Monday 31 March 2014

Review: Cra-Z-loom Bracelet maker

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cra-z-loom bracelet maker

We were sent a Cra-Z-loom Bracelet maker for my 10 year old daughter to try out and review. The idea is pretty simple you use the loom provided to create a variety of bracelets by following the instructions!

My daughter pretty rapidly sat down and off her own bat with no help from me she produced the simplest kind of bracelet:

Then she decided to up the ante and go for a bridge style bracelet which is included in the instructions. After a while she gave up and handed me the loom, I decided to double check the instructions and did discover she hadn't quite followed them right so I reset the entire loom correctly:

Then I attempted to follow the directions but got a bit confused so resorted to YouTube - it is amazing how many tweens and teens have made instruction videos on how to do these kind of bracelets! 

I have to admit that I am still working on it as I am obviously not as nimble fingered as the kids on the videos. This is what I had managed to do before I accidentally unravelled it:

To be honest we need to dedicate more time to practising doing these together and my daughter has been far too busy to sit still long enough. It's definitely something that starts off easy and then gets harder! At an RRP of £14.99 it will keep idle hands out of mischief for quite some time..

Saturday 29 March 2014

Kendal Festival of Food 2014

Its hard to believe its a year since we were last at this festival. Kendal certainly knows how to run a Food Festival and this year it seems to be even bigger and better than in 2013. It was a bonus that this year it was ever so much warmer than last year and we mostly had blue sky:

Kendal Town Hall
Kendal Town Hall

There were plenty of tempting stalls once again offering tastings as well as selling yummy locally produced goodies:

Cake stall
Cake stall

I am really hoping that having strawberries and grapes with my chocolate made it less unhealthy:

Strawberries and chocolate fountain

I did also sample a yummy pork pie but my photograph was terrible! The children loved seeing the farm animals that were there to show where the food all came from:

Girl holding tiny chicken
My daughter holding tiny chicken

Sheep with two lambs
Sheep with two lambs

The lambs were bigger than the ones my daughter held last year so we didn't ask for a cuddle this time!

We had a quick trip to the Brewery for my parents and I to taste a beer at the Beer festival before going to see Just So Stories at the theatre. We all really enjoyed the performance:

Then it was back up the road to more food festival fun. We even found time to nip in to Colin Reynolds (one of my photography course tutors) new photograph shop. Very inspirational to see all his work!

We bought the children their wrist bands for the children's food festival for tomorrow before heading to the Birdcage in time to catch Not Only 4 Boys theatre group (who happen to all be students at the school I work at!): 

Not Only 4 Boys Theatre Group
Not Only 4 Boys Theatre Group

Of course my daughter managed to get in on the action:

Helping make the stage recipe
Helping make the stage recipe

Because I know the cast she got to pose afterwards with the main character from the show too:

Posing with Claude Peppe
Posing with Claude Peppe

By now my purse was empty and my legs were tired so we headed home. Back tomorrow to see what there is especially for children in the Family Festival Village - just wish we hadn't missed CBBC’s Gastronaut Stefan Gates as he was only on today when we were at the theatre.. oh well!

Friday 28 March 2014

#CountryKids at Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

After being fabulous for Sports Relief my son deserved a treat so as the sun was shining we headed up to Brockhole. It was just after lunch at it was fairly quiet in the car park. The gardens were looking very spring like:

Daffodils at Brockhole
Daffodils at Brockhole

First stop was the adventure playground as my son still had tonnes of energy to expend:

cargo net at Brockhole
cargo net at Brockhole

Thursday 27 March 2014

Review: ChillFactor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker

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We were sent a ChillFactor Squeeze Cup Slushy Maker to try out:

chillfactor squeeze cup slushy

It's a simple idea:

  1. freeze the cup
  2. pour in a drink
  3. squeeze

The cup needs to go into the freezer for 6 hours at least. So either over night for mornings or at breakfast time for a post school treat! It comes out all icy and ready to go:

Then pour in the drink up to the line marked inside:

Wednesday 26 March 2014

#3Dates3Mths A belated update

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These weeks are flying past so fast this year that I forgot to do my monthly update! It has been a while since my Valentine's day post... So how have things gone in the mean time?

Well I am sorry to say that the reaction to my new full length photo was an immediate block from the friendly gentleman! Guess I wasn't his ideal body shape... oh well never mind if he bases his choices purely around things like that then he probable isn't the man for me!

As yet I haven't struck up a conversation on the site with anyone else. The problem with living in a small town in a rural area is that my options are reduced due to distance. I may have to spread my net wider though it would be a struggle to meet up with anyone living more than 45 minutes away..

So in real life what have I done to try and find a fella? Well the advice often is to engage in a hobby you enjoy in social situations so that at least you can find someone who has something in common with you. Therefore I found myself signed up for a one day photography workshop partly to improve my photography and partly to see if any eligible men turned up!

When we met up in the morning it turned out there was only one other lady on the course as most of the participants were male. That was a good start! Then I started to quickly exclude the males in the party for various reasons:

  • under 18
  • arriving with partner
  • talking about wife

Oh dear it turned out that the only unattached adult on the course was me!

Well at least I got a chance to practice interacting with the male of our species as I mostly spend time with women these days... At least it proved that photography does have a great potential as a place to meet a fella I just have to keep on trying..

So its down to Plan C which is joining the gym. I have now almost fully recovered from my torn ham string and then concussion so its time I went and checked out a local gym and give it a try.. Watch this space after Easter!

Reasons to be Cheerful Week 13 #R2BC

I can't believe its my last week as host and that next week its back to the lovely Jo at Ojosworld I love sharing all the positive things people have blogged about! I will be back hosting in May but meanwhile here are my reasons to be cheerful this week:

1) My big girl

This weekend I had half of it just with my daughter whilst her brother went to stay with granddad. We watched Sport Relief together on the Friday night and she said that when she is grown up she would love to help in some of the situations we saw. She is growing up a caring and compassionate child. On the Saturday afternoon we went swimming together and she really tried hard to make up for the long gap since we last went. 

Then she went to stay with granddad for a night and day. I got back a lovely report of how well behaved she had been and what a delight it was to have her. They even baked a cake together! A lot of her day was spent constructing her Playmobil castle that we don't have room for in our house:

Playmobil castle

Tonight she learned another recipe and cooked us tea of grilled bacon and scrambled eggs - yummy!

2) My boy

He maybe testing the boundaries at the minute but there were some great moments this week. When he was with granddad he swam a whole 10 lengths of the 25 m pool which is pretty impressive at 7! Apparently he has passed his level 4 swimming badge but don't tell him that..

When back with me on Sunday he did the Sport Relief mile helping to do his bit to raise money. As a reward he and I had a lovely afternoon at Brockhole on Windermere. He very quickly made some new friends and was very happily playing with them for ages in the adventure playground which shows how good natured he can be. Here he is being adventurous:

climbing the scramble net at Brockhole

3) Me

Well I was very pleased with myself for managing to complete Sport Relief albeit not too fast and then yesterday I had my most satisfying run for weeks. I was just about non stop for 5 km and although it was by no means my fastest ever it felt good. With a month to go until my big 10 km race its onwards and upwards for me!

So what do you have to smile about this week?

Reasons to be Cheerful

Tuesday 25 March 2014

Review: Marks and Spencer Children's Wedding Day Style

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With a family wedding coming up in May I was very glad to be offered a chance to try an outfit from Marks and Spencer's Children's Wedding Range. My daughter is going to be a bridesmaid so it was my son that was going to need an outfit. We last bought him a jacket from Marks back when he was 3 1/2 for his great grandfather's funeral:

marks and spencer formal wear 2010
Marks and Spencer formal wear 2010

I knew how well suited he was to a good jacket so asked if we could review a Jacket, Shirt and Tie combo (currently from £20) with matching Trousers (currently from £9.60). He is a very tall 7 so we got both in a size 9-10. When they arrived my mum and I were impressed with the quality and the little details such as the matching fake handkerchief in the breast pocket:

close up of tie and breast pocket
close up of tie and breast pocket

My son isn't too happy with the thought of a flowery tie but he did like the handkerchief. I have told him we can have a look at an alternative. So now I just had to persuade bribe him to pose for photographs...

One purchased Skylander later I finally pinned him down long enough to get into the suit and agree to briefly be a model:
M&S formal boy suit
Marks and Spencer formal boy suit
He did even manage a smile and dimples to show that he does like the suit really! The tie was loose as he wouldn't stay still long enough for me to put the velcro tight enough:

M&S formal boy suit

As you can see it has all the details a man's suit would have and I hope you agree he looked rather smart in it. Just to prove it didn't inhibit his movements he shot off show that the photo shoot was over:

I have to say I am very pleased with his suit and just hope he doesn't grow too much in next 2 months so that it still fits him so well!

We're going on an adventure

Monday 24 March 2014

Our Sainsbury's Sport Relief Games

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As Sainsbury's were the main sponsor of the Sport Relief Games this weekend they had stocked lots of useful goodies to help participants:

Sainsbury Sport Relief items
Sainsbury Sport Relief items

We had already made use of the Sport bag on our Team Honk event:

Mr B hitches a ride in a Sport Relief bag
Mr B hitches a ride in a Sport Relief bag

Yesterday my son and I headed to our local leisure centre for our the Sport Relief Games in Kendal. Big sister pulled out due to leg pain. The two of us were keen to go:

Have water bottle will run

It was nice day for a run as not too sunny or hot:

Start this way

We all lined up the start line from toddlers to pensioners:

Ready to start his Sport relief mile
Ready to start his Sport relief mile

We even had the mayor of Kendal there to start us off and present the medals when we crossed the finish line:

Finish line..

My son did his 3 laps with ease whilst I chugged round 9 times... he had to come and run last one with me! So proud of him he could probably have done the 3 mile event:

Completed his Sport relief mile
Completed his Sport relief mile

I was relieved to get my medal as I found running on the increasingly muddy grass hard work after a lack of training:

Eating a sport relief medal
Eating a sport relief medal

Well done everyone who walked, ran, swam or cycled for Sport Relief at the Sainsbury Games. If you haven't sponsored anyone else then consider sending some pennies to our fundraising page.

We were sent the Sainsbury goodies as we are part of the Sainsbury Blogger Network.

Saturday 22 March 2014

#CountryKids 3 Castles 1 Day!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

As part of Team Honk last weekend we went to 3 castles in 1 day which made for a fun Country Kids experience. First up Kendal Castle which is our local castle. This involves a bit of a hike from town but its very accessible to us:

Up Parr St to Kendal Castle
Up Parr St to Kendal Castle

It was very cold on the top but it didn't prevent my kids from playing hide and seek in the ruins and flashing their Sports Relief goodies:

Sports Relief at Kendal Castle
Sports Relief at Kendal Castle

We had a gentle if slippy run down the hill from Kendal castle before being transported through the hills and lovely Cumbrian countryside to Brough Castle. There isn't much of the castle left as apparently it was accidentally burned down in 1521 at a party! What the kids liked was the Ice Cream Parlour the local farmer has opened at the entrance to the castle.. Yummy ice cream! Then on to the castle itself which has some friendly sheep living on the grounds:

Friday 21 March 2014

Butlins Tots (High) Chairman

Plymouth tot named the UK’s first (High)Chairman 

Butlins hires Sophia Jade Carr as ‘(High)Chairman’ to join board of directors as short break tester:

A mini Lord Sugar was unveiled in Plymouth - three-year-old Sophia Jade Carr - who will become (High)Chairman of Butlins taking on the best ever job for a tot.

Butlins, the UK company which has been adding sparkle to family breaks for over 75 years, has recruited Miss Carr to join its team, responsible for road-testing the ‘Just for Tots’ breaks.

Butlins are keen to ensure the long-term success of the breaks, with 70% of guests already booked on to the 4-night term time breaks who have never been to any of the three Butlins resorts before.

Miss Carr beat off stiff competition as over 650 would-be board members applied for the dream job as short break tester, exclusively available to under fives. As the successful candidate, Miss Carr will be taken from ‘bored to board’, as she joins the Butlins management team, sitting alongside MD Dermot King.

Launching this April, Just for Tots are little breaks with big adventures, where everything from the accommodation and food right through to the entertainment and activities have been designed solely with younger children in mind.

Miss Carr will be accountable for working up a number of recommendations for the breaks based on her experience, which will be implemented across all breaks moving forward to ensure these are curated by tots, for tots.

The (High)Chairman will hit the ground running in her role, set to put star acts such as Thomas & Friends™ and Angelina Ballerina™ through their paces, whilst trying out Annabel Karmel’s new range of tot-friendly dishes.

Miss Carr will also be closely monitoring a number of key operations and putting them through a vigorous testing process that includes:

· Bounciness of the beds

· Cuddliness of the characters

· Splashiness of the water

· Slipperiness of the slides

Chosen due to her leadership skills amongst her peers, often being described as 'demanding' and 'strong-willed' by co-workers (parents), Miss Carr’s résumé showcased her impressive capability to be both professional and fun. Miss Carr has the ability to laugh every minute and giggle endlessly, which will stand her in good stead when reviewing Butlins star acts.

Further evidence that Miss Carr is the perfect candidate is her extensive experience within the hospitality industry, having first-hand knowledge of the UK’s top attractions.

Of the new vacancy, Butlins MD Dermot King said: “We can’t wait for Sophia to join the team and shape the future of our Just for Tots breaks. Miss Carr has a skill set that will enable her to review and shape the future of our breaks with her ability to multi-task. We are sure that Miss Carr will add a different dimension to the board of directors and have a key role in creating our Just for Tots breaks.”

Miss Carr’s PA-rent Samantha added: “We are thrilled with our daughter’s new role – we’re very proud she beat over 650 applicants! Sophia has definite leadership skills, often dictating to us as a family exactly what to do and when we do it.

“She also has a wealth of experience in the tot’s market, with two years of nursery and pre-school education, where she played a key role in playtime and story telling. We have no doubt that Sophia will go on to deliver strong results for Butlins from day one, looking at the Just for Tots breaks from a kid’s point of view – and I have no doubt she will tell it exactly like it is to Dermot and the team!”

Thursday 20 March 2014

Reasons to be cheerful week 12 #R2BC

Nearly late with these as I've got a minor concussion! Here are my reasons to be cheerful this week:

1) Team Honk Relay

We successfully completed our leg last weekend. Tiring but so worth it:

So far we have raised £284 which is amazing and Team Honk as a whole nearly £25,000!

2) Learning Life Skills 

I think it's important that my children learn their way around a kitchen. So I've been building up my daughter's repertoire. This time it was lasagna, breaking her in gently by using jar sauces:

She does her best when I am ill to feed herself and her brother but I need to extend her repertoire!