Geomag Review And Giveaway

I would say the toys that always go the distance and have been pasted down and much loved are anything that involves construction. From Lego to Mechano they have been favourites with both the boys and girls and have all stood the test of time.

The benefits of constructions toys are endless and here are just a few reasons I love them as much as the children:

Enabling Creativity – Construction toys allow children to build and create with no limit to their imagination and what they can create.

Improves Gross And Fine Motor Skills – Moving around and manipulating small pieces all help with building their large and smaller muscles in a fun way.

Building Hand-Eye Coordination – Moving pieces into place, lining things up and connecting pieces are all great ways to work their hand-eye coordination.

Nurturing Problem Solving Skills – Thinking through what they initially want to create and then over coming hurdles that they come across along the way is a great starting block for building problem solving skills that will be essential in later life.

Working Together – Construction play is so versatile in many ways and as well as being great for solo play it is the perfect way to get children to put their heads together and work as a team to create something special.

With all of this in mind I was really happy when Geomag offered me two sets to try out with the children. The Panels and Mechanics set compromises of brightly coloured, transparent panels that can be joined together with with its magnetic steel spheres and rods.

This invisible magnetic force allows mechanical movement and allows any of the structures you build to move and rotate.

Geomag is aimed at children aged 5+ so I know it would be absolutely perfect for Frankie who has just turned six and is passionate about creating all types of buildings and structures at the moment.

Frankie’s eyes lit up when he saw the boxes full to the brim with all the shiny pieces and he was itching to get started.

He started simply by creating lines and triangles to get his confidence with them and then once he realised the potential of both the Geomag and himself then he was away!

It wasn’t long before the rest of the children took and interest and joined in with the fun…much to my delight as it is usually a real struggle to get my eldest son interested in anything that isn’t aimed at online gaming!

Unknowingly as well as all the above benefits I have already mentioned, Geomag hits all the STEM needs which cover science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Who wouldn’t enjoy a toy that allows the children to explore all of these important elements in a fun way.

If this sounds like something your little ones would enjoy as much as mine have then below I have the chance for you to win a Geomag Panel set of your own worth £89.99

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Ten

Running behind with this series once again – but hey ‘better late than never’.

It was a pretty big one for me work wise and was a little hard to really concentrate on the smaller things when there were so many exciting things taking place, so this is exactly where I will start.

Working With Kids: By this I don’t mean having to go out of the house everyday and leave the kids, I am in fact lucky enough to take my little ones along with me for a large part of the work I do and this saw Izzy taking to the ice with some of the stars from Disney On Ice and little Oscar get a special screening of the new Peter Rabbit movie.
They always say never work with kids and animals and although it can be pretty stressful at times I am very grateful to be able to do just this.

Loving My City: A lot of my work takes me into London on a weekly basis and normally involves me flitting from one place to the next and not really stopping to take it all in. After the Peter Rabbit screening I had a few hours with Oscar and we took this chance to wander around town taking it all in; from the beautiful architecture to the eclectic groups of people.
London has so much to offer and I really need to slow down and make the most of it when I get the chance.

Oscar Writing His Name: This is a proud moment, mixed in with a little Mum guilt too if I’m honest.
The more children I have obviously the more limited my time is to spend with each of the children and with the older ones having homework to complete I sadly devote a lot of learning time to them a poor little Oscar gets a little left out.
So the other day whist he was writing his Grandad’s birthday card with Izzy, she came in showing me how well he had done with writing his name without any help from her.
I was over the moon that he had done it and a little guilty that there had been little input from me! So its a big thank you again to his fantastic nursery and a big kick up the bum for me to set some time aside to work with him.

Celebrating The Small Things:Week Two

This time of year is never my friend! I get depressed by the weather, long for brighter and longer days and generally spend the whole of January and February wishing away the minutes until the start of spring.

I am however hoping that this new series of ‘Celebrating The Small Things’ I started last week is going to bring a bit of joy to the next few gloomy months ahead.

This week I have picked a couple of my favourite moments that have involved things I don’t get time to enjoy as often as I would like.

One On One Time: With five children this is certainly something I don’t get the chance to do as often as I would like so I cherish them everytime I get the chance.
We took a trip to Southbank to an event where Frankie got to meet some of his favourite characters from the Cartoon Network show – We Bare Bears and we both sampled delicious coffee that had been expertly poured and topped with incredible latte art.
Aside from having to take some pics whilst I was there we spent the rest of the morning completely screen free, talking about all those radom things that run through the mind of a six year and and really just enjoying each other.

Healthy Changes On Track: For those of you that are followers of my blog you will know that the past few years have gained an ever expanding waistline with my change in career.
Its something I’ve been battling with for a long time now and this week I feel that I’ve finally broken the cycle and things have got back on track.
There have been no faddy diets, I’ve just cut out the rubbish and reduced my portion sizes, I have got back into all the exercises I love such as spinning and kickboxing and have been feeling and seeing the benefits both physically and mentally.

Getting An Insight Into School Life: When your children set off to school they spend over half their day in the care of somebody else and we have very little insight into what they get up to; and if your children are anything like mine they aren’t to free with letting you know what they do either.
At the beginning of the week I wasn’t to excited about the thought of having a meeting at the school, but was pleasantly surprised when we got the chance to join the children in the classroom to see what they get up to during their working day.
It was so lovely to see Frankie interacting with his peers, thumbing through textbooks and asking questions on things he was coming across and seeing how much he has come on during his short time at school.

Baby Annabel Learns To Swim Doll Giveaway

I have always seen swimming as one of the most important skills for children to learn, it is a life skill as well as being great for exercise and obviously lots of fun.

This said taking those first steps into the pool can be a pretty daunting time and I know that for two of mine it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get them happy and relaxed with the water.

This is where the new Baby Annabel Learns To Swim Doll can come into play to help ease the transition from dry land to water.

Baby Annabel have teamed up with Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington to create this brilliant doll that splashes, moves her arms and legs in water and floats on her back.

Here are a few of Rebecca’s top tips on how to get your little ones confident in the water:

Rebecca Adlington says: “Learning to swim is an important milestone, helping to instil confidence from an early age as well as being a really fun bonding experience between a parent and child. If your little one is nervous it can be a challenging process – expect plenty of tears and tantrums, however initial fears can be overcome by slowly building confidence and trust.”

Whether your child is an anxious swimmer or an excited water baby, Rebecca Adlington’s top tips will help turn your child into a little Olympian in no time –

• Children can be initially nervous of the water, baby steps and lots of praise will help them overcome a lack of confidence. Try taking them alone to just watch for the first time, then toes in next time and so on, along with lots of positive praise to help encourage them to take that first dip.

• Toys are a brilliant tool, they are such a good distraction for anyone who doesn’t normally like putting their face in the water or splashing. Toys such as the new Baby Annabell Learns to Swim doll are a great way to give children (and parents!) the courage to take those first steps towards swimming.

• Swimming is huge bonding experience. The learning process is a lot to do with trust and really builds a closer relationship between and parent and child. For this reason, try not to use your phone during lessons to avoid distractions.

• The younger you start swimming lessons the better. I took Summer from 3 weeks old. It is all about building confidence and awareness of the water from a young age. Swimming also helps with a child’s muscular development and is fantastic for understanding their physical abilities.

• Make good use of the equipment that’s there. Whether it’s armbands, noodles, or vests, use whatever your child is more comfortable with. I tend to do five minutes with floatation equipment and five without, this helps when they’re really young and still building confidence.

• Mix up who takes the child swimming. Whether its Mum, Dad, Grandparents etc. It’s good to go with someone they trust whilst getting used to swimming with different people.

If this sounds something your little ones would like them simply tell me in the comments below when Rebecca first took her daughter Summer swimming for your chance to WIN a doll of your very own.

Competition T’s and C’s –

The winner will be announced on 5th November 2017.

The prize is non refundable and is no cash alternative.

Learning To Cook With Jamie Oliver’s Hotpoint Teaching Kitchen

How many of you cook your evening meal from scratch every night?

I would hazard a guess that it won’t be many of you and as research from Jamie’s Ministry Of Food shows this sadly the case for many of us.

In fact a huge 1 in 5 adults rely on takeaways and convenience food due to a lack of knowledge in cooking skills and a whopping 1 in 10 have never cooked from scratch.

For me one of my favourite lessons at school was home economics and was actually the only A I got at GCSE.

It was an outlet away from the more academic subjects that I never thrived in and it certainly gave me a great knowledge of food preparation and nutrition that has always stayed with me.

Sadly in many schools this is not on the timetable at all now and 7 in 10 people feel the rise in takeaways and convience food has been greatly affected by this.

This makes for a vicious cycle of parents then not having the knowledge to pass down to their children creating a nation with little knowledge on food at all.

I was shocked to find that 1 in 5 can’t boil an egg, a quarter struggle to cook rice and a third of the people asked lack the skills to correctly cut an onion.

For these reasons Jamie’s Ministry Of Food has got together with Hotpoint to create a fantastic teaching kitchen that is setting up in the towns where obesity and diet related illnesses are at a high.

I was asked along to have a lesson at the truck earlier this week in Selhurst, South London.

I arrived in the car park of Crystal Palace Football Club which seemed like a pretty strange place to be learning to cook.

The truck was nothing liked I expected and was in fact a spectacularly kitted out set up with high tech appliances from Hopoint and plenty of natural light to make for a fantastic area to learn new skills.


Although I would say I’m a pretty confident cook my repertoire has become pretty limited due to cooking for a large family with limited time.

To be honest the majority of my meals are prepared from scratch but I’m a bit of a one pot fan and I was hoping this lesson would open my eyes to creating something new for the family.

Any nerves I had about starting the session were soon quashed when the super friendly chefs introduced themselves and started the afternoon.

Our mission was to prepare a beautiful dish of salmon teriyaki from scratch which is one of my favourite meals but something I’ve not tried to create mysel.

Each step was shown to us and then as we went through the process ourselves there was plenty of experts on hand to help out at any stage.


I learned some great tips on food wastage and an entirely new way to cook rice that I will be trying out at home!



Children as young as 7 can go along to take part and I think this would be the perfect way to introduce little ones to the exciting world of cooking and sparking off something that could turn into a real passion for them.

The truck is in Selhurst until 16th June and you can book your slot HERE for free.

It is then moving onto Bristol, Middlesborough, Sunderland and Liverpool.

There is then an exciting opportunity for one community to win the chance to have the truck come to your town.

All you need to do is post a picture on social media showing members of your local community such as a youth group or scout troop holding wooden spoons.

Simply let them know the name of your town and why they are deserving and is the hashtag #cookforchange.

I would love to know if you decide to visit the truck and if you do what you think!

Dr Seuss And Nick Butterworth At Discover Story Centre

I had the delight of visiting the Discover Children’s Story Centre last year and fell in love with everything about it.

Since our last trip they have undergone a refurbishment and everything has only been bettered!

The Story World now spans two floors where the children can explore flashing lights and music inside a cool cave.

Sit quietly in the book corner and let their imagination run wild by creating their own story to stash away for others to read.

Weave through pathways whilst encountering lettered stepping stones.

Jump onboard the sail boat or climb and slide to your hearts content on the ropes and slides.

If quiet crafting is your thing then they still have the beautiful trees full of spoon people that you can create and leave in the trees.

Or if concentrating on crafts is not your thing like number four then they are also fabulous to balance on your nose!

We had booked ourselves into The World Of Dr Seuss exhibition and were hit by an explosion of colour and a very enthusiastic story teller as soon as the doors were open.

The children were taken over and read the famous Dr Suess Cat In The Hat book and even with all the exciting surrounding that they must have been itching to explore every child sat captivated by the animated story teller who had them hooked on her every word.

They were then free to explore!

They could take part in crazy golf, climb aboard the Once-let Wagon, dance along to the music of the boomband, dress up as Thing 1 or 2 and much, much more.


We made our way into the Story Garden from here where they were free to run around and let off some steam before our next adventure.

Not only does the Discover Children’s Story Centre have a whole host of activities to amuse the little ones inside their own centre, they also put on some fantastic events at the nearby Stratford Library.

For me this was the highlight of the day as the legendary author Nick Butterworth was there for a book signing.

Nick Butterworth and his classic stories have been a part of my life since I had my eldest child nineteen years ago and through his great writing and beautiful illustrations we have all become very fond of his books.

I was a little apprehensive upon walking into a very formal looking set up and realising I was going to have to keep the children in one spot for an hour.

These feelings soon past as Nick took to the stage to talk about his life and works that was interesting for the adults and still fun and engaging for the children.

It was so nice to meet the man behind the stories and find where he found his inspiration.

He was a very humble, down to earth man that just ozed passion for his work and his readers.


For me Discover Children’s Story Centre offer a space for children to forget about technology, learn bundles through play and let their imaginations run wild and grow in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

It really is a place you need to see to believe and I love it more with each visit!

Keep an eye out for all their upcoming events and I know I can’t wait to see what they have to offer over Christmas.

*we were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Project Mc2 Preview Afternoon

During the summer holidays we were invited along to a super secret spy premiere party to celebrate the new series of Project Mc2 that has been released on Netflix.

‘Smart is the new cool’ is the tag line for the four super cool best friends that are trying to get across that learning is fun and doesn’t always have to be boring and uncool.

They combine their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, art and maths to solve their undercover missions.


With this as a theme for the day the children were set on a super spy mission with the great actors from Sharky and George events and set to trying out all sorts of sorted and wonderful science experiments with Mad Science East London who really opened up number three’s eyes to a completely new and fun way of learning.

A great series such as this wouldn’t be complete with some supercool merchandise to go alongside it and we were all really impressed with what they had to offer.

The girls themselves are dressed is trendy outfits and each ones interest is shown though the addition of the little extras such as making your own glitter globe and making your own light up bracelet.


There is also a secret spy kit to try and solve your own missions and and by far the favourite with number four was the H2O RC car with working lights and the addition of water that makes steam from the exhaust.

All the children were really taken with the first episode and loved all the merchandise, but what really won it over for me was the whole ethos behind the show and how they have turned the stereotypical superheroes and girl gangs on their heads and have come up with something completely different.

It was a hit for boys and girls alike and has definitely bought a new thirst for knowledge to my little ones.

The Mysterious Apples Book Review

A while ago Swankypants Books got in touch with me to review the first of their new series of books A Little Owl Called Hooty.  We were really taken with it and we’re really pleased when we were asked to review the next book – The Mysterious Apples.

My youngest two still love board books and were really taken when I showed them the shiny, new book with Yasmin and Yo-Yo, two super cute squirrels on the cover.

They throughly enjoyed reading about the adventures of this two cheeky squirrels that came across a beautiful apple tree that were perfect for them to harvest and  store for the long winter ahead of them.  The problem was neither of them had bargained on what was going to happen next!

Why don’t you take a read to find out the mysterious tale to this great story!

We were given this book for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions. 

Our Trainee Knight At Leeds Castle 

Ever since opening his knights costume on Christmas Day number four has been obsessed with knights and everything that goes with them.

So when we were invited to explore Leeds Castle in Kent it was the perfect opportunity for him to don his costume and make his dreams become reality!

  

 

As soon as we entered the castle grounds there was something special to look at and take in.  From the winding pathways through the gardens, magnificent peacocks and tranquil ponds where the children loved feeding the ducks.
We were lucky that our trip coincided with their Charlie And The Chocolate Factory event which involved the children searching the castle and grounds for golden tickets and huge bars of chocolate while completing their quiz sheet to claim their prize at the end. 

   
    
   
Once we reached the castle we were taken back by its grandure.  It was much larger and more beautiful than I had envisaged.

   
    
 
The children expored every nook and cranny of the building before stepping inside.  They were all taken with the tiny doors they kept coming across and tried with all their might to get a peek inside!

   
    
    
 
The inside of the castle was just as splendid.  Each room was immaculately preserved and transported you back to how things might have been all those years ago.

   
    
 
I need to come back to really appreciate everything the castle has to offer as the younger ones found bounding through the hallways far more appealing than looking at the rooms!

   

 

It was coming up for lunchtime so we headed towards the restaurant to refuel.  I was pleasantly surprised with the pretty building that housed the restaurant.  There was an extensive menu of hot and cold food at good prices and to the delight of the children the Charlie And The Chocolate theme ran through here with the splendid treat table.

   
 
With full bellies we headed over to the play area.  This was all in keeping with the castle theme and had a seperate area for older children which is always welcome with our family with the big age gaps.

   
    
 
At this point the heavens opened and with some very soggy and tired children we started our journey home.

There is still territory we haven’t discovered such as the maze and the grotto which looked like great fun.  We would also have loved to have taken a trip round on the train but all of this will be something to look forward to next time.

There are some fantastic events going on throughout the year and the first one to catch my eye was the Mothers Day event this weekend where you can treat the special lady in your life to a delicious meal in beautiful surrounding.

We throughly enjoyed our whole day and would highly recommend this for families with children of all ages.  There is something to please everyone from 1-100!

We were gifted tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.




Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Bear Hunting At Discover Children’s Story Centre

We’re going on a bear hunt.  We’re going to catch a big one.  What a beautiful day.  We’re not scared!   Michael Rosen

I’m sure there are not many parents out there that have not shared these words from the much loved children’s book Were Going On A Bear Hunt.

At the Discover Children’s Story Centre in Stratford the story book has been bought to life in a fabulous exhibition which mixes the adventures the family all went through on their bear hunt with rooms to explore that inspired Michael Rosen to write his story.

   
   

We swished and swashed through the long grass, splashed and sploshed through the river and eventually found the big bear hiding in his cave!

   
    
    
 
Once we had completed our bear hunt we were then left to explore all the rooms that had been set up to give the children an insight into Michael Rosen’s thoughts.

They loved playing in the school room, preparing a spot of lunch in the kitchen and sitting down to watch some TV in the living room.

As well as the bear hunt exhibition we also took part in the story time session for under 3’s based around another fabulous story, Snore.

We all walked bare foot into a small room decorated with flowers and fairy lights and scattered with cosy cushions to settle down on.

The story teller caught the children’s attention from the minute he began the session that was filled with songs, and stories that the children can interact with.

At the end of the session blankets are handed around to cosy up with and my lot found this so relaxing they even dropped off to sleep!

  


Although this was aimed at under 3’s even number three was taken with the whole experience.

Aside from these set sessions the centre itself has so much to see and do.

The indoor trail allows them to climb and slide to their hearts content, they can create spoons at the craft area, dance on the light polka dots, dress up in wonderful costumes and much more.

   
    
    
    

 
Outside in the story garden they can make beautiful music on the wooden instruments, climb aboard the pirate ship or launch into space in a huge rocket.

   
    
    
  
In between all this fun we managed to grab a bite to eat in the cafe that served a small selection of very reasonably priced lunch items and hot drinks.

  

This is the ultimate place to ignite your child’s imagination whilst keeping them active too.  With a range in age from 2-9 I was a little sceptical it would be suitable from them all, but they have all come away truly happy with the whole experience.

It had been the perfect end to our half term and we will be back very soon to create some more memories.

We were given tickets for the purpose of this review and they are all my own honest opinions.