Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tasty Taco Sandwich Recipe #crispsarnieweek

Tots 100 and Seabrook Crisps have been celebrating National Sarnie Week by challenging bloggers to invent their own recipe for a sandwich featuring crisps!

So, I've been putting on my thinking cap in order to come up with my own idea, which incorporates Seabrook crips.  Although I'm vegetarian, I must confess to enjoying steak flavoured crisps.  Given that many meaty crisps are actually 100% veggie friendly, I can enjoy the savoury taste without compromising on my beliefs.  Seabrook Crinkle Cut Beefy Crisps are one such vegetarian friendly variety, and it is this meaty taste and crunchy texture that inspired me to invent the Tasty Taco Sandwich!!  A easy to make, vegetarian take on a Mexican favourite.

crisp sarnie

Taco Sandwich Ingredients
(makes one sarnie)

2 slices of bread
half a small tin of spicy refried beans
teaspoon of chilli jam or relish
handful of grated cheese
half a bag of Seabrook Beefy Crisps

sarnie week, Seabrook

Spread the refried beans straight onto one of the slices of bread.

taco sandwich

Spread the spicy relish onto the other piece of bread. 

taco sarnie, crisps

Grate the cheese onto the beans.

sandwich making

Put half a bag of Seabrook Beefy Crisps on top of the grated cheese.

sandwich, cheese, crisps

Put the other piece on top and cut in half diagonally (is it just me, or do diagonally cut sandwiches just taste so much better??)

sarnie week

Enjoy the textures and tastes of a delicious Mexican taco!  You have the succulent and seasoned refried beans, the spicy kick of the chilli relish, the comforting flavour of Cheddar cheese and the meatiness of the Beefy crisps along with their taco like crunchy texture.  It worked really 

Even though I say so myself, it was genius...and much easier to eat than a regular taco!  The refried beans make a really delicious veggie pate.  I'll definitely use them as a sandwich filling in the future.

sarnie, Seabrook, crisps

This recipe is an entry into the National Crisp Sarnie Week competition with Seabrook crisps.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Attractions of Snowdonia - Our Welsh Roadtrip

Living in North Shropshire, means we are lucky enough to have Wales close by, allowing us to enjoy day trips to the beautiful area of Snowdonia National Park.  So, when Attractions of Snowdonia asked us if we wanted to enjoy a big day out, visiting some of the 27 different attractions in the area, we were excited to take up their challenge.  We were sent Deri the roaming Welsh dragon, who is the mascot of the Attractions of Snowdonia, to accompany us on our roadtrip.  

wales, days out, road trip

Our first port of call was the Sygun Copper Mine, a self guided audio visual tour that allows you to explore the old workings of a Victorian Copper Mine on foot.  You have to walk through narrow passageways with low, uneven ceilings, so hard hats are a must!  But this gave us an opportunity for a hard hat family selfie before we entered the mine.

family, day out

Inside, you can discover the large colourful chambers and see stalactites and stalagmites which have formed over the years.  Pressing buttons along the route activates the audio part of the tour as you learn about how things used to be for the miners who worked in the mines prior to 1903, when it was abandoned. Lighting and sound effects add to the experience.  The Sygun Copper Mine brings the industrial heritage of the area to life and teaches visitors about the history and the science of copper mining.

wales, days out

The mine experience is definitely not for the claustrophobic or fainthearted and you have to be pretty fit to negotiate the low, narrow tunnels and the 176 metal gridded stairs that take you from the mine up into the mountain walk, where there are some amazing views.  Sensible footwear is a must as the floor is wet and uneven in places.  I confess to banging my head on the roof about six times...a problem with being almost 6 foot tall in a confined space...but the hard hat meant I didn't hurt myself!  The kids really enjoyed it and it unleashed little Freddy's sense of adventure and curiosity.  The dark did not phase him at all and the constant 9 degree temperature was not too chilly. The walk takes about 40 minutes to complete and really was quite an adventure!

Above ground there is a mountain walk, gold panning (extra charge applies), adventure playground, lakeside walks, metal detecting and a small museum of antiquities.  There is a also a shop.


Our next stop was the Slate Caverns at Llechwedd.  The journey took us across the mountains and it was beautiful, but took quite a long time because of the windy, narrow roads.  When we arrived the car park was full as it is a really popular venue with its underground adventure zone, subterranean ropes course and zip wires. We were directed to an overflow car park which was a few minutes walk away from the site.

 We were there to experience the new underground tour of the spectacular slate caverns.

wales, days out, family, Snowdonia

On arrival we stopped for lunch.  There wasn't much provision for vegetarians, so we ended up with a small cone of chips each, which were quite pricey at £2.50.  They were good chips though, and the cafe was nice and clean. Freddy had a kids' lunch box with a cheese sandwich, a yogurt, a drink and a flapjack.  We visited the Victorian Emporium where the kids chose some old fashioned sweets, which were sold by the 2 oz bag.

We then headed to the queue for the underground tour.  It didn't seem too busy but we were waiting an hour to get on board the little cable train that would take us to 500 feet below ground.  Trains run every fifteen minutes.

While we waited, we were given hard hats...definitely the dress code for the day!

Wales, day out, family

The cable train down is very cramped and a tight fit in the steep tunnel.  Again...not one for the claustrophobic.  But it only takes a couple of minutes to get down into the caverns, where you are taken on a guided tour by a guide dressed as a Victorian.  They lead you through passageways that open up into huge caverns, telling you the story of a family who worked the mines back in Victorian times. You hear the story of Sion Dolgarregdu who went to learn how to dig for slate with his father. It was really interesting to learn that children as young as 12 were taken on as apprentices to work in the dark, dangerous mines.  The success of the mining industry created a boom town and the community grew, but the job remained incredibly dangerous with many men dying on the job or from silicosis years later. 

The guide demonstrated how the miners used their tools and at one point turned off all the lights to show us just how dark it would be for the miners.  After the underground tour there is a demonstration of the ancient skill of slate splitting, but we had to rush on to our next attraction so we missed this part of the tour.

Wales, day out, sisters

The underground tour takes an hour and includes 61 stairs down and 70 stairs up and half a mile of walking, so you need to be fit enough to do it.  Although there were some low ceilings in the passages, I didn't hit my head once! The kids really enjoyed it and Freddy said it was "really awesome".  He never lost interest at all, which shows just how interesting the tour was.

My favourite part was the huge and beautiful chamber that included an underground lake.  It was breathtaking and I wasn't surprised to hear that it can be used as a wedding venue  - it is the deepest place licenced for marriage in the Guinness Book of Records!  Although 500 feet underground, the caverns felt airy and were so spacious that I didn't feel at all confined (although the train made me feel like a sardine in a can!)


We then headed to Llanberis to board a steam train on the Lake Railway that runs alongside Lake Padarn at the foot of Snowdonia.  Time was running short (because of our wait at the Slate Caverns) but we just made it to the ticket office to book ourselves onto the final train of the day at 4.10pm. The 5 mile return journey takes about an hour and follows the old 1845 slate railway route.

We were lucky enough to visit on one of the days of the Teddy Bear's Picnic event, which meant the kids received a mini picnic to eat on board the train and there were some teddy themed things going on at the stations. There were lots of teddies on display and there was an opportunity to have your photo taken with a teddy character. Even the steam engine driver was dressed as a teddy bear, much to the kids' amusement.

steam engine, Wales, days out

It was a lovely leisurely way to end the day, enjoying the peace and tranquility of the countryside and looking at the beautiful views outside.  It was fun to watch the vintage steam engine chugging alongside us at the end of the line to hitch itself up to the other end of the coaches and take us back to the station...especially as it was being driven by a rather sooty giant teddy bear! 

Wales, day out, steam train

As it was the last train of the day, the station shops were closing so we didn't get to check them out.  The Llanberis Lakeside Railway is a nice excursion for little train enthusiasts to enjoy and they do events all year round to add to the fun!


Unfortunately we ran out of time before we could visit our last attraction of the day, which was the beautiful Plas Cadnant Hidden Gardens in Anglesey.  They closed at 5pm and we didn't get back to Llanberis until 5.10pm.  Such a pity, but we had been on the go from arriving at 10am and simply ran short of time.  This just goes to show how much there is to do in Snowdonia and  how much fun the attractions are.  We didn't even have time to stop off at any of the towns...we had hoped to pop into Porthmadog for an ice cream at Cadwallader's but didn't have time for that either.  We will definitely return at a later date, and now I know how much the kids loved the attractions we'll organise more days out like this one!  Who knew how much Freddy would love going underground! 

If you are planning a visit to Wales for a day trip or a holiday, make sure to check out the Attractions of Snowdonia  website for ideas for things to do and information on the 27 brilliant attractions in the area.  You may need more than just a day to fit in everything  that you want to do!!

How to light a bonfire and make S'mores!

My husband Ian loves a good's the boy scout in him.  The practice of setting a fire, gently coaxing a flame from the kindling then feeding the fire until it blazes, fills him with a deep satisfaction.  So when we received a Certainly Wood fire starter kit, he was very excited at the prospect of having a lovely fire to accompany an outdoor summer evening. As for the kids, they were excited at the prospect of making S'mores!

The fire starter kit contained everything we needed for the perfect fire - three natural wooden fire lighters called Flamers, matches, kiln dried kindling and split logs plus an instruction leaflet.  We used our barbecue as a base for our fire.  All the firewood from Certainly Wood is sourced from sustainable, British forests, where the process used is carbon neutral and environmentally friendly.

The Flamers are twists of natural wood dipped in wax making them convenient to use, green and clean. They went up a treat and were so much nicer to use than the nasty paraffin fire lighters, being natural, long burning and odourless.  The kindling and the logs were very dry and easy to burn, and very quickly we had a roaring fire.  Seeing the logs ablaze is such a pleasing sight and the smell of pure, burning, aromatic wood was something quite special.

Flamers are perfect for starting fires in chimineas, wood stoves, barbecues or  fire pits and make the job so very easy.  

firestarter, certainly wood

When you have a fire, Smores must be on the menu.  We also received marshmallows, chocolate and chocolate digestive biscuits along with an instruction sheet on making the perfect S'more.  S'mores are really popular in America, and we were keen to try our hand at making these campfire favourites ourselves.

Popping a marshmallow onto a bamboo skewer, you can safely hold it in the flames.  The length of time you hold it in the fire is a personal preference, but making it blackened and burning seemed to be the kids perfect level of toastedness!  Blowing out the smouldering confection leaves a gooey, runny marshmallow centre which you then squeeze between two biscuits and a square of chocolate.  The heat of the molten marshmallow melts the chocolate to create an indulgent treat.  We made a dairy free version for Megan by opening up Oreos and popping a toasted marshmallow in the middle.  It worked really well.

Smores, bonfires

It was such a lovely activity for us to do as a family.  I enjoyed sitting outside, warmed by the fire, sipping a glass of red as I watched the children having fun making and eating smores.  It's definitely something we will do again!  It'd make a great autumnal activity,  ideal for Halloween or Bonfire Night parties.


Flamers are available in three sizes:

* Mini 3 pack (RRP 79p)

* 24 pack (RRP £3.49)

* 50 pack (RRP £5.99)

You can find and order Flamers and everything you need for lighting fires online at or find products in all good garden centres.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

18 ways to make the most of TalkTalk's great value offerings

  1. Save £22 a year by switching to online bills
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  6. Only provider with totally unlimited broadband on all packages, with no caps meaning TalkTalk never slows customers down
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  8. Rent 100s of new release movies on TalkTalk Box Office
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  10. Watch 100's of hours of Sky entertainment shows on demand
  11. Free HomeSafe, TalkTalk's groundbreaking online protection
  12. TalkTalk Mobile is available exclusively to TalkTalk customers offering the best mobile prices
  13. TalkTalk Mobile offers simple and affordable ways of getting online
  14. Until 30 September: customers can get the Samsung Galaxy Fame from just £3.75 a month and the brand new Nokia 360 from just £5 a month
  15. Tablet and mobile bundles are also half price, ideal for kitting the kids out for school or universtity and starting from just £7.50 a month
  16. Get double the data when you buy online
  17. Save up to £240 on the latest smartphones with their nearly new range
  18. Latest flagship handsets include the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy S5 and Nokia 930

money saving, budgeting

Proud TalkTalk Family Blogger

Friday, 22 August 2014

Jackson Reece Launches in Boots!

When Freddy was a baby we loved using Jackon Reece's Herbal Wipes as they are so pure and 'kinder by nature'.  They give you the convenience you need when dealing with a baby in need of cleaning up, but are also free from the nasties associated with some other brands, being made from 99% naturally derived plant based ingredients.  They also do Unscented Wipes, ideal if you have a baby with particularly sensitive skin or eczema.  Jackson Reece also produce the brilliant Nose Nuzzles for cleaning and soothing little noses, when children have a cold. They are greener, safer and kinder products to use on our precious children's skin.

The brand has gone from strength to strength, since being developed by parents Colin and Janet on their kitchen table, gaining overwhelming positive feedback worldwide and winning over 20 industry awards. 

Now, you can buy Jackson Reece products from Boots stores nationwide, making them even more convenient!

babies, wipes, greener wipes

Product range available at BOOTS

Nose Nuzzles RRP £2.49
Unscented Baby Wipes RRP £2.00
Herbal baby Wipes RRP £2.00

50 Days of Summer - Our Holiday Round Up

This summer has been all about family and fun.  We have holidayed in a forest, been to the beach, sailed to the Isle of Wight, visited museums, learned new skills and the girls have even learned how to drive.  The children have seen all three sets of their grandparents in one week (this is the first time this has happened given that they have grandparents that are spread across Surrey, Wales and the Isle of Man) and enjoyed quality time with their cousin's baby, the gorgeous little Michael, who stayed with us for a week.  We've Skyped my nephew Tom and his beautiful new wife Ashley, following their wedding in Georgia.  Ella received her A'Level results getting an A, 2 Bs and a C (the Maths exam was a killer this year!) and is set to go to her first choice university in September. The girls went to V Festival (we bought them tickets for Ella's 18th birthday) and had the best day ever watching The Killers, Jason Derulo, Nile Rodgers, Rudimental and many more great acts. 

We've really enjoyed our time together this summer, nothing beats the time spent with my kids!

summer, family, holidays

The weather has mostly been kind to us, and the sun has shone on the days that we wanted it to.  With just a couple more weeks before the kids return to school, we hope to make the most of the remaining days of freedom (even though the sunshine seems to have taken its leave!)

If you need any inspiration for keeping the family occupied, don't forget that you can get ideas for days out and things to do in the Robert's Bakery 50 Days of Summer guide.  You can download a free copy of the 50 Days of Summer guide here.

If you have any picnics on the agenda you can definitely make them more fun by making some creative sandwiches.  We made some amazing sandwich creations at the Blogger's Picnic earlier this year.

One other activity we are hoping to catch is the Playmobil 40th Annmiversary Tour where life sized Playmobil models will be making an appearance at the following venues:

Today: Fri 22nd Aug - Birmingham Cathedral

Sat 23rd Aug - Derby
Sun 24th Aug -Liverpool
Mon 25th Aug (Bank Holiday) - Manchester
Wed 27th Aug (Morning) - Newcastle
Wed 27th Aug (After school) -Glasgow
Thurs 28th Aug - Middlesbrough
Fri 29th Aug - Leeds
Sat 30th Aug - Nottingham
Sun 31st Aug - Leicester

To find out more details about when and where, keep an eye on the PLAYMOBIL UK Facebook page.

However you plan to spend the rest of the precious days of summer, have fun!!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

We did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

My nephew Thomas nominated his step-mum Katey to take part in the ice bucket challenge for charity. Being the amazing woman that she is, she took on the challenge brilliantly and then nominated me to take part!  Not one to ever shirk on a challenge myself, I, with the help of my three littlies added myself to the list of people taking part to raise both awareness and money for charity.  We donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association, as we have been really moved by the ALS videos we have watched, and the story behind the campaign.  Knowing that families affected by this disease are behind this social media campaign, and that so much money has been raised for this worthy cause, made us absolutely certain that taking part was the right thing to do.

When the A list celebrities take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge, they tend to be somewhere warm and sunny.  Shropshire is unfortunately neither of those things.  It's downright chilly at the moment. Nevertheless, the kids armed themselves with buckets of cold water in readiness to give me a good soaking.  Freddy took a bit too much pleasure in squirting me in the face to add to my experience.  But it was all good fun.


In an act of motherly revenge, I nominated them to take I nominated Helen from The Crazy Kitchen (she is totally game for a laugh).  My kids thoroughly enjoyed doing their bit and passing the baton on to their friends.  We look forward to seeing what they do in the name of charity and for this social media phenomena!


I love that people are getting behind this challenge and are doing it for charities that they support as well as for the MND/ALS charities.  Anything that gets money and raises awareness for good causes has got to be a positive thing, how ever silly it is.  Plus seeing celebrities getting behind it has provided some brilliant entertainment. Russell Brand, Kermit the Frog, Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner and Bill Gates are my favourite Ice Bucket Challengers so far!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Very Best Sheepdog, Colin the Crab and the Official Playmobil Annual 2015 - children's book reviews

The Very Best Sheepdog

When Ben, a gentle sheepdog, befriends Bo, a fun-loving lamb, he becomes the laughing stock of the farm yard. With both his parents being prizewinners, the expectation on Ben was high, but he just couldn't herd sheep.  But when a storm comes and scares all the sheep away, it's Ben who has to save the day. With his good nose and his love for Bo, Ben bravely battles the elements to try and save the flock.

The gentle text and illustrations bring the story of an unusual friendship to life.  It is a heart warming tale about nature and farming, which shows how perseverance and self belief can overcome difficulties.  The relationship between Bo and Ben is so cute and beautifully portrayed.  At the end of the book, little ones will be rooting for Ben!

children's book review

The Very Best Sheepdog by Pinny Grylls and illistrated by Rosie Wellesley
RRP £5.99 Pavilion Children's Books

Colin the Crab

This little pop-up book from Norfolk based beach merchandise company Gone Crabbing, is not only a lovely story, it also contains a very important message about respecting creatures when crabbing and rock pooling at the beach.  It has some great pop-up elements to bring the story to life, which Freddy really enjoyed. 

Colin the Crab shares a rock pool with his best friends Sally the Starfish and Mike the Mussel.  They have an idyllic life until two children come along.  Colin watches in horror as his friends are caught and thrown into a bucket and taken away.  He sobs big salty tears as he tries to think of ways to get his friends back.  Thankfully, the children know how to treat living things and when they are returned to the rock pool at the end of the day, they explain to Colin how they were looked after by the children.  It is a really good way of showing families the right way to respect nature when it comes to compassionate crabbing and rock pooling.

Colin the Crab is not only the star of this book, he is also the star of the totally 'clawsome' range of seaside inspired gifts sold at Gone Crabbing.  He certainly is a cute little creature!  Hopefully, this story will encourage little ones to be more compassionate and respectful when they discover animals in the natural habitats.

This is a lovely gift idea, which compliments the other products in the Gone Crabbing range.

Gone Crabbing

Colin the Crab is by Susie Mason and illustrated and engineered by Robert Crowther.
Available from Gone Crabbing for £7.99 (also available is the Colin Crab mug and soap).

Official Playmobil Annual 2015

This is definitely one to look out for in the run up to Christmas if you have any Playmobil Knight fans at home.  Annuals always make great presents to pop under the tree and they keep kids amused for hours, so they are always a good buy.

The annual is full of puzzles, colouring pages, quizzes and games all based around helping the Green Dragon Knights defeat the evil Red Dragon Knights.

The book is perfect if your child is a fan of knights, dragons and castles as it is dedicated to that theme.  The content is like that found in an activity book and doesn't include stories or cartoon strips at all.  The paper is thick and glossy and the full colour photos are spectacular.

It's a great choice for Freddy but if you have a child who prefers princesses, animals or fairies, they may not be as keen on the Knight theme.

Playmobil, annual

RRP £7.99

We received these lovely books to review.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Goodyear Driving Academy and Young Driver - improving road safety for young people

The Goodyear Driving Academy is on a mission to improve the road safety of young drivers.  Their aim is to teach road and driving education to children from a young age, and the key to this is to provide parents and teachers with fun and interactive tools to help introduce kids to the rules of road safety long before they get behind the wheel of a car.  It is a frightening statistic that young drivers aged 17 - 24 year olds, account for 22% of injury road accidents, although they only make up 9% of road users. Their inexperience and youthfulness is often responsible for this over representation when it comes to accidents.  The current format of the driving test doesn't help youngsters learn true road safety with a graduated, long term approach to learning. It has been proven that teaching children about road safety from a younger age can have a positive effect on reducing young driver road accidents.  Goodyear are investing in this road safety revolution to give our youngsters a safer future on the roads.

The Goodyear Driving Academy has three main parts, each giving children and their parents, the opportunity to learn important road safety information and preparing young people to become tomorrow's drivers.

The Goodyear Driving Academy Parent Pack is a booklet of ideas, activities and information for parents to use with their children. It covers everything from crossing the road as a pedestrian; speed limits; driving conditions; the highway code and vehicle maintenance. The booklet is very user friendly with illustrations throughout and includes ideas for games to play with children to raise their awareness of road safety. You can download a PDF version here:

road safety, kids driving lessons

The Driving Academy is a great online resource at where children can learn the vital information and knowledge that they will need as future drivers. The basics of the highway code are presented as fun facts for kids to learn (also useful for polishing up road knowledge as an adult) plus there is a hazard perception game to give kids a taste of what it is like to be in control of a vehicle.  It's fun as well as being educational.  For car mad kids to teenagers about to sit their theory test, this is a great site.  The girls have enjoyed trying out the game and have learned some useful highway code knowledge.

The Young Driver scheme gives children as young as 11 the chance to get behind the wheel and learn the basics of driving for real in a safe off-road environment.  Youngsters get to drive a Skoda Citigo, fitted with Goodyear tyres, with a registered instructor, where they will learn the basics as well as manoeuvres such as reversing and parking. These young driver lessons take place around the country.  Kizzy and Ella were invited to have a go at a Young Driver driving lesson at Crewe.  Although Ella is now 18, she has been reluctant to start driving lessons and this was the perfect way to introduce her to driving a car for the first time.  Kizzy is 11, which seems so young to take control of a vehicle, but is the perfect age to start learning the necessary skills and building confidence!

The Young Driver site in Crewe was situated in a huge car park area for Bentley Motors.  Cones and road signs were laid out to create a road system where the cars could drive around.  The girls checked in and were assigned their driving instructors.  They headed out to their cars along with the other youngsters.  After some preliminary checks and instruction, the girls were off, driving around the course independently.

Goodyear, Admiral, young driver

The girls both did brilliantly.  Kizzy (in the white car) was a natural at steering and completed a slalom course during her hour's lesson.  Ella (in the red car) took really well to driving and even ended up parallel and reverse parking during her lesson. The instructors were really lovely, patient and friendly, giving good, clear instructions and advice.  After just one lesson, Ella is now confident enough to take to the road for real and has the advantage of her experience.  We plan to keep up Kizzy's driving lessons over the next few years and preparing her for when she is 17 and able to take her driving test.  


Not only was this a real learning experience for the girls, they also had a lot of fun.  It was brilliant watching them.  They both received a Driving Diary for them to record their progress in, which can be handed over to their future driving instructors, who will then be able to tailor their lessons accordingly.

I was lucky enough to jump into the backseat of Ella's car to film part of the lesson.  I was very proud of how cool and calm she remained, even with the pressure of having a passenger sat behind her, recording her every move.


The Young Driver lessons are a great investment in a child's future and would make a fantastic birthday gift. I still can't believe my 11 year old drove an actual car...what a fantastic experience!

Prices start at £31.99 and you can find out more at:

You can join in the conversation about the Goodyear Driving Academy and Young Driver on Twitter @goodyear_uk and @youngdriver

Tarzan - The Legend Lives

This new take on an old classic is an interesting re-imagining of the story of Tarzan.  A more realistic style of CGI animation creates a jungle which is not cutesy and cartoony, but wild and violent.  The themes are quite adult, with lots of quite shocking deaths. Definitely not one for sensitive children - and definitely worthy of the PG certificate.  The human characters bear an uncanny resemblance to SIMS characters, which humoured the older children no end.


Starting with a prehistoric meteor crashing to Earth, the story focuses on the ongoing search by Greystoke Energies for the powerful rock that possesses its own natural energy and has spawned its own ecosystem. During one such mission, Little Tarzan loses his parents in a helicopter accident and becomes adopted as part of a family of gorillas, where he learns how to be the 'hairless ape' of the jungle.  

Years later he ends up in conflict with the new CEO of his late father's company, the ruthless William Clayton, looking to exploit the area and its resources at any cost.

Jane is a conservationist who joins forces with Tarzan to help protect the jungle from the destructive intentions of  William Clayton. Romance blossoms between the pair and Tarzan is on hand to rescue her from the dangers of the jungle (in true classic Tarzan style). 

This film was indeed quite brutal in parts and the storytelling was aimed at older children.  Freddy cried at some of the more heartbreaking moments but cheered as Tarzan's famous battle cry united the jungle against the bad guys!

Out from 25th August from retailers such as Amazon where it is priced at £10 to pre-order on DVD or download to watch online.

downloadable activity sheet
Open in a new window and print out the worksheet.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Little Live Pets at Eureka! The National Children's Museum

We were lucky enough to be invited to the Eureka! The National Children's Museum in Halifax for the Little Live Pets takeover.  I was really excited to take the two little ones on a day out to a place that has the ethos of encouraging kids to play to learn.  Plus we were delighted about discovering the must-have toy for summer, the Little Live Pets from Character.

The museum was so hands on, perfect for children who want to explore, play and touch everything!  There are six galleries where kids are encouraged to interact with the exciting exhibits.  These were our three favourite areas:

All About Me is an amazing area dedicated to the workings of the human body.  From exploring the senses to pretending to be a doctor to finding out about bones, brains and the digestive system, the newly opened area was a huge hit with Freddy and Kizzy.  Freddy loved filling in his All About Me Passport, taking part in activities to test his reflexes, monitor his heart rate and measure his body.  The Health Centre allows children to role play as doctors, midwives and dentists.  Freddy loved giving the pregnant woman model a scan and seeing her baby on the screen.  He also enjoyed testing his brain and body on the climbing wall.  At 11, Kizzy was interested to learn facts about the human body, look at X-Rays and microscope slides and take part in some experiments. It is such a great area with so much to see, do and learn.

Eureka, hands on, learning

Living and Working Together is a fabulous reconstruction of a little town complete with garage, post office, shop, bank and petrol station.  Kids are able to role play all the jobs from being a postman to a cashier to a car mechanic.  It was great fun!  Kizzy and Freddy enjoyed the bank vaults where they were able to crack codes to enter the bank's safety deposit boxes and discover the content of customers from Doctor Who to Harry Potter to our Queen. The garage was pretty cool too.  They changed tyres, used petrol pumps and learned about the parts of an engine (with dad's expert tuition!!)  There is also a house where you can learn about what happens when you flush a loo, play with water, have fun in the kitchen and explore your dreams. 

Tyres, tiger face paint

Our Global Garden takes children on a voyage of discovery of the outdoors, looking at environments as diverse as the Arctic, the jungle, the town, the countryside and the sea bed.  There are so many things to explore.  Kids get to surf and light up a city; play instruments in a jungle hut and see through the eyes of a rat.  Whilst in the Global Garden, we also took part in the Little Live Pets Bird Watching Trail, finding hidden birds and solving the clues to find a word.

Eureka, museum, family fun

Outside the main Eureka! museum building is a huge sandpit, grassy areas and some outdoor activities and there are lots of events taking place throughout the year.  A cafe and gift shop are on site and the toilet facilities are good.  The area is lovely, with views of the countryside, as the 13 acre site is nestled between Beacon Hill and the town centre.

We were treated to a yummy buffet lunch and Freddy got his face painted, which made him very happy!  The children also made glass painted butterfly sun catchers and  coloured in Little Live Pet colouring sheets.

tiger, face paint, Eureka

The Little Live Pets area let children get up close and personal with the latest interactive toys.  With gorgeous birds and butterflies to play with, little ones can enjoy the feeling of holding a fluttering butterfly on their hand or chatting to a tweeting, talking bird.

The butterflies are very beautiful and the movement is very realistic, but Freddy fell in love with the birds.  Petting them makes then sing, chirp and tweet with a moving beak that makes them seem alive!  Pressing a button allows you to record a message which is converted to chirrupy bird language and tweeted back to you.  Freddy loved the mimicry feature, which enhanced the play value of these cute little toys.

bird, butterfly

The Little Live Pets Birds (RRP £9.99) and Butterflies (RRP £12.99) come in a host of colours and designs making them appealing to every taste.  You can also buy a Birdcage complete with a bird for £19.99 and a Butterfly House with a butterfly for £22.99.  Perfect for displaying your collection.  

Entrance to Eureka! is £11.95 for ages 3 to adult, but your day ticket can be converted to an annual season pass for free allowing you to visit as often as you like over the year.  There is so much to do and so much fun to be had, having access for free for a year would be fabulous for families.  It's an amazing deal.

Find out more at:

Thursday, 14 August 2014

A Fantastic Family Holiday with Forest Holidays

With the beautiful weather we have been having, holidaying in the UK has been a great option this year.  So we were delighted to spend a week staying in a gorgeous and luxurious log cabin at Blackwood Forest in Hampshire with Forest Holidays.  The stunningly beautiful 270 hectare Beech forest is the perfect setting for a tranquil break surrounded by nature, but with easy access to major roads, Micheldever railway station (which is just 40 minutes from London) and local amenities.

The large three bedroomed Silver Birch cabin was exquisite and quite honestly the nicest accommodation I have ever stayed in at a holiday resort.  A feature floor to ceiling window gives magnificent views of the idyllic surroundings and makes you feel a part of the great outdoors, while making the rooms feel light and airy. The decor was modern, clean and well conceived, bringing in elements of the forest along with a bold but tasteful colour theme that runs throughout the cabin.  The place was spotless and so well equipped, with an excellent kitchen, which included microwave, oven, hob, fridge freezer and dishwasher.  Little touches such as the inclusion of Jenga and Scrabble made you feel immediately at home.  The optional entertainment package offers wi-fi and TV channels if you want to stay connected to the outside world.  It was cosy, comfortable and a real home from home.

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

Having a private outdoor hot tub was the most luxurious addition to our holiday home.  It was serviced daily and had a rubber duck left on top to let us know it was safe to use.  It was wonderful to relax in the hot tub, and it was particularly fabulous at night with its underwater lighting.  Freddy absolutely adored it, thinking it was his own private outdoor bath/swimming pool.  

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

UK holidays, Forest Holidays

The forest setting is glorious.  The cabins are spaced well apart so you feel quite secluded, adding to the magic and enchantment of the break. The cabin has two parking spaces outside, which is really convenient. There are lots of walks and cycle tracks around the forest and a really great 3.8 km trim trail, which we went around several times in the week.  Some days we never saw another soul on our walks, it was so tranquil, peaceful and relaxing.

The exercise equipment around the trim trail caused some healthy competition as we tried to outdo each other.  On the squat lift apparatus, Ian felt quite superior, being able to lift the same weight as the three kids could lift together!  It was fun to challenge each other on the monkey bars, sit up bench and balance beam. All the equipment was wooden or made from green metal so it blended in nicely with the surroundings, and came with clear instructions for use.  It was a great way to enjoy some exercise and following the trail provided a well signposted walk through the forest.

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

The Forest Retreat is at the centre of the resort, offering a cafe, coffee shop, reception and well stocked shop.  You can book activities and in-cabin spa treatments and pre-order take away food such as pizzas (which can be delivered directly to your cabin) or baked goods to be picked up for breakfast.  The quality of the food was excellent, especially the freshly baked pain au chocolats that we all enjoyed as a morning treat. We loved the coffee shop and were able to sit outside in the sunshine with our drinks on the decked area. They have a nice menu offering light lunches and meals, and also have a bar. There is also a cycle hire shop and a children's play area. The facilities are more than adequate, providing everything we needed, with friendly, helpful staff on hand.

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

Getting away together to such a lovely place, with amazing accommodation and being blessed with such gorgeous weather has made us even bigger fans of holidaying in the UK.  From our location in Hampshire, we had easy access to the New Forest, the Isle of Wight and Winchester for day trips, but mostly we just really enjoyed exploring the forest and relaxing in the hot tub together.  We even took part in the #getyourskillson challenge and had some fun in the great outdoors while we were there.

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

One of the biggest pleasures of our holiday was simply having fun in the forest: running, jumping, balancing, playing, hiding, swinging and exploring.  We looked at the flora and fauna of the forest and breathed the fresh air on our outdoor adventures.  It's exactly the kind of holiday that I would want my children to enjoy together.  It was perfect.

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

Forest Holidays offers "simple luxury in stunning locations" with nine idyllic resorts to choose from. Blackwood Forest was beautiful, tranquil and the cabins are outstanding. The resort wasn't overcrowded or commercial, it's just so peaceful, unspoilt and in harmony with the nature that surrounds it. It is definitely somewhere I'd stay again, we loved it.  Somewhere to escape to and reconnect as a family.

You can find out more about Forest Holidays and book your own break at

Forest Holidays, UK holidays

We received a discount to use against this holiday in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own...we genuinely adored it!

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Collins Back to School Learning Resources

Collins have a great range of back to school resources, which are perfect for supporting your children's learning at home.  From pre-school to A'Level, the range covers every step of a child's education, and includes atlases, dictionaries and work books.

Kizzy has received the KS3 range, which will see her through the start of her time in secondary school, covering English, Maths, languages and geography.  The books are user friendly and are completely up to date with the curriculum changes.

education, school


Freddy received the KS1 bundle which covers the core subjects and the new curriculum.  The language books include a CD and stickers to make the learning of a foreign language fun and engaging.  The Easy Learning books are an excellent way to support English and Maths skills, while the dictionary, thesaurus and atlas will be great resources to help with homework or projects.

Collins, school


Collins is offering parents 30% off their back to school books plus free p&p until 30 September 2014 by using the code SCHOOLBAG30 at the checkout.

You can also win one of 50 bundles of books for your child in a Collins branded schoolbag at

We took part in the #GetYourSkillsOn challenge!

This summer, whilst away on our Forest Holidays break in Blackwood Forest, we took part in the Tots 100 #GetYourSkillsOn challenge with Robinson's Fruit Shoot. It provided a really entertaining framework for the activities we planned to do, and provided lots of fun photo and video opportunities, which may otherwise have been missed.

To take part, we had to choose ten challenges from a list of forty, and record the children as they tried  out their new skills.  There were lots of laughs along the way and it was lovely to see the three children joining in and supporting one another in their efforts.

Carrying out the activities against the backdrop of the forest and the beach added a real element of adventure and the children rose to the challenges brilliantly.

Some challenges were a pretty easy such as having to balance something on your head for 15 seconds. Kizzy did a good job walking with a frisbee on her head, keeping a straight back and her chin up.  Not to be outdone, Freddy had a go too, running with it on his head!

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

At the seaside, the kids wanted to get in the sea to catch a wave, but as we didn't have the kit for a day's surfing, we decided to let the waves catch them instead!  (A little artistic licence in the completion of this challenge!!)  Freddy loved his first ever taste of running in the sea and jumping the waves.  It was such a pleasure watching him and hearing his giggles as he experienced the joy of the seaside with his sisters.  The sun was shining and it was a gorgeous day.  His water confidence increased massively, as he was very timid around it before discovering the fun of the surf.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

Den building has been an activity that everyone has enjoyed.  Using the fallen branches from trees and making a wigwam shape around a tree trunk has proven to be a very efficient way of building a natural, outdoor den.  Being in a forest provided the best environment for den building, Gruffalo searching and bear hunting.  Freddy has had a wonderfully imaginative forest adventure and the den building definitely added to his games.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

We bought Freddy a frisbee from a shop and introduced him to the fun of the flying disc!  Due to the problem with his eyes, his 3D vision is not as good as it should be and I do worry about the limitations this may give him.  However, after putting the frisbee in his hand, he showed excellent throwing and catching skills and not once did his vision hinder his ability.  He very quickly got the hang of it and learned a fun new skill.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

Piggy backs are always fun and it was lovely to see Ella and Kizzy giving each other rides through the forest. When I was a little girl I had a piggy back related injury and broke my nose after falling flat on my face while carrying someone on my back.  Thankfully the girls were much safer and more stable than I was!

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

Swinging as high as you can is one of the challenges that the children really loved.  Freddy has just learned how to swing on his own and can get himself going and swing really high with confidence.  He has loved the play area here at Blackwood Forest.  But when we found a rope swing in the woods it was too good an opportunity to pass by.  Kizzy had a go and managed to swing really high until she hit a tree and went into a death spiral!  It was very funny watching her spin round and around.  Maybe I should have saved her, but I was too busy laughing.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

I was really proud of Kizzy for having a go at climbing trees.  She was a bit nervous, but felt the fear and did it anyway.  Challenging yourself physically is an exhilarating thing to do, and it feels so good when you accomplish what you set out to do.  Kizzy was very brave and managed to negotiate the branches of a tree to get quite high.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

Other challenges that the children completed were building a sandcastle on Sandown Beach on the Isle of Wight.  It was not the best sand for making castles so they made a raised mound of sand surrounding a deep hole that quickly filled with sun warmed sea water.  (I really liked it as it reminded me of a fantasy land from Westeroes in Game of Thrones for some reason.)  They managed to get some dry sand from further up shore and mix it with the heavy, wet sand to make two turreted towers overlooking their miniature kingdom, using Freddy's new bucket, to complete the grand structure. They didn't last long though, because Freddy was desperate to jump on them!  That is one of the joys of building a sandcastle though.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

After the excitement of the Commonwealth Games and in particular the thrilling men's 4 x 100 m relay, the children are all very interested in athletics.  So staging their own 100 m sprint (albeit clad in wellies) gave them a chance to embody their inner Usain Bolt and run like the wind!  Freddy enjoys racing his sisters and giving himself a cheeky headstart.  There were so many long stretches of open forest paths to run down whilst we were on holiday.  The children got plenty of exercise and fresh air in the great outdoors.

Get Your Skills On, Fruit Shoot

On one of our day trips, we watched some street performers in Winchester who were doing a street dance demonstration. Freddy was so intrigued by the popping and locking and the break dance moves that the kids were doing. When we got back, he wanted to try his own street dancing moves based on what he had seen. He was utterly adorable pulling his moves and doing his thing.  As a result of the dancing, we are going to be finding a street dance class for Freddy to attend so he can perfect his B-Boying!  This has been the best part of this challenge, discovering a new skill that Freddy wants to explore further.


We have really loved taking part in this challenge, learning new skills and having fun together.  It was a great idea for keeping the kids active and entertained, and I absolutely adored watching them getting stuck in. Here is our video showing how the children got on as they embraced the #GetYourSkillsOn challenges.


This is our entry into the Tots 100/Robinson's Fruit Shoot #GetYourSkillsOn challenge.


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