#Win Alternative Easter Gifts for Cool Kids

Cool stuff kids march

It is always good to have alternative Easter gifts up your sleeve, that aren’t chocolatey…I have some to win too!

Okido is the arts and science magazine for kids. I had banned kids’ magazines in our house because they are generally impossible to actually write on with any pen known to humans, a bit rubbish, focussed soley on telly watching, pink/blue, covered in plastic tat, expensive, insulting, boring and lacking in anything that is going to set my children’s minds on fire.

How refreshing then to receive Okido. Beautiful pages you can write on, lovely layout, bright colours, colouring pages you would want to colour, art, cooking, science ideas. The stories, poems and illustrations explore emotions beautifully. Continue reading

Beautifully simple, classic Christmas printable crafts

DSC_0718-001The fabulous people at cartridgesave.co.uk shared with me some gorgeous printable craft templates. Whether you want to keep the kids quiet for an hour over the holidays, or you fancy a serious craft challenge these six ideas are easily adaptable to create lovely results for all levels of ability. Miss L and I sat down for a quiet Saturday afternoon to try out two of the Christmas printable crafts: Crackers and Angels. Continue reading

Make Christmas Candles with Baker Ross

make candlesIn a wonderful moment of blogging serendipity, Baker Ross sent me the exact items my daughter had eagerly circled in the craft catalogue she brought back from school. So we spent a happy Sunday afternoon together learning how to make Christmas candles which will make lovely presents for someone!

It really is easy, soften the wax squares in a bowl of warm water, and off you go. Continue reading

Making Recycled Christmas Cards, without the glittery, gluey mess

christmas craft chaos

Bostik sent us some Glu dots and Glitter Pens, so we set about doing what we do best after a hard day at school and work: tea, biscuits and craft chaos. There was a subtle difference last night though, the Bostik products meant that when Mr A appeared at 5pm to find the table like this and us totally engrossed in what we were doing, with no thoughts of tea, it only took minutes to clear up and get tea on.  Continue reading

Christmas Activities for Kids

christmas decoration

christmas decoration by stvcr, on Flickr

I don’t know about you, but it took me a while to find my stride with creating my own family Christmas: the best bits of my family, Mr A’s family and some ideas borrowed along the way. Today’s guest post in association with Parkdean Holidays has some lovely suggestions for memorable activities to add to your Christmas rituals.

During the kids’ holidays this Christmas you might want to stay on top of things and keep the excitement under wraps before the big day. Distraction is the best way to do that, so keeping the kids busy is one method to ensure a fun and peaceful Christmas. Here are some great ideas on what to do with the little ones this time of year. Continue reading

Having fun and learning with magnets


Most people find magnets absolutely fascinating and the learning potential around them is huge, and needn’t be costly.

We have been really mesmerised by a foam magnetic tangram puzzle (£1.99) from first4magnets.com. Tangrams are ancient Chinese puzzles. The beauty of the tangram is that from just seven pieces you can make hundreds of different shapes and figures, the potential for discovering new ones makes tangrams highly addictive.


Having the pieces magnetised makes it easier to keep track of them and they are a simple distraction, perfect for the fridge. They are great for encouraging maths and logic as well as imagination!

We have also been loving these flexible magnetic chalkboard sheets (£3.49). They are great for practising writing on, encouraging all the family to leave notes, or for shopping lists.


They are also a great way of turning a filing cabinet, fridge or washing machine into a black board. They also make a good mobile base for the tangrams. They wipe clean easily with a damp cloth ready to use again and again.

While we were browsing the first4magnets.com website we found some useful resources about magnetism, older children can check out the ultimate guide to magnets for children 8-16 which has activities to download.  There is also an infographic about the history of magnets and this very attractive and fun video guide:

Do your children like to play with magnets?

Post in collaboration with first4magnets.com.

Theatre Review: The Planet and Stuff at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon

I am really excited to be collaborating with my oldest Drama teaching friend, Kerry Bratt who has reviewed Polka Theatre Wimbledon’s latest show.  Bratt-Brereton (Brereton being my maiden name) were a force to be reckoned with, so it is lovely to have Kerry to guest post, please give her a warm welcome!

“Is it going to be boring though mum?” After a morning of Drama and Dance lessons (the kids not the olds) the Bratt-Ward-Sparks clan trotted off down to The Polka Theatre in Wimbledon to experience the delights of climate change.  We have been to The Polka before, both as a family and I as a teacher with large groups of children.  The Polka programme has developed over the years, moving from a repertoire aimed at younger children into the heady heights of pre-teens and dreaded teens. Continue reading

The Alexanders do Halloween Costumes, at sea.

This year Halloween is going to be a bit different! We are on our Mediterranean cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines. I had no idea whether this means we need costumes. We’ve been pretty focussed on making sure we all have enough everyday clothing. But I checked and it appears there will be Halloween decorations, lots of spooky fun, and we can bring costumes if we fancy. Continue reading

Fab boredom buster: Teach yourself street dance video

I’ve had so many how to keep the kids entertained over summer emails, but this one really struck me. I always thought street dance was a case of learning loads of complicated routines. I often sit watching Friday Download, completely in awe of the teenager who does the street dance, (I am so glad my kids moved on to CBBC at last, I love Blue Peter and Friday Download) he is an amazing dancer. But this video explodes some of the myths and makes learning street dance a cinch.

It’s from the Let’s Do It Club, from the makers of Ribena! It’s a programme jam packed with activities that they can do alone or with the whole family, even better everything is free or low cost. It’ll inspire them to garden on a sunny day or get creative in the kitchen.

Anyway, one to bookmark and keep up your sleeve for a rainy afternoon 😉 Add neon, sports wear and leg warmers for added interest.

Commissioned post

We’re so excited!

Excitement is really mounting, rather like this 10 second snippet of L’s happy dance at last year’s Camp Bestival. Only a few sleeps to go and we’ve been lying on her bed tonight talking about all the things we want to do together while we are there.

I am now especially excited about the sing along Jungle Book screening and the paper plane world record breaking launch to celebrate Disney’s Planes. The prospect of sneaking some cocktails with some fellow bloggers in the Bollywood Bar is also very appealing. I can’t wait to see Ash and The Levellers. And that’s just me… Continue reading