Roald Dahl Day 2015

When Puffin Books got in touch to ask if Reuben and I would like to make part in the Crafty Twits Challenge for Roald Dahl Day today (Sunday 13th Sept) its fair to say we were pretty excited. We both love Roald Dahl and for me, its fantastic to see your child enjoying reading particularly when its a book that you also enjoyed when you were their age.

The Twits has been reissued to coincide with this years Roald Dahl day and we were kindly sent 3 versions to review – a beardy one, a smelly one and a techy one! Plus Reuben was given the challenge to get crafty and create a Mr Twit style beard!!! He started thinking of what type of beard he would want and how it might look almost immediately, but more of that later…I love the book ‘the Twits’ – it is funny, not too long, grotesque (in the best way) and like all Dahl books has a very strong life message. In fact it contains one of my favourite book quotes ever which I’ve shared a few times via my social media –   Photo via my Instagram : @Blueskygirlie
Its a pretty good message don’t you think?

So, what about the books?  Reuben and I are both familiar with the story but a great story can be read again and again (another of the joys of Dahl) and where it is quite a short book it can be read together in just 2/3 days (we usually read together before Reuben goes to bed). The new style books themselves are lovely and definitely bring a new vibe to a well loved storybook.

‘The beardy one’ (available at all good booksellers rrp £9.99): this is a lovely chunky hardback book with a furry style beard on the front cover. This makes it very tactile and caught the eye of our almost 4 year old so could be a good one to buy for a younger child that you’d like to read to. It would definitely make a lovely gift.

As well as the story itself, theres a section at the back full of Roald Dahl trivia, writing tips and other fun tit bits. We loved these bits and definitely makes this version feel quite special.

The smelly one (available at all good booksellers rrp £5.99): this is a paperback version but has the added attraction of a selection of scratch and sniff stickers of Quentin Blake illustrations. And they do smell…awful! Being a typical 8 year old boy, Reuben loved the grossness of it!
The techy one (available via the App Store/Google Play – free): I knew Reuben would love the fact there was an app game and sure enough within minutes he had downloaded it and was playing it! You basically have to swipe away pieces of rubbish/food/ goodnessknowswhat coming from Mr Twit eating and stop them hitting and waking up a sleeping Mrs Twit while getting them to lodge back in his beard. If she wakes up she is not happy! Theres special missions to complete too and its great fun.
And finally onto our Mr Twit style beard…
Reuben loves his tech and gadgets and decided the perfect beard would be one not with hidden bits of lost food within it, but with hidden compartments for his ipod touch, video camera, ipod, Xbox controller and even a charging point! And here it is!!!
We had great fun making it together – it has hidden headphones, a chocolate bar for energy and sunglasses…because, well sunglasses are just cool according to Reuben!  
   
I reckon we could be into something here…we’re claiming copywrite now!!!

Have fun this Roald Dahl Day and spend some quality time maybe having a party, being silly, getting crafty with the Craft Twits challenge, baking some Roald Dahl inspired cakes and embracing the magical world of Roald Dahl with your kids….

Find more details of what you can do today and throughout the month here.

All books via Puffin books*

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School

My 8 year old son Reuben is an avid ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ fan and was thrilled when I was asked to blog about him getting the chance to read and review an excerpt of the yet to be released new book – Old School, the 10th book in this very popular series. I love seeing him read for pleasure and get engaged by the stories.

Reuben with his ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ collection

So Reuben, how did you find the new book?

I really liked it and think it will become a great book. I really like them anyway, Jeff Kinney is definitely one of my favourite authors ever. 

What was your favourite part?

Thats hard!!! I really liked when at the end the ‘fitness water’ supplies were raided to water the flowers – that was really funny.  But when he squirted lemon juice in his eye I nearly feel off my chair I laughed so much!

Why do you love Diary of a Wimpy Kid books?

The story always gets better for Greg through every book and I really love the pictures…they’ve really improved as each book has come out. I also like when its written like ‘GASP’ and ‘SCREAM’ as its fun and easy to understand whats happening.

What would you like to see Greg do next?

Ooooh *thinks*.  I’d love to see him become a celebrity for a week from say writing his autobiography or something and the world goes crazy for him. But he does something silly and it all goes wrong and he’s back to just being Greg again *laughs*

Next, we decided to have a go making the homemade Lemonade as featured in the book.  Here is the recipe courtesy of Puffin Books –  

Reuben was on recipe reading duties and my step sons were my kitchen assistants and taste panel! Apart from the cutting of the lemons they could do everything themselves which they loved.

The finished product was delicious!   And finally, here is Reubens selfie of us enjoying it as a family! If you fancy a fun activity during the summer holidays why not have a go too?

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School is released in the 3rd November and is available to preorder via Amazon here. We can’t wait to find out what happens next!!!

Ripleys Believe it or Not – London

As you may know, in our family there are 6 of us. Myself, my partner, my 8yo son and my partners three sons of 23, 8 and 3). Being in a blended family has its challenges, but also can be wonderful too. My ‘stepson’ Cam’s (although we are not married I refer to my partners younger children as my stepsons as I bring them up 50% of the time) birthday was last month and we looked to organise a fun day out in London he would enjoy.

IMG_9130 We settled on Ripleys Believe it or Not in Piccadilly and booked tickets for the Saturday. I’d been past it so many times as its in such a busy part of London but never really found out what it was. Well I think it’s a hidden gem for families! Due to the type of attraction it is we choose to not take our youngest as at three he wouldn’t really understand what he was seeing, so a family ticket for two adults and two children’s was all we needed. Now, tickets for Ripleys are not cheap – the family ticket bought online is the cheapest option at £67.96 and you can also use Tesco Clubcard tokens too. After a quick search on the internet though I found a buy one get one free offer so all together for the four of us it cost £45.82 – not bad for a central London attraction. Ripleys is in a fantastic building just off of Leicester Square and the attraction has over 700 artefacts spanning six floors, 19 themed galleries, plus an additional Laser Race area which certain entrance tickets cover.

IMG_1445 Inside it really is a mass of things to look at – mostly totally random but lots of fun. I didnt realise that Ripley has been a real person who spent his life collecting the unusual and the rare for people to then visit – there is information about him all through the tour – he must of been an amazing character. Some of it is probably a bit silly for older kids (knitted car, giant chair, upside down room) but for two 8 year olds it was perfect! There are crazy objects, models of record breaking things such as the worlds tallest man, the smallest piece of art, ornate coffins, animal skeletons and bits of meteor to name but a few…

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IMG_9133 Parts of it are more like a traditional museum whereas other parts are much more interactive. You can walk through a medieval dungeon with all its torture equipment, see Olympic Torches from throughout the years and look at crazy optical effects like walking through a tunnel of moving light that makes you think you are moving upside down.

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IMG_1444 I have to say I loved it! I loved seeing all the different art made from crazy things, part of the Berlin Wall and walking through a hall of mirrors. The boys loved the interactive parts such as the light tunnel, creating virtual graffiti as the Berlin Wall and feeling how cold the water was when the Titanic sank.

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IMG_9144 The Laser Race Attraction at the end of the tour had long queues when we got to it, but to be fair we moved to the front quite quickly. You go in as a family and then have to navigate through to rob the bank vault without setting off the alarm via the laser sensors. The boys loved the idea and did really well but be warned you do have to wiggle all over the floor like a cat burglar!!! No good if you’re wearing a dress!

There were a few parts I found a bit ‘too’ weird – there was a whole section on real life freaks and some of the real shrunken heads (including a film on how they were made) were quite macabre! At the end of the journey there is of course a gift shop which is over priced and mainly full of sweets and a hard sell if the £25 posed photo books of you in Ripley style pith helmets they encourage you to pose for. However you can leave via the Laser Race route, which we did to avoid the cries of “Mum/Dad can I have…” We had a great day and I’d definitely recommend it. Book the tickets in advance and definitely don’t pay the price on the door and avoid the gift shop. But if you have kids under 12 I think its a great day out that will keep them talking (and thinking) for long after they leave. Find out more on the Ripleys website here. Photo sources my own or via the link above.

New Years Eve thoughts

I’m not one for new years resolutions as I’ve broken far too many in the past but I do believe in challenging & pushing yourself and my hopes for 2015 are just to continue in the same direction.

I’ve worked so hard this year in my fitness and trying to continue a career while settling a new home/family. 2014 has been a great year – Russ and I bought our first house together, our relationship has gone from strength to strength, we travelled and we had so much fun.

I started this blog while writing some great paid blogs for others and I ran 3 times a week every week. My body changed as did my mind and I’m so happy with the results.

Our kids are all happy and our life is now full of potential, something it wasn’t before. Each year I wonder if this loved up feeling will wane but its still going strong and long may it continue! It is a wonderful feeling to feel someone adores you, is totally wrapped up in you, thinks you are the sexiest and most gorgeous woman around…and thats how he makes me feel.

Life isn’t easy, I’m not totally where I want to be, but I consider myself very lucky to have all this. Yes, I worked for it, but I am grateful and will never take it for granted…

Have a wonderful night tonight whatever you are doing and heres to 2015!