Thursday, 1 June 2017

Education Quizzes

Don't worry it's not another SATS rant, I'm actually talking positively today about Education Quizzes, but not in the formal sense.

Peanut and The Golden Child get a lot of homework, a fair bit of which doesn't make sense to me! I know it's been a long time since I was in school but teaching  happens  very differently now so I'm often at a loss as to how to help them, especially Peanut with her key stage 2 work.
I  recently read about online education quizzes and had a bit of a light bulb moment.

The site has many sections each containing teacher written quizzes, we especially loved the KS2 education quizzes which really helped Peanut and I understand how to work through some of her trickier work by going through questions online together and getting answers straight away so we knew that we were on the right track

Education quizzes is a subscription scheme costing £9.99 per month with no obligation or minimum subscription length

Although the subscription cost of £9.99 may be prohibitive for some parents I like the fact that you can dip in and out when you need so if you want only one month you simply cancel your subscription and pick up later if you need to or you can have as long as you like on a rolling subscription , better still schools can sign up and subscribe for pupils  from only £2 per pupil per YEAR! I think this would be a great way to support parents and children out side of school.

Now you all know I'm against formal testing so while I see the benefit of this subscription in preparing for SATS that's not the biggest appeal for me. I'm more excited that I have a wealth of teacher created worksheets at my finger tips, so when we pack up for our family adventure and take time out of school I can test MYSELF to make sure I'm not doing a disservice to the kids' education while home educating. Alongside that there are Spanish quizzes which means I have a jump start on our family goal of learning Spanish on our adventure!

What do you think about this scheme? would it be something you could see benefit in? 

Monday, 22 May 2017

First-Time Buyer Information and Giveaway From Newcastle Building Society

I'm so happy to be able to be working with Newcastle Building Society and helping them spread the word about important fist time buyer information.

When i bought my first house, almost 19 years ago! I paid the princely sum of £19000! Looking back I can see how lucky I was in more ways than one. Not only did I only have to find 5% deposit but i somehow managed to find an awesome mortgage advisor who kept me calm during the ups and downs of house finding and buying.

Now I dont envy anyone of any age trying to get on the property ladder, my step daughter for instance is doing awesomely well in her own hairdressing business but as she works for herself many mortgage lenders are asking for extortionate deposits and up to 5 years of accounts so she is stuck paying pricey rental charges instead of investing in her own property.

Thankfully Newcastle Building Society are one of those company's who just get whats important in these situations.

Low deposits from 5%
Friendly helpful staff
Individual analysis for self employed applicants , requiring only 1 year of accounts or an SA302 form
Great linkable products like ISA's that give you cash back
Fabulous rates of interest
Really clear information

They are running two first time buyer events in the North East in June

1st June at Cobalt business park (lots of parking and really easy to get to)

and 15 June at Pleased to Meet You which is right in the city centre so really easy to hop off the metro after work.

There will be loads of information available and refreshents too (priorities right?) with lots of opportunity for you to pick the brains of the best advisors Newcastle Building society has to offer. Spaces are booking fast and are limited so to book your FREE space  asap email

Because they are geet canny, and they know what the important bits are when you first buy a house. Newcastle have put together this awesome giveaway including

A new house hamper, £50 Voucher for Next, for some nice new homeware accessories, £50 Voucher for Sainsburys for those import first meals (or some celebratory champers!) and a £50 for Wilkinsons for all the practical bits and pieces.

To be in with a chance of winning this awesome prize worth over £200 just enter via the raffle copter below and a winner will be randomly chosen from the correct entry on 16th June 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

T and Cs no coash alternative, winner must accept prize within 7 days or it will be re drawn, decision is final, open to UK residents only.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Kazoops New Episodes on Cbeebies

We are very excited about Kazoops returning to Cbeebies If you've seen Kazoops already you are probably singing the theme in your head, if not then here's a quick run down...

Monty Kazoops, the little boy with a vivid imagination and a loyal pet pig, is back with brand new animated adventures in Kazoops, transmitting daily on CBeebies from Monday 17th April. 

 Monty Kazoop is a spirited boy of six, whose best friend is a pig called Jimmy Jones. In each episode Monty confronts a preconception about the grown-up world and sets out to challenge it, embarking on a wild imaginary adventure with Jimmy that offers them a fresh perspective.
 In each episode Monty and Jimmy use their imaginations to find ways to look differently at the world around them.  For after all, who says the world works the way grown ups think it should? Things can always be different if you just imagine...

Kazoops returns to Cbeebies today at 4.20pm and we've had a sneak preview of the first episode which is all about the power of day dreaming! The kids loved watching this and all three of them (ages 8,6 and 3) enjoyed the episode and are looking forward to the rest of the series. I love the music that goes with the shows and I think this series may be even more colourful than the last!

Don't forget to tune in today and let us know what you think.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The Tyne Theatre a Perfect Family Venue

We love the Tyne Theatre, I make absolutely no secret of my love of almost all things Theatre, but The Tyne holds a special place in my heart. My first ever Panto experience was in this theatre and I remember how amazed I was at the amazing build and the hilarious Panto.

Over the years we have seen some fabulous shows here and it is one of our first thoughts when looking for a family show. Just recently we went to see Ben an Holly and had an amazing time, sitting in the 'Royal Box' 


In hugely exciting new Julia Donaldson's Stick Man Live  will be visiting the theatre in October and is totally top of my list. Its truly one of our favourite stories and gets amazing reviews.
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Also in October 

The Hunting of The Snark 

The impossible voyage of an improbable crew to hunt an imaginary creature is brought magically to life in this sparkling musical comedy adventure for 4 to 94 year olds. Enter the imaginative world of Alice in Wonderland creator, Lewis Carroll, in this brand new, highly original, ultra-modern adaptation inspired by his much loved classic poem.

More family shows include Annie The Musial, Swan Lake by The Russian State Ballet and of course Snow White for this years Panto.

If you've not been to the Tyne before you are missing a treat, its centrally located, close to loads of places to eat and drink and its not just for familes, over the past couple of years there have been shows from the likes of Sarah Millican, Dave Spikey and Chris Ramsey theres loads of choice for adults visitors too, Im especially looking forward to Pam Ann and Holly Mcnish

Have you viited before? Id love to know what you think of one of my favourite places.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Meccanno 5 in 1 Motorcycles Review

We were recently sent this Meccano 5 in 1 Motorcycles kit to review. Its recomended for ages 8+ and having a Lego loving clan at home I figured my patient methodical eldest children would zip through this in no time at all.

The set has everything you need to build, all of the bits and bobs plus handy tools for tightening bolts and holding nuts in place (yes I did just giggle as I wrote that)

All started swimmingly and the boy at just 7yrs old managed well to follow instructions and check he was using the right sized bolts....

Sadly by step 9 the tricky bits had become too frutrating and it was left to his sister (age 8) to undo and start again as we thought we had made a mistake...

And thats where it all fell apart, not literally as you can see its still olted together, it all got a bit much,Tempers flared and there may have been tears! Mammy attempted to fix the issues but was close to a swear and then Daddy the engineer declared we should leave it for now and well......

No one wants to play anymore

  • I love the set up (lego fans will feel the familiarity of step my step clear intrustions and diagrams. 
  • I like the idea of Meccano but I think this set was a bit too fiddly for the 8yr age range and may be better suited to an older child 

The set is available priced around £12.99

Amazon Affiliate Link

Would I buy Meccano again? Yes, actually I would .We have used the junior sets with great success and I'd be happy to try a different set, Heck we may even get this built sometime soon. I shall certainly let you know if we do.

Are you a Meccano fan? How would you rate the difficulty of the build?

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Beamish Wild School Holiday Camp - Another Big Day Out

We were recently invited to road test Beamish Wild School Holiday Camp.

Obviously we jumped at the chance to have another Big Day and go build dens. climb trees and take part in a host of fab activities, here's how our day went...

Beamish Wild is an activity centre set unsurprisingly in the beautiful countryside of Beamish, well in the grounds of Beamish Hall to be exact. 

We arrived on a bright Sunday morning in plenty of time to have a play on the rope Park and then went to meet Tom our leader for the day.

Safety first

Our first activity was crate stack tower. The kids were tasked with building the tallest crate tower they could WHILE TWO OF THEIR TEAM MATES WERE STANDING ON TOP! Peanut was very pleased to get 10 crates high!

We had lots of fun and Tom was helpful and encouraging always ensuring everyone's safety. He even managed to rope (literally) me into taking part....

Then we went tree climbing and Tom talked first about setting a personal goal and how this wasn't about achieving what someone else said but a personal challenge!  The kids all did really well and we were very ready for a lunch break after all the excitement.

I was really pleased at this point that Peanut had chosen her lovely Aspen Ecco Boots with goretex, as you can see from the pictures we were very muddy but these boots kept her feet warm and dry and didnt hinder her adventures at all 

Huge thanks to for this awesome picture of my girl 

The first activity after lunch was den building, I won't lie this is one of my favourite things to do with the kids and everyone really got into the spirit of things. There was espionage, spying, wanton destruction and some very serious interior design going on in the kids den, the adults I think had so much fun helping them and watching them really get along that we totally failed to build anything of our own. 

I think the kids would have all happily played in this little clearing for the rst of the day but the activity came to an end with the kids being declared winners

We wrapped up the day with a round ( I don't think that is the right term) of Archery and then drove home some very happy, mucky and tired children !

Image courtesy of

I wouldn't hesitate in recommending these school holiday camps, my boy who never wants to leave my side has asked if he can be booked in for the next holiday! They are an awesome way to develop creativity and confidence a lovely environment to make new friends and I guarantee a good nights sleep for the kids afterwards! I think they are really good value for money (especially if you use discount code BLOG17 for 10% off) and if you happen to have a spare day and kids all in the right age range you can drop them off and head straight to The Stables to enjoy some of their scrumptious food and drinks, and spend the day chilling in the peaceful grounds 

But don't just take my word for it, you can watch our video ..

and check out these reviews from My Boys Club, North East Family Fun and Here Come The Hoopers 

The summer camps run every school holiday from Easter through to the end of October. We offer a 1, 2 or 3 day option, with a wide range of dates throughout. To check availability click the tab at top of this page. The days run from 8.45am (earliest drop off) until 15:30pm.
Costs start at £20 for 1 day £38 for 2 days and £54 for the 3 day option (Lunch not included). Your little ones are sure to be entertained with activities including:
  • Den Building
  • Fire Lighting
  • High ropes activities including Crate Stack, Leap of faith, Tree Creeper
  • Woodland Crafts
  • Treasure Hunts
  • Sports
  • Rounders
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Mini Olympics
  • Ultimate frisbee
  • And more
Huge thanks to Tom for being patient, kind, encouraging and looking after our offspring. Also huge thanks to Beamish Wild for inviting us 

We are Goretex Ambassadors

Monday, 27 March 2017

Fashion for Children with Sensory Processing Issues

My boy is a very sensitive soul and has issues with sensory processing so we try and stay away from the things that cause upset like bright flashing lights, loud noises and too much sensory input,but we have things in place that help.

Sometimes if we want to go to a party or a show on holiday The Golden Child will take with him his ear defenders and happily watch while not feeling overwhelmed. We try to keep noise and music to 'normal' levels and when asking him to do things we make instructions short concise and check he understood. 

When it comes to clothes he has certain things that he takes issue with, he doesn't like tags in his t shirts and he hates the seam on the inside of his socks he like soft comfortable clothing and natural fibres.

So without making a big deal out of his sensory issues here are some of our ideas for clothing that is comfortable and doesn't irritate

We choose tees that are collarless and soft cotton is our favourite.

We cut out our tags this is easy it doesn't take a lot of effort and it means we aren't cutting out a whole swathe of wardrobe, he loves wearing funky t-shirts and we both love this skull t-shirt from Asda which comes with a waistcoat and scarf. 

Trousers are normally elastic waist and his absolute favourite are his cotton waist jeans and any joggers!

We buy plain black socks which go on inside out, simple and perfect for him, no fiddly seam and he is as happy as can be plus you can't tell they are on the wrong way.

And for shoes we choose easy on and no laces, we found these ECCO Urban Snowboarder boots were perfect for us, they have a lace which is tightened using a slider and they literally just slide on his feet, no fuss no messing. Also because they are made with Goretex they withstand any amount of puddle jumping, sand running, hill climbing fun! Weve worn these all through autumn and winter and they are still standing the test of time!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Wild Science Global Science Challenge

Wild Science have launched their Wild Science Global Science Challenge and to celebrate we recently received a Wild Science Cake Soap Factory

They look good enough to enjoy with a cuppa  BUT THEY ARE NOT FOOD

The Cake soap was fun to make, it does need adult help for the melting parts but both the girls loved making the Cake Soap creations and are very proud of themselves.The soap in this kit is melted and moulded to make almost any solid shape. Whipping the soap creates a stable foam that can be piped onto soap cakes to make any sweet creation you can imagine. Learn about solids, liquids, stable foam, floating and sinking. Make cupcake soaps, foamy buttercream and soapy decorations. Then use as soap or give to loved ones as gifts!

I love that these kits feel like just a fun activity but actually open discussion about loads of sciencey stuff (that is a real technical term!)

The kit has everything you need 

Ready to Create

Here are some things we learned , and by we I mean mammy...

1- the melting process is quick, concentrate and do not try to multitask, forget the microwave and then melt the whole beaker....

Post 'distracted mammy - microwave explosion'

2 Food colouring stains, aprons and even gloves may be a good idea...

3 When it comes to glitter more is apparently best

4 melted soap base and water when whisked hard creates the best foamy play substance! 

The Wild! Science Global Science Challenge is giving families (2 adults and 2 children) everywhere the chance to win:

  • A trip to Orlando Florida,
  • Entry to Disney World,
  • Accommodation t a 5-star resort for 7 days
  • Car hire for 7 days
  • A full set of Wild Science products
  • Entry to the Kennedy Space Centre to meet a real astronaut! (I'm actually too excited about this part!)

How to enter:
  1. Buy a Wild! Science Kit and send a receipt copy with your online application
  2. Design and create an awesome new Wild! Science Kit
  3. Write and illustrate a basic instruction book to show other kids how to use your awesome Wild! Science Kit.
Cake Soap Factory is available from Flair and is priced at £14.99

 Here are some more pictures from our creative fun