Emails And Phone Calls From Santa With The Portable North Pole

We’re huge fans of The Portable North Pole around here, and this is the third year we’ll be using this website to enhance and enrich Christmas for my seven and four-year-olds.  For a long tim,e I wasn’t sure what I was going to tell the kids about Christmas. I have many friends who don’t do the whole ‘Santa’ thing, and that’s of course, entirely their choice. For us though, it kind of took care of itself when, at 4, Ameli declared that she didn’t really believe in the existence of Santa, but that she’d be happy to pretend for her sister’s sake.  (This is the same child, mind you, who believes 100% in the existence of the tooth fairy!) Portable North PoleRead more: Emails And Phone Calls From Santa With The Portable North Pole

A Child Of Books {Review}

The moment I saw A Child of BooksI thought “That’s so Oliver Jeffers” as it reminded me of How To Catch A Star, and lo and behold, so it is!

A Child of Books is the latest book by author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and typographical artist Sam Winston. If you have a book lover, (Think Matilda, Roald Dahl) then this is the perfect book for you.

A Child of Books

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Magic Dip: Revamp Old Glassware & Other Fun Dipping {Review}

I don’t tend to get too excited about kids toys. They may be great, and the kids might love them, but I normally have an internal sigh about the extra clutter, the more stuff, and the additional tidying up! This Magic Dip kit, however, I was still playing around with well after the kids had ventured off to do other things!Magic Dip Design Art CentreRead more: Magic Dip: Revamp Old Glassware & Other Fun Dipping {Review}

Road Safety Awareness Game & Resources

Next week is Road Safety Awareness week and like all responsible parents (Ahem!) it’s a topic of learning that I take very seriously. I realised recently that while my children know to look right and left and right again before crossing the road, or to wait for the green man before crossing, we’ve never really done any serious ‘learning’ around traffic signs. I think there’s a value to learning through doing with mama, of course, but I don’t suppose it’s ever too early to learn about road safety.

But where do you start?

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Googly Eyes Game From University Games {Review}

Google Eyes University Games

There’s no denying that winter is upon us and my Southern Hemisphere blood just hasn’t become accustomed to these cold winters – even 13 years later! – so trips to the park and walks on the beach are kept for special occasions rather than lazy days! Of course the young ones still want something to do with their time, so I like to have a collection of board games on hand to keep them busy on rainy, cold days.  The latest addition to our board game repertoire is Googly Eyes from University Games.

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Book Advent Calendar With Activities #Bookmas

Every year we do a book advent calendar to get us in the mood for Christmas. While we might have a chocolate calendar too – immediate gratification and all that – and sometimes a Lego, Duplo or anyone of a number of no-chocolate advent calendar options, the book advent is the big thing.book-advent-calendarRead more: Book Advent Calendar With Activities #Bookmas

Easy Christmas Decorations – Bostik Bloggers Christmas Edition

Our Bostik Bloggers box this month arrived full of Christmas goodies, so we decided to dive right in and start making little Christmas decorations.  I thought it would be a good time to use up some bits left over from earlier in the year too, so it’s a bit of a mix and match, but these are all easy, quick and simple ideas.Simple Crafty Christmas DecorationsTry these simple Christmas decorations

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National STEM Day & Project Mc2 Ultimate Spy Bag

My daughters love Project Mc2. We have dolls and love the show on Netflix, so when we were sent the Project Mc2 Ultimate Spy Bag, I knew it would be a hit and I wasn’t wrong!

No sooner had I undone the packaging and the kit was whisked away and drawn into one of the many games my girls play.

There’s so much work being done around STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and today is National STEM Day.  My 7yo loves science and experiments, and I’m quite keen to encourage her in that direction.

This is a fantastic kit, and it’s really cool  too, so I’ll get the one thing I don’t like out of the way – the heavy plastic of the case is unfortunate as I think it makes the clasp (plastic too) the weak link of this case. It looks like a soft, satin finish toiletry case, which would be even cooler. I guess it’s just a toy so I shouldn’t expect too much, but from my adult perspective it makes it feel like ‘girl science’ – not real, not serious…. but of course it’s a toy, and isn’t real or serious!Project MC2 Ultimate Spy BagRead more: National STEM Day & Project Mc2 Ultimate Spy Bag

Dreamworks Trolls Fancy Dress Wig & Friendship Watch Review

Halloween may have come and gone, but in our house, every day is just another opportunity for fancy dress. One of my neighbours recently exasperatedly commented that she’d never seen my children not dressed as fairies or other fictional characters! Since we recently watched Dreamworks’ Trolls we were all too happy to try out (or is that try on?) some Trolls fancy dress.

Trolls is a very light-hearted musical movie. It’s set in a plastic fantastic, super colourful world,  with ultra happy characters – all but one – who go through a series of stresses, most of which is the immanence of becoming supper to the Bergens, a larger, uglier race. The trolls escape, forge a new life, and soon forget the dangers of the Bergens in the happiness of their new home. Of course, this leaves the Bergens sad and miserable (they believe you can only be happy by eating a Troll), and eternally in search of the Trolls. During one loud and carefree party, the fireworks attract the Bergens, and Troll-world is thrown into disaster again. Poppy, the happiest troll ever born, and Branch, her extreme opposite, set off to rescue their friends, and so starts a journey in which these unlikely allies begin to understand each other and find the love they’ve been searching for right under their noses. The Bergen king finds himself in his own Cinderella story with a scullery maid and the Trolls help him realise his love for her, and in the end the good guys win, the bad guys are banished, traitors are found out, the humble inherit a kingdom and everyone goes home happy, and singing one of the multitude of pop songs incorporated into this Dreamworks musical.


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Kazoops Music For Kids & Their Grownups

We love music in our house, and make good use of our Amazon Prime music subscription, but I do try to keep the music we listen to appropriate to the children, since I think music has a much bigger impact on our subconscious mind than we might always realise. When we were invited to review music from the top-rated animated CBeebies preschool TV series Kazoops we were happy to oblige. New music is always welcomed.  

kazoops_mpu_rain_songWhat we like about Kazoops is that it is actually music. It isn’t plinky plonky piano music as so many kids songs seem to be, and the tunes are both simple and catchy. They are also great songs for getting children dancing and acting out, which I find a great way of curbing the indoor frustrations on cold and rainy days.

The music covers a range of genres and styles, the lyrics have substance and relate to each preconception and Monty’s creative and critical thinking processes. That said, we don’t have TV so we don’t watch the show on CBeebies, but even so, the children like the music. You don’t have to watch the show to ‘get’ the songs, or know the characters to appreciate it. (For those that don’t, Kazoops is all about Monty, a six-year-old boy who challenges life’s questions both big and small with the help of his limitless imagination and his best friend, Jimmy Jones, the family pet pig. In each episode, the duo enters make-believe worlds to challenge everyday preconceptions such as ‘do things have to be the same all the time?’ or ‘do all games really need rules?’)Read more: Kazoops Music For Kids & Their Grownups