Beeleigh Falls- Essex Walks

Beeleigh falls is one of the best kept secrets of Essex. A series of platforms, falls and locks, where the river Chelmer and Blackwater meet.

It’s no Niagara but it is definitely a little bit of paradise in Essex.

Last weekend, the family and I went along to explore the area. Nanny lives very close and although we have heard of the place we have never actually been there.

The sun was shining and we wanted to take the boys out for a long walk, so we headed on over to The Blackwater Rail Trail. A route that takes you along the old disused Witham to Maldon Railway Track. After walking along through the trees for about 20 minutes, we noticed on the map that we was close to Beeleigh Falls. Having no idea what it was that we were heading towards but the boys wanted to explore, we decided to make a detour.

We followed the path through Elms Farm Park, alongside the lake, where we saw the cutest dogs cooling down from the heat of the sun swimming in the lake.

We soon saw a sign for Beeleigh Locks pointing over a very old bridge.

The bridge crossed over the Chelmer and Bridgewater Navigation. The views down the river were beautiful. It was so green and peaceful.

Walking alongside the Golf Course we soon came to the first lock

Walking along the river brought back memories of when I was a child and walking along the canals where we used to live in Yorkshire.

Our afternoon leisurely stroll was turning out to be a perfect day out.

Just past the first lock and we could soon hear the gushing noise coming from the falls/weir.

We was greeted by the such beauty. Who would have thought that this natural delight was hiding behind the busy roads of Maldon, roads that we use all the time.

The water glistened as the sun shone down onto it. Reflections of trees and wild shrubs looked back at us as the gentle breeze rustled in the trees. There was every shade of green on the spectrum. It was calm and peaceful.

A perfect end to a countryside walk.

We have definitely found a new favourite place to visit in the future.

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These Wrinkles Tell a Story

At some point in our lives we all age; as we get older our skin wrinkles, creases and lines appear. When we are young our skin is springy but as we age our skin loses its flexibility.

Wrinkles are not just a sign of old age but also appear when our skin has been exposed to too much ultra violet light, through sunbathing or spending too much time outdoors.

They say that your skin tells a story.

Your skin is trying to tell you something. It’s telling a story about your health, habits and history.

My face is like a character map that defines my life. Fine lines on my forehead, represent my life: My story.

Up until 2 years ago I always thought that my skin was ageing quite well. That was until I received the biggest blow that I had the big C. Since my treatment I seem to have aged ten-fold. Lines appeared along my forehead, creases around my mouth and my hands have aged.

My youthful skin gone; instead replaced with worn out, saggy skin.

I used to fear getting old, now I embrace it. As the proverb says “Grey hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life”. Grey hair and wrinkles are a sign of a life that has been lived.

These lines across my face tell a story of where I have been and what I have gone through. Just like a scar they are a reminder that life still exists.

Wrinkles around my eyes indicate where laughter and smiles once were. Memories of watching my children, laughing at their antics.

The puffy dry, sunken eyes from all of the tears that have fallen on to the cheeks below.

They show the sheer exhaustion that comes with parenting, the years of sleepless nights and early mornings.

The deep lines show the fear of receiving another diagnosis.

Creases of joy of having a wonderful family and friendship.

Memories of my youth.

They show the loneliness of what Cancer can do to you.

And they show jubilation of bringing up three amazing boys.

But most of all, each and every wrinkle, crease, crow foot and age spot shows thankfulness. Thankful that I live another day, week, month and year to carry on mapping my life.

Every Wrinkle. Every crease. Every flaw. Every age spot. Every detail maps the life that I have lived. A journey that has brought tears, worry, laughter, memories, happiness and sadness.

A journey of life.

A journey that, I hope, I will continue on. Adding on more wrinkles and lines in years to come. Adding on to my story.

These lines on my face are not wrinkles, they are survival lines. Each telling its own story of happiness and sadness.

 

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Homemade Gran-oh-la Recipe

 

Granola is quick and easy to make and is so much cheaper and healthier to make it at home rather than buy it from the shops.

Granola is perfect for breakfast or to eat as a snack throughout the day. Consisting of rolled oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut oil and agave syrup baked in the oven until nice and golden to give it that perfect crunch. Whats great about Granola is that it is totally customizable, you can pretty much add anything to it once you have the base of oats and syrup.

A bowl full of granola can be packed full with natural nutrients, it’s so flavorful and delicious. No matter what combination you choose you can’t go wrong.

By adding in fresh fruit after rather than using dried fruit can help cut down on the sugar intake. We also used agave syrup instead of using brown sugar keeping the sugar down and creating an even more healthier go-to-snack.

I had always been worried about making Granola, thinking that It was hard to make or that it had too much sugar in it. But, it really was simple to make and enjoyed by all the family.

Once made, store it in an air tight container in the cupboard.

Granola

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Wet Ingredient

  • 1 Cup Maple Syrup/Brown Sugar (Coconut sugar) Honey or Agave Syrup
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 3 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 Cups Organic Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup Dessicated Coconut
  • 1 Cup Mixed Nuts and Seeds (I used walnuts, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, cacao nibs, pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins or fruit
  • 1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven at 160

  2. Melt all of the wet ingredients on the hob. 
  3. Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and add in the wet ingredients. Mix together until all coated.
  4. Line baking tray with baking paper and coat the granola mixture evenly over the paper
  5. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden. Mix it all up half way through, I added some more Agave Syrup so that it clumped together

I prefer to eat my granola with natural yoghurt and fresh berries and my children liked eating there’s at lunch time on its own.

Granola is perfect to eat at anytime of the day.

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The Most Love-a-Bull Animation: Ferdinand Review

Blue Sky Studios and director Carlos Sadanha (Rio, Ice Age) brings you FERDINAND.

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A charming tale of a giant – lover not a fighter – bull with a big heart. After being mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies together a misfit team for the ultimate adventure and proves you can’t judge a bull by its cover.

Inspired by the beloved book “The Story of Ferdinand,” FERDINAND (Voice of John Cena) is a heartwarming family comedy adventure with an all-star cast that includes John Cena, Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, Sally Philips, Gina Rodriguez, Anthony Anderson and many more.

We was sent the DVD to coincide with the Digital Download, Blu-ray and DVD release on 16th April.

The boys were really excited to watch this new animation. I must say it was the quietest my boys had been all Easter holidays. From the moment the film started to the end, I didn’t hear a peep from them-apart from giggles.

“My brother and I watched ‘Ferdinand’ and we thought it was hilarious, but also upsetting at times. Ferdinand is a great film and I would recommend it to all ages, young and old. Our favourite bits were the ‘Last Battle’ and ‘The bull in a China Shop’ because they were both funny and dramatic. My favourite character was ‘Paco’ who makes a great comedy duo with Ferdinand, his ‘brother’.”

Ferdinand really is a love-a-bull rogue who inspires the world by just being himself. He is unlike his stable mates whose ultimate goal is to face a matador in an arena, Ferdinand just wants to smell flowers. He has an unlikely bond with a young girl (Nina)

The movie is delightful with cute animation. A story of love and friendship that makes a great family movie.

SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE:

  • Ferdinand’s Guide to Healthy Living with John Cena
  • A Goat’s Guide to Life
  • Ferdinand’s Team Supreme
  • Spain Through Ferdinand’s Eyes
  • Confessions of a Bull-loving Horse
  • Creating the Land of Ferdinand
  • Anatomy of a Scene: The Bull Run
  • Learn to Dance with Ferdinand
  • Ferdinand’s Do-It-Yourself Flower Garden
  • Creating a Remarka-Bull Song
  • “Home” Music Video
  • Art of Ferdinand Gallery

Get set for a belly full of laughs!

FERDINAND charges onto Digital Download on 10th April and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD on 16th April

We was sent a copy of the DVD for the purpose of this review

 

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Dear Warner Brothers Studio Tour…

I have been meaning, for years now, to book and take the children to your Harry Potter Studio tour in Leavesden, but just never got round to it. Myself and my eldest son have read/watched all of the Harry Potter books/movies; including Fantastic Beast and where to find them. My 10-year-old started reading the books last November and after reading them all, back to back, he finished the last one only a couple of weeks ago.

With everyone in the family showing a keen interest in the mythical magical world of Harry Potter it seemed like it was the right time for us all to visit the tour. We booked back in January and have been looking forward to our visit ever since.

I must say, we were not disappointed!

After looking forward to something for so long, we had high expectations of the tour and were not let down, in fact it exceeded our expectations.

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Our tour began at 11.30, we had arrived early with plenty of time to rest and explore the shop before entering the tour. From the moment we entered through the main doors, we were surrounded by quotes, pictures and memorabilia from the films – and this was all just on the walk down the corridor to the main lobby.

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My 10-year-old had decided to go dressed as his idol, Newt Scamander. It was an outfit that I had made him for World Book Day. There were many others who had come in character but none were of Fantastic Beasts. Many of your employees had noted my son and how he was dressed. This made him very happy with a sense of importance. They took time to talk to him about the film and who his favourite characters are and even told him about the time that Eddie Redmayne had visited the tour and surprised a fellow Newt Scamander (a fan dressed as him). This experience added to the excitement of the day and made it all the more memorable. 20180409_153817

There was so much to see and do, too much for us all to take in on one visit. The attention to detail in everything was awe-inspiring. We were so impressed by the amount of work that had gone into the props and setting for the films. Everywhere you looked was magnificent.

This was probably how my 10-year-old got lost. With so much going on around us; lots of breathtaking objects and scenes to look at, he wondered away from us in amazement. He must have forgotten in the moment, that he was with his family as we searched within the crowds for him. After 10 minutes we still hadn’t found him. I wasnt too worried as he had his phone with him and was wearing an I.D bracelet. Also, I knew that he would not leave the studios without us. Whilst trying to get through to him (again) on the phone I was approached by one of your employees asking if we had lost a member of our group. My son had done the right thing when he realised that he couldn’t find us and had told a member of your staff that he had lost his family. She left him in a safe place with another member of staff whilst she went to look for us, using the description that he had given her. I know that this is part of the job, but she really did make him feel safe and at ease. I would like to thank her for her professionalism and friendly approach to the matter.

Once all back together again,we went on with enjoying the tour: We rode broomsticks through London, appeared on a ‘Wanted’ poster, drank in the Hogshead, entered the forbidden forest where we met Aragog (the Acromantula) and Buckbeak (the Hippogriff), pushed our trolley through 9 3/4, jumped on the Hogwarts Express, tried the famous Butterbear, hopped on the Knight bus and visited the Dursleys at Privet Drive. Phew! and that was only half way through!

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At the beginning of the tour the children were given a passport book that they could take around with them and fill out as and when they saw something of interest. They could find  golden snitches that are hidden throughout the studio tour and also collect 6 stamps at certain parts, using the embossed stamper. As we had spent the first 10 minutes looking around for my son we did not manage to collect the first two. At the end of the tour, as we entered the gift shop, my youngest was talking about going back to get them. My feet could not take the trip all the way back through to the beginning, so a member of staff over heard us and told us to go to the reception desk as they may have a pre-stamped book
there for us. Unfortunately, they had given them all out. But, they did take us back through the staff entrance and in to the first studio where we could get the book stamped. This made my youngest sons day, he was so excited that he had collected all the stamps. The passport is a lovely little keepsake for the children, something that he will be putting into his treasure box at home.

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We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, there is so much to see and do, that it is impossible to take it all in. We will definitely be back to see what we missed out on.

Thank you to your staff who were all very friendly and very informative.

With Thanks

The Three Musketeers and Mum

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Inflatables, Princesses, Football and Unicorns – A ‘Monstrous’ Summer Festival for Children

                                                                                          MONSTROUS! 

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Brand new to the festival scene for 2018, Monstrous (July 29) is a brand new one-day family festival set to debut this summer with an incredible line-up designed to delight the whole family.  Expect a line-up jam packed with live performances, amazing experiences, exciting attractions and wonderful adventures – all resulting in a fantastic family day out

Taking place at the award-winning Printworks complex in South London, Monstrous is a one day festival experience aimed at families with children between the ages of 4 – 14yrs.  The event will host over seven fantasy worlds jam-packed with live shows and amazing experiences for mini festival goers.  

Soccer school zone:

A must for all budding Beckhams, Rooneys and Ronaldos as one of the UK’s biggest football clubs joins Monstrous! Chelsea FC Foundation team will be teaching kids essential football skills, including passing, dribbling, penalty shootouts, speed tests and more in the Soccer School Zone.

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The Beast:

Monstrous presents The Beast. Unleash your beast as the world’s largest inflatable obstacle course descends on London. At an unbelievable 272m long, The Beast is the ultimate bouncy castle experience for all the family. Run, bounce and dance your way around our phenomenal 32 obstacles.  

Arcade Alley:

Calling all gamers and video game lovers, Arcade Alley will offer a digital haven with over 1000 classic console favourites including MineCraft, Roblox, Pokemon, Fortnite Battle Royale, retro Arcade machines, Pacman, Donkey Kong, Street Fighter, PS4, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Animation studios and Virtual Reality booths will also be on offer. 

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Fairy Tale Land:

Prince, Princess & Unicorn Land will offer an enchanting Monstrous Fairy Tale filled with Unicorns, Mermaids, Disney Princess walkabout characters, dressing up and selfie zones, beauty parlours, Karaoke, Singalong booths, captivating forests and flower walls.  

Disco:

Monty’s Monstrous Disco – hosted by Monstrous Monty himself – will play host to some of the hottest names in kid’s entertainment, with live music and performances from stars of stage and screen. Expect an exciting array of activities and amazing experiences including giant disco balls, confetti cannons, UV face painters, lazer shows, dance competitions, talent shows, flash mobs and a very special guest appearance!  

Inflatable World:

Calling all adrenalin fans who love to jump, run, bounce, crawl and slide. Inflatable World will challenge even the bravest of adventurers with Castles, slides, ball pits, huge inflatable board games and the biggest and craziest indoor assault course in the world!  

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Magical Funfair:

For the boldest of kids who love to explore and conquer, Magical Fun Fair Town will host Monty’s own mini Theme Park filled fantastic rides and activities including Dodgems galore, Go Carts, Tea Cups, Lazer Quest, Nerf Arenas, shooting galleries, trampolines, little rides for Mini Monsters and a number of great retro Fun Fair stalls from hammer slams to Hook a Duck. Gasp in awe at the breath-taking aerial trapeze artists, laugh out loud at circus acts or catch the family classic Punch & Judy show. And keep your eyes peeled for magicians, Super Hero’s, street performers and more roaming through the area.  

Baby Garden:

For those who like things a little less fast paced, Baby Garden, designed for 4yr olds and under, will be offering a chilled out atmosphere, with Baby Sensory, messy soft play and story-time. Other activity in this area includes parent and baby dance classes, ball pits, mini train rides plus, special meet and greets from some of the biggest pre-school favourites.  

The Big Outdoors:

Making the most of the fantastic landscape at Printworks, the outdoor area will be transformed into The Big Outdoors where Mini Monsters can get creative in the many arts and craft workshops, learn all about animals in the Petting Zoo, practice shooting skills at the Football Academy Training and Penalty Shootout or simply play around on the Urban Beach. 

Monstrous Festival Organiser, said: “We are really excited to be launching Monstrous at the award-winning Printworks complex. This is the first children’s event to take place in what looks set to become one of the most premier event locations in the UK.  It has so many benefits for our visitors, including great transport links and family friendly tube stations.   As a father myself, I know how hard it is to find quality days out that cater for the whole family. With Monstrous, we’ve created a festival that’s going to keep the kids entertained all day long and create memories that will last a lot longer.  The line-up is jam-packed with 100s of things to see and do, and will offer families a rewarding experience through a combination of imagination, creativity, adventure and more, alongside a number of exciting live performances from some of the best-loved names in children’s entertainment. “

Third release tickets are on sale now priced £28.50pp. (As of print date) Babies in arms can attend free of charge.  For tickets and more information

I know for sure that my boys would love this festival, the youngest would spend his whole time at the soccer school and the 10-year-old would enjoy the arcade area. Although, I think both will be very interested exploring The Beast (wish I was a child again!)

visit www.monstrouscreations.co.uk or follow on socials:  

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/monstrouscreationsuk/  

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/monstrousfest/  

Twitter:https://twitter.com/monstrousfest   

*Featured article*

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Sheep & Wolves DVD: Review and Giveaway

TRL398 2D

From the producers of The Snow Queen 2 comes Sheep And Wolves, a fun, animated adventure featuring the voices of Tom Felton (Harry Potter) Ruby Rose (Pitch Perfect 3) Jim Cummings (Winnie The Pooh) and China Anna Mcclain (Black Lightening).

In a magical faraway land, in a picturesque village nestled among green meadows and rolling hills, lives a flock of carefree sheep. But their idyllic and stress-free solitude is interrupted when a pack of wolves sets up camp in a nearby ravine.

When the wolves’ retiring pack leader Magra (Cummings) announces that his future successor must prove his worth by defeating their rivals, the powerful and blood-thirsty Ragear steps forward. But, the only wolf brave enough to challenge him is Grey (Felton), the pack’s favourite but hopeless goofball. Grey has to prove to everyone, including his Fiance, Bianca (Rose), that he is worthy of becoming a leader. However, Grey faces a slight mishap and ends up taking a magic potion; given to him by a travelling gypsy rabbit, Mami, that turns him into a…Ram! After going back to the den and being chased out, he finds himself within the company of the sheep and quickly befriends Moz, a simple-hearted and kind ram and Lyra (McClain), a good-natured and naive young ewe.

Fusion x64 TIFF File
Fusion x64 TIFF File

Will Grey find his way back to his pack and his girlfriend Bianca?

Grey loves to mess around and be the centre of attention, but after spending time with the sheep, he soon learns what is important and being true to himself. Grey quickly becomes a leader that Magra would be proud of, but not for the wolves…

Fusion x64 TIFF File
Fusion x64 TIFF File

“From here on out, we’re not a flock- we’re a pack! A pack of wild sheep!”

We found the film to be very similar to the plot of The Lion King, although not as serious. Grey is kind and quick-witted. There were parts of the film that had the children laughing and you quickly become a big fan of Grey, wanting him to grow up and take on responsibility.

The film features mixed messages but we saw it about friendship and how to deal with other groups who are different to you. Friendship comes in all shapes and sizes and when it’s not expected.

My children enjoyed the humour and story of the film. It’s a great, feel good, family film.

It was interesting to hear Jim Cummings voice as Magra, I grew up being a big fan of Winnie The Pooh, He is a very talented man.

The DVD is set to be released in the UK  9th April 2018

RRP: £9.99 Cat no: TRL398

We have kindly been given 2 copies of the DVD to give away, enter below via rafflecopter for your chance to win
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and condition:

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  • Winner will be drawn at random from Rafflecopter
  • Entrants must be 18 or over at time of entry
  • The winner will be contacted via email
  • Winners are required to make contact within 28 days, if a winner fails to respond a new winner will be selected
  • There is no cash alternative to the prize stated, the prize is not transferable
  • Contact details will be passed on to PR
  • The giveaway will close at midnight on 17/04/2018
  • Invalid or incomplete entries will be disqualified
  • Mumofthreemusketeers accepts no responsibility for the delivery of this prize
  • Prize will be delivered within 30 days following notification of win
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Why We Ran Dressed As Santa In March

It’s Easter time which, obviously, means that it’s time to dress up as Santa… Right?

Christmas may have been 3 months ago but that didn’t stop  just over 400 people of all ages and abilities dressing up in their festive Santas outfits and running in the St Frances Hospice’s Annual race, Santathon, in order to raise money.

Mrs Santa with her little Easter Bunny
Mrs Santa with her little Easter Bunny

Santathon was planned for last November 2017, but due to snow and ice on the ground it was postponed to March-one weekend before Easter.

It was our 4th year that we have run the race as a family. Of course, we may all start at the same time but it’s not long before I am left behind and all I can see if a sea of red ahead of me. They are always there at the finish line to cheer me on though.

The boys and their Dad have won it 4 years in a row. Dad being the first male over the line and Jak being the first under 16 to finish.

The boys before the race
The boys before the race

There is nothing quite like getting dressed up and going for a run, especially when you know it’s for a good cause. Not only is it fun, but it is such a fabulous community event with an amazing atmosphere-everyone cheering each other on and giving each other words of encouragement as you run round the streets.

The event was started by Sir Trevor Brooking, who was made a patron of St Frances Hospice, after a big warm up in the stands of Dagenham and Redbridge Football ground

Courtesy of Time 107.5
Courtesy of Time 107.5

Hands on watches and. with squeeze of a horn they were off

Courtesy of Romford Recorder
My boys up front    Courtesy of Romford Recorder

We certainly raised a few eyebrows. Can you imagine seeing hundreds of Santas: babies in prams, children, adults and even dogs pounding the streets, what a sight we must have been! Families came out of their houses to wave us on, Cars bibbed as they passed by and children banged on the windows of their homes to say hello.

You don’t have to run, many people walk the route. It’s a time to enjoy the event with friends and family.

A Rabbit amongst the santas Courtesy fo Romford Recorder
A Rabbit amongst the santas
Courtesy fo Romford Recorder

Dad and Jak were competing for the first place. Unfortunately for Jak, the stewards didn’t point him the correct route and he didn’t do the full course ( he attempted to make it up at the end after he realised that he hadn’t done the full 5k, but it wasn’t enough) He finished first, and to be honest he still would have won, if he had done the correct route but he passed the medal over to the first person that ran the whole route and that was his younger brother, Joseph. What an honourable young man my boy is.

Dad and Joseph with their trophies
Dad and Joseph with their trophies

Joseph was over the moon to be the first child under 16 to win the race, something he has been dreaming of doing. Of course, it’s not about winning but rasing money, but it means a lot to my little fella. Last year I was in hospital and couldn’t run with them, so this year he said he was doing it for me. My boy has a heart of gold.

Joseph collecting his trophy
Joseph collecting his trophy

I think that they should rethink about when the race will be next year. I’m thinking that Santathon at Easter was much more enjoyable and we certainly got the attention from the public.

St Frances Hospice is one of the largest adult hospices in the UK. They provide care and support to local people affected by a life-limiting illness, as well as their families, completely free of charge. They are an independent charity and rely on voluntary income and volunteers.

 

 

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Staccups Review – The family board game with a difference

The boys love a good board game, anything that will feed their hunger for competition. They are always eager to beat each other, in either physical or mental activities.

We have many board games and although they have the patience to sit through lengthy games it is always good to have games that are short but also fun to play. The youngest has a kind of addiction to games – if you can call it that. He will become attached to playing a game and will often play over and over until he becomes a master at playing it. He will carry the game from one room to another challenging the rest of the family to a game.

We were recently sent the game Staccups by University Games, the fast paced game that is all about quick reaction and hand eye co-ordination.

The aim of the game is to stack your cups faster than your opponent, by matching the top of the cup to the base of another. The game is fast and frantic, ideal to keep the attention of anyone but also great to develop speed and hand/eye co-ordination skills.

The game is easy to assemble; you have 32 staccups, 32 cup tops and 1 podium stand spinner.

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First you have to push the cup tops on to the bases as per the picture on the box. Once this is done, you are ready to take on your opponent and win the race. As simple as that!

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Each player has 16 cups in total, 4 of each colour; blue, pink, green and purple. Each player has to arrange their cups in front of them in 4 stacks of cups, with the podium stand placed in the middle of the players.

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To start, you need to press the button in the middle of the podium stand, this will give each player a colour of the cup to start with. You then start to stack the cups on top of each other, the base colour must match the top colour of the cup below.

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It is definitely a game of speed. The winner is the first player to stack all of their cups. If a cup can no longer be placed, you simply press the button to reveal an alternative colour until you can carry on stacking.

We had our cups stacked in base colours but another strategy could be to stack them with the top of the cup  matching.

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The whole family had great fun playing this game and quickly became popular with the youngest, challenging everyone to a duel. The game can be played with more than two players, but we are yet to play it this way.

What I like about this game is that not only is it past paced but that it requires no batteries and it helps develop quick reactions and thinking skills. It can be played almost anywhere and at anytime. We would have a quick game before leaving for school and it all stacks away neatly on to the podium stand ready for the next play. It can be stored back in the box, but it is left here on our side as it gets played a lot.

It says on the box that the game is for players 8+, my youngest is 6 and he played it. Although, I think it has nothing to do with ability it is because the coloured discs on top can come off and a small child can choke. So, if younger children do play it then they should be supervised.

Ages 8+. For 2-4 players. RRP £14.99, available at Amazon and all major toys retailers

We were sent Staccups for the purpose of this review

 

 

 

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Indoor Skydive: A Family Adventure

Ever wondered what it was like to fly?

Flying is a sensation that very few people, especially young children, get to experience. Indoor skydiving gives you a unique feeling of flying. With the use of a vertical wind tunnel you get to make your dream of flying become a reality. It is a safe and fun experience with a highly qualified instructor that teaches you to fly,step by step.

We was very lucky to have been given Family tickets for a flight experience with iFly, which has a centre at Milton Keynes.

Our flight was booked at 12pm but they require you to check in an hour before. We filled out the necessary forms in preparation for the flights, but you if you get to iFly in plenty of time you can fill them out before you fly at the centre.

Everyone in the group was introduced to the flight instructor who gives you 1-1 help in the tunnel. Our instructor was very informative and friendly. We was all briefed about what to expect inside the tunnel, watched an instructional video and then shown the hand signals that would be used for communication inside. We was all then issued our flight jumpsuits, goggles and helmet.

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The younger boys got to choose a helmet that had little teddy bears sticking out of the top. They looked so cute when they were in the tunnel and the little teddy was bobbing about in the wind.

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Once all suited up they were ready to fly

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We made our way to the flight tunnel, which had viewing all around. The vertical wind tunnel can produce 165mph wind speeds. All of the flyers lined up one by one to wait their turn to go into the tunnel and take flight with the instructor.

Before you enter the tunnel, you have to stand at the entrance with your arms stretched above your head and when the instructor gives you a thumbs up you have to lean forward towards him. The instructor then grabs your arms and leads you into the air tunnel safely so that your legs don’t catch on the entrance. Once in the middle, the instructor holds onto you until you get your balance and then he let’s go of you so that you can drift off. Once you have mastered the key flying skills you are able to try more advanced manoeuvres (but this comes with more lessons) You get to experience freefall as you float on a smooth cushion of air.

The aim is to relax and have fun. Stretch out your arms and legs and in Superman Style…Fly!

The whole experience lasts for an hour, with about 5 minutes flying in the tunnel.

We chose to have a High Flight, which was the best part of the experience. With the instructor guidance and support, they boys were flown 3-6 feet up the tunnel. They flew in a rise and fall pattern whilst turning. The High Flight happened for the last 15-20 seconds of their second flight

With no parachute, no jumping and nothing attached to them. I watched my boys fly. They were a little nervous, especially the little one, but that soon disappeared when the adrenaline kicked in.

Their faces say it all. They said that the feeling was unforgettable, they felt light and free.

We give iFly indoor skydiving a big thumbs up
We give iFly indoor skydiving a big thumbs up

The whole experience was definitely one to remember. The instructor was patient, professional and encouraging. My boys didn’t stop smiling for days (and that’s not because the wind in the tunnel had such force that it made it that way). At the end of the experience they were rewarded with a certificate which showed what flying skills they had mastered.

My son won this experience after I entered him into a competition that was run by Coca Cola and blogger Emmys Mummy and Harry Too to uncover an unsung hero. I nominated my son as he was my rock whilst I was having treatment for Cancer and is always putting others first. He is a very determined young boy and deserved a treat. He was my hero and still is.

Thank you for choosing us 🙂

 

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