5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays

 5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays parenting school holidays boredom buster activities

5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays

So the school holidays are fast approaching and you’re asking yourself how to keep the kids’ brains active and keep them learning over the hols.

Here are 5 tried and tested ways to do just that:

Let them get bored!

Yes, ditch the structure and don’t plan anything.  Let them get bored occasionally and I’ll bet that their imaginations will start doing the work to keep their brains active the scenes!  While we certainly son’t be banning electronics, turning them off and letting our 8yo ‘be’ will be quite a regular occurrence this Summer.

 

That said, boredom busters definitely have their place…

We all know those days when bedtime can’t come fast enough (ours not necessarily theirs!).  So keep a few easy ideas up your sleeve for the “I’m boooored” moments.  Check the local activities for the summer.  Many school children receive a kind of activites directory and many of the sessions are drop-ins.  Meaning happy kids and peace and quiet for you… for now.

 

Give them a challenge

From riding a bike to swimming, from reading to tying their shoe laces; being active doesn’t have to mean be physical activity all the time.  Maybe they could learn to do some of these challenges, giving them a sense of achievement, building confidence and keeping their brain switched on.

 

Get them up!

I’m all for lazy mornings in the hols (trust me!) but there are times that the sleeping until lunchtime habit needs to be broken for older children.  So give the older children jobs to do with the condition that they’re done in the morning, and maybe even pay them or give them a non-monetary incentive.  It’s a really good idea to do this in the last week or so before ‘back to school’ because it gets them used to the idea of getting up and getting going after a long break, and also gets them tired if they’re up ‘early’!

 

Have a tidy up

This works well for younger children.  A good tidy up reveals long-forgotten toys that refresh the imagination and gives you some breathing space in a less cluttered living space.  And what do you do with all those toys, you all get out of the 4 walls and take them to the charity shop!

5 ways to keep the kids learning over the holidays parenting school holidays boredom buster activities

 

I asked some other bloggers for their thoughts and here are some of their fantastic suggestions:

Jen from Just Average Jen says: My son has always loved to make his own newspaper or guidebook full of things he has found out or enjoyed. He then sells it to people like Grandma and gets extra money to spend!

 

I love this idea and will definitely be using it, from Victoria at Lylia Rose: My daughter loves the learning workbooks they sell in our local office supplies store. They are for each key state and they have spelling and maths books. She has a word search one at the moment which she finds fun, but it’s aimed at helping with spellings. They’re only a couple of pounds each and she thinks they’re something fun rather than ‘work’!

 

Rebecca from You Me Raising 3 suggests: Limit screen time as I find this can reduce their motivation to get outside and explore. My kids love experimenting and making things so anything science based is a hit! Ice eggs with dinosaurs in for them to dig out is one activity we will try. wipe clean books to practice letters and numbers are also great (preschool age), taking them out on walks to explore nature and recording what we find.

 

Finally, Kelly from School Run Shop says let them be: Let them explore – nature, their surroundings, new places. There’s no better learning than letting them just ‘be’.

What would you add?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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A new chapter in our reading journey

A

A new chapter in our reading journey

Just last week, we returned some books to the local library (mine and our 8yos).  I love visiting the library with her.  I always have.  It literally opens up a whole world of imagination.

On this visit though, she said she was running out of books to read.  She’s read all the Rainbow Magic books, all the Harry Potter books and various other series.  So, we asked the nice man behind the desk what level would be suitable for a fluent nearly 9 year old to read.  And we were shown the Teenage Junior (TJ) shelf while being told to leave the Teenage Advanced (TA) section for now.  I could almost feel our daughter’s disappointment as she looked at the 4 shelves of the TJ section.  Not many books there when you’re used to browsing through what seems like a whole world of imagination.  Still, we can order books in from other branches and I’m sure they’ll have some sort of reading challenge to keep her going through the summer.

A New Chapter in our Reading Journey

Magical memories as we enter a new phase

While she browsed, I sat on the little toddler seat next to the board books and had a little think to myself.  The days of reading out loud to her, the same books over and over and over again came to me.  The days of her sounding out her first school books, learning phonics and learning to blend the sounds.  Magical memories.

We still have a bedtime story and I’ve recently got the reading bug again and started reading actual books again – partly for my own relaxation but partly to encourage her to continue.  With all the distractions in our childrens’ lives, reading can easily be put on the back-burner.  So at bedtime, because she now reads chapter books with few (if any) pictures or drawings, we only read a couple of pages.  Her school has a 20 minutes a day reading challenge.  She easily manages this because she reads at breakfast too but we incorporate into her bedtime routine, which I love and so does she.  So after I’ve read 2 pages and kissed her goodnight (on her still oh-so-soft cheek) and showered her with a hundred kisses all over her beautiful face, I give her 20 minutes.  She often uses this time to read to her teddies and role play.  She clearly needs this little bit of time to process the day.  Long may it continue.

Times to cherish

Then we often have the panic of her losing her unicorn bookmark among her duvet and the handful mountain of teddies.  It’s the one she cut out from a template in a magazine.  There are 2 others but it has to be the unicorn one.  Eventually, all is still and I often pop up to our room for something and can hear her little voice being narrator.  It’s these times, after a busy day, that I cherish and I never want to end.  But I know they will.

Until they end, I’ll continue to indulge us both in a quick read and then let her enter her own world with her teddies, the characters from the book and feed her imagination as she slowly drifts off to her dreams for the night, wherever they may take her.

Has your child run out of reading material?  Do you use your local library?  I’d love to kmow!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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Ideas to keep your kids reading over Summer

Ideas To Keep Kids Reading Over Summer Parenting Boredom Buster Activity

Ideas to keep your kids reading over Summer

When I was at school (all that time ago!), I remember when I went back after the long Summer holidays and it felt really odd to write again!  And this was waaay before we all had phones glued to ourselves and were texting all the time.  We generally had no need to write.  It’s the same with reading isn’t it?  It’s easy for our children to get out of the habit of reading over the summer break – no ‘carpet time’, no reading buddy to read to, no guided reading, no excitement of choosing a book from the library, no reading record to update…

oh wait!

We can do all of these things out of the school environment and maybe, just maybe make it even more fun than it is in school!  You should know that I’m passionate about literacy in our children and firmly believe in the building blocks it gives them in all areas of their learning.  But I’m always open to suggestions and I asked some fellow bloggers for their ideas on keeping kids reading over Summer.  Some of them I had already thought of (great minds think alike eh?):

Ideas To Keep Kids Reading Over Summer Parenting Boredom Buster Activity

Make your own books

Karen from The Mini Malpi says: How about making their own books?  My son has always enjoyed doing this and, now he’s started to learn to read and write, he could add his own words.

I’ve got fond memories of our now 8yo doing just that and I’ve still got them tucked away in ‘memory corner’!

 

Engagement is key

Claire from This Mummy Rocks suggests getting your child to choose their favourite book:  Use Pinterest to find engaging activities to link with the book or relating topics. Keep referring back to the book and re-read. Bring the book to life.

And let’s face it, there are so many ways to do this.  We just need a little extra inspiration by way of Pinterest as Claire says!

 

Make it personal

Emma at The Family Hub says that personalised books can be great for engaging little ones so much fun to be part of the story!

 

Make it fun!

Carla-Marie from Bump2Baby suggests making the book buying process fun: let them choose and have an hour no electrics – reading time only!!

 

Contact the author

This is one of my favourites and something I’d never have thought of.  Adam from You’ve Got All This To Come says: Get in touch with the authors on Twitter- ask a question or leave a comment, they’re usually willing to reply!

 

If all else fails…

And THIS from Jess at Tantrums to Smiles says: A reading den! Both my kids love a good den so sometimes I will set up a reading den in a shady bit of the garden. It can be as simple as a sheet over two chairs with a few books inside a jug of cool icy squash and a few biscuits. We have a lovely time reading together, enjoying a cold drink and getting out of the sun for a bit!

Our daughter has a little den in her bedroom which she chooses a book from for bedtime reading but i’m going to do this in the garden too.  Book, biscuits and bonding time.  Bliss!

It’s similar to Sarah’s idea from Digital Motherhood: Go to the library and let them pick as many books as they like. When you get home sit down with a drink and a snack and look at the books together.

Have you got any more ideas?  I’d love to hear!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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Review of Awebox

Review of Awebox a Customisable Subscription Box

Review of Awebox

What is Awebox?  It’s a fully customisable subscription box where you get to choose from 5 categories that interest you (or the person you’re buying for).  Which brings me nicely onto the ‘box’ options.  You can subscribe for monthly boxes, purchase one-off boxes or buy a gift card.

Review of Awebox a Customisable Subscription Box

The quirkiness of the contents added a little bit of extra character to my box.   But before we get onto that…

 

How about the packaging?

Due to the fact that this was gifted to me for review purposes, I’d actually forgotten about it.  So when I had to pick up a slightly-bigger-then-medium sized parcel, I had no clue what was inside.  On the outside of the inner layer was ‘Awebox’ proudly displayed, quite simply on the brown reinforced cardboard box.  On opening the box, I was greeted with a sea of pretty dark  blue shredded paper.  Even the quality of this added to the experience.  It reminded me alot of lucky dips which added to the fun.

And what was inside?

Immediately, I was drawn to the nail varnish by Essie even though it was the smallest product.  What a lovely, summery colour and hey, even lovely to brighten up darker days too!  I couldn’t wait to put some on.  Now I’m not a massive nail varnish wearer and go through phases of weeks without having a chance to, or remembering to put any on.  But this was a great reminder.  It went on really well and didn’t take long to dry.  Me and nail varnish don’t wear well.  By that I mean that it chips very easily and that annoys me about nail varnish in general.  I have to say that this one was no exception but I touched up the edges a couple of times and you couldn’t really tell.  There’s no reason for me not to buy this brand again.

 

There was also cat shampoo which I have to say, did make me giggle because traditionally, cats don’t like getting wet (or so I understand).  We didn’t even try the cat shampoo because giving our cat her flea treatment is a monthly trauma none of us relish!

 

What next?  Well the herbal tea for dogs intrigued me.  I love the idea of giving your dog a little something with some taste that keeps them hydrated but isn’t as bland as water.  Again, we didn’t actually use this because I didn’t want our dog not to like it and be put off normal water  and vice versa – to only want to drink herbal tea!  It may sound daft to some all of you lovely readers but this is an open and honest review after all!

 

The candles were next in the ‘lucky dip’.  I chose this category because I love, love, love candles and honestly, everything about them was lovely.  The packaging was just right – pretty, clever, about the right size vs the product size – and the smell.  Oh my goodness!  The rhubarb and raspberry was out of this world!  Highly recommended and possibly the best product from the box.  I loved that the 3 tea lights were made from recycled glass too.  Bee Fayre/Bee Garden who produce these deserve a round of applause.

 

Finally I had greetings cards which got me to thinking who I could send them to; someone who I don’t interact with online.  To be honest, I rarely ‘do’ birthday cards, simply saying happy birthday and doing lunch instead.  But the designs are very pretty and you don’t just have to use them for birthdays because they’re blank inside.  In a way, it’s a shame these cards were wasted on me because I might have to give them to a friend use instead.

 

In conclusion then…

Awebox is a great concept and would make a really nice one-off gift for someone.  With 4-6 choices of category to choose from and the option to cancel at any time, the RRP of £20-28 is pretty good value for money and would make a great present.

I’ve got no reason to think that the shampoo or tea aren’t great products, I just chose not to try them.  I would rather have had a cat/dog treat or toy in the box but having an idea of what you’re getting obviously takes away the surprise element.  In that respect, I feel that the pet categories could be quite limiting.  And I also feel that the other categories were limited in ‘uniqueness’.  I wouldn’t have chosen the pet ones myself but all in all a good idea that can be tailored to the customer.

 

You can visit the Awebox website and follow them on facebook, twitter and instagram.

What about you?  Have you considered a customisable subscription box?  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere.

Thanks.

*I was gifted this item for the purposes of this review but all views are my own.

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Why a classic heroine earns my respect

Classic Heroine earns my Respect Empowered Confident Pride and Prejudice Adaptation

Why a classic heroine earns my respect

Recently, I’ve rekindled my love of reading again but there’s something about cosying up with nibbles to watch a good screen adaptation isn’t there?  There aren’t that many adaptations that get it just right though.  Yes, there are lots of fantastic period dramas out there but none top the adaptation of the classic Pride and Prejudice by Andrew Davis.  I mean written by Jane Austen obviously but adapted to the screen by Andrew Davis for the BBC.  I reckon I could hold my own in a pub quiz dedicated to this particular adaptation of ‘P&P’.  I studied the book at A-level (high school exams for my non-UK readers) and then wrote my uni dissertation on the adaptation.  Yes, I studied it for hours on my old VHS video recorder and my VHS video tapes were very well worn by the time I submitted my 10,000 word work.

A labour of love

When I moved house and came across the old videos, the happy memories of the labour of love came flooding back to me.  I kept the videos for old time’s sake but when I was supposed to be packing (!), I binge-watched the DVD and it was a whole different world!  Watching it on a modern TV like an hdr tv Panasonic took the viewing experience to a whole new level.  I wonder what Jane Austen would think?!

I also wonder what Austen would have made of the modern world, with empowered women being encouraged to be themselves?

Classic Heroine earns my Respect Empowered Confident Pride and Prejudice Adaptation

A mind of her own

There was a book that accompanied the adaptation which told of how important it was to get the casting right and I think they got it pretty spot-on.  Jennifer Ehle played Elizabeth Bennet, the heroine who stubbornly refused to wed the fop and dandy Mr Collins.  I say refused but really it was only her humorously daft mother, Mrs Bennet who was intent on the match.  Her father was right there behind his daughter cheering her on from the sidelines, never doubting that she had a mind of her own.

That’s what I love about how Jane Austen portrays Elizabeth Bennet.  In an age where social etiquette was assemblies and chaperones, marriage dowries and taking walks, Elizabeth was willfully opinionated and stubborn in a subtle way that kept her amused at all those assemblies.

I think I would have got on really well with Elizabeth Bennet.  Yes, I’d have made a good modern-day Charlotte Lucas (her friend) – just more empowered, more confident of my own mind and not married to Mr Collins!

Have you got a favourite classic (or contemporary) heroine who you respect?  I’d love to hear!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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The reading bug – a rare species?

Reading bug Bookworm Read Books Library Wellbeing Self Care

 The reading bug has well and truly bitten round here lately

I say ‘lately’ but it’s now May and I started reading again in January.  I was striving for some me-time, for some screen-free time (though I’m still toying with an e-reader of some form!) and to read something that’s, frankly, not blog-related!
Reading bug Bookworm Read Books Library Wellbeing Self Care

Yes, the reading bug has been a rare species around here.

I found a way to get back into reading when I stumbled upon Bookish Mamas (a reading group on facebook), got stuck into the first read and I was off!  I started reading that first book part way through January which gave me 2 weeks to finish it before the live discussion.  On average, I had to read 25 pages a day to be finished for the discussions.  And I did it! 🙂  I find that giving myself the goal of reading 25 pages a day works really well and spurs me on.  It’s manageable and I also feel like I’ve achieved something!
My book challenge is to read 12 books in 2018, so a book a month.  I’m smashing it and I’m loving it and actually addicted.  I’m something of a bookworm again.  The inconvenience of mundane, every day life can get in the way but I’ve managed to find time for my books.  I’ve only had to abandon one book because I wasn’t feeling it.

The library – an endangered species?

My current read, “The Great Alone” by Kristin Hannah is a library book.  We live in a small (but developing) town and I wasn’t sure if I’d have to pay to reserve a coy.  I didn’t, so I utilised my local library and am now whizzing through it!  I used to love taking our now 8yo to our library and love that I’m supporting our local again.  I love to do this because I feel like
Our 8yo is seeing me read every day/night and she does the same.  She’s got the reading bug too and what a great hobby to have!  We’ve just had the most glorious Bank Holiday weekend in the UK and I’ve taken a dive right into my reading.
When I was growing up, it was rare for my Mum not to have a book on the go.  In fact, I’d like to bet that there was never a time when she didn’t.
It’s such a great hobby to have.  There are so many genres out there; fact or fiction, long or short, different formats.  However or wherever you choose to read, whatever genre or format, it doesn’t matter!  In our fast-paced digital world, with so much online, isn’t it lovely to have a chance to slow down, even to stop, to breathe and to escape.

Let’s get reading!

Have you got the reading bug?  Did someone close to you read a lot when you were younger?  Do you like to read in front of your children to encourage reading?   I’d love to hear from you!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.
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5 ways to get back into reading

5 ways to get back into Reading Wellbeing Read Books

5 ways to get back into reading

 I’ve always loved reading.  I can remember sitting on a bean bag in my bedroom one Sunday afternoon aged around 8, reading The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton.  I was totally absorbed in this magical story, my imagination working with the words that Blyton weaved, meeting all the magical tree folk.
As I grew up, I remember reading the box sets of St Clares and Mallory Towers.  Then there was Judy Blume and Sweet Valley High.  There came a time when I started to read some of the books that my Mum read (and still reads today) but I found the genre (war-time sweethearts tales and the like) too predictable.  They were probably the latter day version of what is today referred to as ‘chick-lit’ (which I’m not drawn to either!)
At A-Level English, I loved studying the themes of a play, poem or story and picking it all to bits.

Being inspired by reading to a child  

Then I had our now 8 year old and of course, I read children’s stories instead.  But this intrigued me too.  How the use of rhyme and rhythmn completely entranced her (and me), how she would ask for the same stories over and over and over again!
I was inspired to write my own children’s series which is still waiting in the wings for a publisher.
As I was saying, due to the time restraints of having a growing baby, working and keeping a home (and blog!) ticking over, reading just never happened for a good few years.

When it all changed

That has all changed this year though.  I stumbled upon a post on instagram from Lucy of Mrs Hs Favourite Things.  She was holding a book which was a read in the Bookish Mamas facebook reading group.  With just a couple of clicks on my phone, I was back in the swing of reading again.  And I love it!  I even like the fact that I’ve given up on the latest group read because when I really don’t like a book, I don’t see the point in going through the pain!  But I love that it’s opening up new genres to me.  Books that I wouldn’t even have considered, I have read since January.  I’ve got back into my GoodReads account, have a long list waiting to be read and bought a delicious new book last week – The Mitford Murders.  Don’t you love the feel of a crisp new book?
And I’m even ahead in my reading challenge!
5 ways to get back into Reading Wellbeing Read Books

So if like me, you’ve let reading slack because of ‘life’, here are 5 ways to get back into reading

Join a reading group  – Bookish Mamas on facebook is a great place to start.  It’s useful to find one that does discussion threads on the books too, which helps to make sense of a book you didn’t get and also gets you involved if you did like it!
If you don’t enjoy a particular book, accept it, give it up and browse some more titles.  This happened to me just this month.  I was trying hard (too hard?), to get into the group read and ended up getting too distracted by all the things I could have been doing instead.  Not exactly condusive to a relaxing read so I gave up and started a shorter book which means that I’ll hopefully be finished in time for the next read!
Take part in a reading challenge.  I’m sure you can do this on your own or as part of a reading group challenge.  But I’m doing it through my GoodReads account.  I love that it’s a little community and that my reading list is ever growing due to the numberous recommendations that pop up every time I go on!  But that’s spurring me on to read even more 🙂
Set aside time for reading every. single. day.  Because that’s how habits are formed.  For me, as part of my screen-free commitment, having something to do apart from those little jobs around the house for half an hour before bed, means I get my reading time in.  Tricky if you’re got a very good book though!
Try different genres.  There are 2 sides to this.  The book that I abandoned was a memoir and not a genre that I’ll rush to again but now I know!  And I gave it a go!  And that’s what I love about getting into reading again as part of a group.
If you’re on GoodReads and would like to be my friend on there, I’m Carol Cameleon 🙂   It might be an idea to add a comment below so that I know who you are!
Do you enjoy reading?  Did you have a lapse and how did you get back into it?  Got any recommendations?   I’d love to know!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere. Thanks.
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Why you should get on your bike

Why You Should Get On Your Bike Wellbeing Mental Physical Outdoors Biking Cycling

Why you should get on your bike

Before we moved house, I used to bike to work.  It took around 30 minutes and although I would often feel sluggish and have the can’t-be-bothered mentality before I started out, once I’d arrived I felt great.  There’s nothing like a good bike ride to wake you up!

That feeling of being invigorated from biking before you start work is something else.  I used to be cautious being out on the road on my bike, concerned about that car or van that was just a bit too close for comfort.  But when I heard about the general accident contact number, I got my confidence back.  The benefits of biking pushed me to get back to pedalling too.  It helps to lower your blood pressure and therefore reduce stress for starters.  I’d cross paths with colleagues in the corridors after locking my bike up in the secure bike shed and they’d be heading straight to get a coffee.  Not me.  No need with all that fresh air pumping through me!  If you could bottle the ‘just biked’ feeling, you’d never look back.  Once you’ve started biking and you remember that feeling, it makes getting into gear so much easier.  You don’t have to go far to get kitted out either.

Why You Should Get On Your Bike Wellbeing Mental Physical Outdoors Biking Cycling

Admittedly, it took me a while to get used to biking after however many years of driving.  First there was getting used to the saddle, which I changed to a more comfortable one.  Boy do you know about it when your saddle’s too hard!  Then there’s making sure your helmet’s the right fit and is actually fitted on your head properly.  Not forgetting the lights of course.  It’s useful to get the sort that you can easily snap on and off, making them portable and not open for the taking…  talking of which, you can get kits to security mark your bike too.  Very handy and good to know.  The security markers are often only visible under infra-red but you can of course put a visual deterrent on your bike too.  A good lock is essential for any bike owner.

You can accessorise with a pretty bell and you can even get bluetooth speakers for your bike now too… with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes!

It’s a good idea to build your bike ride into your routine if you can, that’s when it becomes a habit.  And what a great habit to have.  There’s no easier way to build a bike ride into your routine than pedalling to and from work!  That habit loop lifts your spirits and is the perfect antidote for our busy lives, helping to keep us in top condition, mentally and physically.  All in all it’s great for your wellbeing.

Why stop at the weekend?  With a range of bikes for men, women, kids and also unisex, there’s really no reason not to get out and get into the fresh air!

Have you got on your bike lately?  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

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5 reasons to use fake grass in your garden

5 Reasons to use Fake Grass in your Garden Wellbeing Artificial Grass Outdoors

5 reasons to use fake grass in your garden

 

When we moved house a couple of years ago, as is often the case, we sorted out the inside of the house and the outside area got neglected.  It was October too, so no surprises there.

Apart from sweeping the leaves away from the drain and sorting the bins out every week, we spent very little time out there.

Part of the reason is that our garden is more of a back yard and really not very pretty to be honest.  To make it more inviting, we’re considering ‘prettying’ it up into a more useable space with fake grass.

5 Reasons to use Fake Grass in your Garden Wellbeing Artificial Grass Outdoors

Our friend has artificial grass and wishes she’d done it year ago.  Her recommendation, out own research and our own common sense mean that we’re now in the first stages of our planning project.

And here are our top 5 reasons for choosing fake grass for our garden:

No more mowing!

While I never used to mind mowing the lawn as an activity in itself, there’s no denying that it took time.  With our electric mower, there was always the very real danger of mowing over the electric cable too… a thought that I never used to relish!

And then of course, there was the emptying of the grass box, the disposal of the grass itself and stowing the lawn mower away.  This always involved taking a jigsaw puzzle apart and putting it all back together again in our outhouse-come-shed, which could be frustrating at times because there was always something that couldn’t be shoe-horned back into place as easily!

Then there’s the edging and weeding…

I could think of a better way to spend my time than mowing a lawn, then trimming the edges and that’s even before we mention the weeding!  One look inside my house will tell you that although the surfaces are generally clean, they’re not always clutter-free and it’s definitely ‘lived-in’ but I do tend to know where everything is.  Yes, everything has it’s place.  After that little insight into my personality, it might not surprise you that weeds drive me (or used to drive me) a little bit crazy!

No matter how hard we tried, there would invariably be a weed, or 10, spoiling our lawn!  Again, I can think of better ways to spend my time.  Lounging around on a weed-free lawn with my family for starters!

Safe for the pets 

Since we moved house, we’ve lost a cat and gained a dog, leaving us with one of each.  And so having a pet-safe garden is a priority.  Which means no toxic plants and somewhere for Daisy the dog to use her energy in what we call her ‘mad half hours’!  (or which she has several a day!)  To be able to throw her a ball to play with and be able to easily clean up mess is another box ticked.

No more sneezing! 

You may have noticed that I’ve been referring to ‘me’ a lot up to now!  Family time has featured, which of course includes hubby.  But the mowing always came down to me.  Why?  Because of pollen!  Yes, hayfever always meant that I was the mower and indeed he would often struggle outside.  Not with fake grass!  It would benefit out 8 year old daughter too because she showed signs of hayfever for the first time last Summer.  I see quality, outdoors family time on the horizon again!

Outdoor space

We all need time outdoors.  A dose of fresh air and topping up vitamin D is essential for our physical and mental health.  There’s little more inviting as the weather gets warmer than stepping out onto grass with barefeet.  Bonus points if I can do in my dressing gown with a decaf!  Personally, it’s what I really miss during Autumn and Winter.

Creating a zen-space is so important to me and with that comes barefeet; with that comes meditation and with that comes a happier me!  The hippy-at-heart in me loves going barefoot.  And that’s another thing about artificial grass.  There are different softeness levels (and different wearability levels too).  Now to decide which variety to choose!

 

What do you like to do in your garden?  I’d love to know!  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere .

Thanks.

~

*This is a collaborative post

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Review of ChoconChoc melt and make chocolate egg heads

Review of ChoconChoc melt and make

chocolate egg heads

For a chocoholic, this is the ultimate heaven isn’t it?  Layers of chocolate all melted together to make a chocolate egg!  Yum!

We tried out a pack that came with full instructions, a mould, a cute little chef’s hat. decorations and, importantly the belgian chocolate drops.

Review of ChoconChoc melt and make chocolate egg heads

I could have eaten these quite easily on their own but ‘luckily’ our 8 yo daughter was there to keep me on the straight and narrow…

So we started off melting the chocolate and because it was good quality, it was a smooth operation.  We then followed the instructions and added a layer to the moulds.

When I read the instructions, I thought it sounded a bit complicated, long-winded and far too techy for a chocoholic mum and her eager 8 yo.  Layering, leaving to cool, layering again and again…  I was a bit sceptical at how our egg would turn out.

At the risk of sounding like a cliche, I was pleasantly surprised.  I mean, we’re not going to be chocolatiers anytime soon but the layers actually worked!  We had made our own chocolate egg.  Very impressive… er so impressive that we broke a bit off to try and ended up devouring the whole lot before my camera had a look-in!  Now that’s a testimonial to the taste of the chocolate.  I don’t ‘do’ cheap, tacky chocolate.  Life’s too short and I’d rather have good quality stuff that melts in your mouth and leaves you licking the inside of your mouth deliciously.

On that basis alone, I’d highly recommend the chocolate egg kit as a fun activity.  It goes great with a decaf.  Oh and wine too!  It’s often the case that with kits containing sweets or foodie things, that you don’t quite get enough, or ‘just’ enough to do the job properly.  In this case, we got generous helpings and even had enough to stick with tradition and lick the bowl.  I say ‘we’ but you know that never happens when you’ve got an 8 yo in tow!

At £12 a kit, this is really good value and I’d highly recommend doing this.

You can visit ChoconChoc’s website and follow them on facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and you tube .

What about you?  Have you tried making your own chocolate eggs?  Comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere.

Thanks.

*I was gifted this item for the purposes of this review but all views are my own.

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