jaques 9

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.

jaques 9

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.

 

jaques 9

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

jaques 9

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

jaques 9

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.

 

jaques 9

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.

jaques 9

Book Review: A Clock of Stars by Francesca Gibbons

Reviewed by Lottie age 9 (with help from Mum)

I was lucky enough to be sent a proof copy of A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth by Francesca Gibbons from Love Reading 4 Kids to review. My Mum and I have been reading it as my bedtime story for the last few weeks.

I couldn’t believe A Clock of Stars was Francesca Gibbons’ first book. It was absolutely amazing. The story is so well written, it draws you in and neither my Mum or I wanted to put it down. We were supposed to read two or three chapters a night but we often went on for four or five! I was sad when we got towards the end as I didn’t want it finish.

The book starts with Imogen and her little sister Marie, who annoy each other like normal sisters, and tells the tale of their adventures after Imogen follows a Shadow Moth through a mysterious door in a tree tree only to discover Marie has followed her and they are trapped, unable to get home. The sisters find themselves in a magical Kingdom and are helped escape some terrifying monsters by a very spoilt prince.

The girls stay with Prince Miroslav and they form a strange friendship that almost creeps up on them. Miro has never had real friends before so it is all new to him and there are a few difficulties along the way.

We felt like Gibbons had created a whole new world – it has a feel of being ancient and a step back in time but it could be any time or place, it is just a complete new world like nowhere I could have imagined.

Despite the fun they are having the children realise they need to get back to their own world as their Mother will be worried. It soon becomes clear that it isn’t going to be as easy as that. They meet lots of interesting characters along the way and get caught up in an important quest that changes the future of the whole Kingdom. This is a great adventure story with twists and turns along the way, there were a lot of cliff-hangers!

I love the characters in A Clock of Stars, they all have their own stories and their own strong points and negatives, even the main characters have faults and weaknesses which makes them so much more believable. My favourite character is the huntress Lofkinye, she is such a brilliant character, with so many stories to tell.  My Mum liked Marie as she enjoyed the way her character developed and grew throughout the book- she is a great peace keeper but also ended up being very brave. The illustrations by Chris Riddell at the start of the book are perfect, they show the characters exactly how I imagined them to be and the Shadow Moth is beautiful- I can see why Imogen would have followed it!

I really like the way A Clock of Stars shows us that heroes can come in all forms and challenges us to reconsider what we think we know about other people.

A Clock of Stars is probably the longest book I have ever read and I think it was right to read it with my Mum to start with, although I am re-reading it by myself now. As it is quite a detailed book I think it is best suited to age 10 upwards but think children age 8 upwards would enjoy it with a parent or teacher.

I absolutely loved A Clock of Stars and would love to read more about the characters. I really hope Francesca Gibbons has another book out soon.

Lottie’s well read proof copy!

 

Disclaimer: We were gifted a proof copy of A Clock of Stars but all thoughts are our own.

jaques 9

Book Review: Cookie and the most annoying girl in the world by Konnie Huq

Reviewed by Lottie age 9

I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of Cookie and the most annoying girl in the world by Konnie Huq from Love Reading 4 Kids and I have loved it. I am now reading it for the third time!

It is a great book for children who don’t like reading huge amounts as it has lots of different styles to catch your attention. Most of it is written as a chapter book, but it is from Cookie’s perspective and really easy to follow, almost like a diary, then it is broken up with emails and lots and lots of drawings and sketches.

I really enjoyed the way Cookie thinks as it is very easy to relate to.

The book follows her story and the lives of her friends Jake and Kenziah as well as the most annoying girl in the world- Suzie Ashby and some other children from their class. Cookie is given some tickets to the Aliana Tiny concert and suddenly finds Suzie Ashby wants to be her best friend, which comes with more problems than Cookie could have imagined.

Cookie suffers with major FOMO and it is this fear of missing out that means she finds herself signed up to The F Factor. It turns out the F Factor isn’t quite what she imagined.

I love the storyline of the book as it is really entertaining. I like the way Cookie ends up learning a bit about herself and her friends but still stays like a normal kid. While there is a bit of a lesson in the book it isn’t too much!

I hadn’t heard of the Cookie books before, but I enjoyed this one so much I asked for the first Cookie book for my birthday.

Konnie Huq’s book is perfect for kids age 8 upwards and is ideal for both bookworms and more reluctant readers.

Disclaimer: I was lucky enough to be sent this book to review but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

jaques 9

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!

jaques 9

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