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Family game night with Jaques of London

We always used to have a family game night on a Saturday but for some reason we haven’t done this much over the past year or so. It wasn’t until we were offered the chance to review some of Jaques of London’s games that we realised how much we missed it.

There is a fantastic selection of toys and games at Jaques of London with some traditional wooden games and some new variations. We really enjoyed making our choices.

We went with the Backgammon set and Chinese Checkers, neither of which we have ever played before and we were excited to try them.

The delivery arrived really quickly and it was a real treat opening the games, they are wrapped like a present and look really special. My Mum loved the fact there was a hand-written card saying who had packed our games, she felt this was a really nice personal touch.

The games looked fantastic, the Backgammon set is in a smart case and Chinese Checkers has a wooden board with brightly coloured pieces which make you want to pick them up and play straight away.

 

We found Backgammon hard to get to grips with to start with but got the hang of it and really enjoyed it, it was perhaps a little tricky for Sam but the rest of us have had fun playing it together and I can see we will play that a lot as a family. All the parts are easy to store in the case and it makes a good gift for older children or even adults.

Chinese Checkers however, is our new go-to family game, for everyone. We love it! It is really quick to get the hang of and we all had fun playing it together, anything that can work for a 6 year old and a teenager has to be good. It was so simple yet so clever and makes you think. We love the fact that you can play with as little as two people or as many as 6. If you have never played it, it is very straightforward, you start with your pieces in the segment of the star nearest to you and the aim of the game is to get them all into the person opposites segment, there are some rules about what you can do but you don’t loose your pieces. It can get quite funny when there are six people playing at the same time and if you set a timer it can be very competitive. We have found this great for a quick game after dinner on a school night as well as ideal for a few rounds at the weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have been so impressed with the games from Jaques of London and think that every family needs at least a couple for their games’ cupboard.

For younger children they do some brilliant wooden toys too so they would be a great company to look at for Christmas gifts. Our readers can enjoy 15% off their orders by using this link.

We are really enjoying getting back into our games nights and are looking forward to seeing what else Jaques of London have available.

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted the two games from Jacques of London but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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Anna at War by Helen Peters Book Review

By Lottie age 10 with a little help

Our topic for this term is the Second World War. I decided to go to the library and choose some books to read from both the non fiction and fiction section, I find this terrible time in history really interesting and I wanted to learn more.

I found Anna at War by Helen Peters and thought it looked really good, my Mum thought so too so we decided to read it together.

It is an amazing book, my Mum even cried within the first few chapters. Helen Peters paints such a clear picture, you get a real feeling of how it must have felt to be a Jewish child in Nazi Germany. The chapter about Kristallnacht has really stayed in my memory. It is so well written, showing children how it must have felt living through that and how terrifying it would be listening to the boots stamping and glass smashing in their own homes.

The book touches on the horror of concentration camps but doesn’t go into a large amount of detail, Anna at the time would have only heard some of the awful things that were happening and would not have yet been aware of all the dreadful things that were going on so, as the story is told from her perspective this is in keeping with the story.

After Kristallnacht, Anna’s father is taken away for some time, when he somehow comes back he is a different man, we aren’t told why he is released from the concentration camp but we see how this shaped his and his wife’s decision that the best thing for their daughter is to send her away.

Anna is to be sent away on the Kindertransport- travelling from Germany to England as a refugee. I loved how brave Anna was. I felt sad for her too though. It was incredibly sad when she said goodbye to her parents not knowing when or if she would see them again but as one of the oldest she soon realises she needs to take charge for the little ones. Anna finds herself with an extra responsibility for the journey too which is a fantastic story in it’s own right and really makes the reader feel like they are travelling along with the children.

Anna is placed with a family in England with two children, she is lucky that they are a lovely family, and whilst they don’ t have much they make her welcome but being a refugee from an enemy country comes with it’s problems where some of her classmates are concerned.

There are some ups and downs, especially between Anna and Molly (the family’s daughter) but an adventure and story of great bravery with some scary parts follows.

The story is an adventure, with a bit of mystery throw in, it is so well written you feel Anna’s emotions as the world around her changes and the homesickness for her beloved parents is locked away in the box in her head. Even so she continues to be incredibly brave.

The suspense builds throughout the book as Anna, Molly and Frank (Molly’s brother) get caught up trying to help an injured soldier who might not be who he seems.

I absolutely loved this book and so did my Mum. It was amazingly written and I learnt so much about that time from a different perspective. I would love to read more books by Helen Peters and have added a copy of Anna at War to my Christmas list so I can read it again once my library copy is returned.

I would recommend Anna at War to children age 9 plus but I think that adults should read this book too.

 

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Star Wars jokes and a competition

We missed posting on May 4th this year but if you have been reading the blog for a while you will know we are big Star Wars fans so obviously we spent the evening watching a couple of films rather than doing our homework!

We thought we would share some of our favourite Star Wars jokes with you:

What do you call an invisible droid?

C-through-PO

Which Star Wars character travels around the World?

Globi-wan Kenobi

What is the most popular Star Wars movie in Italy?

The Phantom Venice

Why did Yoda need more money?

He was a little short

What is Admiral Ackbar’s favourite type of music

Trap

Why did movies 4,5 and 6 come before 1,2 and 3?

Because in chare of directing, Yoda was.

What do you call a Sith shopping Centre?

A Darth Mall

Why did Chewbacca fail his driving test?

He made some wookie mistakes

Why is Yoda so good at gardening?

He has green fingers.

What program do Jedi use to open PDF files?

Adobe Wan Kenobi

We would love to hear if you have a favourite Star Wars joke.

We have a LEGO Star Wars Sith Trooper battle set to give away to one lucky winner who enters our Star Wars competition.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Getting back to normal

It’s been such a long time since we have written on our blog. We have found this year quite tricky and haven’t been very motivated to write a lot. I think spending weeks doing school at home has probably put us off a bit!

It has been good to get back to a slightly more normal life but we are still missing doing some of our clubs and seeing our friends outside of school, really hoping this year will be more like it used to be.

We are hoping to get back to writing a bit more regularly again and have accumulated quite a large pile of books to review, we are also planning on running some competitions over the next few weeks so hopefully there will be a bit more going on over here!

Thanks for reading.

Luke and Lottie x

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Silverstone Drive LAP Land Experience

We were so excited to be invited to the preview of Silverstone’s LAP land experience. We love Silverstone, it is my favourite race track and I was sad not to be able to get there for the BTCC this year. As you can imagine it was pretty exciting being able to drive on the actual track even just at very low speeds!

I have never been to a show like this before and loved every minute of it. When we arrived we were directed down to the track to the pits -Sam was beyond excited to go past and kept shouting ‘box it Mummy, box it!’ There were Elves as well as festive scenes projected into the pits and everyone was really cheerful and welcoming.

We then got to line up ready to do our lap round the circuit- there was loads of different lights, lasers and projectors. There were also snow globes with Christmassy scenes giving it a festive feel and even Santa waving from one of them.

The lights were really spectacular with lots of different effects, it was very cleverly done and it was well set up so you got to see everything. We were able to tune our radio to the Silverstone radio station where they were playing festive songs and making it all feel very Christmassy.

It took about 30 to 40 minutes to drive the lap which I think was about long enough, we got to see everything and felt like we had a good experience without it feeling like it was going on too long.

When we came off the track we were able to drive and watch The Snowman. This was really well done as there were three screenings going on at the same time so you don’t have to wait too long once you have finished your lap. There were drinks, popcorn and candyfloss to buy and while you were waiting there was a interactive mobile snowboarding game that you could play against other cars which was really good fun and passed the time quickly.

Once The Snowman finished it was quick and easy to get out of the car park and we were on our way home.

I really enjoyed the whole experience, I think it was perfect for kids my age as I liked the experience of driving round the track and the lights were really good – it was something very different to do compared to the Christmas experiences that my little brother and sister normally like . The Snowman was great for my little brother, he and Lottie loved the light show too so it was good for the whole family. If you live in the area and can manage to get tickets we would definitely recommend it for a fun and safe Christmas night out.

I really hope Silverstone make their LAP Lane experience a yearly show. I can’t wait to get back there for some motorsport soon.

 

 

Disclaimer: We were invited to the Lap Land experience and given complimentary tickets but all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

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Wonder Adventures Santa Session

My little brother Sam, who is 5, was so excited to find out he was getting chance to take part in a virtual Santa experience earlier this week. As our Mum has been shielded we haven’t been able to see Father Christmas in real life this year so being able to do it safely at home was a real treat.

Mum said the Santa session was really easy to book, she just had to choose the time that suited and then send a message that she wanted Santa to give Sam.

The session started with Santa telling the story of The Night Before Christmas and while he chatted to all the children watching, then they did a song with a virtual sleigh ride that Sam enjoyed joining in with and then Santa had special messages for each of the children. Sam was so excited when he heard his name. He didn’t know Mum had sent a message in and he sat up very straight and listened very carefully when it was his turn. He loved being spoken to directly by Santa.

There were some games on the screen to keep the children busy while the others were having their messages read and these were perfect for Sam’s age group, he enjoyed doing them and was able to do so without help.

We thought Santa was very jolly and the experience was just right- long enough to keep Sam’s attention but not so long that it gave him time to get restless and we loved the personal element.

If you are looking for a Santa Experience that is completely safe then we think the Wonder Adventures virtual experience is perfect for kids age 3 to 7. They also offer several other Christmas themed experiences that look good fun too if you are looking for something a bit different or have already seen Santa.

 

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted the Wonder Adventures virtual Santa Experience but all thoughts and opinions are our own.

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Recipes for kids- Cereal bars

These cereal bars are really easy to make and are great to take to school for lunch or snack.

Ingredients

150g butter

200g of golden syrup

50g caster sugar

200g porridge oats

100g raisins

60g apricots

80g chocolate chips

Method

Line a baking tray and heat the oven to 180 C.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and then stir in the sugar and golden syrup, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

Stir in the oats, apricots and raisins and mix well.

Remove from heat and stir in most of the chocolate chips.

Spread the mixture into the baking tray and press flat. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top.

Bake in the over for 20-25 minutes until it is starting to turn golden.

Leave the cereal bars to cool in the tin before removing and cutting into slices.

 

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Our top 10 Christmas Films and a competition

By Lottie age 9

I love Christmas films and have wanted to start watching them since before Halloween but my brother said it was too early. I have now only got a few weeks to watch them all! These are my Top 10 favourites.

I would love to know yours so I can add them to my list to watch.

1.  Polar Express

2. Nativity…1, 2 and 3!

3. Home Alone

4. Elf

5. Miracle on 34th Street

6. Jingle all the way

7. The Grinch

8. Santa Claus the Movie

9. Arthur Christmas

10. Narnia (not really a Christmas film but we always watch it at this time of year!)

 

We are giving you a chance to win a family Christmas DVD of your choice (subject to availability) with a treat bundle to enjoy to get you into the Christmas spirit.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Note: We will ask the winner to advise which family appropriate DVD they would like in their bundle and if we can’t source it will offer an alternative before sending.

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New Micro Machines from Jazwares- Toy review

Some of my favourite toys when I was little were my Uncle’s old Mirco Machines, they were so much fun. I was really pleased to hear that Jazwares have brought Micro Machines back and Sam was beyond excited to be sent a bundle to review.

The new Micro Machines were everything Sam could have hoped for and more. There are so many different sets to choose from. You can create a whole world with vehicles and playsets and the vehicles look so realistic.

You can watch our video clip below for a peek at what Sam was sent (and to be reminded as to why they say never work with children and animals!- he found his voice again after we stopped filming!!)

We love the fact the vehicles are so well designed, they are really eye-catching and make great collectibles but most of all they are really good fun to play with.

Sam was sent a Micro Machines starter pack which was three racing cars and is great value at just £3.99. We think these will make brilliant stocking fillers.

We also got an Army Micro Machines World pack which consisted of 5 vehicles and a backdrop set which is just £7.99- there are lots of different themes available including Fire and Rescue, Construction and Supercars.

Finally there was the Micro Machines Mini Vehicle Hauler which is £9.99. This comes with one vehicle but fits up to 8 on so Sam has had lots of fun loading up and transporting all his cars around the house. He liked that you can open the top as well as put them on with the ramp.

We have been really impressed with the vehicles, they are great for imaginative play and they are good quality. Sam has played with them a lot, they have also stood up to being transported around in his coat pocket to play with on the school bus! They are great for taking out and about and taking on adventures.

The new Jazwares Micro Machines are ideal for children age 4 upwards and will be perfect to add to Christmas lists for any children that like vehicles or collectibles.

 

Disclaimer: Sam was lucky enough to be sent a selection of Micro Machines for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions are our own. Micro Machines are available now from Smyths, Amazon and many more.

 

 

 

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Easy recipes for kids- Chocolate Tiffin

I have been doing lots of baking recently and this chocolate tiffin is one of my favourite recipes. It is really sweet and filling, you don’t need a lot for it to be a real treat!

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter

2 tablespoons of caster sugar

2 tablespoons of golden syrup

4 teaspoons of cocoa powder

225g of digestive biscuits

50g raisins

250g milk chocolate

Method

Line a 20 x 20 tin with greaseproof paper.

Crush the biscuits

Melt the butter in a saucepan then add the sugar, syrup and cocoa.

Once all mixed in add the biscuits and raisins and stir them in.

Pour into the prepared tin and press down really hard and right into the corners.

Melt the chocolate and pour onto the top of the mixture and spread it out.

Put in the fridge for 1.5 to 2 hours before cutting the tiffin into about  12 to 16 pieces depending on how big you would like it

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