor Palpatine
  • Obi Wan Kenobi
  • Princess Leai
  • Lando Clarissian
  • Yoda

Favourite Planets

  • Hoth
  • Tatooine
  • Endor

Favourite Space ships

  • X-wing
  • Tie fighter
  • Millenium Falcon

Favourite Film

  • Return of the Jedi

We always do a Star Wars day competition and decided that even though things are a bit more tricky this year we would still run one to hopefully brighten someone’s day. You can enter on Rafflecopter below to win a copy of The Rise of Skywalker on DVD- Sam would love to know who your favourite character is!

 

star wars rey and kylo

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Our top 10 family board games and your chance to win a voucher

Today has been a long day, it has been raining all day and we are all getting a bit fed up of being stuck at home. After we finished our school work for the day we decided we would pick some of our favourite games to play which got us thinking about our favourites.

These are (probably!) our top 10:

Othello– We were sent this game to review last year and Lottie and I have played it loads. It’s really straightforward but gets you thinking as you need a bit of strategy planning, it’s a great game for age 7 plus.

othello 4

Reveal- I got this game for my birthday after seeing it when we went to the UK Games Expo last year. It is very funny to play in a group and involves testing your knowledge on TV shows, films and songs at different levels of difficulty.

What’s in the box?– This is such a simple idea, we reviewed it a couple of years ago and loved it, it is now my little brother’s favourite game. You literally just choose something to put in the box and then use the counters to ask yes and no questions to find out what it is. It’s ideal for the whole family even little children.

what's in the box

Randomise- This is one of our most favourite games ever- we wrote a full review here but it involves drawing, acting or describing whatever your cards throw up. It’s really, really funny and one every family should have in their games cupboard.

Villainous– Disney Villainous is a bit tricky to get started with but once you get your head round it then it’s a great game, Lottie absolutely loves this and really likes the fact that it is villains rather than princesses!

Scrabble/ Scrabble Junior– Everyone knows scrabble, it gets very competitive here but we all enjoy it.

Monopoly– I love monopoly, it’s my favourite game and we have lots of different versions. I really like the electronic one and would love the cheaters edition. My Mum hates it when we play, she says we always end up arguing and someone always cheats!

Telestrations– This is a bit like Chinese whispers in drawing and is really funny. It’s a great game for age 8 upwards.

telestrations 1

Think Words Spin– You have to think really quickly in this game and shout out something that matches the catagories and letters. It is quite competitive and harder than it sounds to think of the right word.

Tetris Speed– We like the fact that this is a very portable version of Tetris and it is suitable for anyone adult or child. It doesn’t take long to play and you just have to be really fast and use your memory a bit.

We would love to know your recommendations for other games we might enjoy and in return we are giving you the chance to win a £20 Amazon voucher to treat your family to a new game.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through these we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you

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A birthday party in lockdown

It was my little brother’s 5th birthday earlier this month, with everything else going on it wasn’t quite the day we had planned. This year was the first year he had been excited about having a party and has been talking about it for months. He was very good when he realised he couldn’t have one and asked if we could have an at home party instead so we decided that was what we would do.

It was a bit difficult because my Mum is shielded so no one could go to the shops but fortunately she had already got a few presents and we had ordered ink for our school work so we had some things to use.

Sam spent a few days before his birthday planning a party playlist on Alexa of his favourite songs, he has loved dancing to them ever since.

I made some Happy Birthday signs using his favourite Star Wars characters to go with each letter and we wrapped up the bottom half of the living room door for him to burst through which he thought was really funny.

Normally our birthday cakes are a surprise, sometimes we order them from a lady we know and sometimes Mum makes them but we never know what we are having until the day, this year Sam asked if he could help make his. He asked to have a chocolate cake and he absolutely loved being involved with making it and decorating it. His favourite bit was covering it with Easter sweets and treats that we had left over. It was a bit wonky but he said it was the best cake ever. We did surprise him by adding a Star Wars cake decoration that we had ordered before lockdown started.

sam birthday 4

During the day we played outside and I helped to build his birthday LEGO space set and then in the afternoon we had his ‘At home party’. We arranged a Zoom call with two other families who each have two children, one is Sam’s best friend and one is Lottie’s but they all play really nicely together and I organised a scavenger hunt for them. It worked really well because Sam and his friend are a bit little for video calls but this stopped them from being too shy and had everyone running around laughing.

Once we said goodbye to their friends we played some games together with Mum and Dad including a game of pass the parcel. Sam was amazed that he was allowed to win because we aren’t normally at our own parties. We then played the chocolate game- you have to take turns to roll the dice and when someone gets a 6 they have to quickly put on a scarf, hat and sometimes gloves and then cut up a chocolate bar with a knife and fork, they can then eat as much as they are able before the next person rolls a six. Sometimes you get loads and sometimes you don’t even get the hat on before it is the next person’s turn and it is very funny.

sam birthday 3

After that Sam spoke to some of our family on the phone and we made him a party tea with sausage rolls, mini sausages, pizza and lots of yummy treats.

We watched a film that Sam picked out and then sang happy birthday to him and had cake. We has also planned to have a campfire and toast marshmallows but we ran out of time so we did that at the weekend as an extra birthday treat.

It wasn’t what we planned but Sam had a great day- he said his favourite thing was blowing out the candles on his cake!

 

Sam birthday 2

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: Some posts contain affiliate links. If you choose to order using these links we may earn a small amount of commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you

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The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay book review

By Lottie age 8

I was sent The Time of Green Magic by Hilary McKay to review by Love Reading for Kids. I love books about magic and mystery and this one is amazing. The whole book feels magical and surprising.

‘Abi and her two step brothers, Max and Louis, find that strange things happen when they are alone in their eerie, ivy-covered new house.

Abi reading alone, finds herself tumbling deep into books, while Louis summons a startling guest through his bedroom window. Even Max has started to see shapes in the shadow in the shadows….

Their busy parents see none of it- but Louis’ secret visitor is growing too alarming to keep secret, and he finds he cannot manage without Max and Abi’s help.

Can they find out where the mysterious creature has come from- and how to get it back there?’

Hilary McKay is an amazing author, she makes you feel like you are really there. I could really imagine I was Abi. The Time of Green Magic is full of mystery and a little bit scary- not enough to frighten you a lot but enough to make you want to keep reading.

The descriptions are so good, you can imagine exactly what the family are like and all that is happening to them. I can see how strange it is for Abi getting used to having step brothers. The book has lots of people’s stories running through it and you get to know all the characters really well and feel like you know them.

I really love this book. I read it within 2 days even though we were still at school when it arrived and have read it again since. I would recommend it to confident readers age 7 and over. If you are looking for something magical to read then The Time of Green Magic is a brilliant choice.

the time of green magic

 

Disclaimer: We were sent a review copy of The Time of Green Magic but all thoughts and opinions are Lottie’s own.

This post contains affiliate links, if you choose to purchase through these we would receive a small commission at no extra cost to yourself.

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Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

Yesterday I made peanut butter cookies from a recipe in my Mum’s BBC Good Food Magazine – they were so easy and really delicious, I would really recommend them. The original recipe can be found here.

These were really quick and easy and I think they are perfect for kids to make on their own, next time I might try adding chocolate chips or some extra chopped nuts but they were delicious both warm and cold. I think they tasted more nutty the following day.

Ingredients

200g peanut butter (crunchy or smooth- I used a mix as that was what we had)

175g golden caster sugar

1/2 tsp table salt

1 large egg

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180 degrees/ 160 degrees for a fan oven and line two baking trays
  2.  Mix peanut butter, salt and sugar
  3.  Add in egg- it makes a dough type mixture
  4.  Place large marble size balls of dough spaced out on the trays and gently squash with the back of a fork.
  5. Cook for around 12 minutes until golden around the ages- I found they needed around 16 minutes until they were a nice colour and I turned the oven up for the last few minutes
  6.  Allow to cool slightly on a baking tray before eating!

We would love to hear if you make these, I will definitely be making them again soon.

 

finn and rose

World Book Day ideas for kids who don’t like dressing up

One of the best things about Secondary School is that I no longer have to think of costumes for different events. I like the idea of World Book Day as I love to read and we love discovering new books but I really, really don’t like dressing up!

Over the years we have come up with a number of ideas that don’t involve too much dressing up and I thought I would share them with you in case you need some ideas.

Ben from Gangsta Granny

This one is quite easy but still looks like you have tried! All you need is a black hoody, black trousers, a balaclava if you have one and then find a draw string bag, if you have a fabric pen you can label it with swag but otherwise just fill it and hang any costume jewellery out from the side- I borrowed my sister’s dress up tiaras and necklaces.

George’s Marvellous Medicine

All you need is jeans and a red t-shirt, you can then carry either an empty medicine bottle and spoon or make your own oversized accessories but this one is perfect if you are more comfortable in your own clothes.

Danny the Champion of the World

This is a bit more like dressing up but it depends on how far you want to go. You could just wear slightly too small clothes and carry a sack or you could also wear wellies and a flat cap and get hold of a pheasant type toy.

Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl books are great for recognisable costumes without having to feel properly dressed up. Charlie just needs clothes that are a bit too small too small and a large homemade golden ticket and Wonka bar

Charlie from Charlie and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs

This is a great for younger kids who don’t want to wear a costume as it just needs jeans, a red jumper and of course, a bucket of dinosaurs so most households can conjure these up quite quickly!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

So easy to do- you just need black shorts, a white t-shirt and a black bag. If you are feeling creative you could draw a mask to hold up too.

Alex Rider

This is a good one for older kids. You just need jeans, a dark t-shirt, a jacket, an ID card and some spy gadgets.

Elizabeth Allen from The Naughtiest Girl in the School

This one is quite easy if you have a blazer, you just need a pinafore dress, shirt, tie and blazer and then something to make a lacrosse stick with!

Matilda

Just a plain blue dress and you can easily be Matilda with a pair of plaits and a pile of books.

Sophie from the BFG

Another easy one from Roald Dahl- Sophie just needs her nightdress dressing gown, slippers, a blanket and a large pair of glasses.

Mary Poppins

A black skirt with a white shirt and a white apron and umbrella would work well for this, even better if you would wear a hat and a necktie too.

Princess Pearl from Zog

Any flowery dress with an apron and a tiara along with a medical kit is perfect for Princess Pearl.

Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz

Great if you already have red shoes and a blue dress, just do the hair and carry a basket. Add a soft toy dog if you can!

We hope this gives you some ideas for children who aren’t huge fans of dressing up and makes World Book Day a bit easier without having to buy new things. We would love to hear your suggestions too!

World Book Day 2018 as Ben from Gangsta Granny

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links- should you choose to purchase through these we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you

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Book Review: Tiger Skin Rug by Joan Haig

When Kelly at Cranachan Publishing asked if we would be interested in joining in with the Tiger Skin Rug blog tour we jumped at the chance. Reading the information we were sent we knew we were in for a treat when the book arrived and we certainly weren’t disappointed.

Tiger Skin Rug is Joan Haig’s first children’s novel but you would never know this- from the beginning you are drawn in and taken on a magical journey. I have never been to either India or Scotland but I feel like I have just visited both.

‘Lal and his brother, Dilip miss home, They don’t like drizzle, midges, or the tiger skin rug in their creepy new house. All they want is to leave Scotland and go back to India.

But that’s before they make friends with Jenny, and before the tiger comes back to life…

The tiger tells them it will take them home in return for their help: it cannot rest until it fulfils an old promise.’

tiger skin rug 2

I loved this book and found it difficult to put down but I had to wait a long time to get chance to read it because Lottie got there first! Not only did she and my Mum read it together a chapter a night, she insisted on re-reading the whole book again on her own as soon as they finished it. There aren’t many books you want to read again as soon as you have finished but Tiger Skin Rug is definitely one of them.

You can really imagine how Lal and Dilip feel being moved halfway across the world to a strange creepy new house that doesn’t feel like home. You get a real sense of how lost they feel, especially Lal.

Jenny and her Granny are just what they need, I liked the fact that a Scottish girl was the one to become friends with them as it illustrates how it doesn’t matter how different your backgrounds are or whether you are a male or female but you can still be friends.

When the tiger skin rug comes alive it’s both magical and scary. Lottie was a little frightened at this point but also desperate to read on and see what happened next and I could see how Lal would be disbelieving and wary, whereas Dilip is younger and totally believes in the magic.

I love how the children understand how important the tiger’s promise is and how the adventure begins.

As the story moves on the picture that Joan Haig paints of India is so vivid. You can feel the cold night as they glide through the air and you can really imagine the slums and understand how Lal feels seeing India through Jenny’s eyes when it isn’t the India that he knows and loves. I can visualise the huge contrast between there and the richer parts of the country. Both the slums and the plantations feel so exotic sitting here reading about them on a rainy English February day, you are easily transported into the story and to many miles away.

There are so many themes running through Tiger Skin Rug that everyone adult or child will find something to relate to. It makes you think about tiger poaching which is so important.

You think about people and how there are good and bad people in all areas of life and it reminds you that sometimes you can be something you didn’t know you were and that other people can always surprise you- I like the way that Lal realised that Jenny was braver than he expected, learnt that Dilip was great at peace keeping and discovered that he was a natural leader.

I love the way the theme of family and home runs through the whole book and think the ending is perfect whilst still being both happy and a little sad at the same time.

Tiger Skin Rug is aimed at children age 8 to 12 which I think is perfect, Lottie is 8 and absolutely loves this book and I am 12 and easily got lost in it. I am sure it would also appeal to older readers too though, my Mum loved the style of Joan Haig’s writing and really enjoyed the story- she and Lottie cheated near the end and swapped their chapter a night for three chapters as they were enjoying it too much to stop!

I really hope Joan Haig has plans for more children’s novels in the future.

Don’t forget to follow the other blogger’s on the blog tour to find out what they thought about Tiger Skin Rug too.

Tiger Skin Rug Blog Tour Image

 

 

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Tiger Skin Rug for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

This post contains affiliate links, should you choose to order using these we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you

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The Snowman by Carrot Productions

Our trip to see The Snowman didn’t quite go according to plan but thanks to the lovely people at Carrot Productions Lottie and Mum were still able to get there and took Lottie’s friend and her sister with them. Whilst it wasn’t the family trip we planned it sounds like she had an amazing time and Mum said we definitely should all plan to go next year.

Lottie’s review.

My friends Emily, Isla and I went to see The Snowman at Ely Cathedral with our Mum’s just after Christmas. It was absolutely brilliant. The Cathedral was a fantastic place for the performance. It was beautiful.

I had never seen an orchestra before and I loved it. Each musician showed a little clip of what their instrument sounded like and that was so interesting. The drummer was very funny. My favourite was the violin and the bass and we all loved the harp.

After we had been introduced to the musicians they showed The Bear and the Piano on three screens so you watched the story to the soundtrack of the Orchestra playing which was really lovely.

© David Litchfield Illustration

 

Once the film had finished The Snowman came out and the Orchestra played a song called The Snowman Waltz which was upbeat and exciting and the snowman danced around and around. We got to shake hands with him which Isla was especially excited by!

© Gareth Widdowson

 

Then it was time for The Snowman to be shown. I have seen The Snowman lots of times before but never like this. It’s hard to describe how special it was with the orchestra playing. The boy who sang was amazing. You really felt like you were drawn right into the film.

© Tom Bangbala

 

I was so sad when it ended. I wish it had gone on for longer. I absolutely loved the whole thing and would love to see another event with an orchestra. It has even made me want to practise my violin much more!

My Mum said it made her feel really peaceful and my friends loved it too.

We will be going back next year and hope to go to another Carrot Productions event soon.

 

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted our tickets for The Snowman but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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Lottie’s Harry Potter themed Christmas gift guide

By Lottie age 8

I am now up to The Order of the Phoenix in the Harry Potter book series and love reading them with my Mum. We went to Harry Potter World for my birthday treat and there were so many amazing Harry Potter toys, games and costumes that I would love I thought I would put together my Christmas wish list and gift guide to give other Harry Potter fans some ideas.

Lego Knightbus

We all love LEGO in my house and the Knightbus is one of my favourite sets that I have. My brother’s have loads of Star Wars LEGO but this is my set that I made myself. It’s a three story bus and you can take the top off to play with it. It comes with Harry, Stan and Ernie. It is really good to play with and it also looks really nice on display in my bedroom.

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

I have been going to chess club at school for the last two terms and really enjoy it. My Dad and I play together and I have now started teaching my Mum how to play. I do have a chess set but I think the wizard chess set looks absolutely amazing and I would love to have this.

Invisibilty cloak

Everyone needs an invisibility cloak! I don’t know how well this would work but I think it looks like it would be a lot of fun. I would really like to try and fool my brother’s with this. It looks like you need an app so you would probably use it to make videos and trick people with. It looks like it would be funny.

Hermione’s Yule Ball Dress

I saw this at Harry Potter World and it is beautiful. I would love it. You can also get a doll wearing the dress which I quite like, I have seen a proper dress based on the outfit at Boden which is beautiful

The Sorting Hat

This would be great fun- I could see what house everyone I know should be in. When I do the tests I sometimes get Gryffindor and sometimes get Ravenclaw so it would be good to see what the hat actually thinks!

The Marauder’s Map Guide to Hogwarts

My friend gave me this for my birthday and it’s really good. It has lots of interesting facts and is good fun as you can use your own invisible map. I really love it but I would only recommend it for people who have read all the books – otherwise you might find some sad things out before you get there.

Interactive Hedwig

I absolutely love Owls. I have done bird handling for the last year and the owls are my very favourite. As you can’t keep owls as a pet this would be the next best thing, it looks so cute!

Harry Potter Trivial Pursuit

Luke has this game and it’s really good fun. There are questions on lots of different topics, like Hogwarts, The Dark Arts, Magical Objects and Magical People. You do have to know quite a bit about the stories so it is best if you have other people who love Harry Potter to play with.

I hope this has given you some good ideas for Christmas gifts for Harry Potter fans, I will be very happy if I get something off this list.

 

 

Disclaimer: This posts contains affiliate links, this means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through the links. Thank you