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Top 5 Ideas for Kids Parties

As a parent of a toddler or primary school age child, you probably find that you spend a lot of weekends taking them to birthday parties, often in the same old soft play venues or places that they have been many times over. Holding some more unique, fun kids parties doesn’t necessarily have to be too much work and you will probably find that kids love the simplicity of some of these ideas. Some of the party ideas also have the added bonus of being kind to your wallet, while paying for a whole class of 4 year olds to go to a soft play centre is not!

Superhero Party

Superhero party ideas for kids partiesFor a simple themed party that you can have at home, why not try a superhero party. Invite the children to dress as a superhero of their choice if they like, and rope in a few adults to help you with some face painting. Most children will love their face painted and you can easily copy simple superhero faces such as Spiderman and Batman. With a bit of practice, you don’t need to be a great artist to be able to do some children’s face painting! This party can involve simple old-fashioned party games such as musical statues or pass the parcel but just add some superhero themed supplies to make the party special.

Gardening Party

painted plant pots ideas for kids partiesA perfect idea for summer parties and very cheap too, a party held at home with a simple picnic or party food and the opportunity for children to plant some seeds of different flowers to take home can be well received. Pick up some different seeds at a garden centre and help the children to plant them in small pots and perhaps get the paints out to paint their flowerpots. If the children are in the same class at school this can be a particularly nice thing to do so they can bring in their plants to show each other when they start growing.

Swimming Party

swimming party ideas for kids partiesHiring a section of a swimming pool or a kids pool always goes down well. Lots of floats and fun, perhaps some races and a couple of hours hire of the pool followed by some party food is always a winner.

Princess Party

Princess-party-ideas for kids partiesOne for the girls – it needn’t be expensive, for younger girls buy some plastic tiara’s and get a couple of other mum’s or friends to help you paint the girl’s nails, style their hair and take photographs with them in their tiara’s. Whilst these types of party can be booked at salon’s and beauticians, it can be much more fun to try it at home yourself. Fairy cakes with lots of sparkles and dainty princess sandwiches can make up the tea afterwards!

Petting Zoo

petting zoo ideas for kids partiesIf you aren’t holding a party for a whole class of children, let your child pick just a few friends and take them to a petting zoo. It can be educational as well as entertaining and most children love being able to pet small animals especially if they don’t have pets of their own. You can pack a picnic or let them eat in the cafe depending on budget.

Image credits from top to bottom: The Busy Bird, Homeschooling Happy Honeybee, Clear Creak Aquatic Centre, Way To Enliven, Richard Moffat This post was brought to you by Hobby Craft

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Win family ticket for Ascot Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup

ascot racing competition family ticket ascot racing

Britain’s premier jockeys’ competition returns alongside family fun plus some of Britain’s favourite music acts on Saturday 10th August, as the racecourse hosts the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup and post racing concert.

This year, the race days’ unique and exciting team format sees top stars from around the world compete in teams – Great Britain & Ireland, Europe, the Rest of the World and The Girls – as they battle against each other in a thrilling six-race showdown. Simply pick a team to support and get behind them as they bid to lift the coveted trophy.

Some of racing’s top names are taking part in the action. The Rest of the World team will be captained by American riding legend Gary Stevens, who is part of Royal Ascot folklore riding The Queen’s Blueprint to victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap in 1999. He has also won the Kentucky Derby three times in the USA.

PLUS there will be an array of activities to keep the whole family entertained throughout the day. From fairground rides to skateboarding and scooter on the mini ramp will thrill kids from young to old.

If that’s not enough, the evening concert is a musical journey through the last four decades. Featuring popular boy-band Blue, the reformed Atomic Kitten as well as D:Ream, Go West, Bjorn Again and Rick Astley.

To book or for further information, please call 0844 346 3000 or visit www.ascot.co.uk

If you want to win a family ticket for the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup raceday at Ascot on Saturday 10th August, including the evening concert, please fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Please, ensure you follow the instructions as incomplete or faulty entries won’t be counted and entered into the prize draw.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

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Summertime Treats for Car Crazy Kids

brum

As schools finish for the summer, are you wracking your brains for ways to keep the kids entertained? Parents of car crazy boys and girls need worry no longer. Whether they like to watch TV shows starring vintage cars like Brum, or are desperate to get behind the wheel themselves, here are some treats for car fans of all ages.

See Roary live or meet him in person

Are your little ones budding F1 fanatics? If they are, they probably adore watching Roary the Racing Car on Channel 5. Whilst you can’t visit Silver Hatch to watch Roary, Maxi, Cici and Tin Top race, you can see Roary performing live in UK theatres this summer. For racing thrills and spills on stage, catch the Milkshake! tour at a venue near you.

Alternatively meet Roary in the flesh (or is it carbon fiber?) at the Silverstone Classic between 26 and 28 July 2013. Roary, Big Chris and Marsha the Mashall will be greeting little ones at AA World. There’s also a soft play area and Roary’s racing track to keep them entertained too.

Visit Brum at the Cotswold Motoring Museum

Head to The Cotswold Motoring Museum in Bourton on the Water and visit Brum, the star of the BBC TV series of the same name. As well as seeing the original vehicle featured in the show, visitors can take a ride on a special version of Brum and make a brass-rubbing of this cute car to take home as a souvenir.

Other attractions at the museum include an exhibition about the history of motor sport, featuring rally cars and sports motorbikes. A day out at the museum won’t break the bank either. A family of four can visit for less than £15.

Book a karting session

Older kids probably won’t be content with simply looking at cars, and instead may want to get behind the wheel and try their hand at racing. If this sounds like your son or daughter, and you’ve got the cash to spare, why not take them karting? There are plenty of tracks around the UK where you can book taster sessions for around £20. Even Mums and Dads can get behind the wheel too.

Kids have to be at least eight to try karting. If you think your son or daughter is a budding Michael Schumacher or Lewis Hamilton, you’re no doubt considering buying a kart so they can pursue the sport seriously. The Association of British Kart Clubs offers help and advice for parents who want to get their kids started in the sport.

Check out Top Gear’s craziest creations

Top_Gear_Hammond_Damperva copia

Want to see the Robin Reliant that James and Richard tried to launch into space? Or the Lotus submarine? Or the aquatic car that Jeremy Clarkson crossed the channel in? Then head for Beaulieu Motor Museum in Hampshire where some of the best-loved creations from this world-famous TV programme are on display.

But it’s not just Clarkson and Co’s bizarre hybrid vehicles that make a trip to Beaulieu a great day out. Other attractions include original Bond cars, the ‘flying’ Ford Anglia from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and a go-kart track where visitors can try their hand at racing.

Pixar’s Cars at Disneyland Paris

You don’t have to go all the way to Radiator Springs to see Lightening McQueen and his friends, although you will have to cross the channel and head for Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris. Fans of the Pixar film can ride aboard The Cars Rally Race, as well as enjoying themed attractions featuring other Pixar favourites from Toy Story and Finding Nemo.

Over at Disneyland Park (the original Disneyland Paris theme park) there are two more car treats for the family. Autopia features a 1950s inspired track with miniature vehicles of the time for little one to drive. Then head over to the Moteurs… Action! Stunt Show and watch a real-life, action-packed car chase.

 Disclosure: This post was brought to you in collaboration with Adrian Flux

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Ready Set Craft – Week #1

Ready, Set, Craft linky

Well hello, hello, hello and welcome to the very first edition of Ready, Set, Craft – the craft linky for everyone from fimo beginner to googly eye pro. Andrea from All You Need Is Cake And Love and I have come up with this linky for two reasons: a) to force ourselves to get a little more creative and b) to give everyone the chance to show off their craft projects.

I am making the start this week with a really simple yet fun craft activity: messy painting. I know, experienced craft fans might not find this very thrilling, but Amy really enjoyed herself and kept herself entertained with her paint pots and canvas for a good 40 minutes. I also thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to craft activities by giving her the chance to explore herself and take steps in her own pace.

We covered the garden table in card board, sat down and I asked Amy, if she wanted to draw a picture for Oma. She started with some careful brush movements in red and yellow

Ready, Set, Craft Link messy painting toddler craft

Then she threw some green into the mix

Ready, Set, Craft Link messy painting toddler craft 1

And then it all went a bit mental. Amy made use of the entire colour pallet and did not only use her brush, but also her fingers to cover the canvas in every colour available. It was lovely to see that she was getting more experimental and confident and the canvas she created will make a lovely little present for my mum. It is part of the Hallmark Recordable Artwork set that allows you to show off your piece of art in a black frame and record a message for your loved one, but unfortunately I just did a quick Google Search and noticed that it has been discontinued.

Anyway, now it’s time for you to show off your craft projects from last week – or whenever. There really aren’t any rules. Grab, the badge below, add your link and check out some of the other entrants. You might feel inspired! Ready Set Craft!

Mummy Alarm



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Review Fisher Price Little People Disney Princess Palace

A couple of weeks ago, Netmums and Fisher Price asked us, if we wanted to take part in the new Fisher Price Little People…Big Discoveries campaign. It’s a lovely campaign that celebrates little ones’ discoveries and encourages imaginative play and adventures, so of course we got on board.

As part of the campaign, we received the Little People Disney Princess Palace for review. It’s suitable for children from 18 months to 5 years and retails at around £53. We often read traditional fairy tales like Cinderella or Snow White to Amy, so when I noticed that these two were part of the set, I knew that she would love playing with them.

As soon as the Little People Disney Princess Palace arrived, I spread out all the parts on the lawn (we were on the height of the heat wave) and started assembling it The setup is self-explanatory really, but I did struggle with two of the screws, so I had to get Ben to help me. They were quite fiddly, so it took him a while to get them into their slots, but otherwise it was a really build. I bet it took a bit longer to build the real deal. The only disappointment was that the box didn’t contain any batteries, so Amy couldn’t enjoy all features of the palace immediately.

review fisher price little people disney princess songs palace parts

review fisher price little people disney princess song palace

Which features does the Little People Disney Princess Palace have?

The Little People Disney Princess Palace has some absolute adorable features that instantly grabbed Amy’s attention. There are six play areas within the palace: a sitting room, kitchen, bedroom, balcony, attic, dressing room and a magical dance floor and Amy just loved acting out little scenes in each of the settings – including telling Snow White off for falling out of bed. Her favourite feature of the palace was the lift though. Poor Cinderella and Snow White must be feeling quite nauseous now considering how often Amy made them go up and down.

Little People Disney Princess Palace

The really cool feature is a different one though. Little ones can place Cinderella and Snow White on special locations in the castle and hear them say their name, sing songs from their movies or different phrases. Amy really enjoyed finding out what happens in which location and made both princesses dance to their heart’s content.

Amy plays with Disney Princess Palace from Fisher Price Little People

We’ve had this set for about three weeks now and Amy has played a lot with it. She likes that she can discover something new every time she places the princesses somewhere in the castle and the friendly and colourful characters make this a really attractive toy for girls and boy. If you would like some close ups of it, check out our Facebook album featuring the Little People Disney Princess Song Palace. We’ve had a lot of fun with it and I am sure that Amy will enjoy this toy for many more months and years to come. It’s sturdy as well, so I don’t think you’ll have to worry about its longevity.

NetMums and Fisher-Price are also hosting a twitter party this Friday 2nd August between 11 and 12am so keep an eye out for that.

I am a member of the Netmums Blogging Network, a unique community of parent bloggers from around the UK who have been handpicked by the Netmums team to review products and brands on their behalf. I have been paid expenses and supplied with a product sample for this review but retain all editorial control. All my Netmums Reviews will display the Netmums logo within the post.

Netmums

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Britain meets Germany – a picnic the Denglish way

picnic

I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® #CBias #SocialFabric.

We’ve been really spoiled with glorious sunshine recently, so after our latest shop (get a look behind the scenes here) and some baking by Amy and me, we decided to make the short trip out to Chew Valley and have a picnic by the lake. We go there a lot to escape the hussle and bussle of the city. It’s just the most beautiful place to recharge your batteries and relax and only a ten minute drive away from where we live.

For our picnic the Denglish way, we made some traditional English scones (recipe will be up shortly) and Amy took over when I unsuccessfully attempted to make German pretzels. For some reason, I didn’t manage to form a long enough roll, so any pretzel shapes looked absolutely hideous. Instead of chucking them out and substituting with something pre-baked however, I decided that this was the perfect chance to get Amy involved. I gave her little chunks of dough and told her to roll sausages – she does this with Play Dough all the time, so she’s a real expert. Her pretzel sticks might not look perfect, but she made them herself and they tasted lovely. Here is how you make them:

Ingredients:

2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tbsp sugar
250 ml water
50 g soft butter, I used Flora Cuisine
500 g self-raising flour
1 tsp salt
150 g bicarbonate soda
1 l water
2 tbsp of coarse sea salt

Method:

1. Mix yeast, sugar and water and let the mix rest for 10 minutes.

2. Add butter, flour and salt and kneed to a firm dough. Leave to rest for 60 minutes.

3. Kneed again, before forming the traditional pretzel shape or pretzel sticks.

4. Place them on a baking tray covered in grease-proof paper and let rest while you prepare your salt solution.

5. For your salt solution, dissolve the bicarbonate soda in 1l water. Bring to the boil and add the pretzels one at a time for about 30 seconds.

6. Sprinkle your pretzels or pretzel sticks with coarse sea salt and bake at 180 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

7. You could also add seeds of your choice or cheese before baking.

rustic pretzel sticks

With everything packed, we set off to Chew Valley Lake. We parked the car, had a little play on the play ground and walked over to the picnic area. When we started unpacking our picnic basket however, a massive wall of black clouds appeared. Seconds later, it started raining cats and dogs and we had to hurry up to get back to the car. Luckily, we could get the food back without any noticable damage, but Amy was not a happy bunny.

stuck inside because of rain - indoor picnic

She sat by the window, looking outside while the raindrops were hitting the window. Our picnic by the lake was off the cards, but we didn’t let that spoil our weekend. We spread out Amy’s favourite polka dot blanket, threw some cushions into the mix and spread out our picnic food before getting comfy on the living room floor. We might have even had some guests in form of Millie, the doll, Bigsby and Amy’s furry little friends Monchichi and Bunny (yes, we’re terrible creative in terms of cuddly toy names). Everything is more fun with friends, don’t you think?

Amy instantly sat down and got comfy on one of the cushions. We’ve never had a living room picnic before, so she was all smiles and got really excited about our little setup. I could just about prevent squashed strawberries all over the blanket.

picnic overview

We didn’t have a massive picnic as we had dinner planned already, but Amy really enjoyed tucking into the pretzel sticks and I could even get her to eat some melon – she’s never wanted to try it, well apart from the pips. Strange child! While we snuggled on the floor and filled our bellies with British scones and ham, German pretzels and fruit and mini cakes from somewhere in between, we decided that we’ll have regular indoor picnics from now on. It was such a fun and relaxed afternoon that it would be a shame not to repeat it. I can actually see this becoming a nice little Sunday afternoon tradition: We’ll snuggle up, spread out some food and watch a film or play a game. Sounds like the perfect thing to do on a Sunday, don’t you think?

How about you? Are you a fan of indoor picnics? What’s your favourite picnic food?

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

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Malala Day – Malala Yousafzai inspires girls everywhere

Malala Yousafzai

On July12, 2013, the world celebrated Malala Day, which is a day dedicated to the campaign for the right to education for girls all over the world. This day was the 16th birthday of Malala Yousafzai, a young human rights campaigner and Pakistani school pupil.

Malala almost didn’t live to see this day, as she was shot at the age of 15 in an assassination attempt by Taliban gunmen. She remained in critical condition for many days and was treated intensively at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, UK. She was shot simply for her work campaigning for the right to attend school and receive an education.

Youth Takeover of the UN General Assembly

The birthday of Malala Yousafzai was celebrated with the very first ever youth takeover of the UN General Assembly in New York. It was at this event that Malala gave her very first televised speech since she was shot. Her speech was beautiful, inspirational and powerful and it prompted a standing ovation in the crowd.

She began by thanking everyone who has supported here and who helped her toward her recovery, including the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospitals in the UK and Pakistan and the government. She told the story of how she was shot by the Taliban and how this attack has not changed her aims or stopped her ambitions. She went on to say that she was not speaking in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any terrorist group. Instead, she explains that she is there to speak up for the right to education of every child. She states that, “we realise the importance of our voice when we are silenced”.

Malala’s Speech

Her powerful and moving speech went on to explain that the power of education frightens the extremists. They are afraid of the power in the voice of women which is why they are suppressing and killing female students and teachers. Malala explains that they are afraid of the equality that these women will bring into the society. She points out the fact that Islam is a religion based on humanity, peace and brotherhood and that education for children is not only a right, it is a duty and a responsibility.

She goes on to outline some of the issues throughout the world, including in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Her speech delivered the passionate message to young people everywhere that they had rights and that she was speaking out so that those without a voice can be heard. She made a powerful plea to governments all over the world to work together in the name of peace and encourage free compulsory education for every child in the world.

She spoke about education for both boys and girls, but explained that she focuses on girls’ education because they have been “suffering the most”. She calls upon the world leaders to bring free and compulsory education around the world for every child.

To watch the powerful speech and find out how you can help in the campaign, visit Plan UK where you help by sponsoring a child today.