Friday, 27 February 2015

Dens and woodland fun at Lyme park

Where has this week gone? Seriously, it has just flown. I was hoping to have written up all of our half term antics by now, but seriously its just flown.

Last week we went to Lyme park with Grandma M and Grandad M. We made the most of Grandma not having any plans, and the dry sunny weather. I have never been to Lyme park before, but now we are national trust members, there is no stopping us with the exploring, except a birthday party. J had a party at lunchtime, so we were stuck with the afternoon. This meant we only had a few hours, rather then a full day.

We were hoping to walk through the deer enclosure, but it was closed so the ground could recover. We still saw the deer, and S kept calling them Rudolph....

As we couldn't go through to the deer, we decided to take the next gate to get away from the cars. This took us up a hill, to some trees... perfect fro playing hide and seek. J ran off first to hide, and S followed suit after a little whine. Can you see J hiding?

Grandad was happy watching the birds, whilst Grandma and I found the girls.

When it was my time to hide, I hid inside this den...  the girls then wanted to make it their home. There was so many dens around, it was great. J really wanted to build her own from scratch, but due to time constraints, we have promised (Pinkie Promise, of course!) that we will be back when its a bit warmer, with a picnic, and Daddy to help.

 In the woods, I saw a gorgeous shot, that the photographer in me, just had to capture, as it was framed by the tree's. So here is my landscape shot of the day... Lyme Park house, from the woods.

Grandma, and Grandad had then led the girls towards the park, so I managed to catch this great shot of them all walking in the woods.

They had great fun in the park, but you could tell it was half term. I would love to come back and explore it with the girls more again, as despite the crowds, they still had great fun, and was able to get on everything.
On the way back to the car, Grandma spotted a branch about 5ft up, and suggested J sat on it for a photo. Going back a year, I never thought J would do it. She has grown so much more confident in the great outdoors, it is lovely to see.

In the picture, you cant tell its that high up off the ground, so I persuaded S to stand underneath... I don't think she would have sat still on it long enough for a photo...
I think we started a trend, as after us another family started posing for a very similar shot.
It was a lovely sunny, but cold afternoon, spent outdoors enjoying all the outside world has to offer.
We shall definitely be back for a full day of fun very soon...
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Binky Linky

Internet safety and Children

With two young girls, who are growing up with the internet all around them, and I mean HAVING to grow up with it, It does leave us a little concerned. J who is just 5, already needs the internet for school work. She has to read books from school, sent via a special website. They are also frequently on the I pad's too. Thankfully with the I pads, at the moment, it is just the apps, and the airplane mode is enabled so they cant connect. I know though this is just a a matter of time though.
A few weeks ago I was asked to do a survey about internet safety and children. This is part of ongoing research into the impact of social media and technology on our lives, this was done by online voucher code website​.
The results are now back and they have found the following...
·         Online bullying – 58% Extremely Worried
·         Accessing adult content such as porn, swearing, nudity, sex and violence – 49% Extremely Worried
·         Sharing inappropriate images – 49% Extremely Worried
·         Grooming – 48% Concerned
·         Access to extremism – 44% Concerned
·         Addiction to social media – 57% Concerned
·         Effects on Education – 66% Concerned
·         Privacy – 55% Concerned
·         Effect on long term health – 49% Concerned
·         Running up huge bills. – 65% Not at all Worried
This means that most parents are worried about online bullying, and adult content and inappropriate images being shared. I must admit, this all really concerns me. I have watched the TV drama, Cyber bully, and it is extremely worrying of the extent this can go. And this concerns me more then adult content. Sharing the inappropriate images too, really scares me.  I just hope I can teach my girls to respect their bodies enough, not to show it off to just anyone that asks.
When I was in my teens, I must admit I saw ALL SORTS on the internet, and mostly in direct chats with random people... when my dad found out, he moved the computer into the lounge, that still didn't stop people showing me private stuff, but my parents bought me up to respect myself, and I can happily, and honestly say, I have not flashed anything in front of a computer. Now, if I can just teach my girls that same self respect, I am hoping they can make the same choice. However, it is still very worrying.
I am hoping it will be at least 2 years until J needs to be on the computer by herself, and in that time, there will be strict parental locks in place on our computers, and I am hoping there will also be more to help the innocent children of this new electronic age.
Are your children allowed on the internet unsupervised? What are you more worried about?

Missing Jack Book Review

We have pets in the M household, and although the fish have come and gone, with just a few tears shed, I know when #DAVETHEDRAGON (Our bearded dragon) or our beloved kitty's go on to the next life, there will be a lot of heart ache. Im hoping that will be in many years to come, but its best to be prepared, therefore when I was asked if I would like to review a book about pet bereavement, I didn't think twice.

I was sent the newly released book called Missing Jack, by Rebecca Elliott. I didn't read the book before reading it to the girls, as it arrived in half term, on a cold wet day. We were snuggled up on the settee under a duvet, and it just seemed right to read it straight out of the package.

The girls loved the bright colours, and the story flowed very well. It started off by saying how great his pet cat is, and how he doesn't like some characteristics of other cats.

Then Jack got old, and all of a sudden the colours disappeared, and the greys and browns replaced it. You could tell it was a sad part of the story. This got the emotions across to even S who is just 3, that this was a sad part, but still made it fun, with inviting mice round for a cup of tea....

The next page had me a little stunned with the direct line.... Then Jack died.  I must admit, I did actually say WOW, however the girlies didn't seem upset, as it all fitted in with the story. I was glad I  hadn't read it first before the girls, as this would have put me off. It is a fact of life, and sometimes children like it being told to them straight.

The story doesn't end there though. His parents decide to get another cat a little later, and the boy doesn't want another pet, he wants Jack back. He misses Jack, and a new pet wont replace Jack. However, the new pet does other cool things, and has his own lovely personality, which the boy then loves just as much as Jack, and that's OK.

The story starts happy, and ends happy, which is always great. It is a good story for young children, and explains pet bereavement. S wanted to read it over and over again on our cosy afternoon snuggled up, so it is a big hit here, and would recommend to anyone that has children and pets.
It can be purchased direct from Lion Hudson here, or from Amazon here.
Have you had a pet bereavement? Do you think this book would of helped?
*I was gifted the book, in return for an honest review, all words, pictures and opinions are my own.
We're going on an adventure

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

PenWizard Personalised Book Review

At the end of January, I was asked if I would like to review a personalised book by Penwizard. I have seen them on other blogs being reviewed, and love the idea. It was a week before S's birthday, and I thought I could personalise it for her, from her big sister, so J would not get jealous that S got something and she didn't.
This worked out great. We chose a Peppa pig goes to your child's birthday book out of the selection. We also got to design a S character in the style of Peppa pig. We could personalise the gender, hair, skin and eye colour, as well as if they wore glasses or not. We inputted her age, along with her first and last name. J could also write a personalised message that would be printed at the front of the book.
It was so easy to use, and quick. It was all personalised and complete within 5 minutes. The character doesn't look exactly like S, but hey, its done as a peppa pig style cartoon character, not like for like, I think that would look more out of place.
It arrived within 2 days of completing. WOW... it actually arrived in time for her birthday.
We read the tittle out to her, and she instantly knew the character was her, her face lit up, and she launched herself at J to say thank you.

The book we were given was a soft back, and a very good size. Its A4 in size. Its got a glossy cover, and very well bound. It has survived the test of time with S, who can be a bit heavy handed. The balloon can be personalised too, depending on the age of the child.
As you open up the book, it welcomes you with the personalised message, if you chose one. J was over the moon to see her name in the book.
On the first page of the story, the child's name in full, so the first and surname, is printed inside the story. This I was amazed to see, it truly is a very personalised book, not just pick a first name book.

The story itself is all about delivering the party invites, and RSVP'ing to go to the party. I can actually imagine it being told in the voices of the actual TV programme. With the end of the story actually at the party, with Peppa and George, wishing the birthday child a happy birthday.


On the back page, shows the named child in the other personalised books they do too. It truly is a personalised book, with no shortcuts spared. I could imagine picking this book up in the library. It has made a fantastic birthday present, that will be cherished for years to come.
The books come in a choice of hardback (£19.99) and soft back (£14.99). I think this is reasonably priced due to the fact it is really personalised to your child only. We have already had requests for more books in the series.....
So would I recommend the books? ... YES. I will be buying more for our family in the collection here.
Do you have personalised books?
*I was gifted the book, but all words, photos and opinions are my own.
We're going on an adventure

Monday, 23 February 2015

Becoming a "healthy" family

This year the M family has taken the plunge to become a healthier family. As a result, we are hoping Daddy and myself will loose the extra pounds we have gained since meeting each other. This means lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and fresh meats.
I find a lot of fruit goes of very quick if its in the fruit bowl, and therefore it needs to go in the fridge to help it last a little longer. With the fruit taking up a draw, we also need another draw for the vegetables. This is where Panasonic America fridge freezers come in handy. They have two draws, one that the temperature can be adjusted, and with LED's to help keep the vitamins in the produce, and the other the 5'C draw. The NR-B53V2 also has an extra draw kept at 0'C which is perfect for meat and fish too, and not forgetting the all important wine rack built in. Hey, lets face it, now that dry January is out the way, I will need a glass of wine on those bad days.
Therefore, we recently went out and bought a new American style fridge freezer, they look so stylish as they stand next to each other, rather then the fridge on top of the freezer like our old one. We have chosen a stainless steel look for our house. The ice dispenser has also gone down VERY well, and hubby s now drinking more water as its colder then the tap.
We chose not to get rid of our old fridge and freezer, and decided to store it in the garage in case. Its perfect when we are holding parties, or Christmas, or if I over buy on the fresh produce, and cant fit anymore in. Yes, that has happened.... despite the much bigger fridge, I can always fill it.
Do you like the American style fridge freezers? What are your thoughts?
*This is a sponsored post.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Half term fun with Squirrels

This half term took us back to Heaton Park, in North Manchester. We first visited two years ago, for a geocaching day out, and whilst there, an old man, gave the girls a few monkey nuts. This memory has always stuck, as I have never found squirrels anywhere else as friendly.
So, when I saw Monkey Nuts very cheap in Aldi, I knew it would be on the agenda for this half term week, especially as we had not been back since. We planned to meet with a friend and her boys, for some great outdoor fun.
Our first port of call was to find the squirrels, so we headed to the woods. The boys were much more adventurous then my girlies, but J was keen to learn... O here is pretending to be a monkey, and J later in the day copied the same pose.... at first the squirrels were no where to be seen, so we just let them continue exploring the woods.
After a few throws of the nuts into empty spaces, the squirrels came out of hiding. All the children went armed with nuts, and went chasing them.... no matter how many times we mentioned, if you run at them, they will run, they still continued the chase.
We were stood still, and a few came up to us, and the bag of nuts.... the children were amazed that he took the nut direct from my hand, so they then listened about staying still and quiet - ish....
They came and sat on a log nearby, and within a minute or two, they were all feeding them. JW was a little worried of being bitten, so dropped the nuts as it came close, but all the children were happy, at this rare half term activity.
Even the boys mum wanted in on the feeding action, but with O next to her, she didn't have a chance, as all the squirrels seemed to of preferred him.
It easily passed an hour, and none of the children were bored before we ran out of the two bags of nuts. Well worth the £1.50 in total. We would recommend it too.
We then went off to explore the rest of the park. There were lots of paths, and as we weren't rushed for time, we let the children decide on the route we would take, with the majority vote. The path they chose, took us along some very tame horses, which J was very happy about.

After a little walk, we came across a small park with picnic benches.... perfect timing for a picnic lunch stop. When they finished eating they were allowed to play. J chose the wooden donkey, whilst S preferred a tiny table and chairs made out of a tree...

They had a fairground setting up on the field, and all the children wanted to go and explore. Thankfully for mummy's purse, the fair wasn't open.
The next port of call was the boating lake, with lots of hungry geese. Thankfully we remembered the bread....

Conveniently placed by the lake was the ice cream van. The temperature was a little warmer then it had been the past few weeks, so yes, of course we couldn't just pass by. I was good, and didnt have my own, the calories from the licks to stop the drips from the girlies don't count, do they?

S loved making a mess, purposely putting it on her nose, and giggling.

We were then heading back to the car park, ready for J's appointment at the hospital for an eye test. (Turns out she DOES need glasses now), but before we did, we stopped by the animal farm. I have never seen goats so friendly. They were actually after strokes rather then food. And of course a quick stop by the park.

This was my favourite day of the half term week so far. There is something about lots of smiling kids, giggling and enjoying all nature has to offer.
Have you ever fed a squirrel out of your hand??
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Binky Linky

The Tiger that came to tea, comes to Liverpool...

This week, we were invited to Liverpool to the Epstein theatre to meet the Tiger that came to tea. We have had the book since J was 1, as it came with a collection we got her for her first birthday. And although its not one of the girls favourite, it is well liked and known here. As it was half term, we decided to make an adventure of it, and went on the train. This meant it was a full day out for us. The girls loved it.
With being stuck with train times, we decided to arrive early rather then late, so we had a bit of time to pass, before it was time. J is really interested in the "city" at the moment, and all the noises that come with it, as we were walking, we heard a busker. We decided as he was pretty good, that we would sit and listen, and let S dance some of her energy off. The girls from muumy3+1dog and both my girlies enjoyed his singing.

It was soon time to go inside, and see what fun was ahead. The girls managed to be one of the first to get their face painted, and of course it was TIGER themed. With both girls full of cold, and noses like taps, I asked for it not to be done around the nose, and instead the girls had some fancy artwork in tiger colours instead.

Just as J was done, the Tiger came out to say hello, S wasn't having any of it, as she finally decided she was tired, and I'm not surprised. She was up no less then 14 times during the night. I have no idea why, but I almost cancelled the trip, but that wouldn't have been fair on J. As you can see, she was having a blast, and had no problems in saying hello to the Tiger.

There was time for some colouring, which both girls were happy doing, and it was great just sat their with the sun streaming through the windows.

We were then called through to the theatre where the show will be held. I have never been to the Epstein theatre before, and it was lovely to see. It wasn't massive, where you would be struggling to see from the back. And had a warm feeling about it.

The children were invited onto the stage, where the story was read to them. The tiger joined in a few actions too.

After story time, it was time for the tea party....

S's plate was much more colourful then J's... but hey, its a party, and they got to choose what they wanted.

The Tiger came around and in true Tiger style from the book, was eyeing up the girls lunch.

The children were also given Tiger themed balloons, which I just couldn't resist, snapping this cute photo of S.

The tea party was soon over, but couldn't be finished without a roaring photo.... here are the girlies, with Mummy3+1dog girls doing their ROAR...

Thank you, Epstein theatre, we are very much looking forward to coming to watch the show in June.
The show runs for 55minutes, and is suitable for children aged 3 and over. They will be visiting Epstein between Tuesday 9th and Sunday 14th June, and tickets can be brought here.
Have your children read this "modern classic" book? What did they think? Will you be coming to watch?