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!
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!
Visit a beach (see I said it needed a spade with the bucket!)
Do the Summer reading challenge
Go to a sporting event (cheating a bit because we actually have already done this!)
Use my telescope to go Stargazing
Use my microscope to look at something interesting
Do some baking
See my friends
Play lots of sport
Visit somewhere interesting
Help throw my sister an amazing birthday party!
Have a picnic
Make a new friend
Do some metal detecting
Visit a museum
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?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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!
I would love to know what sort of things other children like to do when the weather is bad?
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
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
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.
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.
We started the Summer holidays with a really good first day. We went to an awesome birthday party in the afternoon and got to see loads of our friends which was great but before that we had a trip to the cinema. I have always liked the Cars films but wasn’t sure if I would now be a bit old for the new one but was happy enough to go with Mum and Lottie to see it. I was pleased I wasn’t the oldest child in the cinema and actually Cars 3 was such a good film it wouldn’t have mattered if I was!.
I think Cars 3 was my favourite of them all, it was a really good story, funny in bits, sad in others and not too predictable (sshh, don’t tell anyone but it made my Mum cry!) We all loved the film and have recommended it to everyone.
Lottie enjoyed the film all the more for having her Cars 3 plush toys by Posh Paws International. We were lucky enough to be sent a plush Lightning McQueen and Mack and Cruz and Jackson Storm plush bag clips from the people at Posh Paws Int which Lottie soon managed to become so attached too no one else got a look in! As soon as we got to the cinema she was showing them to the people who were checking the tickets and fortunately we were at the back with no-one was sitting next to us because it meant she was ok to carry on when she was racing them in time to the film!
Lottie loved having the Cars 3 plushes with her for the film but she has barely put them down since. Sam is quite taken with them too and has been sneaking them away whenever he gets the chance to drive them around his car mat ‘brumming’ and ‘zooming’ and spends a lot of time saying ‘brum brum car, mine? Mine please Lottie’ before taking them off for another spin. They are good to play with because they are quite chunky but then because they are very soft and quite cuddly they make good teddies too. Lottie has been taking Mack to bed with her and has enjoyed cuddling him so they seem to be equally good as toys and teddies.
I am hoping that I might be able to add Lightning McQueen to my toy collection sometimes but I also like the fact that my little brother now loves the characters from the films that I always loved too so I am happy Sam is playing with him and Lottie is having so much fun with them all it keeps her away from annoying me too much!
She now just has the important job of deciding which bag clip is going to go on her new book-bag for next year!
If you like the idea of recreating your own version of the film then check out the whole range from Posh Paws International – you can chose from Lightning McQueen, Mater, Cruz, Ramirez, Jackson Storm, Guido and Mack in lots of different sizes or as bag clips and they are even making them in the Mini Tsum Tsum range that we are all collecting now too! The plush toys range from £5.99 to £19.99 and can be purchased at Debenhams, Sainsburys, Next and many more including Independent Retailers.
Disclaimer: We were generously supplied with our fantastic range of plush toys from Posh Paws International but all thoughts are our own.
If you saw my recent blog post you would know that Lottie and I have a lot of teachers between us that we need to buy gifts for this year and it has actually been really hard to choose what to get them because they are all interested in very different things.
My Mum and I have been doing some research and have found some great presents ideas for teachers and teaching assistants which we thought we would share with you. Even if you are lucky enough to have already broken up for the Summer these will make fantastic Christmas gifts too so well worth keeping in mind.
We recently reviewed (and have a chance for one reader to win) the Funky Tape Measure and think this makes a brilliant gift for any teacher but especially one who teachers maths, science or design because they would be able to use it all the time. You can personalise the tape measure with a message and design of your choice and it comes in a nice box so it makes a really good gift.
All my teacher’s like chocolate but this Teacher’s Apple is so much better than a normal box of chocolates. The apple looks quite realistic and comes in a little box perfect to wrap as a gift. It is made of white Belgium chocolate (yum!) and looks really shiny, like a nice ripe apple! It is only £6.99 so a great alternative to a box of chocolates. We tried one and it was absolutely delicious and felt like a real treat. Apparently it will keep for a year but I am not sure how you could keep from eating it for that long!
If you are looking for an edible gift for your teacher that is a bit different or perhaps to share between teachers. I would recommend you have a look at the cupcakes from bakerdays They are made from the same delicious sponge recipe as the letterbox cake we recently tried from them and then topped with vanilla icing and an icing disk. You can choose from vanilla and chocolate or a mixture of both. They are £25.99 for a box of 12 so would make a great gift for the staff room. They even offer next day delivery but you can order ages in advance so you could cross them off your Christmas list already!
I couldn’t resist having a look at this company because their name was brilliant! They turn children’s artwork into gifts and it looks like a fantastic gift idea. I like the idea of a very personal present that the teacher can use for years to come.
They do all sorts of different things but we especially like the look of the bags and pencil cases. Lottie’s teacher’s favourite animal is a giraffe so she would like to make her a pencil case with a picture of one on- these start at £24 and make a unique and unusual present. It looks like it is really easy to do because you can just email them your picture and they get straight to work.
We love this Change the World Mug for a gift. Every teacher needs a mug they know is theirs and I really like this message. I haven’t seen this one up close but I have seen lots of other things from 2 Little Boys and have really liked everything they do, we have found the quality to be really good. They tell me that these are porcelain and made in Stoke on Trent and are really nice to drink out of which sounds perfect for a teacher’s gift. At £13.50 this would make a lovely present for your main class teacher.
It’s also worth looking at their stationary items if that is more your teacher’s type of thing as they have an amazing selection
I think this is a really great idea, your teacher can use the pencils until they get too short and then they plant it and water it and then it grows into a flower or herb. They are £6.99 for a pack of 8.
Please note I was sent some of the items within this post for review purposes and others are simply ideas we have found. All opinions remain our own
This post may contain affiliate links which should your purchase from I receive a small amount of commission at no cost to you