• Book Review- Supertato: Veggies in the Valley of Doom by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet

  • Vintage 1940’s Weekend at Bletchley Park

  • Early Man movie model making challenge

    Early Man film
  • Breakfast at The Ivy Brasserie St Albans

Book Blog Tour: Witchy Travel Tales by Sibel Beadle

We were thrilled to be asked to be part of the Witchy Travel Tales book blog tour as we love to support new and emerging authors.  Witchy Travel Tales are written by Sibel Beadle for her daughters and are about all the places that she has visited. We were asked to have a look at Book 2 which is inspired by Stonehenge.

Witchy Travel Tales Book 2: Sleepless in Stonehenge

 

Sleepless in Stonehenge is about a little girl called Viva and her fear of the dark. Its a magical story all about how to overcome this fear and have an adventure on the way.

I often find that there are only essentially a few different types of children’s book stories and themes and authors tend to write imaginatively around them. This book is a little bit different though, it deals with facing a fear (which is a common theme) but in a really quite unique way. It isn’t at all like the usual books we review. My children really enjoyed it, not least because they’ve been to Stonehenge. The illustrations were unusual enough to spark their imaginations and actually get them trying to copy them. In fact, the illustrations really make these books very unusual and quite special. Its nice to have the option to read something slightly different to the usual picture book format and we really enjoyed that element of this book.

In terms of the story, as I mentioned its very original and quite special. You can really tell that its well thought through and tested on little ears. My eldest enjoyed reading it to herself whilst our six year old had to have it read to him over a couple of nights as its too long for one sitting when you’re a six year old boy!

Witchy Travel Tales are clearly a labour of love and the books are really quite delightful. Its a privilege to read something which is born from family love and trying to deal with real issues. If you’d like to find out more have a look at the website and follow Sibel on Twitter:

Review: Molly Brown London Children’s Jewellery

As Fifi gets older she is developing her own sense of style. She’s a very different girl to me and very glamorous which is a learning curve for us both! She was asked by Molly Brown London if she’d like to choose herself some jewellery from their website and was absolutely delighted. Molly Brown London are a British children’s jewellery company that specialise in good quality simple designs.

Molly Brown Honey Bee necklace

Fifi had a great deal of agonising over what to select as she absolutely loved everything on the site. I thought this was great because jewellery is a brilliant keepsake gift for little girls and I often wonder if I’m choosing something that would be loved long term. Clearly you cant go wrong shopping on the Molly Brown London website!

Fifi chose the Molly Brown London Honey Bee necklace. This is a beautiful necklace made from silver and 9ct gold vermeil. Its adjustable so it will grow with her which makes it a perfect gift for a special occasion like becoming a bridesmaid or a birthday. I’m very jealous and Fifi loves it!

 

Film Review: The Marmalade Challenge to celebrate #Paddington2DVD

If you are a regular reader you’ll know just how much we loved Paddington 2 when we went along to the press screening. Its a fantastic feel good movie which is perfect for the whole family. It’s so good its nominated for 3 BAFTAs! If you didn’t get a chance to see it at the cinema then you’ll be pleased to hear that its out from today on digital download, DVD, Blu-ray and 4k UHD + Blu- ray. My kids are thrilled as they’ll now be able to watch it over and over again.

paddington2

To celebrate the release we were asked if we’d like to take part in the Marmalade Challenge to design our very own marmalade sandwiches. Now, this was a tricky one- do you go traditional? Off the wall? or shaped? My kids threw some spanners or curve balls at it as they pondered whether marmalade is better on sourdough or traditional bread. Hmm, tricky! This left us with no choice but to try a selection over the weekend, using low sugar marmalade of course. We concluded that the best marmalade sandwiches are traditional white sandwich tin bread (from the bakers not the processed stuff from the shop), but we also give you the option of wholemeal here. Let me know what you fancy the most in  the comments.

Since its the perfect film for our Friday movie nights I anticipate making a lot of marmalade sandwiches!

About the Film

The much-anticipated sequel to the worldwide hit family film finds Paddington happily settled with the Brown family in Windsor Gardens, where he has become a popular member of the community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, Paddington spots a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief…

Paddington’s biggest adventure yet sees Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson joining the all-star returning cast of Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw as the voice of the beloved bear.

A Heyday Films and STUDIOCANAL production, Paddington’s return to our screens is helmed by BAFTA nominated director Paul King (PADDINGTON, COME FLY WITH ME, THE MIGHTY BOOSH) written by Paul King and Simon Farnaby (YONDERLAND and MINDHORN). 

PADDINGTON 2 is produced by multi award-winning David Heyman (producer of all eight of the HARRY POTTER films, GRAVITY, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM).

The PADDINGTON 2 Blu-Ray and DVD Extras include a director’s commentary, ‘Rain on the Roof’ with Phoenix Buchanan (Full Screen), Paddington 2: The Challenges of Making the Film & a BAFTA Q&A with David Heyman, Paul King, Simon Farnaby, Hugh Grant and Pablo Grillo. iTunes Extras include exclusive junket interviews with Cast & Crew.

PADDINGTON 2 is nominated for three 2018 British Academy Film Awards: ‘Best British Film’, ‘Best Actor in a Supporting Role’: Hugh Grant, and ‘Best Adapted Screenplay’: Simon Farnaby and Paul King.

facebook.com/PaddingtonBear  Instagram @Paddingtonbear  Twitter @Paddingtonbear

Usborne Books for Easter

If you have a little one you’ll know how hard it is to restrict their sugar intake over Easter. Fortunately Usborne books have come to the rescue and I think these little board books would make a great gift instead of yet another Easter egg!

For children who love the ‘That’s not my…’ series there are volumes on bunny’s and chick’s which are so adorably cute you wont be able to resist reading them. At just £6.99 each you’ll get loads of use out of these, my eldest who is ten had lots of the “That’s not my…’ books and reading them with him was such an important part of his toddler years I’ve still got them.

For toddlers that like peep through books Usborne have produced Are you there little bunny? which is so lovely that you’ll definitely end up reading it many times! It priced at just £5.99 which I think is money well spent!

Usborne books have also got lots of great free Easter activities on their website: www.usborne.com/easter

Disclaimer: We were sent these for review

How to keep running beyond January when you have family commitments

One of the reasons that this blog has been quiet for a while is that alongside my job and the daily trails of looking after three children I have been doing a lot of running again. Without seeming evangelical about it running is such a brilliant way to deal with the daily stresses of everyday life, it provides me a bit of me time and feels like the only thing I do entirely for myself. A couple of years ago I ran the Cancer Research Race for Life 10km and so this is the distance I’m working with at the moment. I’ve entered several 10km races both virtual and organised and i’m looking forward to creating some new personal bests.

Maintaining motivation is one of the biggest challenges for any sort of exercise and I must admit the only way I’ve managed to do this is by literally bribing myself with the odd new bit of kit here and there. I was absolutely thrilled when JD Williams offered to provide me with a selection of their JD Williams Activewear kit. JD Williams has been on my radar for a while as I’ve read quite a lot in the press about their ethos which is around championing and celebrating confidence and style at any age. This is the perfect ethos for me as i’m finding that in my forties its actually quite hard to find suitable running kit that doesn’t look frumpy, gimicky, suitable for teenagers or is just out of my price range.

Sweatshirt

I selected several items from the range and I’ve been absolutely thrilled with my choices. I’ve been out running in all of the kit and its great. I’d love to show you lots of pictures of me running along looking glam, but frankly I don’t have any. I generally look a bedraggled mess and unlike many of these fitness bloggers I don’t have someone taking photos as I run along. So you’ll have to make do with these 2 shots!

I absolutely love this kit, its top quality and so reasonably priced. JD Williams is my new go to place for sports kit, i’m going to have to treat myself to some of their fashion next! Click the links to find the sweatshirt , running jacket and leggings.

But onto my top tips- how do you manage to keep up running after that initial burst of January enthusiasm when you’re also juggling family commitments?

Running Jacket and Leggings

An an extra hour in your day

I’ve found the only solution to genuinely finding time for yourself to workout (without putting the kids into childcare) is to get up early and go for it. As soon as I wake up I get up and go, If I give myself time to think about it I wont go. I’m back before the rest of the house has finished breakfast.

Goal Setting

I don’t have a personal trainer or even a plan of action for my runs. I started C 2 5K ages ago but didn’t get along with it. I work on the basis of mentally looking at distances and pushing myself a bit further (or faster) each time. For example, try to run to a landmark like a bench or a lamp post and then next time try to run to the one just past it. I’m now setting myself distance goals using my Runkeeper and have signed up for some Virtual Runner challenges which works for me.

Motivation

In order to keep motivated I set myself little challenges and reward myself with a new top or leggings or something nice to eat.

Get the Family Involved

I often go for shorter runs with my 9 year old daughter. Her enthusiasm is infectious and we always have a fun time. I feel as if i’m setting her a good example and we are both getting fit, what can be a better incentive.

Disclosure: I was gifted the JD Williams kit for this post