Monday, 29 April 2013

Outdoor Treasure Hunt - Geocaching

The other week as I was looking through the posts from other bloggers who join in and link up with the fantastic Linky CountryKids from Coombe Mill and I saw a post by Emma's Little World all about Geocaching.

Now I've never heard of Geocaching before so I read through Emmas blog post with interest, it sounded exciting. Real treasures hidden all over the place, and people can go out and find it, A proper outdoor treasure hunt! It sounded great, a fun way to encourage everyone to get outside, because who doesn't enjoy searching for treasure!

So I googled to see what it was all really about, and learn how to join in, and I came across the Geocaching website.

Which explains that Geocaching is a real world treasure hunt. Which  anyone can join in.

How it works is that all over the world there are hidden containers.  The locations of these containers are all placed on the GeoCaching website  as co ordinates which you can place into any GPS device.
You can register as a member on the site to locate the closest geocaches to you, send the co ordinates to your GPS device and go out hunting.

Each Cache on the website tells you what size the container is, how difficult to find it is, gives you a rough location and a clue to help you find it too. You can search via postcode and locate all the nearby cache, so you can go on a hunt to find several in the same area.

There are various different shapes and sizes of containers, some contain just a log book, others contain 'swops' Which are token treasures, how it works is that if you find a cache you can take something from the container as long as you leave something different for around the same value in its place. You also record you name on the log book record sheet. Then re hide in the same place as you found it ready for the next treasure seeker to uncover!

There is a huge online community of people who are all hunting out the cache and once you return home you can record your finds on the website, enabling you to keep track of how many you have found and locate other cache near by.

I was surprised to find lots of cache located near us, in all my normal walking places so I couldn't wait to get out and see what we could find.

The only thing you need in order to find the geocache is  a GPS device, or a mobile phone which can download the geocache app. However we have neither!

But all is not lost because the website gives you enough information and clues to have a good guess at finding them without the co ordinates (just obviously it makes it easier to use a GPS device)

We only found one container, as it looked as tho the other 4 hidden had been lost or damaged. But it did not put us off. The search took us to new places which we hadn't visited before.

We loved searching and solving the clues. Finding a bridge to nowhere and a horses paddock.
both of which are beautiful places which I never even knew existed!

If you want to do something outdoors that is alot of fun and gets everyone involved then give Geocaching a look. It adds a fun twist to a country walk.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Fruity Jelly pots from Cross and Blackwell Review

All three of my children have different tastes in food, Jake my eldest eats everything and has never been fussy at all, he loves fruit and vegetables and is the ideal child when it comes to meals, he will try anything. Chloe is far more fussy she has never been a huge fruit fan and will complain about the texture of food and is by far the most fussy of my three. Mikey is probably completely average, he has his favoured foods and won't budge on certain vegetables but does enjoy a wide variety of fruit.

So when we were asked if we would like to give our opinions on the new Jelly Pots from Cross and Blackwell I thought it would be interesting to see what they were like.

Toy Story themed Lunch box for school dinner

The pots are Disney Toy Story themed, which each flavour having a different character from the popular childrens film on the packaging.

Crosse and Blackwell fruit jelly toy story pots

Thy are bursting with fruit and come in 6 different flavours. They contain real fruit juice and no artificial colours or preservatives.  The pots are a good size 125g which may actually be a bit on the large size for young children.

childrens lunch box ideas jelly fruit

A handy plastic spoon is included which is a great added touch and makes these perfect for lunch boxes, a great way to ensure a fruit portion is included in the midday meal. The Jelly pots can be refrigerated or just simply stored in dry cool place which means they taste great even if not kept cold in a school lunch bag.

boy eating fruit in jelly

As expected Chloe was not kean on these, she did not like the fruit pieces - which there are ALOT of in each pot, Jake and Mikey enjoy them. The fruit flavours gives a great selection of fruit, Pineapple, Mandarin and Peach along with Apple and Mixed Fruit. The Fruit chunks are nicely sized.
The pineapple was our favourite, with a real pineapple flavour to the Jelly and the nice sized pieces of Pineapple was a really nice way to enjoy a fruit which we often overlook.

Toy Story Fruit in Jelly cross and blackwell

Overall these are great, and if you have fruit loving children then I would think they will like them, they are very natural tasting in the sense they do really taste of the fruit that is included. However if you have picky eaters who do not like fruit then they most  probably will not like these.

childrens lunch box fruit in jelly

The draw to Toy Story is appealing, but of course once you take the outer layer off you are left with a pot of Fruit in Jelly.

Priced at 65p a pot to me these seem a little on the expensive side to include in packlunch boxes on a regular basis and may be better grouped in a pack of 4 for a cheaper price. But certainly as a one off treat or for a family picnic then these are a great addition to any lunch.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Spring Cleaning - Girls Bedroom Makeover

A few weeks ago I blogged about how I was having abit of a spring clean and declutter downstairs, and I mentioned that the biggest bug bear for mess in the house was Chloes Bedroom.

With her never ending collection of paper and crafts supplies, her bedroom is the smallest room of the house, a tiny little box room. For the past two years she had a make shift high bed which Darren had made, which  fit across the room in front of the window, to allow her a little more space in the rest of the room, and she had cabinets along the wall and an old wardrobe too.

This set up was not really working well!

When the toys were arranged neatly on the cabinets it looked ok but more often than not the toys were jumbled and piled on top of each other, under the bed was full to bursting with paper and junk, the wardrobe housed yet more out grown toys and clothes were piled in the drawers in our room.

Something desperately needed to be done, so for the passed few weeks we have been giving her bedroom a makeover  with a minimal budget to work with.

At Christmas we brought nice new bed spreads curtains and a rugs to try to make her room look better, but coupled with the clutter everywhere they didn't make much of an impact, but they were Puple and pink so this is the colours we worked with.

Drastic action was needed so we decided we would get her a new bed, now this was a big decision because in doing so it meant that the bed would no longer fit across the window wall, and would have to be placed on the longest wall, as the room is just a little box room it limited space. Also with a normal height bed, we would loose the under bed space. We reasoned that the under bed space was not being utilised well currently and had just become a dumping ground and  the loss of space along the main wall was a small price to pay as it looks so so much better.

girls bedroom ideasWe took away the old wardrobe and the cabinets and took down her high bed and removed the piles and piles of soft cuddle toys and arts and crafts from under her bed and emptied the room completely then placed in just a nice new bed.

Teddy bear on girls bed

The room looked great, so very neat and tidy, but obviously its not practical to just have a bed, so we needed some serious storage.

under bed wooden box storage girls room

We decided to keep her original under bed box storage, which was a big box that original came from a wooden play train table, its the perfect size to slide under the bed, and with a jolly good sort out we replaced only the things she really wanted.

pink bedside cabinet storage ideas for girls room

Then we brought 2 new  bedroom cabinets. Each cabinet has 4 fabric boxes as storage, and they hold a surprising amount in them. Perfect for all the art and craft.

storage ideas for craft supplies in girls bedroom

On top of the cabinets there is enough space to arrange all her trinkets. Giving Chloe real scope to add her own personal touch to the room

As we were sorting out all her things, we realised she actually had quite a nice collection of jewellery, most of which she had been passed on from a family friend, too nice to sit in a box, so we brought a mug stand from a local charity shop for 50p and this makes a lovely display stand for all the bracelets.

mug stand jewellery display bedroom ideas

Chloe also loves her American Flag high Heel Boots, which she brought with her Christmas Money, they are too high heeled to wear but they look fabulous on her bedside cabinet.

very high heeled boots red white blue

We then added a very high up shelf to house the soft toys and a small TV, with hooks along the back wall and behind the door to hang jackets, bags and pyjamas cases.

We haven't the budget to redecorate the walls, or replace carpet right now, but we did find a nice noticeboard in a value store which  Chloe loves to cover one of the walls.

Overall I am really pleased with the progress, the difference in the room is huge. And the best thing is that since making the changes it seems to be staying tidy.

light shinning through girls bedroom window

There are still plenty of bits and bobs we want to do before we can say it is completely finished, the first is get a vertical blind, to block out some of the sun now that the summer months are here and the light shines right into her room, I have priced some up from Web-Blinds which have a fantastic selection of designs with blinds which can be made to measure that would be perfect. And then we need to redecorate the walls we have to decided to either paint or wallpaper.

But for now it is so much nicer.

Next on my list to declutter is the boys room!

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Monday, 22 April 2013

Magpie Monday - Singer Sewing Machine

I haven't joined in with Magpie Monday before, but some of my favourite bloggers do and I always marvel over their finds. I do love looking through charity shops and finding a bargain.

And this week I couldn't resist joining in because I have recently found a new great place to rummage through and find all sorts of treasures.

This new found treasure cove is actually a charity  called The Star Foundation, who help children in the local community pursue their interests in sport and art activities. They help raise money by recycling all sorts of things including old furniture..

The warehouse is full of all sorts of bits and bobs from tables and chairs to TV's toys and games and wooden cabinets.

The other day we were having a look around and we noticed this old singer table top sewing machine sat unloved in a dimly lit corner of the warehouse.

1933tabletop singer sewing machineWe asked how much they wanted for it and couldn't resist bringing it home when we were told wecould have it for just £15 With a bit of a clean it looks lovely and is in fact in excellent condition for its age.

singer sewing machine black on table with draws
Once we looked over it we found that it has all the original receipts, instruction booklets needles and bits and bobs from when it was made in 1933.

singer sewing machine receipts
old singer sewing needles antique

It really is a lovely sewing machine, and the best thing is it still works perfectly, although my sewing skills are far from worthy, I really need to learn how to sew, Darren however is abit of a dab hand at sewing and so he has had a go and made a lovely pillow out of an old flag.

singer iron table top sewing machine

We have now become a little addicted to having a look through the furniture in the Star foundations warehouse and I'm sure we will be finding more bits of old furniture to add to the room to match the sewing machines vintage look so I hope to be joining in with MagpieMonday again soon, if you want to see what others have found this week then click on the badge below to visit Me and My Shadow blog and the others joining in showing off their second hand finds.

Me and My Shadow

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Colour Splasherz Jewellery colour changing bead Review

Chloe loves all things arty, pretty and make and do Jewellery sets always appeal, but they very rarely live up to the expectation levels.

When we first saw Colour Splasherz advertised I thought they looked great a fun kit for young girls to make some jewellery with an added twist of being able to customise the beads that change colour when you place them in water.

So when we were sent the Purse Set to review we couldn't wait to give it ago.

The colour splasherz Purse set is made by Character, and is priced around £12.99 from all good toy retailers.

Included in the set is a Purse shaped clear plastic storage container, a pink plastic square box, lots of colourful non colour changing beads, a selection of small colour changing beads and 2 larger round circle colour changing beads and backing pendant holders, 2 bracelet and 2 necklace chains.

The overall quality of the items is good, the beads are easy to thread and lovely and colourful, the chains are strong and have built in fastening so no fiddly knots needed.

The kit is aimed at children aged 5 and above, and the threading and making of the chains would be suitable for the younger people in this age range.

BUT the all important changing of the colours is not at all easy.

The instructions are simple, fill one side of the purse container with very hot (but not boiling) water and one side with VERY cold water.

Then dip the beads from one side to the other using the lifting tray connected inside the purse.

Now this all sounds great, however when you dunk the beads from hot to cold water all that seems to happen is that the beads completely change colour, and Chloe was abit disappointed with the difficulty to create pretty patterns on the beads. It is possible to make them half and half coloured, but it is very difficult to get any more creative than that, we tried splashing and dripping water on the beads and managed to make some pretty patterns but it was not instantly obvious what or how we should be doing this.

Included in the kit is a sheet of stickers, which the instructions state you can use to create fun designs.

We tried this and cut outvarious shapes on the stickers and stuck them on to the larger beads, then dunked the beads. Following the instructions to dip in the coldwater first, and then dry, then stick the sticker on, then dunk in the hot water.

But on removing the sticker, the beads had completely changed colour, and no pattern was left, I am not sure if our water temperatures were not quite right, it does state in the instructions that if the colour changing is not working how you expect try to make the water hotter or colder.

You can also use ice to 'draw' on the beads, but this is also extremely fiddly and does not give the effect Chloe expected.

Chloe loved the look of the pendants but thought the colourful non changing beads were abit 'young' so she didn't add any of these to her necklaces. and she ended up just placing a plane bead into the backing.

When I came back to the set however and gave it another go, I did manage to get a heart design into the beads, I stuck on the cut out heart shape sticker on the bead and then very very quickly dunked the bead into the hot water, and then removed the sticker, it did take me a few attempts, timing and temperature of the water is key.

It looked lovely, and adding into the pendant backing made a very stylish jewellery piece.

Unfortunately, however, after a few hours when Chloes body temperature rose, the heart pattern disappeared.

In some ways the fact the beads can keep on changing colour can be seen as both a positive and a negative, it means you can keep having another go, but it also can become annoying when you eventually get the pattern your after and very quickly it completely disappears!

There are other sets in this range, bigger jewellery making stations which may or may not offer more ways to pattern the beads. And for the young children aged between 5 - 8 they may not be as bothered about the ability to create a specific design and be more impressed with dunking from hot to cold and watching the beads change from yellow to red, or blue to pink.

Older children however I would say will get quickly frustrated with this kit so for the price it may not represent good value for money.

Chloe does like the pendant and has decided it is a 'mood' necklace, as it changes colour sometimes due to the heat of the room/body temperature. But priced at just over £12 it is an expensive novelty.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Win London Pet Show Tickets and Zoflora Goodies!

We are huge pet lovers here, and I am pleased to be able to offer my readers a fantastic prize courtesy of Zoflora the company who specialise in beautiful smelling disinfectants which are perfect for pet loving households.

Zoflora are sponsoring this years London Pet Show on the 11th and 12th May in Earls Court Two London on the 11th and 12th May

London Pet show is the biggest UK pet show and is a fantastic day out for the whole family, the entertainment on at the event includes cat grooming displays, rabbit show jumping, doggy dancing and pony displays. Something to keep the whole family entertained. You can find out more on the London Pet Show website

To be in with a chance to win a family Ticket (2 adults and 2 children - travel not included) to the show worth £44 and a Goodie pack full of Zoflora goodies (A canvas bag containing 1 pair of gloves, 2 pens, 1 Citrus Fresh, 1 Cherry Blossom, 2 Zoflora coasters and 1 empty Zoflora trigger bottle.) Pop over to Zofloras Website where you will find all the latest news and product information then  come back here to answer the following question:

What part of the London Pet Show are Zoflora sponsoring this year?

Please leave a blog comment with your answer and record your entry in the rafflecoptor widget where you can also gain additional entries.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Terms and Conditions
Only available to UK residents.
One winner will be picked at random
The deadline for entries is 12pm on the 28th April 2013
I will request delivery address details from the winner within 48hours of the deadline Please respond to my contact before Saturday 4th May. If I do not hear back from the winner within this time frame then I can not guarantee the tickets will be received on time.
Products will be sent directly from Zoflora
Travel to The London Pet Show is not included
Tickets can be used for either the the 11th or 12th of May 2013 the winner can decided themselves.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Country Kids - windy walk down the river

We didn't manage to get outside as much as I was hoping this Easter holiday, the weather wasn't great, but that doesn't normally stop us too much, but remember I said we had got ourselves a new Landrover.. well typically shortly after it decided to break on us!

So we were stalled, having to wait for Darren to fix it, Thankfully he sorted it out eventually and it is all working again... He does love to tinker with things and the old Landrovers are abit like an adult mechano kit, which is fine if you find that fun, me personally hate mechanics and cars that don't work really grate on me, there have been far too many times I have sat watching Darren poking and prodding around under a bonnet!

But still the Landrover is working again now, so we decided to take it out for a drive even tho the weather never did give us the sun it promised, (well not until yesterday once the children were back at school!)

We decided to go not far from home, and went to Tutbury in Staffordshire, Famous for its castle.

We didn't actually go to the castle grounds this time,  instead we opted for  a windy walk along the river.

Mikey took along his metal detector to search for treasure, but it was really to windy to stand still for very long, so I soon got the pleasure of carrying that while he opted for climbing trees!

As windy as it was, it actually wasn't as cold as it has been, I still was glad to have my coat on but my children were stripping down to just T.Shirts it gives me hope that we are indeed heading slowly towards summer.

The Weir at Tutbury is beautiful, on a warm calm day its a great place to skim stones and even paddle in the shallow waters.

After a nice few hours blowing the cobwebs away - quite literally, we returned back to the car, and the children enjoyed playing in the park for abit.

Did you get out this week? I'm linking this to CountryKids over at Coombe Mill encouraging everyone to get outside and active. Why not Follow the link by clicking on the badge below to see what else there is to do outside.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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