Friday, 29 August 2014

Back to School with Trunki PaddlePak


The Summer holidays are coming to a close, and by the end of next week all five of my kids will be in school. We are delighted to be Chief Testers for Trunki, who have sent H their Kaito Killer Whale PaddlePak, which is a water resistant backpack made from lightweight, durable material - just the thing for busy lads like him to use for school, swimming lessons, and rugby.

H is a keen swimmer, and visits the pool 2-3 times a week currently - often straight from school. The PaddlePak looks very compact from the outside, but has a huge 10 litre capacity & easily accommodates his swimsuit, towel, hat and goggles, with an external pocket for him to carry his water bottle.
The dry-zip pocket in Kaito's tail is ideal for H to store his locker money so it's hidden away but still easily reachable - no more digging around in the bottom of the bag trying to find it! - and the high visibility trim and reflective straps will be useful later on in the year when the nights start drawing in. Road safety is of course very important and as we often walk to and from the pool down town, making sure that he will be safe and seen is vital.

As a school backpack, the PaddlePak has ample capacity to hold all of H's essentials including his reading record and reading books, glasses case, all of his notes home and homework, still with plenty of space to fit his swimming kit in on his lesson days. The Kaito Killer Whale design is priced at £24.99, and the PaddlePak also comes in many other fun designs and vibrant colours including Frog, Shark, Dolphin, Octopus and Turtle.


For all the latest news, exciting giveaways, offers and updates follow Trunki on Twitter, on Facebook and TrunkiTravels on Instagram.

H received a complimentary PaddlePak for review purposes. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Simply Swimming in France

review post.

On our recent family vacation to Montemboeuf in the south of France, we were lucky enough to have our own private pool at our holiday villa. The youngest three children have weekly swimming lessons and so are very able swimmers. E of course is not at the same ability level as her brothers but she is now on stage 1 and loves being in the water, and I wanted her to enjoy having the freedom to swim every day, too.


Simply Swim kindly sent us some pool games and equipment to enjoy on our break, and as well as being great fun they were excellent tools to continue teaching the children while we were away and they were missing lessons. L & H both use dive sticks in their lessons, and this set of BECO Dive Sticks are very similar to the ones used by their teachers. Priced at £8, the sticks are thrown into the water and then the children are encouraged to dive down underwater to retrieve them. The Speedo Sea Squad Spinning Dive Toys (£15) are very similar but are a more fun design, the colourful shark sticks spin as they move through the water and eventually rest at the bottom, and both sets of dive sticks help to build water confidence.

We used the dive sticks in a variety of different ways; we practised diving skills, taking it in turns to retrieve them, seeing how many could be picked up in one burst, time trials, and racing to see who could collect the most.


E loved playing with the Zoggs Seal Flips Set (£7.50) and also uses something similar during her swimming lessons, so she was familiar with them and able to practice her skills. The idea behind these is to blow them and make them flip over as they swim, so using her red Aqua Sphere Noodle (£6) she happily chased the seals around the pool as she played with her siblings in the water, full of confidence. It was lovely to watch them swimming together, and I'm delighted she was able to join in and play safely.

Simply Swim offer a wide range of toys, accessories, and training aids as well as goggles and poolwear, perfect to take along on a family getaway so your children can continue learning through play - even when you're on holiday!


We received complimentary pool equipment for review purposes. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Bludgers & Broomsticks at Warner Bros Studio Tour London


Last year, we were lucky enough to be invited to the Summer Spells event at Warner Bros Studio Tour London and we had such a wonderful experience that the children were asking when we could go again before we had even left the car park. We were delighted to be invited back to join in the fun of this Summer's event - Bludgers and Broomsticks - which is running from Friday 18th July - Monday 1st September 2014 and is all about how magical sports and wizarding games came to life on screen. Authentic costumes from the Quidditch scenes are on display, as well as the rattling ball crate from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
Discover how a combination of special and visual effects were used to make cast members fly and chess pieces move – as well as have your own chance to test green screen technology! Last year A & H had a go at flying their very own broomsticks (on screen of course, can't have them whizzing around the studio!) and this year all seven of us enjoyed a ride in the enchanted car! We purchased three souvenir photos for a total of £21 of our green screen experience to frame and keep at home as a reminder of our day.
The tour was equally as magical as it was the first time we visited, and I found myself noticing things I missed the first time around. We took extra time to look at everything, and the kids enjoyed spotting the new Bludgers and Broomsticks special features and props - pausing to listen intently to the Broomstick making masterclass, and to have a picture with some Beaters in Diagon Alley. The children are such massive fans of the books & movies that having the opportunity to see how it all came to life is something very special for them, and for their father & to enjoy seeing the wonder on their faces.

Sometimes "the wonder" looks like misery, however I assure you that the kids were having a much better time than their facial expressions would suggest. If you have teenagers, I know you understand - It's an aversion to the camera, not to the activity!
Seeing all of the props, costumes, and sets up close is an experience you will never forget. You cannot appreciate exactly how much work has gone into creating this magical world, eight movies worth of work, unless you have stood before it and really had a good look. It is utterly breathtaking.

Warner Bros Studio Tour London offer seasonal events throughout the year, the next event will be Dark Arts & is scheduled for October half term, Friday 17th October – Monday 3rd November 2014 where you can learn how the dark arts were brought to life on screen and even have the chance to duel with a death eater! Tickets are priced at £31 per adult (16+) and £23.50 per child (5-15). Children aged 4 and under are free, but do require a ticket to enter. Tickets must also be purchased in advance of your visit.

"The stories we love best do live in us forever,
so whether you come back by page or by big screen,
Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home."
- J.K. Rowling.


We received complimentary tickets for review purposes. All views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

#LoomToTheMoon with Rainbow Braid

review post.

Loom band rainbow charm

I don't think there is a parent in the country who hasn't heard of loom bands - the latest fad for kids up and down the country. Playground crazes are not a new thing, I remember everyone going mad for pogs and skip-its when I was a kid, & loom bands are just the latest in a long line of primary school trends.

Rainbow Braid sent me a massive 5400 loom band refill pack for my kids to try out, and until now I had been the mean mum who hadn't bought her children anything remotely loom band related. I still ended up with them all over my house, mind you, as the kids' school friends had gifted them lovingly made bracelets and such like, but we didn't actually have any of our own. When the opportunity to review them came up, I was very keen to take part.

Why?

So the children and I could #LoomToTheMoon.

#loomtothemoon

The Loom to the Moon challenge is for a special boy named Skye, and for children just like him. Skye's parents have set up the charity Blue Skye Thinking, to support research and treatment of childhood brain tumours:

"Skye was diagnosed with a brain tumour on 27 August 2013 and those close to him, are constantly in awe of his strength of character and fortitude in fighting a horrible disease. Cancer is so often thought of as an adult disease. Our experience has taught us otherwise.

Blue Skye Thinking is a Charity which supports research so that all children diagnosed with brain tumours, will have a better chance of survival and a better quality of life post treatment. The Charity is run by volunteers and all money donated goes directly to the forefront of Research and Treatment."

Rainbow Braid 5400 Refill Kit (Loom & Hook not included)

The huge kit contains 18 different colours of solid, glitter and glow in the dark high quality rubber bands (we've not experienced any frustrating snapped bands!) along with 250 clips & was just the thing we needed to start our contribution to Skye's loom to the moon challenge. A, E & I have been taking it in turns to build up our loom band, & A has made great progress over the weekend. Our goal is to make it the length of our garden before we send it to Skye to help towards his goal. The Rainbow Braid refill kit is priced at £14.90 with free delivery, available to purchase online from Amazon, & with 5400 bands to get through I'm sure we'll meet our target.


We received a complimentary refill kit for review purposes. Hook and loom were not included. The views shared are my own personal & honest opinions and written in my own words. All links are no-follow.
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