Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The MiniMads perfect Hotel Kids Pack

We have stayed at a QHotel before and one of the things the boys loved was the kids packs they received on arrival.  They are currently looking for family ambassador and this is something we would love to be.

So I asked the boys how could the pack they received be better?

This is there thoughts:

  1. Backpack or gym sack style bag would be great.  You could have the hotel brand on it, perfect for keeping all the pack stuff in and also great for our stuff when traveling.
  2. Magazine. We love magazines and our favorite is the free LEGO one.  It comes for three different age groups and you could have a preschool, Junior and kids.  That way it would have age appropriate reading, activities, puzzles and colouring.
  3. Multicoloured Pencil - rather than crayons, which are hard to use for puzzles, crosswords and such.  A pencil that you change the lead in to colour with. 
  4. Pack or cards - We love cards, they could have hotel pictures on the rear.  Great for simple games such as snap or poker for teens  Or if you want to be really clever you could have Q Hotel top trump cards!
  5. Postcard and Stamp - We loved that our pack had postcards in, but mummy never has a stamp.  it would be great to be able to fill your postcard out and leave it with the receptionist to be posted. 
  6. Bath Duck - Rather than have this in the pack, they could be hidden in the room like a treasure hunt for us to find!
  7. Q Hotel Passport - A kids passport which you get stamped at the hotels you visit.  It would also be great if there was a question or a fact that you had to find about each location too. 
  8. Sports bottle/Cup - We are always thirsty and worry about spilling our water in hotels.  A leak proof cup would be a great idea 

As a parent having age appropriate packs makes such a difference.  If I had a toddler then colouring and crayons would be more appropriate, but for my boys at eight and nine these would be a waste of money. 

I also asked the boys why we would make good ambassadors
We love visiting new places and having new experiences.  We have learned that we would rather have an experience than a new toy.  
If Mummy and Daddy could take us to all of the QHotels we would tell people the best places close by for Kids by Kids. 
As parents, we love showing the boys around the wonderful county we call home.  We are blessed in the UK to have such a wonderful range of places to visit and being ambassadors would mean we could really experience the UK.  Another part of me would love to do this with the boys in a way to wean them from their reliance on technology and screen time.  I want to go back to basics and enjoy family fun without screens.  I want to switch off and enjoy life.   

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Blackpool is brilliant

Over the summer holidays me and the boys visited Blackpool.  It was my first visit in 20 years and the boys first visit.  

We had a fantastic time., in fact it blew us away and the boys are desperate to go back.  I had such preconceived ideas about what Blackpool was like and it has come a long way, in fact you could say #BlackpoolsBack

But don't just take mine and the boys word for it, take a look at 'The Kids Resort Guide', an interactive guide, written by Blackpool's biggest critics... the kids.  It shows Blackpool's top attractions through the eyes of a child. 

Why not take a look at what my boys though of Blackpool and you will see that it is ace and we had a super time and really want to visit now the illuminations are in place. 

Have you recently been anywhere that blew away your preconceived ideas? 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

The days are short but the years are long

My boys went back to school this week and I can not believe that they are in Year 4 and Year 5.  It only seems like yesterday that we were bringing each one of them home from the hospital in their car seats.

I often wish there was a manual for parenting, that there was a book I could look at or better still I could do a google search and get the answer I am looking for.  Another thing that I really wish someone would invent is a way to bottle up the memories and slow time.

I look at those boys now, who seem to be getting bigger by the moment and are currently eating for England and are bottomless and I still remember the fear and concern I had at them being able to carry their tray and cut up their food at school lunch.  I have never been concerned about learning in a typical sense, more their manners and their pastoral care.

This year Maxi is a lunchtime buddy and for 15 minutes each lunchtime he helps the reception class with their meals, carrying their tray and cutting up their food.  This makes me smile and also just reminds me of time passing.

I am really fortunate that I work from home and have since my boys were born, so I have been able to spend this time with them and some days I resent the fact that I have to send them to school, but I get them when they come home and weekends and I have learned to really grab the small stuff that makes our time together precious.

Fairy want to remind parents to make the most of their time with children by giving them an extra soft cuddle today and embracing the #PowerofSoft 

Just take a look at this video and I guarantee you will give them an extra large squeeze when you next see them.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

My top #ThriftyFamily tip

If you had to give just one thrifty tip for family living what would it be?  This is something that Scottish Friendly asked me.  They are currently encouraging people to share their #ThriftyFamily tips with them on twitter with the chance to win £100.

Scottish Friendly launched the #ThriftyFamily campaign with Louie Spence this week. Over the coming weeks Louie will demonstrate some of his favourite money saving tips with a series of videos. These videos will be posted daily via Scottish Friendly’s Vine, Instagram and YouTube accounts.

The best tip will be awarded with a £100 My Rewards card prize at a glittering online ceremony on 25th September (full Ts & Cs here).    

I thought long and hard about this and I have loads of thrifty family tips.  

One would be to always use cash.  
Another would be to always plan your purchases.
Meal planning was high on the list.
Never shopping when you are hungry would be in my top ten too.
Second hand is not second best - Buying preloved can save you a pretty penny. 

All these are great tips, which will save you money as a family, but what would my number one tip be?  Well you will have to watch this really short video to find that out (it is only 15 seconds)!

I would love to know what your top #thriftyfamily tip would be.  Leave it in the comments and I will do a blog post sharing them all in a few weeks.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

10 Cardboard roll crafts including a loo roll rocket competition

Do your kids love to junk model as much as mine.  A firm favorite of ours is loo roll crafts (or cardboard tubes from kitchen rolls and wrapping paper).

If you fancy making a loo rock rocket then enter it in to Rocket Bingos loo roll rocket competition, which you can find out about on their bingo promos page. This week we had a fabulous afternoon making a loo roll rocket that flies and entering it into Rocket Bingos Loo roll rocket competition.

Cardboard tubes are such a versatile craft material, so if this inspires you why not take a look at the crafts below and have some fun with the kids:  It is amazing what you can do with some inspiration and some loo rolls, so grab yours from the recycling pile and get crafty.

I love these toilet toll shakers, what a great way to make a toy out of something you have decorated.

The boys would love to make these knitting looms.

These toilet roll bracelets by Molly Moo are wonderful and perfect for manual dexterity with the weaving involved.

I know that we would have so much fun making these loo roll glasses.

I look how bright and fun this rocket is from Crafty Morning.

How cute would this windmill be, a great way to demonstrate wind power.

I am really taken with these changing faces toilet roll people, great for learning about changing feelings.

What child wouldnt love a pair of binoculars. perfect for adding to any dressing up box.

How perfect is this bi-Plane, perfect for any Dusty fans with Planes 2 just out.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

10 Top tips for saving money on fuel

One of our biggest expenses after mortgage and council tax is fuel.  Both utilities and petrol and diesel for our cars. So any way to save money on fuel is a bonus for me.

So my top tips for reducing your fuel consumption.
  1. Do not use your car as storage, make sure you are not carrying lots of unnecessary things in the boot, as this will make it heavier and use more fuel to drive
  2. Do not use your air-conditioning unless necessary as this also uses fuel.
  3. Keep your windows closed, this makes the car more streamlined.
  4. Do not leave a roof rack on for longer than necessary as this could add up to 5% to your fuel consumption.
  5. Make sure your fuel cap is on correctly to prevent fuel evaporation.
  6. Drive as smooth as possible in as high a gear as possible.  Try not to brake excessively.
  7. Use cruise control and avoid driving at high speeds.  Try to maintain your speed to keep momentum.
  8. Check your tyres are correctly inflated.
  9. Turn off your engine if you are going to be idling for more than 10 seconds.
  10. Use the correct oil for your engine and make sure your car is regularly serviced.
Another super way to save money on your fuel is Tesco fuel save.  Once you spend £50 in Tesco you activate the fuel save element on your club card and it gives you a 2p saving.  Until the 30th September, every purchase you make gets added up over a month and when you hit £50 you get 2p off a litre of fuel, to be used by the end of the following month. For every further £50 you spend over a month you'll get another 2p off, up to a maximum of 20p off a litre

                    Wednesday, 6 August 2014

                    Times Table Teddy Bear Tea Party

                    Activity: Teddy Bear Tea Party

                    How long: 1 hr

                    Cost: as much or as little as you want

                    What you’ll need: 

                    A blanket or table cloth to sit on. Cups and plates to eat from such as these times table plates from which are a fantastic reminder for times tables. 

                    Teddy bear snacks, this can be real or pretend play food, traditional Teddy Bear picnics have honey sandwiches and teddy bear biscuits and of course you’ll need your favourite teddy’s and dolls.


                    Everyone loves a teddy bears picnic, you can play teddy bear games and eat some gorgeous teddy bear food. Traditionally teddies have their picnic for afternoon tea. They like to go to bed early so it is best to avoid the evenings when everyone is too tired to enjoy themselves. Here are the words of The Teddy Bears Picnic Song that everyone knows.

                    If you go out in the woods today
                    You're sure of a big surprise.
                    If you go out in the woods today
                    You'd better go in disguise.
                    For every bear that ever there was
                    Will gather there for certain, because
                    Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

                    Picnic time for teddy bears,
                    The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
                    Watch them, catch them unawares,
                    And see them picnic on their holiday.
                    See them gaily dance about.
                    They love to play and shout.
                    And never have any cares.
                    At six o'clock their mummies and daddies
                    Will take them home to bed
                    Because they're tired little teddy bears.

                    Every teddy bear, that's been good
                    Is sure of a treat today
                    There's lots of wonderful things to eat
                    And wonderful games to play
                    Beneath the trees, where nobody sees
                    They'll hide and seek as long as they please
                    Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

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