Cheap ways to entertain the kids

kids, travel
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If you have school age children, you’ll know what week it is. Even if you don’t have children, the noticeable absence of traffic at rush hour plus the increasing numbers of ‘yoofs’ loitering around the shops at lunch time can only mean one thing…half term.

So, you’ve done all the usual activities – been to the park, swimming, watched a DVD or 10 and now you’re struggling for ideas. A cost effective way to kill an hour or so is to locate a garden centre that sells fish. Rather than take an expensive trip to a packed aquarium, tootle off down to the garden centre (usually a lot more local than a full blown aquarium) and spend some time ogling the fish.

OK, so you won’t see any sharks, but then you’re not paying shark prices either!

The banana boat

cooking, Crafty, food
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Sailing to a dining table near you, an easy to make and (reasonably) healthy pudding for kids.

You’ll need:-
1 banana (boat)
1 apple (sails)
1 small pot of custard (sea)
1 jelly baby (captain)
3 cocktail sticks (masts)
a few grapes (shark fins and jellyfish)
sugar strand sprinkles (for decoration)

Banana boat in custard

In case you can’t figure it out from the picture, start by slicing a little off the banana’s bottom to make it lie flat on the plate. Next pour the custard around the banana. Slice the apple and cut the slices into rough triangles. Stick a cocktail stick lengthways through the slice and stab it into the banana (then repeat). Do the same for the jelly baby (I’ve listened very closely and haven’t heard them scream when I do this, so presume it doesn’t hurt them 😉 ). Place a few grapes randomly in the custard and cut a couple more to resemble shark fins. And finally, sprinkle some sugar strands over the whole thing and … voila!

Unfortunately, because of the cutting, slicing and cocktail stick stabbing required, there aren’t as many activities as I would have liked for a pre-schooler to join in with, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating 🙂

Bon appetit.

Let me show you to your seat

Crafty, games, let's pretend
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Tickets please!

As another Bank Holiday approached, inevitably, it was raining. So how could I entertain two active kids?

We’d been swimming, had a coffee and surfed the net at the local internet cafe, made robots with seed hair (keep checking back – will post about them soon!!) – what could possibly be left to do?

Then, I struck upon the idea of making a home cinema. Now by that, I don’t mean some fabulously hi-tech massive TV and surround sound made from cardboard boxes and sticky back plastic. This was the recreation of a cinematic experience, safe in the knowledge that if we actually took them to a real cinema a) number 1 son would be afraid of the dark and b) number 2 son would be talking about what was happening on the screen throughout the entire film.

Read the rest…

You’re not going to…are you?

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We’re going through one of those stages. Number 2 son will do anything other than what he’s been told to do. So I find myself countless times a day saying ‘You’re not going to…..

  • eat my breakfast
  • drink my milk
  • wee in my toilet
  • put those shoes on
  • take your clothes off

…are you?

It’s quite a successful strategy, but how is it that it doesn’t work with ‘go to bed’…? :s

Nellie the Elephant packed her Trunki

Reviews, travel

Actually, it’s a good job Nellie didn’t have a Trunki – as she’d never have been able to slip off unnoticed at night! For anyone who is not yet acquainted, then have a look at the Trunki. I believe it was featured on the Dragons Den – it’s basically a hard case with wheels and a strap, contoured for little bottoms so it can be used as a ride-on and sized to meet airline hand luggage restrictions.


At £24.99 RRP, it’s not unduly expensive, and is really functional – being a hard case, you can cram quite a lot inside to keep the little darlings amused on any kind of holiday; from an overnight bag to an 8 hour flight amuser. The downside of being a hard case is that even empty it’s heavier than a canvas bag, so brace yourself when it’s full!

The bright colours are very appealing to children, and eye catching in a busy airport! I bought the cases for a trip to Florida. Passing through Gatwick on the weekend before Easter, you can imagine it was a tad busy. The Trunki’s kept my two in tow (quite literally!!) and we had a ball catching admiring glances wheeling round the airport.

I was a little disappointed in the quality of the strap and the fixings for it, but having said that, it managed to withstand a fair old battering. Being plastic, I’m not sure how long the clips will last, but they’ll probably have been worn out being dragged round the house and garden rather than through holiday use. In addition, there are no straps internally (as you would expect to find on an adult case), so unless it’s packed to the gunwhales, the contents might rattle round a bit. Luckily Iggle Piggle’s blanket filled it out quite nicely…….

If I’m being ultra-critical, it would have been nice to have colour options other than just the stereotypical pink or blue – but the boys seemed happy enough customising their blue cases with a few well placed stickers.

In summary, we love our Trunkis. Be ahead of the game and get one now 🙂