Saturday 31 August 2013

We Are Adventurers!

It's the last Saturday of the holidays and it was actually a lovely dry day and we were given the opportunity to attend a We Are Adventurers woodland activity session with a group of other Bloggers from NorthWest Bloggers and organised by Karen GrumpyishMum.

We met in the Car Park at Chorlton Water Park and were all given a sheet with pictures of different leaves. For our first task we had to look for each of the leaves on the trees as we walked down the pathway. We did quite well, we got 7!

Searching for different leaves
Some impressive toadstools that we passed
After we'd walked a short way we came to a small clearing to the side of the path and saw that activities had been set out for us.

The first activity in the clearing was for the children to paint the leaves that they had collected and them print with them onto paper.

Boy no.4 wasn't interested in this activity, he was far too busy rock climbing above the 'Mud Kitchen' area.


Then we were shown how to suck tiny bugs and flies into a pot to examine - we only caught an aphid before we moved on to digging for worms with spoons!

Meanwhile Boy no.3  was busy elsewhere using cookie cutters to make shapes in the mud, and draw faces and buttons onto 'gingermud men' with sticks....

We never even got chance to help Hollybobs daughter with her fantastic mud painting!

The session ended with hot chocolate - which was a real treat and delighted my boys - it was the first time my 4 year old has had a 'hot' drink rather than one which is lukewarm, which really excited him!

We Are Adventurers was formed in January 2013 by a Forest School Practitioner Paul Wilcox and his wife Jennifer. The aim is to get young children outside whatever the weather, enjoying and experiencing nature and learning about what is around them outdoors. It was brilliant, my boys had a great morning and they were introduced to a host of great ideas. When the session finished we had the bug, so we carried on exploring for a while and had some more outdoor fun before we went home for lunch.

The boys ran across a 'troll bridge'
And the trolls couldn't catch them!
We looked at a murky pond and wondered who lived there.
We found information about who was living in the big lake
One of us touched some nettles even though he knew he shouldn't,
and his brother found him dock leaves to help make it better.
We found a great play area with lots of climbing.

We found some tiny frogs....and a van selling jaffa cakes....
We took part in a special 'Babes In The Wood' session for children under 5, but We Are Adventurers also hold sessions for older children and work with schools and children in Manchester, Trafford and Cheshire. You can even book a themed birthday party! The leaders are really keen and brilliant with the children. They explain everything in clear language that doesn't treat children as if they are daft. I loved their approach and it worked really well with the children. They encourage safe exploration and it really is an adventure. You can find out all the information you need to take part or book a party on their website.

We took home a pile of treasure, and 2 tired, happy boys.....

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

In The Playroom

Friday 30 August 2013

Amie Skincare Review

When Britmums asked if anyone wanted to try a new range of pure and natural skincare especially designed with the needs of young skin in mind, I'd have very much disappointed a couple of our girls if I hadn't applied.

We have 5 teenagers, including girls aged 13,14 and 15, and so skincare is a hot topic in our house (lots of things become a hot topic at some point with all the hormones flying about).

All teenagers want clear skin and unfortunately it can be a battle to achieve. I know I went through just about everything on the shelf and I spent a fortune at my local chemist when I was a teenager in search of anything that helped and gave me back some of my confidence, so we're always happy to try something different.

Amie skincare really is different. The first thing I noticed was that the packaging is very subtle and pretty, modern and attractive. It looks great in the bathroom. The second thing that no-one can fail to notice is the smell when you open it. It's gorgeous. It has a slightly sweet and floral smell, but not at all over the top. It's gentle and really lovely. Although it smells clean, it doesn't smell soapy or have a 'chemical' smell at all.

My teens were keen to give it a go, and along with 2 of them I have used it every day for the past 3 weeks. All 3 of us are very happy with the results. The moisturiser soaks very well into your skin instantly and doesn't leave a nasty film. The cleanser is gentle on my aging skin, but really effective on the girls teenage skin. One of the girls was even brave enough to let me take and post a close up photo make up and concealer free.

Both girl's skin is really noticeably clearer and brighter, their teenage spots are greatly reduced and they're incredibly pleased with the results. They're also delighted with how smooth their skin is, as am I with mine.

The Amie skincare range is subtitled 'Pure And Natural Beauty' and I think that's a perfect description. In their own words -
Amie is the natural skin care and beauty range for sensitive skin, created by top beauty expert, Fiona Parkhouse.
Bursting with natural plant and botanical extracts and free from harsh chemicals, Amie products are gentle yet super-effective. 
Ideal for sensitive skin that can be oily and prone to breakouts or dryness, they have been especially designed to work in complete harmony with your skin to help keep it clear, soft and radiant.
Amie’s high-quality products are completely free from parabens, sulphates, mineral oils, petrochemicals, animal extracts and are suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Frankly we couldn't be more delighted. It's done everything we hoped it would and more. It's a real find as far as I'm concerned, it works perfectly for my family's skin and I will be buying it in future. We don't need to look for anything else.

The Amie skincare range is available to buy in Waitrose and John Lewis or online. The Moisturiser and Facial wash we were sent retail at £4.95 per tube, which is mid-range pricing. It lasts well and works and is comparable to medicated over-the-counter products for teenage skin and cheaper than many products designed for older skin.

We were sent 2 each of the moisturiser and facial wash shown in the photo above for review.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Anagranimals Giveaway

We've just reviewed the Anagranimals Children's book featuring a group of 6 friendly animals who exchange body parts with each other and my 5 year old loves it and finds it very funny.

For a chance to win a copy of the book for yourself signed by the author please enter using the Rafflecopter form below...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Anagranimals And The Wishing Tree


Anagranimals And The Wishing Tree is a new book by Leith Moghli and illustrated by Ian King. It tells the story of animals living in the mysterious land of Pogo Bogo, especially a group of 6 friends - a giraffe, a pig, a hippo, a lion, a rhino and an elephant. 

Through a series of events the group of 6 friends 'wish' for the body parts of different animals e.g. parrot wings and zebra legs, and then find themselves able to mix and match their new body parts with the others in their group of 6. The illustrations are bright and bold and colourful, and my boys really enjoy spotting the different animal parts and discussing what specific abilities each animal will have gained from the swap.

The story is a bit abstract, but it introduces the ideas very well and is easily understood by both the 3 and 5 year olds. The 5 year old isn't able to read any of this book himself yet, but the way the anagranimal 'names' are written is broken down and will be very easy for him to pick up in only a couple of months time e.g Hippo-Croco-Puss. 

This is an almost A4 book with an impressive 32 pages, and it is the initial book in a proposed series with an accompanying website (which isn't quite completed as I type)

I think this book is ideal for it's suggested age range of 5+. It promotes discussion about the world and the animals within it. It introduces a few animals your child might not have come across and my 5 year old finds it very humourous and loves looking at the back/front inside covers where there are a host of mix and match animals to discover. 7/10

Anagranimals is available as a Kindle download from Amazon for only £1.29 and will be released in paperback on 1st September 2013 for £7.99 (current prices).

I was sent a copy of this book to review

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Dinner, dinner, dinner, dinner Batman!

It's just a normal day in BrickCastle Land.
People are going about their business.

Little Bob is waiting for a lift.
Here's Batman with his new Superbike
Bob's really excited to go for a ride.
Oh no!! Patrick's dog has spotted him and run into the road!
Batman swerves to avoid the dog and Bob is thrown from the vehicle.
A crowd gathers to see if he's okay.
Fortunately Bob just has a few bumps and bruises.
People are annoyed Batman wasn't more responsible.
After a quick trip to A&E Bob goes home with no permanent damage.
Batman vows to make travel safer for children.
 Batman got in touch with the people at Kids Embrace and found they had exactly the thing he needed.

The perfect car seat for a little superhero with a 5 point harness, side impact protection, an adjustable headrest. It has a removable backrest and soft padded insert to make it suitable for children in group 1,2 and 3 car seats, from approximately 9 months to 12 years. Available to buy in Smyths, Halfords and Toys R Us.

All vehicles were built by 4 year old Master Designer Donnie
This is my entry for the Kids Embrace Car Seat competition, and I'll receive a small Batman themed gift in return for producing this post.

Monday 26 August 2013

Blackberry Sponge Tart...

Because of this amazing Summer we've had, and the fact we've been somewhat otherwise occupied this year, our garden is full of brambles. The brambles are absolutely laden with gorgeous fruit that is incredibly sweet, so I decided to make some use of it today. You can't really get better than free food.

I made a Blackberry Sponge Tart using pretty much the same method as I did for my Bakewell Style Tart, but substituting fresh blackberries for the jam.

Grease your pie dish and and line with pastry if you wish, or don't, it makes just as good a sponge without, it's just different to serve.

Use a double layer of blackberries. If they are very tart then add some chopped apple or other sweeter fruit.
Cover the berries with a handful of sugar
Weigh 2 eggs. Cream together approximately the same weight in butter and sugar, add the eggs, then add the same weight of self-raising flour and stir in. For a nice Autumnal flavour add a pinch of Nutmeg and a couple of teaspoons of Cinnamon to the cake mix before baking.

Cover the fruit entirely with the cake mix and then bake in a medium oven (180degrees, gas mark 4, 170degrees fan assisted) for around 45 minutes. It takes a while to cook through because of all the liquid in the berries. Don't let the top burn, but be careful not to take it out of the oven too early. If it starts to get too brown on top too quickly then turn down the oven.

When you try to cut the tart it will bring out juice and damp cake, but you shouldn't see raw cake mix. If you completely mess up and find the cake is raw after all, fear not. Put it back in the oven for a few minutes or really cheat and microwave a slice for around a minute. Best served warm with ice cream, cream or custard. Enjoy...

Sunday 25 August 2013

H&A Bath Products ~ Jake & The NeverLand Pirates

I was really lucky a couple of months ago to win a huge box of H&A Bath Products on Twitter. Real care was taken over what I was sent to make sure it was perfect for my 2 little boys and it was all really lovely. I always intended to write about it, but I never got around to it.


H&A have a variety of character ranges including Spongebob, Ben 10, Disney Princesses and Planes, Thomas and Friends and others. Now H&A have asked me to review some items from their new Jake & The Neverland Pirates range, so here's my chance to tell you a bit about them.

H&A products are designed to make bathtime fun as well as educational and in our experience they really do. We have clocks with removable numbers, build it yourself planes and bath crayons amongst other things. All of the bath and shower gels are hypoallergenic and moisturising and suitable for all ages.

We've been sent a Jake & The NeverLand Pirates Bath & Shower Gel which retails at around £2 for a large 400ml bottle. Like the other H&A bath & shower gels we've tried it has a delicious fruity smell which you can't quite put your finger on - kind of a sweet pineappley mango smell which is really appealing. What's best about this is that it can also be used as a bubble bath - so your children get clean as they play.

We have also been sent a Jake & The NeverLand Pirates Jolly Roger Facecloth, which also retails around £2, is 100% cotton and cleverly packaged as Jake himself.- my youngest kindly took ours out and then put it back not quite exactly as it arrived, but close enough...

We're really keen on H&A products. The bath and shower gels smell great and haven't ever adversely affected my young children's skin. The bath toys and face cloths are fun and easy to keep clean and dry after the bath. The prices are really good and I shall definitely buy more H&A products in the future.

H&A bathtime products are available from Boots, Morrisons and other supermarkets and are suitable for all ages.