Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A Fantastic Party in the Trees with Go Ape!

Boy with Climbing Safety PulleyI find it gets harder and harder to think up fun birthday party ideas as L gets older. I always try to come up with something a bit different, like the Spy Party we had a couple of years ago. Ideally something that will fill them with glee, whilst soaking up as much of their boundless energy as possible. We are surrounded by beautiful countryside here and the children tend to be fairly outdoorsy as a result, so this year, I opted for a trip to the Forest of Dean and booked a spell on a Go Ape arial assault course for six 8 to 10 year olds. It was March when we went, so we were a bit unsure on the weather front, but the centre assured us rain wasn't a problem, as long as it wasn't really windy. So, we loaded up two cars with excitable children and set off for the Forest. Here's how we got on... 
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Monday, 30 May 2016

Moving On


What’s wrong, Mum?
I’m losing you, darling.
You’re growing up, moving on.

You’re beautiful, intelligent,
Your whole life before you,
But you’re not mine anymore

You don't need a hand to hold, 
Or anyone to tell you you're ok,
You just know.
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Thursday, 26 May 2016

What Made Me Smile at Blog Camp

Crazy Wall Sculpture
There have been a lot of brilliant posts already produced about the Blog Camp in Birmingham last weekend. It was a lot of fun and I felt quite priviledged to be able to hang out with some of my lovely friends. Which is the best part of going, if I'm honest. That, and the cake! I thought I would approach this post from a different angle so, what follows is something a bit different. A collection of photos of everything that amused me, made me happy, or was just a little bit bonkers at Blog Camp. I hope even non bloggers can appreciate the silliness.
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

What's Important on Father's Day

Father and Son at a Wedding
Father's Day is fast approaching and there have been many suggestions in the media about what gifts would suit certain types of fathers on this happy occasion. SHEilds asked me what tips did I have for the perfect Father's Day. That's actually really easy for me to answer, and it follows on from a post I wrote about The Importance of Time last year. It really doesn't matter how much money you spend, it's all about the time you put into it that makes the difference. An expensive gift delivered by courier is nothing compared to a surprise visit in person. Equally, nothing beats a handmade card.


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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Travelodge Review; Newhall, Birmingham

Exterior of Travelodge Newhall, BirminghamWhen I travel, there are certain aspects that are really important to me, to ensure a stress free trip. They include; a clean room, a comfortable bed, friendly service and a good breakfast. These requirements may seem fairly basic, but I am not travelling to stay in a hotel, I am travelling to explore the area, so I would rather have a good, reliable base and not spend the crown jewels, leaving more budget for good food and fun. I have stayed in a few Travelodges over the years and found them to be perfectly suited to my needs. They offer a comfortable place to stay and the facilities have always exceeded my expectations for a place that is often interpreted as fairly low budget. This was my first visit to Birmingham Newhall Travelodge and this is my review of how it measured up to my previous stays. We were offered a free stay in return for an honest review. 
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Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Win Davidoff Cool Water and a Minion for Fathers Day


Here's a lovely gift for the father figure in your life. Davidoff Cool Water is a classic, yet modern fragrance. With its distictive ocean scent, it's bound to please any father on the big day and we will ensure it gets to you in time to give to him. How about something for the children? Or perhaps Dad too, if he's a fan! Kevin the Minion comes complete with his own banana costume and life doesn't get much better than that! For a chance to win both prizes, please enter below! :-)



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Disney Store Captain America Costume Review

Captain America Costume on a Ten Year OldL has been really looking forward to the new Marvel film; Captain America: Civil War coming out. He's a huge fan of Marvel and likes to go to the cinema to see the new ones when they come out, ideally in costume. For this film there were two camps; #TeamIronMan and #TeamCap and L was unsure which side he wanted to be on. As he had already been to the cinema twice in his Iron Man suit, he was quite keen to try a Captain America look and, lucky for him, The Disney Store were able to send him one to review, which was really helpful! Being a big fan of costumes, he considers himself a bit of an expert and was very keen to list all the reasons why this was the best costume he had ever worn.

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Tuesday, 17 May 2016

10 Comments Never to Make to a Pregnant Woman

Pregnant Bump Selfie with Title OverlaidThere are some circumstances in life when it can be tricky to know what to say. Socially awkward situations, where you maybe haven't had a whole lot of practice in finding the right words. Encountering a pregnant friend should be a time of great joy, but can be fraught with social tension, particularly if it comes as a bit of a surprise. If you are at risk of stupidity, it may be best to stick with; 'Hey, congratulations' and let her fill in the gaps. If she's anything like I was, there's a good chance she has had very few human encounters since leaving work and will be more than happy to ramble on for hours! Here are some of the worst faux pas that are best avoided, if you want to retain that friendship, and your teeth.
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Sunday, 8 May 2016

My Sunday Photo; Irresistable Goat Love

Normally, for My Sunday Photo, I try to find a lovely picture that makes me smile, but it's been a busy week, so it's hard to pick just one. Yesterday, we went to a wildlife park and took lots of lovely photos. So, instead, I'm going to try to settle and argument, and I'd love some help, please. Basically; I got told off by my son for stroking this goat, because it's a bit naughty and he was worried I might get bitten. However, the question I'm asking is...


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Thursday, 5 May 2016

Insomnia in Rhyme; A Collaboration!

Boy in Field, with title overlaidIf you have ever heard the story of The Elves and the Shoemaker, you may recognise the tale I'm about to tell you. It begins like this; I like to write the occasional silly poem, just for fun and then post them on the blog, so that one day someone might read one and it might make them smile. Or not. I'd had an idea for a poem a while ago, but had never got around to finishing it. I thought it was about time I did, in the interests of tidying up, so opened it on the laptop, and wandered off to put the kettle on. When I came back, my poem, which I had struggled with for quite some time, was finished. Not quite by elves, but nearly. It was finished by L, who is ten. I thought it was so great, I kept it exactly as it was. I hope you like it too.
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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Review of Wallace Barbers, Thornbury

Outside facade of Wallace Barbers, ThornburyThe little market town of Thornbury is a quiet unassuming place. Not somewhere you would necessarily associate with cutting edge (sorry about the pun!) barbering, but all that has changed, with the arrival of Wallace Barbers. A new, modern barbershop, offering quality styles at affordable prices. How do I know it's great? I took L and he loved it! It's perfectly suited for fidgety, bored children, with drinks available, a Playstaion 4 and even a Gameboy color! Even better than that, he left with an actual style and they weren't fazed by his persistent floppy fringe, or that perpetual tuft that makes a break for freedom at every opportunity. I can honestly say, at the ripe old age of ten, that it's the first 'proper' style he's had, and they were more than happy to give me advice on how to maintain it.
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Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Win a Poseable Deluxe Minion and Sparkly Shower Gel!


We all know how important it is to treat yourself now and again, but we also know it's not always easy when you've got children. There is always something they need more, or something really cute that you need them to have! So, we've got another competition with a prize for you, and one for them, so you don't have to share. To win a Minion for your little (or big!) one and some sparkly shower gel for yourself, or significant other, just make your way through the rafflecopter below. You can enter with as few or as many options as you like. Good luck!



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SATs Debate; Testing in Moderation


Child writing with title overlaid. Every SATs season, there is more debate over the necessity of testing in schools, particular in the lower year groups, and whether it puts too much pressure on pupils. Parents are concerned about the effects of formal exam conditions on their children's stress levels, as well as the increasing demands of the new curriculum. With some seriously difficult and demanding grammar questions added to the mix, there is even more potential for problems this year. So, is testing really necessary and, if so, how much and under what circumstances? Do children need to 'learn' to cope under exam conditions from such a young age? 
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Sunday, 1 May 2016

Spongebob on Now TV!

Now that L has got older, and left a lot of the younger television behind, we have all been discovering the joy that is adolescent TV. I don't know why it's so much more tolerable than pre-school programmes. I suppose it's because the stories are a little more in depth and the language is more advanced, giving more scope for humour and silliness that even adults can appreciate. I do know that it is far easier on the senses, particularly on repeat, than the psychedelic colours and repetitive script of its preschool counterparts. I would even go so far as to say, it's pretty watchable stuff. Ok, it's never going to be Panorama, but, it's been a revelation to be able to sit down and enjoy a programme together, that actually has something to offer other than numbers 1 - 10 and a few primary colours thrown in.
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My Sunday Photo: Winter V Spring

Blue Sky and Dark Cloud, with Sunshine Rays
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