Will the Easter Rabbit come now that we have a greyhound?


Happy Easter!

Two traditions I hate to miss at Easter. Firstly the kids waking up to find chocolate eggs hidden all round the house, or in recent years, the caravan. No mean feat in a small space with a greyhound, but the Easter Rabbit is clearly both able to access caravans and give greyhounds a run for their money.

The kids were amazed to find eggs everywhere (and that Max hadn’t eaten them).

In fact the only rabbit injured was the tiny Lindt gold one that fell in our bed in the night and got squashed. Uncharacteristically, rough, tough Mister G cried when he found it.

Secondly egg rolling is a family tradition. It was big in Lancashire where my mum grew up.

You hard boil your egg and decorate it, then head for a big hill. Or the garden. You take turns to roll and see who can go the furthest.

Like my Dad I’ve always fought to go the furthest, be in the longest and still eat my egg. This year Miss L and I were ‘in’ the longest. Mr A and Mister G like the satisfaction of smashing theirs against the garden wall.

This year though, nothing was wasted, having been denied Easter rabbit and chocolate, Max was around to pick up any leftovers.

Happy Easter!

How did you celebrate?

#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

How do I get my kids to ride a bike?


I am 5…6…maybe 7 years old. I am wobbling down one side of the cul-de-sac on my second hand red bike. Dad is holding tight to the back, running along with me. I am calling out to him.

‘You’re doing it!’ he calls. I notice his voice sounds further and further away.

‘Noooooo!’ I call, ‘waghhhhhhh! you let go!’

But I keep pedalling and I realise… I am a cyclist!

It all seems simple in my memory. Learning to ride a bike. Hmmm, fast forward to 2014 Continue reading

Eat your heart out Tony Hawk, Mister G cracks the Yvolution YFliker

When it arrived at Christmas he gave it a whirl, he was suspicious, nervous. He wasn’t sure. Then he left his older scooter lying around and it was stolen and he was forced to take the YFliker by the handles.

He hasn’t looked back.

He thinks the YFliker is

‘Pretty awesome…you can twirl it around, and then you head for a puddle and you don’t get your shoes wet, because it is big. It makes me feel good. My friends think it is good. When you go superfast in circles and then hit the brake, then you go up.


It’s like a car but it’s littler. And when you are going to school on it, you get to zoom, then when you need to turn back and wait for you Mum you can turn round.


And then if you see a crook you can punch him on the head and keep going.’

The YFliker from Yvolution was sent for us to review late last year. I wasn’t asked to do a second post, but I was so pleased it was such a hit I wanted to.

Love Penny

Awesome Scooter Y•VOLUTION, the Y•Fliker Air

scooter y volutionIn 1984, when I was 7, me and my friends played together in the park at the end of the cul de sac, all on our own. There was a boy we used to play with who was a bit older than us. One day he pinched my scooter, jumped over the fence and carried it off towards the big river. Me and my best friend had to run all the way home and breathlessly shout ‘Help!’ at my Dad.

Watching my Dad leading the boy out the undergrowth, Dad with my scooter held aloft, I’ve never seen my prized possession so clearly, bright turquoise and yellow stripes. I thought it was the best thing ever, after my Dad of course. In reality it was just a souped up version of the one above on the left.

Times have changed. Fast forward to 2013.

When our  Y•Fliker Air turned up I couldn’t quite envisage what Mr G might be able to do on it, but this video shows why these scooters are so very, very cool and I’m really excited by what they are capable of. This is a slightly more grown up model, the Carver, but it gives a real sense of where the Air could lead you to: 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

Yankee Candle Happy Halloween: Is it just me or does this thing smoke bats?

I kind of have to tell you the story here, and hope it translates as well to the page.

I was at my friend Amanda’s house having coffee, she told me she had a Halloween candles from Yankee candle, in fact she had two. Amanda is a bit of a candle fan, she has a gorgeous home full of beautifully placed vintage vases, candle holders and scented candles. Really lovely, you can sneak a look at The Ana Mum Diary blog if you want to see more. Actually she is an authority on candles.

So, I started to tell her about my Yankee Candle Happy Halloween candle. How it smelt like Black Jacks and black licorice. She was…a little jealous. Continue reading

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