Win Family Tickets to Tractor Ted’s Farm Show at Bowood House

Tractor Ted’s Farm Show is coming to Bowood House on Sunday 8th June 2014 and I’m really looking forward to taking my children there.  Mister B always asks if it’s Ted when he sees a green tractor and they both love watching the Tractor Ted DVD showing real life on a farm with lots of cute little animals.  I think the Tractor Ted Farm Show is a great opportunity for a family day out where the children will learn and get to play at the same time.
Bowood House looks like a stunning setting for the show and I can’t wait to go.  I also have 3 family tickets up for grabs for 3 lucky families to enjoy a fun day out too!
THE TRACTOR TED FARM SHOW 2014
 BOWOOD HOUSE, CHIPPENHAM, WILTSHIRE, SUNDAY 8TH JUNE 2014
 
The Tractor Ted Farm Show will be held in the glorious grounds of Bowood House, Wiltshire SN119NF on Sunday 8th June 2014 10am – 5pm.  More than 10,000 people are expected to enjoy a day of farming in action where the hit children’s series, Tractor Ted – Real Life Fun on the Farm is brought to life for young children and their families. Non-stop displays of tractors, diggers and a giant combine harvester take place, plus trailer rides, machinery repairs, animal husbandry and of course, the star attraction, Tractor Ted and Les the Tractor Driver star of the hit series. 
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 Alongside runs the Bowood Charity Dog Show with pedigree and ‘have a go’ classes and a Summer Fair of artisan produce. On the day gate proceeds go to local Wiltshire charities with over £200,000 raised over the 8 years this event has been running.
 
Discount advance tickets are available online until 1st June at http://www.tractorted.co.uk/ Adults £8 Children(2-16) £4 – a saving of 20% on gate prices.  Carers accompanying wheelchair users are free.
 
Amongst the entertainments new to the day this year will be the Bath Rugby’s Farm Fitness.  Famous players, from the Bath and England Rugby Squads will be running fitness events for children such as kicking the ball in the digger bucket or completing the Tractor Ted Obstacle Course.   Other highlights include the sheep racing, sheep dog agility, sheep shearing, falconry, donkey rides, circus workshop and the Spanish horse display.
 
If you don’t win and want to go then make sure you buy your tickets on line at  www.tractorted.co.uk for a 20% discount before 1st June.

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Personalised Book from Unique Editions

Personalised story books are fascinating to most children, they are a novelty, something fun and a great keepsake.  Unique Editions have pushed the boundary a little further than most personalised books I’ve come across and made the most awesome personalised story for a family I’ve ever seen.

I chose a book for my daughter Miss M, which included her family members, mummy, daddy and younger brother Mister B.  This was the result:

unique 3The front cover itself sold it to me – how fabulous!!   I was literally grinning to myself as I placed the order, a simple process where you add the names of each family member, along with a clear, front facing photo of each person to be included within the book.

When the book popped through our letterbox, I had the first viewing.  I was beyond happy, a smile across my face as I read the book through, seeing the pictures on each page.  I am very impressed, Miss M was the star of the book, but the rest of the family were featured on many pages and we were referred to under the surname of our family too which the children loved!

unique 2The book I chose was the story of a superhero family, one I knew both of my children would love being big superhero fans!  It follows the story of mummy with her X-ray vision powers allowing her to see through walls so she knew who was sleeping at night *love my powers*.  One day they were out shopping when mummy discovers some people robbing the bank, arghh!!  But when our family change into our superhero outfits we manage to save the day!

unique 1It really is hard to show here how many giggles and how much excitement this book has brought.  We have showed it to friends and family who’ve all enjoyed it and found it highly amusing as they read through the story seeing our faces on each page.

We LOVE this personalised childrens book from Unique Editions and think it would make the perfect gift for a young child.  The books are available in several different stories, with just one child, or with an added sibling or even the whole family.  The pages are of a great high colour quality and being quite thick will withstand little ones turning the pages.  These really are books to be treasured and look back on in future years.  I imagine we will have just as much fun reading it then as we do now!

If you are looking for a personalised book, then I highly recommend checking out Unique Editions – I promise you won’t be disappointed!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the book in order to write the review.

GeoSafari Talking Bug Net – Review

GeoSafari Talking Bug Net from Learning Resources is a great way for children to learn facts and information about bugs, something most children are intrigued by and love to touch and explore.

The GeoSafari Talking Bug Net comes with a talking bug net which is well made and a good size, 28 x 14cm.  This requires 3 AA batteries.  There are two buttons on the handle, one for fun facts and the other for quiz, which tests your knowledge on bugs.

Bug net 2There are also six good quality plastic bugs included which the bug net cleverly recognises when placed inside.

These are:

  • Praying Mantis
  • Spider
  • Ladybird
  • Grasshopper
  • Bee
  • Butterfly

The net has two ways to play, you can either drop a bug in the net and listen to over 60 included bug facts or take the quiz, which was our preferable option, where we were given a fact about a bug and had to put the correct bug into the net.

The net cleverly recognises which bug you place into the net and tells you whether you are right or wrong.  You get two chances to get the question correct before it moves onto a new question.

The GeoSafari Talking Bug Net is aimed at ages 4-8 years, perfect for 6 yr old Miss M who was eager to have a go.  It was Easter weekend when we gave the bug net a good testing so Miss M comes complete with a little Easter bunny face!

Bug netMiss M enjoyed playing the quiz on the bug net and was thrilled when she put the right bug in the net.  The questions were challenging, I couldn’t answer them all myself, but this became the learning element of the game.  We were all learning at the same time and you could see the thinking process in Miss M’s head as she tried to decide which bug fitted the question.  When I knew the answer I’d try to prompt her but it was great to see her building on her knowledge as we played.

Miss M was unfamiliar with two of the bugs in the set, the grasshopper and the praying mantis so that gave us immediate talking points.  The Talking Bug Net is a great way to gain new knowledge, facts and information about bugs, from simple to more advanced facts.  If you press the button for fact learning mode, you place a bug in the net and it tells you something about the bug.

In the quiz mode the type of questions can be anything from “Which bug has 8 legs?” to “Which bugs hibernate over the winter?”.  By listening to some facts first, you can put your new found knowledge to the test with the quiz, a fun and interactive way to learn.

We really enjoyed trying out the GeoSafari Talking Bug Net, a fun educational toy that can be played alone or with others.  You can play it for as long or short a time as you want, so it’s a great way to fill any spare time and gain a bit of new knowledge.  The only thing we found a little frustrating was that after you had two attempts at the question, it moves onto a new question without informing you of the answer which sometimes left Miss M wondering which bug was correct.

Overall this would be a good toy for any avid little bug hunters out there to build up their factual knowledge on these creepy, crawlie creatures.  It also helps children to recognise and distinguish the mini beasts through their colours, number of legs and whether it has wings etc.

A simple, but fun and interactive way of learning that children enjoy!

Why not take a look at the GeoSafari Talking Bug Net over on the Learning Resources website?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the bug net in order to write the review.

DC Super Friends Activity Books and First Readers

DC Super Friends are very popular with my little boy, so with Bantam releasing a range of activity and first reader books I knew he’d be excited.  With all his favourite characters such as Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and others, these books follow the super friends on adventures of fighting crime and saving the day!

DC super friends activity books first readers The first readers are aimed at 5-7 year olds, so 6 year old Miss M was keen to have read.  She kindly read them to her younger brother and he eagerly viewed the pictures and enjoyed the story.  These are perfect for her age to read with large text that is simple but interspersed with a few trickier words that she managed well.

DC superheroes early readersCrime Wave is about a baddie, Black Manta, who plans to steal the world’s largest pearl, but fortunately the DC Super Friends are there to stop him escaping with the pearl and catch the criminal in action.  This is a typical super hero type of story, one that little ones love and that Mister B has listened to over and over.

Hero Havoc follows Bizarro, a wannabe super hero who tries his hardest to have the same special powers as the others, but it always results in the opposite thing happening, therefore he never quite achieves what he sets out to do.  He goes off to find Superman who is being held by Lex Luthor and it’s Bizarro that manages to set him free, finally making him happy and feeling worthy of being a hero.

Both these DC Super Friends books have been enjoyed by my children, with Miss M reading them herself and Mister B listening to them.  These are firm favourites that I can definitely recommend.  The full colour picture pages help bring the stories to life with lots of recognisable characters that little ones will love!

There are also a couple of activity books available, a wipe clean book which is great for practising pen control, something Mister B is just getting to grips with so this book has been great for him to write, draw, match etc. using his favourite super friends to guide him.  The DC Super Friends sticker book has 4 pages of stickers to use on pages within the book as well as other activities such as mazes, counting activities, find the odd one out etc. The stickers proved a big hit with Mister B as I’m sure they will with any young super hero fan.

DC superheroes activity bookWe love the DC Super Friend’s range of books and like that they cover both fiction and activity books.  We’ve really enjoyed them and found them a bit different to any other books we’ve had or seen.

Why not check out these and more in the range from Bantam books?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the books in order to write the review.

 

Easter Egg Hunt at Anthony House Cornwall

Easter Egg hunts are something my children love and adore so I was determined to take them a few over the weekend.  Today we ventured out to Anthony House, a National Trust property in Cornwall to go on a trail.  I hadn’t mentioned anything to the children so after Miss M’s diving lesson this morning, instead of heading home, we drove towards the Torpoint ferry.  Miss M immediately picked up on the fact that she didn’t know where she was going and became intrigued, and then they saw the water “Where are we going, don’t drive into the water daddy”.  I loved watching their excited faces as we crossed the water on the ferry and then a couple of mile down the country lanes on the other side we arrived at Anthony House, the location where Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland film was shot.

Anthony House National Trust 4 We wandered into the grounds and Miss M soon became aware of lots of people wearing the same hats. Then we came across the Easter tent which offered Easter Egg hunts and their eyes lit up.  They couldn’t wait to build their eggsplorer hat and then we set off looking for clues.  Mister B spotted egg no. 1 and ran ahead super excited.  Each egg asked a question and then hinted where to find the next clue.  The idea was to write down all the answers in order to exchange them for a chocolate egg at the end.

Anthony House National TrustBoth Miss M and Mister B got completely into the spirit of the egg trail and eagerly ran ahead looking for the next egg.  They found one under a huge bell and one in a cone shaped hedgerow.  The gardens were stunning, I’ve not visited here before but was impressed by what I saw and keen to come again some day.

Anthony House National Trust 2They soon spotted a croquet lawn and were more than keen to have a game, but we decided to press on with the egg hunt and if we had time later we’d pop back.

Anthony House National Trust 8We found more clues by a huge tree in the middle of the lawn, by a pear tree and by the pond.  It was a gloriously sunny day and it was so nice to see the children running around freely but also a with a goal of what they were looking for.

Anthony House National Trust 3 The clues then sent us down to the bottom of the huge back lawn where behind some trees we found a huge wooden caterpillar and a giant connect four game.  We also found the “rabbit hole” slide.

Anthony House National Trust 5They both couldn’t wait to have a go at sitting in the giant story telling chair.

Anthony House National Trust 6Then having completed all our clues we headed back to the Easter tent to collect a Cadbury’s chocolate egg!  The children also went in the craft room to make a grass head by decorating a piece of paper and glueing around a cup.  They then filled it with soil and grass seed and brought it home to water.  They now await the grass to grow so they can trim and style it’s “hair”.

Anthony House National Trust 7All in all we had a lovely afternoon at Anthony House and can’t wait to visit again.  The weather was glorious, the children were happy so we had a lovely family day out.

Having fun with a Chocolate Easter Egg Kit

Thanks to Stay in Devon, we were sent a Make Your Own Chocolate Egg kit to play with.  Having two young children who love baking and getting messy in the kitchen this was ideal and they couldn’t wait to get started.

stay in chocolate eggsThe kit came with two bags of chocolate buttons, a bag of sweeties and four half egg moulds.  I cut the moulds in half so they each had two halves for their egg.  I then melted the chocolate buttons in the microwave before we spooned a small amount into each mould and swirled it around to cover all of the sides. We then left it to set for ten minutes before adding another layer.  In total we put three layers in each mould.

stay in chocolate eggs 2We left the chocolate egg moulds in the fridge overnight to thoroughly set, before turning them out in the next day.  I was surprised at how easy they slipped out of the moulds, which I guess is partly due to the thin layer of oil that we wiped over each egg mould before starting as suggested in the instructions.

stay in chocolate eggs 3Miss M and Mister B were both keen to put the sweeties inside the egg so after dividing them up they filled an egg half with the sweets whilst I placed the other half of the egg on a hot baking tray to gently melt the edge.  I then carefully placed the two halves together to form a whole chocolate egg.

stay in chocolate egg 5Miss M then insisted we decorate the outside too, so we found a tube of Smarties in the cupboard which she proceeded to make face designs with to stick on to the eggs.  We used a small amount of melted chocolate to stick them on.

Ta da – Miss M with the finished eggs!!  Both children really enjoyed making these and can’t wait to crack them open on Easter Sunday.

stay in chocolate eggWe received the chocolate egg making kit from Stay in Devon as part of their #stayinhappybunnies campaign

Jordans Country Crisp Strawberries Cereal – Review

Jordans Country Crisp Strawberries is an oat baked cereal, consisting of crunch oat clusters, mixed with chopped hazelnuts and strawberries.

jordansMy husband being an avid cereal fan, couldn’t wait to get stuck in!  I know from previous experience that the Jordans crunchiness can be addictive and this Strawberry version didn’t disappoint.  This cereal is crunchy, moreish and interspersed with strawberry bites that give it a tasty, indulgent texture at every bite.  This cereal was a hit with us and enjoyed by all.

We decided to make some Crunchy White Chocolate Bites with the cereal using melted white chocolate mixed in with the cereal.  Miss M who is 6 was the chief mixer and excitedly mixed it up and spooned the mixture into little silicone cases.  We let them chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving them with fresh strawberries!

jordans country crisp strawberry cakes snacks bites white chocolateThe whole family enjoyed these bitesize snacks and they are perfect for pack lunches too!  Why not have a go at making some yourself – a quick little baking activity for the school holidays!

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write the review.

Suteki Stencil Station – Review

Suteki! Mega Stencil Station by Cool Create is the new Japanese stenciling art craze using a golden ninja stamper aimed at children aged 5+.  The set comes with 9 stencils, 3 picture frames, 4 coloured paints, a ninja stamper and a workstation.

SutekiSuteki! has everything you need to produce three finished framed pictures although the paints, stamper, stencils can be used again and again.

suteki 2The stencils are layered using different coloured paints on each stencil to create a picture.  You receive enough stencils to create three different pictures, three stencils being used for each.  Also included are three picture frames consisting of a front frame, backplate and sticky pad on the back to adhere to a place of your choosing.

suteki 3As soon as 6 year old Miss M caught sight of this, her eyes lit up.  She loves her arts and crafts and the Suteki box really appealed to her.  It was the golden ninja stamper that really caught her eye and she was eager to try it out.

The first design she tried was of a girl.  You start by placing a blank cardboard square into the workstation, then put the first stencil in place.  The stencils are cleverly coloured the same as the paints so you know which colour paint to use with each one.  Although this is only a guide and you are free to colour them as you wish.  The workstation has four areas to squirt each coloured paint into – a job Miss M thought was great fun!

suteki 4It’s then time to start by dipping the golden ninja stamper into a coloured paint.  The stamper is a great size to hold and comes with 2 screw on sponge applicators at the bottom.  This allows you to swap to use a different colour without having to wash the sponge every time.

Once you have paint on the applicator then dab it on top of the stencil ensuring all the cut out bits are covered in paint.  It is then best to allow the paint to dry for about 5 minutes before continuing.  During this time we carefully lifted off the stencil and washed it along with the sponge applicator.

When the paint is dry, you cover the picture in the next stencil and use a different colour repeating the dabbing process as before.  Finally repeat with a third stencil to get the finished picture.

suteki 5As you can see above, the finished result of the Suteki is very effective.  Miss M absolutely loved doing this and it was easy for her to produce a great piece of art without it being too involved.  I like the idea that frames are included as this really brings the picture to life and it’s ready to hang on the wall. This is perfect for her age of 6 years and requires minimum effort for a fabulous return.  Anyone can do this, I think the age of 5+ is correct though in terms of keeping the template steady and not over dipping the stamper in the paint.

Miss M was keen to create another picture straightaway, so she got to work creating the monkey picture.  By now she was well away on her own, happily following the process I’d guided her through on the first picture.

suteki 6 And look how proud she is of the finished result!

suteki 7I have to say Miss M had a huge grin on her face the whole time while doing this Suteki activity apart from a few moments of concentration here and there.  She throughly enjoyed it and was eager and keen throughout.  I like it because it something a bit different, it has an element of fun with the golden ninja stamper and has been designed well with a plastic workstation tray that keeps any mess contained.

Here is Miss M proudly showing her finished pictures!

suteki 8Suteki has been a hit in this house, a fun activity that I think is great for children to enjoy.  It is a lovely to have a finished piece at the end that can be admired and enjoyed long after it was created.

suteki 9What not give Suteki a go or check out the Cool Create website where there are prizes to be won!

And if you are looking for other Cool Create art and craft sets, why not check out our Cool Create Daisy Chains review.

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write the review.

Avene Soothing Hydrating Serum – Review

Avène a French brand launched in 1990 uses Avène Thermal Spring Water in it’s products to ensure it’s range cares for all types of skin, however sensitive.  The Avène Intensive Hydrating Soothing Serum is highly concentrated in the Avène Thermal Spring Water as well as glycerin to improve suppleness and comfort.

aveneThe serum comes in a high quality glass bottle with a pump action dispenser.  It is easy to dispense a good blob to spread across your facial skin and suitable for use both morning and evening between your cleansing and moisturising routines.

I found this serum easily glided across the skin and absorbed instantly, leaving the skin feeling soft and supple with a fresh and light fragrance.  It definitely left the skin with a more hydrated and plumped feel to it.

Having used this on my skin for the last couple of weeks, I wouldn’t be without it.  My skin feels so much softer and is a great base to add your moisturiser to, it just glides over leaving your face ready for make up.

I really like using serums on my skin, they make such a difference and the Avène Intensive Hydrating Soothing Serum is such a gentle formula, it’s perfect for all skin types.  Perfect if you want soothed, soft skin – I definitely recommend this.

Avène Intensive Hydrating Soothing Serum is available from Escentual, currently for a price of £14.45 compared to the RRP of £17.  Why not grab a bottle today?

All reviews are my own and my family’s opinions and we received the product in order to write the review.

H&A Kid’s Character Haircare Range – Review and Win

H&A have launched a new kids hair care range to compliment there already successful bath time kids ranges.  With a variety of character hair care products on offer there is sure to be something to entice you child to have their hair washed.  I know with 3yr old Mister B it’s always easy to wash his hair whilst in the bath without him noticing too much but 6yr old Miss M’s hair is a nightmare and she begs me not to wash it due to her natural curls that tangle up.

Shampoo 1For Mister B we received the Ben 10 shampoo.  It has a mild and gentle formula that is all important “tear free”, a must have for little ones.  It has a citrus fragrance which is fresh and fruity, but light giving hair a nice clean smell.

So what did Mister B think?  When he saw the tube, he grabbed it, gave it a cuddle, then danced around the room shouting “Ben 10, Ben 10, I’ve got Ben 10 shampoo, Ben 10, can I use this in the bath mummy, I love Ben 10”

shampoo 5So the packaging definitely appealed and when we it reached bath time that night he excitedly took it up with him and couldn’t wait to squirt it on his head.

What did mummy think?  I thought it was great, simple to use, easily lathered up, ran down his face with no tears and left him with soft, cleaning smelling hair – I can’t ask for more than that!

I must just comment on the packaging of the H&A hair care range.  All the shampoos come in large tubes which stand on a nice wide lid so don’t easily fall over.  I love that the product sits at the opening end so that you can quickly and easily squirt a blob into your hand or your child’s head with no fuss.  The tube is flexible and easy to squeeze, so I give the design of these tubes a big thumbs up!

Miss M tried out Disney Princess Ariel’s range of products from H&A which consist of a conditioning shampoo and a detangler spray.  The products immediately appealed to Miss M and although she would rather not wash her hair, she wanted to try these out on the days I insisted that we had to wash it!

shampoo 2

The shampoo has a fruity fresh fragrance which Miss M immediately picked up on and said “I like that smell” as we started to wash her hair.  As with the Ben 10 shampoo, this lathered up easily, leaving the hair feeling clean and fresh.  You can tell the shampoo’s have conditioning properties as you could feel the hair was softer and more manageable after shampooing, a good start in getting rid of those tangles.

shampoo 3With Miss M’s coarse curly locks the only way we can truly brush it is when wet using a large amount of conditioner and a tangle brush.  Although her hair felt softer and the tangles had eased we did have to add a separate conditioner in order to ease the matted tangles out.  Most children would have a great result using just the conditioning shampoo, but Miss M’s hair is an extreme exception and one that I’ve had to learn to manage over the last few years.  I think it’d be great to see a separate conditioner in the range for children that need it.

Once left to towel dry for 10 minutes we sprayed some of the Ariel detangler spray which Miss M loved the fruity fragrance of.  It really helped her tangle brush glide through the damp hair and in particular allowed me to separate it ready for plaiting.  As recommended on the bottle of Ariel detangler, a great way of keeping tangles at bay is to keep your hair in plaits.  This is something we do regularly with Miss M as when her hair is down it ends up a knotted mess by the end of the day and impossible to brush out or style the next day without another wash.

Without the Ariel detangler, the hair would have started to frizz which leads to tangles and so I’d highly recommend this to aid combing and styling.  It also has a heat defence formula to protect hair should you require it.  Being able to use this spray on both wet and dry hair it’s perfect for us to use each morning to redo Miss M’s plaits.  The Ariel detangler spray is a daily staple for us and we wouldn’t be without it!

Ariel picsWe’ve really enjoyed trying out the H&A hair care products, they are great value, the children love them and they work!

shampoo 6The products above as well as other in the range are all RRP £2.00 and available from Tesco and Wilkinson.

 

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For one lucky reader I have a set of one Minnie Mouse Shampoo and one Ben 10 Shampoo to giveaway – just enter using the rafflecopter form below!  Good luck everyone!

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