Please Don’t Let High School Take Your Sparkle

It’s that time of year again when the children are returning to school to start a fresh year of new and exciting challenges…for some it might not just be a new classroom it could be that big jump from preschool to reception or primary to secondary school.

In our house it is Izzy that will be taking that big leap to high school and to be honest she is taking it all in her stride.

It can be a huge change for both the child and parents with so many unknowns for everyone.

With Izzy being my third to take this step I don’t really have any anxieties about the whole process as it is a familiar school for us both and something I’ve had many years of practice with.

I am however getting a sinking feeling that the pressures of fitting it will cause her quirkiness to disappear and she will feel the need to conform and follow the crowd.

My little bare footed hippie certainly knows her own style but as she has got older the thoughts of others have been swaying her a little and as I’m sure we all know the pressures of a such a big change and that dreaded teen angst creeping in can have such a huge impact.

I know with the older two that I found the move to secondary school the biggest change as their it is such a tricky age. They are really trying to find themselves and this means much less parental involvement is needed in their day to day goings on which can be pretty hard.

They look to others for recognition and this is where I noticed a change with my older two as my opinion moved down the pecking order and their peers were not the people they wanted to please rather than me.

With this in mind I really hope she doesn’t loose  her huge zest for life, her don’t care attitude towards everything she does and her individual style. I hope she learns to withstand everything that it thrown at her over the next few years and let her inner sparkle continues to shine bright and be that one that stands out in the crowd.

Mini Ninja At Yo Sushi – Boxpark

I am very lucky that all of my children bar one are open to try pretty much any food that they are introduced to.

This has opened them up to experiencing a wide variety of different cuisines with sushi coming pretty high up on their list of loves.

Trying to make it for ourselves though is something even I haven’t attempted so when we were asked along to Yo Sushi at Boxpark, Croydon I was as excited as the children!

On a Tuesday and Wednesday at 11am during the summer holidays Yo Sushi is running their Mini Ninja Sushi making masterclass aimed at children aged 5-12.

Being as unorganised as always I hadn’t looked at the recommended age range and in fact went along with Oscar(3) and Frankie(5) and Izzy(11).

Our super friendly Sushi maestro sat the children down and got them kitted out in their hats and gloves in preparation to get creating.

They were all given instructions sheets on how to make Maki, Salmon Nigi and Crab Handrolls.

These weren’t neeeded as the children were shown step by step how to make each piece and there was plenty of hands on help if neeeded.

Usually the attention span of my children is limited to cupcakes but amazingly they sat through the whole hour without a fidget or a moan.

Once their boxes were filled with yummy sushi made by their own fair hands there was a quick game of who could move the edamame beans the quickest which was great to burn off a bit of energy.

At the end of the session they were awarded a certificate for all their hard word and given a bag to take home their sushi and the rolling mats they used so they could have a go again at home.

My lot however couldn’t wait to get home to eat so we sat for a while eating there creations whilst I sampled some delightful pork buns that I will certainly be returning again for.

There is still time to get you litttle ones booked in at several different locations around the country and it has certainly come highly recommended from us!
 *Collaborated post 

Maplin Photo Walk:Thinking Outside The Box

One of the biggest things that has come out of blogging for me is my love for photography.

It is something I know very little about and for a long time I have been meaning to gain some knowledge on how to make the most of my camera and take a better picture.

With this in mind I was very excited to have the opportunity to join in with Maplin Photo Walk in Covent Garden the other day lead by the very talented Kaye Ford.

We followed a route starting in the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden trying to capture the crowds, street performers and the whole ambiance of the buzzing area.

Street photography is something that always scares me and I find it hard to try and incorporate other people into my shots whilst making them interesting.

I took on board some great tips from Kaye and headed into the crowds to try and capture some of the life.

I found it pretty daunting to snap the public but armed with an empty memory card and plenty of enthusiasm my confidence grew and it wasn’t long before the images were racking up.

This is the beauty of the technology we all have access to in this day and age. There is no limit to the amount of images we can take and store.

From Covent Garden we moved onto the vibrant colours of Neals Yard and the uniqueness of Soho.

My love of colour was feed throughout the whole walk and then it was time to feed my belly at the beautiful Brigit’s Bakery.

Cakes galore I indulged my sweet tooth and had a cheeky prosseco while talking over our day.

I came away with a bigger thirst to learn and happy that I had uncovered parts of Lonon that I had never seen before.

My Size Potty Review

For me potty training is one of the worst stages of parenting.  The endless trips back and forth to the potty, the accidents and the stress of being out and about when they scream for the toilet at the most inopportune moment!

Number five had been showing a lot of interest and had been using the potty sporadically for a while but I was yet to take the leap and go for it.

When I was asked by Summer Infant UK to try out their new My Size potty I realised this would be the perfect time to take the plunge.

When the parcel arrived all the children were so excited to see a potty that was just like a miniature toilet.  To be honest I was even really taken with how lifelike it was.

The package came in several parts and was really easy to assemble.

There is a liftable lid which can also have a splash guard attached to save any accidents from little boys.  We haven’t tried this out as being the youngest of three boys he had taken to standing already!

Under the lid is a removable bowl that is really easy to remove and clean as it is a lot smaller than a traditional potty.


In the top of the potty there is a little compartment to store wipes and if the top is removed you can place a few books or toys to keep them amused.  This has come in really handy as number five had a tendency to jump up from the toilet before he is ready so something to keep him occupied that is close to hand is perfect.


The selling point for us though was definitely the toilet flush they when pulled gives a great flush and giggle sound which makes for the perfect reward for doing a good job.

For me anything that make such a tricky task fun and as easy as possible is a hit in my book.  It is the perfect potty to make the transition from potty to toilet go smoothly as they look so alike.

The My Size Potty was a huge hit with number four and it is a shame that this great potty was not around through the struggles of my other four!
*we were gifted this potty for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

I Want One!! 

Something that brings me out in a hot sweat with just the thought of it is shopping with kids.  I try to do my shopping online but unfortunately there is the odd occasion I have to brave the the shops with the kids in tow.

We had a last minute dash to get a birthday present this week which to be honest went well until we hit the dreaded till point!

Narrow walkways with shiny object to pull at, shelving to pull down and hundreds of sweets to ask for.  The two minute queue felt like hours, number four had a melt down on the refusal of a Spider-Man electric toothbrush whist ramming the buggy into the unsympathetic woman in front. Number five was trying his Mission Impossible moves to free himself from the buggy to devour any chocolate item he could get his hand on.  

Trying to block out my screaming children and disapproving looks we make it to the till point. The ‘sorry for the wait’ really didn’t cut it today and I would like to challange any store manager to queue with my youngest two to see if these ‘impulse buy’ till point displays are in the least bit pleasing for parents!!

Pumpkin Carving And Crafts Galore 

This is our final dayout before the big night of parties and trick and or treat.  As I’ve said before I really love all the fun that Halloween brings and we always have a trip to Morden Hall in Surrey in the lead up to get us in the mood.

You all know that National Trust activities are always a favourite with me as there is always a mixture of exploring the great outdoors with plenty of fun things to make and do.

Today we set off armed with the pumpkins we picked the other day ready to see what was in store for us today.

   
 

There were plenty of tables set up with buckets of utensils to help you carve out your masterpieces.  It’s always great fun to do and saves all the mess at home!

Next up we made our way to all the crafts that had been set up.  Number four had his eye on making a spider headpiece and they all took a turn at making some toliet roll mummies.  There was also a beautiful hanging paper pumpkin but number five got restless so we had to move on.

  
They were all a little peckish so we picked up a pulled pork burger from the Swine ‘n’ Dine stall that was there along with a few other stalls selling lots of yummy food.  The food was outstanding and they even managed to sort something sutiable for my little allergy boy.

  
  
Our final activity of the day was the nature trail which took us through the pretty rose gardens and over the stunning white bridge to play Pooh Sticks.

   
   

We came to the end of the trail which was rounded off wonderfully with a creepy bug hut.  Mine alway love digging around in the dirt to see what minibeasts they can capture and have a good look at.  Number four was a little disappointment he could take the worm home that he had found.

   
       

We had one last look around at the watermill and picked out our favourite scarecrow, all of which were fantastic.  Number five took a particular liking to one!

   
 

If you are looking for something to do over the weekend I can highly recommend a trip along to Morden Hall to see everything it has on offer, Halloween related or not.
  

  

Wizards And Witches At Bocketts Farm 

It was the perfect day for a trip to the farm today with this beautiful autumn sunshine.  

I only had the two little ones today so Mum and Dad joined us as we set off to Bocketts Farm in Surrey.  We have visited here once before but this was a special trip to see what had been put on to celebrate Halloween.

   
 

On arrival we were given a spooky quiz to fill out on our way around the other attractions that could then be handed in to the pretty pumpkin who was handing out treats for completing the quiz.

We arrived in perfect timing to walk straight into the wizard’s magic show.  Number four is massively into magic at the moment so this was perfect for him.  

   
 

He kept all the children engaged throughout the show and there was lots of audience participation which is always great when there is a young audience.  Number four was in awe throughout and is still questioning how his wallet set on fire!!

We played in the indoor play area which is normally one of my pet hates, but the boys loved riding on the tractors and bikes, climbing through the soft play and whizzing down the huge slides.

   
 

All the areas were spotlessly clean and well inclosed which is a must for my escape artists!

The boys then had a quiet five minutes in the craft area where they made some cool witches hats to get even more of a feel for the Halloween theme.

   
   

Next up we made our way out to the animals.  The boys had a wonderful time petting the rabbits and Guinea pigs, feeding the sheep, goats and cows and looking at the super cute piglets that had not long been born.

   
         

We made good use of the vast outdoor play area with the air pillows being the biggest hit!

   
   

The boys were finally prized away when there was a call for the start of the pig races.  They had a brilliant time cheering them on and number four was more than happy when ‘Bradley Piggins’ came in first place!

  

Hungry from the busy morning we made our way to the tea rooms for some lunch.  There are a wide range of hot and cold foods and a really good children’s menu that offers more than just the normal sandwich or nugget meal.

  

Number five tucked into a yummy macaroni cheese while my little allergy boy was well catered for with a hot meal to keep him going.

We finished our day with a peek at the creepy crawlies in the reptile tent that had been bought along from Amazing Animal Encounters and a trip around the farm on a tractor ride which included a creepy wood especially for Halloween.  The boys loved all the lumps and bumps on the way round whilst the adults took in the stunning views.

     
     

We had a fabulous day at a fantastically run farm with super friendly and helpful staff who’s passion for the farm and the animals really shone through. 

If you are looking for Halloween themed day out for your little ones then Bocketts is the perfect place to go for the fun side of Halloween rather than a scare factor.  The Wizards and Witches event runs until 1st November and got a massive thumbs up from us.

   
 

We were given entrance to Bocketts Fsrm for the purpose of this review and these are my own honest opinions.