Days out that are fun and educational

Days Out That Are Fun And Educational For The Family Rossall School
 

Days out that are fun and educational

Some days you can’t just sit around watching TV, you’ve got to get out, and take the kids for days out. It’s not hard finding fun things to do, but what about keeping their brain invested too? Rossall School have a few ideas that should tick both boxes as being fun, educational days out.

Days Out That Are Fun And Educational For The Family Rossall School

Zoo/Aquarium/Safari

Who doesn’t love animals? What better way to celebrate than by going to see a host of exotic beasts up close you wouldn’t normally see at home. There are plenty of dotted around the country, but how about Longleat Safari Park?  It’s the perfect example of a great day out; there is plenty to do around the grounds, see animal shows such as birds on display, chances to hold reptiles and see all the creepy crawlies up close, then finish it off by getting in your car and driving round the actual safari part, getting up-close and personal with the bigger, more impressive creatures.

Museum

Museums aren’t all just old paintings (not that there is anything wrong with that), but it’s not a bad idea to educate the kids in some famous artwork to encourage their creativity. There are loads of different exhibitions on offer, from Ancient Egypt, to dinosaurs to science and technology. There’s no limit to the amount of stuff, often all under the same roof. A perfect way to spend an afternoon and usually free entry!

Castles

There are literally hundreds of castles dotted around the UK.  They are a big part of our history but a good day out is the Northumberland Coastal Route where there are a bunch of castles still in good condition. There’s Bamburgh which is right by the beach, Warkworth, more ruins now and Alnwick, which has been used in a few films including a little known movie called Harry Potter. It also has a fantastic epic tree house and gardens where the kids can learn all different kinds of plants and flowers and there’s even a poisonous plants guided tour section.

Beamish

Speaking of the North East, there is also this brilliant open air museum which is practically a whole town frozen in time. Three times to be precise; The 1820s, 1900s and the 1940s. You can explore what life was like during those times with shops, farms, schools, blacksmiths (with a working blacksmith) and even doctors, dentists and the best part, a sweet shop where you can watch old-fashioned treats being made right in front of you. The staff play in character and can provide information about their respective roles and era.

 

*Sponsored post

 

Have you got any suggestions for great, educational family days out?  Share them in the comments below or tweet me @AllSortsHere 🙂

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How a Kinder Surprise moment perked me up ~ #poem

kinder-surprise-pin1-get-well-soon-love-feel-better-wellbeing-present-parenting

I was feeling pretty rotten and our daughter picked up on this.

She made me a Kinder Surprise ‘get well soon’ present from some of her treasured My Little Pony haul…

Trust me, that’s special!

She carefully wrapped it all up in tissue and presented me with something to perk me up.

And it did.  Well, wouldn’t it perk you up?!

kinder-surprise-get-well-soon-love-feel-better-wellbeing-present-parenting

And here’s a poem inspired by my ‘kinder’ surprise 🙂

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‘There’s nothing else quite like it…’

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When you’re feeling poorly and want to stay in bed,

When you have to get up and face the world instead,

When your daughter makes something for you to make you right as rain,

When it makes you smile and feel like ‘you’ again…

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It’s really such a simple thing that comes right from the heart,

It fills your heart with lots of love and that’s a great start,

It’s not on prescription and it’s completely free,

It’s the best medicine and it’s from her to me…

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It’s filled with lots of love and cuddles and kisses galore,

It really is addictive; it keeps you wanting more,

It’s unconditional love, for when you’re feeling low,

It gets rid of the nasty bugs and gives you a warm glow…

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There’s nothing else quite like it for when you’re feeling blue,

There’s no better way I know to make you feel like ‘you’,

There’s a natural drug that’s guaranteed to fight the bugs,

There’s a medicine that’s filled with lots of love and lots of hugs!

By Carol Cameleon 2016

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Has your child (or anyone) done something similar to perk you up?  What makes you feel better?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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How to adapt learning to the changing seasons ~ #BoredomBuster

As the seasons change, it can be quite difficult to get our daughter outside.  The lure of the kitchen table to do seasonal crafts, the lure of the screens, the lure of the snuggles on the sofa!  And why not?  All of these are great ways to spend your time.

But here at VirtuallyAllSorts, we’ve been adapting our learning to the seasons!

easel-outside-pin-learning-outdoors-literacy-numeracy-maths-fun-learning-copy

At the present time, our daughter loves role playing (among other things), particularly schools.

Since moving house, we haven’t had the chance to do much to pretty up our garden.  It’s quite a small garden but it has potential.

Potential for exploring, for using imagination, for building insect hotels!

Due to its size, we do have to think outside the box.

It’s all concrete and there’s no room for a swing.  Despite this, we have prettied part of it up successfully by painting a wall all different colours.

When our girl says she wants to play in the garden, she often says she’s bored out there.  So despite the obvious change of seasons, we recently popped her easel outside.  She can think outside of the box and so can we!

It’s perfect for her to role play her schools, as you can see.  All she needed was her coat and she was happy as anything for ages 🙂

easel-outside-learning-outdoors-literacy-numeracy-maths-fun-learning

And a happy little girl makes for happy parents!

 

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What do you do to think outside of the box when it comes to space – inside and out?  Have you got any other suggestions for a boredom buster?  I’d love to hear!  Please comment below or tweet me @AllSortsHere

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Tempting the tastebuds ~ #FloraLunchbox Challenge

When the lovely people at Flora sent me a lunchbox to cram full of goodness, I was looking forward to tempting our little girl’s tastebuds.
As part of the #FloraLunchbox challenge we also received a ‘lunchbox builder’ which was really handy to have on hand when planning the week’s lunches.
By using the guide, it ensured that our girl (and us too!) had one each from the sections main, snack, fruit or veg (or both ideally!)
floralunchbox-challenge-collaborative-lunchbox-tips-kids-flora-nutrition-healthy-fussy-eaters-lunch
All parents know the importance of a healthy and balanced diet.  So what do you do when you’ve got a picky eater who then goes to school and you have no way of encouraging them to ‘eat up’… except by what goes in their lunchbox?  You can cram them full of fruit and raw veg with their after school snack OR you can explore the ideas from Flora which covers all sorts of lunchbox tips including how to get kids to eat veggies, a 5 day lunchbox plan and a lunchbox builder (which I found really useful).
Our little girl’s school does encourage the younger children to eat up by giving out stickers (all kids love stickers after all!) but the question is, how many of those children have a nutritional and balanced lunch to eat in the first place?  It was a real concern to learn that a study by Flora found that only 1.6% of children receive a packed lunch that meets nutritional standards set for school meals.  Surely that means that a large proportion of our children are not getting the nutrition they need to grow and develop as they should do.
In light of that, it’s reassuring to know that:
  • Every tub of Flora contains plant oils, such as sunflower, rapeseed and linseed oils.
  • Flora is lower in saturated fats than butter (Flora Original – 80% lower; Buttery – 71%; Light – 78%).
  • It provides a source of healthy Omega 3 and 6 which are essential fats that contribute to the maintenance of normal blood cholesterol levels and are also needed for normal growth and to support the development of children.  I’ll high-five that!
  • Flora also recently launched Flora Freedom which is a 100% dairy free product, is free of preservatives, artificial colours and flavours, and like the rest of the Flora range is approved by The Vegetarian Society.

Win-Win!

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Fortunately, our little girl (6 years old), has always been a healthy eater.  She loves her fruit and veg but she’s not very adventurous.  So it’s no surprise that her lunchbox ‘menu’ has been a bit haphazard and desperately rotated week by week in the hope of adding some variety.  (Yes I do have a weekly ‘packed lunch planner’ because who wants to be using their brain at 7am or before when they’re doing the lunches?!  No hands up there then!…)
We had some fun thinking up some ideas.
floralunchbox-challenge-insert-1-healthy-lunches-kids-parenting
 This post is an entry for the #FloraLunchbox Linky Challenge, sponsored by
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Disclaimer: Written in collaboration with Flora ~ all words and opinions are my own.

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The BFG by Roald Dahl ~ review and giveaway

Welcome to ‘The BFG’ review and giveaway!

BFG review giveaway win book roald dahl big friendly giant dream jar film movie puffin books exclusive material reading adaptation

If you’re looking for a heart-warming story that feeds the imagination of children and adults, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) by Roald Dahl is the book you need.

Why?

Well, where do I begin or I should say where to we begin, because our little girl aged 6 loved this book and read it page by page, slowly but surely all by herself.

I admit to being a little concerned about the weird and wonderful words that the BFG uses.  Our little girl was a little confused by them but when I explained the reason for these words, she simply said, “Doesn’t he [Dahl] know anything?”  There’s no answer to that!

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I had never before known the background behind The BFG and the foreword by Lucy Dahl (Roald Dahl’s daughter) gives us a beautiful, cherished insight into how Giant Country came to be.

A lovely touch in the book is an interactive section at the end, where you can learn how to draw the BFG and also draw your very own dream in your dream jar. Here is our little girl’s, which turned out to be a clown pouring water over a cat’s head… she was very proud of it!

BFG whats your dream jar 2 draw your dream 1 review book roald dahl big friendly giant dream jar film movie puffin books exclusive material reading adaptation

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Now on to the story:  If you’d rather not know too much detail, keep scrolling to the film trailor and giveaway at the bottom.

We begin at the orphanage where Sophie is wide awake at The Witching Hour (when giants snatch and eat human ‘beans’ (beings!).  She sees the BFG, who also sees her and promptly pops his huge hand through the open window and takes her from her bed.  He takes her to Giant Country to stop her telling everyone that giants really do exist.  The rational being (if giants have rational…) that if human beans find out about giants, they would be hunted down and Giant Country would be no more…

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The story unfolds and Sophie learns all sorts of weird and wonderful facts about the nasty giants.

It’s not too long until the BFG tells Sophie about the dreams he catches in his dream jars.  And Sophie has a wonderful idea.

To stop the giants snatching even more human beans, they decide to re-construct the giants snatching children from the orphanage that Sophie lived before meeting the BFG.

We are taken on an enthralling trip to London and Buckingham Palace, where the BFG ‘plants’ the dream that they hope will help them, into the Queen’s bedroom.  Then Sophie finds herself perched on the Queen’s windowsill until Her ‘Majester’ wakes up.

After realising that her dream of the children being snatched and the giants was in fact real, the Queen meets the BFG in an hilarious yet touching moment and they discuss the way forward over breakfast.

Helicopters are rounded up and follow the BFG and Sophie (tucked inside his ear) to Giant Country where the giants are all in a deep sleep… except one.  When the her ‘Majester’s’ Armed Forces attempt to tie a rope around one of the giant’s arms, he wakes and an unlikely weapon is used to stun him!

The BFG and Sophie are branded heroes and The Witching Hour ends forever….

Hurray!

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There are so many lovely moments in the story but here are our favourites:

One of my favourite parts was the chapter ‘The Author’ which I found so very clever and just perfect.  I won’t go into it any more here, but will let you enjoy the moment for yourself.

Our little girl enjoyed when the BFG meets the Queen:

Will it be repulsant snozzcumbers, Majester?, the BFG asked. [when The Queen asks him if he would like some breakfast]

We’re both looking forward to seeing this part in the film.

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Other favourite parts were:

Enjoying a beautiful friendship blossom between the BFG and Sophie.

BFG’s protection of Sophie.

Sophie sitting in the BFG’s ear when travelling around.

It’s endearing how The Queen is kept ‘regal’ in the story.

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In summary: Quite simply a perfect story which is everything a story for children should be ~ full of occurrences that are not explained because our imagination ‘explains’ them for us.  Like when the giants don’t wake up even when one giant is ‘stunned’ by a secret weapon.

In all honesty, I’m not sure who’s more excited about seeing the film adaptation more – me or our little girl.  But one things for sure – the film of The BFG offers the perfect solution for those inevitable cries of, “I’m boooored” in the Summer holidays (and beyond…)  and the perfect chance for family time.  Because children and adults alike will love the book and the film! 🙂

I just hope they’re not serving up ‘snozzcumbers’ at the cinema!…

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Don’t forget to go and download your Roald Dahl party pack now, ready for 13th September! 🙂
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Now onto the giveaway, which is open to UK entrants only and ends at 12am on 22nd August 2016. Good luck to you 😉

For future giveaways, subscribe to my blog.  Subscription box is in the right hand sidebar under ‘Follow my blog by email’ >>>>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was sent a copy of this book free of charge to review but all opinions are my own. 

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Whizz Pop Bang science magazine ~ review and giveaway

Welcome to THE Whizz Pop Bang magazine review and giveaway!

(with offer code too!)

whizz pop bang awesome science magazine for kids children experiment activities interactive educational subscribe review giveaway quiz puzzle expert interviews parenting learning 2

Question: What do you get when you cross a 6-11 year old child with an “awesomely amazing science” magazine for kids?

Answer: Learning galore in an interactive environment.  Which means happy children and parents too! 🙂

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When our little girl (aged 6) showed an interest in science, we decided to try Whizz Pop Bang science magazine.  We had seen it advertised on social media and knew that she would love to get something just for her, addressed to her, through the letter box.

We felt that she would likely learn (without realising) and it would encourage her away from a screen.

It sounded like a win-win to us.

And it was.

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We were very impressed with Whizz Pop Bang.

whizz pop bang reading awesome science magazine for kids children experiment activities interactive educational subscribe review giveaway quiz puzzle expert interviews parenting learning 2

Whizz Pop Bang is aimed at 6-11 year olds (and appeals to older readers too!).  The first issue that she got was about volcanoes.  This really appealed to me in all honesty!  They’ve always fascinated me and one of my favourite subjects at school was geography.  By reading this issue with our little girl, I refreshed my memory and learnt new volcano facts too!

In fact, I looked forward to reading the magazine on my own terms after her bedtime!

whizz pop bang volcano model awesome science magazine for kids children experiment activities interactive educational subscribe review giveaway quiz puzzle expert interviews parenting learning 2

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 Our little girl is rapidly approaching 7 and some of the terminology needed explaining but she did really well with her phonics sounding out and blending and needed little help with the bigger words.  In my view, the longer words are a bonus because our children can never read too much and it has helped to expand her vocabulary as well as learn facts about science.

Another thing that I loved about the magazine is that it encouraged questions too.  In my view, our children can never ask too many questions (okay, maybe except at bedtime!..)  We tell our little girl to always ask questions.

whizz pop bang magnifier awesome science magazine for kids children experiment activities interactive educational subscribe review giveaway quiz puzzle expert interviews parenting learning

I’m not entirely sure how the creaters and designers have done it, but they have managed to create a magazine that’s fun, factual and age-appropriate to it’s target market.  Getting the balance right between keeping the age range of 6-11 year olds engrossed is tricky but they’ve done it.

Maybe it’s the regular sections the magazine has:

Puzzles

Competitions

Interviews with experts relevant to the particular issue

Activities (we were inspired to create an insect hotel!)

‘Ask’ Y – where robot Y answers childrens’ questions (our little girl has thought of lots already!)

Quiz (with answers on a separate page!)

whizz pop bang eggs awesome science magazine for kids children experiment activities interactive educational subscribe review giveaway quiz puzzle expert interviews parenting learning 2

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When the Minibeasts issue came through our door, our little girl was at school but at home-time, the TV didn’t get a look in!  As soon as she saw that she had a new issue of Whizz Pop Bang to read, she wanted to get stuck in!

We really enjoyed the pepper experiment and she couldn’t wait to tell daddy all about it 🙂

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The magazine is a very welcome addition to our household and there are plenty of experiments to spread out over the month…. to keep you going until the next issue!  As the website says, the magazine contains:

✓  Hours of educational fun each month

✓ Exciting experiments to try at home (I’ll soon be blogging about the pepper experiment and the pitfall trap!)

✓  Expert science writers

✓  Engaging layout and illustrations

✓  Gender-neutral content

✓  Linked to the National Curriculum

✓  No advertising

✓  No screens

36 printed pages of good wholesome science fun!

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It’s very reasonably priced too, at £2.92 per magazine when an annual subscription is ordered.

And for one lucky reader of my blog, the amazing team at Whizz Pop Bang are giving away a 3 issue bundle (see the rafflecopter giveaway below).

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You can find Whizz Pop Bang on Twitter @WhizzPopBangMag,  Facebook and don’t forget their website. 

Go and say hello! 🙂
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Now onto the giveaway, which is open to UK entrants only and ends at 12am on 18th July 2016. Good luck to you 😉

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a collaborative post but all opinions are my own. 

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Linking up to:

Super Lucky

Competition Database

The Prize Finder

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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“The Friendship Journey” ~ poem #WonderfulWorldofWriting

The Friendship Journey ~ a poem

friendship journey friends kids children parenting poem unite

Moving house with a child is no easy thing to do,

A new bedroom, new school and new friends too,

A time of stress, anxiety, a logistical nightmare,

Emotions are tender, how will they fare?

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You get it all sorted, a school place is yours,

A settling in session, opening of new doors;

Metaphorically, literally, it’s a critical time,

Reassured by people, “she’ll be just fine…”

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It’s exciting, it’s scary for her and for us,

We try to hide our unease with a ‘positive’ fuss,

Goodbyes are said to old school friends, her mates,

A new chapter is coming, new friendships await…

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Then new names come up in our daily chat,

“So and so said this, so and so said that,

Soon can they come after school and for tea?

They can play with my toys, they can colour with me.”

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Of course the answer is, “yes, yes and yes!”

As long as she’s happy I can cope with the mess!

It’s lovely to see, a relief beyond doubt,

To see our girl happy, see new friendships carved out.

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What’s more, it’s so nice she doesn’t care one bit

If her friend’s from Eastern Europe or if they’re a Brit!

All she wants is to play, to share jokes, to have fun,

As far as she sees it, they’re like her, we’re all ‘one’…

~

By Carol Cameleon 2016

The story behind the poem: As our little girl is cementing new friendships after a house move and subsequent new school, it’s intriguing and refreshing that background really doesn’t matter, as long as she ‘clicks’ with them…

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Books for children – developing speech and language

books for children to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years main abc pic final edit

I make no secret of my passionate belief that reading books to your children every day helps to develop their speech and language skills.  Right from when our daughter was born and was only just home from hospital as a newborn, I would read her cloth books while she happily kicked and gurgled under her play gym and at feeding time, in fact any time really.  Then she moved on to board books and took her abc’s and her 123’s in her stride.

Fast forward to 5 years later and there is no denying that all of this has stood her in very good stead with her literacy.  While in her first year at school, she has learnt her phonics, learnt to read and write and just recently her teacher told us that she is doing ‘fantastic’ with her spelling.  All of this reading to her and with her in the foundations of her early years can surely be no coincidence…

So, which books are recommended to develop your child’s speech and language skills?

From read-aloud, nursery rhyme and picture books like ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’ by Robert Louis Stevenson…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years 1

and books for the late talker like ‘The Einstein Syndrome’ by Thomas Sowell…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years einstein syndrome thomas sowell 1

to books about animals and classic stories like ‘Sammy: The Classroom Guinea Pig’ by Alix Berenzy…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years sammy classroom guinea pig alix berenzy 1

…and let’s not forget the role that letter blocks and flash cards play like ‘Read with Biff, Chip & Kipper: Fun with Words’…

books to help develop todder's pre-schooler's toddlers preschoolers childs kids childrens children language speech parenting literacy blog early years biff chip kipper flashcards 1

Indeed, we used flashcards when our little bear first started her reading and it helped immensely.  It also helped that we had picked up the flashcards through hubby’s work book club that happened to be the same series that our bear’s class was using – the Biff, Chip and Kipper series from Oxford Reading Tree.  By turning it into a game, our bear had no idea that she was learning!

Of course, along with reading books to and with your child, talking to your child is a great stepping stone to great vocab, literacy and speech.

So tell me, which books did you or do you enjoy reading with your child?  Were/are any of them the same ones that you read as a child?

Share in the comments below the link badges!

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The Twinkle Diaries

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How to make a potion

 

There’s a  potion to be made in the garden today

With weeds and with sand, she’s stirring away!

Like a hotpot, it gets left for days to stew

So I’d pretend to taste it, if I were you…

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The cats look on with concern on their faces,

She finds ingredients in the strangest of places…

There’s glitter, there’s grass, old stickers and more,

But what’s there the most of? There’s gloop galore!

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This potion is special, this potion’s the best

This potion is better than all the rest,

You can search high and low but you’ll never find

A potion that’s better, it’s one of a kind!

By Carol Cameleon 2015

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Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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