Young Driver Experience – A day to Remember

Could you imagine learning to drive before the age of 17?

At Young Driver, a center that gives children from the age of 10 an opportunity to get behind the wheel and experience driving with a qualified instructor. Children can learn to drive at one of the 60 UK centers where they are taught in a specially designed training area. The training area includes; sharp bends, mini round-about, parking spaces, traffic lights, and junctions.

Young Driver follow the Driving Standards Agency curriculum, which means that what 10 – 17s learn at YOUNG DRIVER is exactly the same as they will learn on the road at 17. The children are given a Drive Diary to record their progress and this is one of the most important parts of the programme – moving forward is the aim!

Their personalised Drive Diary charts individual progress and current level of driving and is completed by the instructor after each driving session. The instructor talks them through it and explains where they could do with some more help or whether they can progress to the next step. The Drive Diary can be given over to their driving instructor when they begin their official lessons at the age of 17 and the instructor will then know what their experience level is.

 

My son, who is 14 years old, was lucky enough to be invited along to the Bluewater Center to experience for himself what it is like to drive a car. The center itself, is situated within the blue car park at Bluewater shopping center. There is a section of car park outside that is specifically designed for a  beginners’ zone, that has a full road system with traffic signs, road markings, junctions and parking zones. In this way it encourages responsible driving.

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As soon as we had arrived, he was called up by his instructor and taken along to the car that he would be driving. Before he could turn the key he underwent a safety check and was taught how to use the mirrors, signal and when to manoeuvre. He had full control over the steering wheel and pedals, however the instructor had pedals that would over power his if an accident were to happen. He started off slowly, to get used to the feel of the steering and clutch. Not long on the road and he was soon snaking in-between cones and maneuvering the car into a figure of eight in the parking lot. Whilst, he was driving he was continuously given advise and constructive criticism from the instructor. He spent 60 minutes out on the road, building up his confidence and learning some important skills of control and responsibility. He now knows how to drive safely and properly, putting him leaps and bounds ahead of other 17 year olds.

His instructor was fantastic, professional and made him feel safe at all times.

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Since his experience, he has become more road aware and is definitely more confident and prepared for when he can hit the road.

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We made a video of his experience

My son certainly left with a big smile on his face and is now eager to get behind the wheel.

I would highly recommend the experience for any young child who wants to get ahead of their peers and become a much safer driver. A very valuable and worthwhile experience.

30 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £34.95

60 minute lesson – 10-17yrs – £64.95

To find out more about the experience or to make a booking, head on over to their website www.youngdriver.com

We was given this experience for the purpose of this review.

Disney Pixars Cars 3 Franchise review

We love a bit of Disney in our household, especially after our recent visit to EuroDisney. The boys have a newfound love for it and are enjoying it even more. They are spending more of an interest in Disney films and the characters; from the old ones to the new.

Disney isn’t just all about tiaras and marrying princes there are also many of the old classics like Lion King, Bambi and Pinocchio – also not forgetting the high-speed, blazing fast racers of Cars.

One of the latest Disney films to be released on 14th July, 2017 is Cars 3. The legendary Lightening Mcqueen strikes again and finds himself out of the game when a next gen- racer Jackson Storm hits the Piston Cup. Hoping to get back in the game, Lightening seeks the help of a young technician Cruz Ramirez.

Disney have announced an exciting new product collection that will bring the high-speed action of the highly anticipated Disney•Pixar film Cars 3 to households nationwide.

The boys already have the previous DVDs of Cars and a few of the franchises to play with. So they were all revved up when they were sent some of the latest products to review.

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Jackson Storm Remote Control Car RRP £17.99 (disney store)

Lightening McQueen Speed Launcher By LEGO Juniors RRP £7.99 (disney store)

Cars 3 Drinks Bottle RRP £6.99 (disney store)

Cars 3 Book of the Film By Parragon RRP £5.99 (asda)

Lightening McQueen LEGO Launcher – The youngest couldn’t wait to get stuck in and as his older brother – who absolutely loves LEGO – was away he took the chance to start with the speed launcher. He doesn’t normally show an interest, as much as his brother, for Lego but he was really excited to build the car. The sets are ideal for children aged 5-7

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It was easy to build – just as the box says with simple to follow instructions. He started with the car first and then on to the launcher.

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The instructions are picture related, so he found them easy to follow and keep up with. Each page showing you what pieces were needed for that particular part.

Whats great about this set is that it is a usable toy after it is built. The wheels turn and the launcher actually works. It doesn’t launch the car very far but it is still fun to build and play with. It also gives the children a sense of achievement and pride, having built something by themselves. He would normally take sets apart once he had built them but this one has stayed by his bedside and is being used every day. He was very proud of himself for putting it together.

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Jackson Storm Remote Control Car – Get the feel of what it’s like to race in the Piston Cup with this remote control car. It may be small but it is very powerful. The car is a designed in detail with some impressive artwork and comes with a steering-wheel controller. The controller is easy to use; it drives forward and backwards, steers left and right. It is the perfect size for little hands and simple to use

20170622_070613The actual size of the Car  is L15 x H5 x W7cm approx.

Any child that loves Cars would fall in love with this little beauty. It is rear wheel driven and very responsive. It is turned on by using the middle button on the centre of the wheel control. We found that If it is not used for a while it tends to turn it self off and all you have to do is press the button again to get it working.

The design is sleek and very eye-catching, It is a solid and sturdy car. We took it to the garden to see how well it would drive over the patio (excuse the weeds)

The boys have had so much fun with this car. I do believe that there are more to collect, so you could hold your own Piston Cup and see who could be the winner.

Cars 3 Drinks Bottle – These drinks bottles are ideal for little racers to keep hydrated, with detailed artwork of Lightening McQueen and Jackson Storm, they are bright to look at and perfect for pack lunches. They have a rubber tyre detail around the bottom of the bottle giving little hands that extra grip when drinking from the bottle, but also keeps them sturdy when placed on to the table.

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The lid also has the tyre detail with a button to open it. Once the lid flips open it has a flexible straw hidden within.

The bottle holds 12oz and is only designed for cold drinks only. They are easy to come apart to wash and store well in the cupboard. The size of the bottle also makes them perfect to fit into lunch bags.

I found that with the fun designs the boys were asking for their bottles to be filled up more than normal, they make drinking cool!

Cars 3 Book of the Film – This 144 page paper-back book with an 8 page full colour insert is excellent for any budding reader. Once you have watched the film you can relive it again and again in this book.

‘When the legendary Lightening Mcqueen is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves by a new generation of blazing racers, he needs to get back in the game, and FAST! Can #95 prove that he isn’t out of the game yet? The next Piston Cup will test the heart of a champion on racing’s biggest stage!’

With seven Piston Cups wins under his belt and an undying passion for motor sport, can Mcqueen ride carry on riding high with the new generation of blazing racers?

There are many new characters in this new book, including Jackson Storm and Cruz Ramirez.

I have been trying to encourage my youngest away from books that have more picture than text and this book certainly meets that criteria. Apart from the 8 page full colour insert there are no more illustrations throughout the book. This means that he can concentrate on the story without being distracted by the pictures. Although the illustrations that are in the book are very colourful and good, which does help with the imagination.

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He is really enjoying reading the book and it is keeping him engaged.

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The book is ideal for young readers who are developing their reading skills.

These Cars 3 products have helped the children carry on with their newfound love of Disney. We are carrying on the magic at home.

We was sent these products for the purpose of this review

Pointillism Art For Children

My boys enjoy arts and crafts but are not exactly talented in the subject- but that doesn’t mean they do not attempt to draw or make things.

Art is all about expressing your self, being as creative as you want and to enjoy yourself.

The boys came home with a letter from school a few weeks back, inviting them to participate in an art competition – called take one picture

The oldest boy was very excited about it and straight from the start knew what he wanted to do, the youngest one wasn’t very confident and said that he couldn’t draw or paint and was useless at art. This upset me, children are not useless at anything they just need encouragement and assistance in finding the right medium for them to use.

The task was to create a picture using ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’ by Georges Seurat’ as inspiration.

They boys tried painting a water-colour picture but they was not very happy with the outcome. So I pointed out that if they wanted to do pointillism then using an ear bud might work.

Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.

They experimented on a scrap piece of work first and then they were ready for the final picture.

Dipping their ear bud into the paint and then dabbing it onto the paper to create a series of dots that made up an image

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First, they did the outline of the shapes that they wanted in the picture

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Then, they filled it in

Dabbing away with the ear bud – creating little dots

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I think it is really effective

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I am loving the eldest boys final picture.

He has said that he doesn’t really mind if he doesn’t win because he is very happy with the final result and would like to display it in his bedroom later on.

This type of art medium can be used for any pictures, and for any ability

 

 

Keeping hydrated with Robinsons Fruit Shoot Hydro #itsmything

During school holidays, kids are always on the go and need to stay refreshed. My boys are very active and always on the go, keeping them hydrated whilst they are doing physical activities is very important to their health.

‘Fruit Shoot has launched It’s My Thing, a campaign that celebrates real kids doing what they’re passionate about and champions their self-expression and individuality.

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Research commissioned by Fruit Shoot revealed that 80% of UK parents think that children are under too much pressure today, with 80% also agreeing that this pressure is limiting their creativity and individuality.

Parents love Fruit Shoot because with real fruit and an on-the-go format, it gives them the freedom to let their kids do their thing. Therefore, we want to start a conversation about modern childhood and parenthood and support parents who want their kids to have the freedom to discover and indulge in their passions (their ‘things’) and not feel pressured to follow an expected or set path. We want to celebrate kids who are doing their thing and encourage parents to let their kids’ have the freedom to express themselves.’

Fruit Shoot want to support parents to let their children express themselves and find the ‘thing’ that they love and enjoy doing – because finding their thing is everything.

Robinsons have been Working with kids nutritional expert Jo Travers, together they have developed a range of top tips on staying refreshed during the half term, how much children should be drinking, and highlighting the importance of doing so whilst taking part in fun activities.

Did you know that the amount of fluid a child needs to drink depends on many factors including their age and gender, the weather and how active they are? Children aged 5-11 should be consuming about 6-8 glasses of water a day.

A recommended daily amount of fruit and vegetable juice should be limited it at one small glass (150ml) and they should really only be drunk at mealtimes. The best choice of drink to keep hydrated throughout the day is water – this doesn’t provide extra energy or risks them harming their teeth

Here are some of Jo Travers Top Tips For Keeping Kids Hydrated

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The boys and I was invited along to join in with an activity session at The Castle Climbing Centre, where the children got to sweat it out and take part in a 90 minute climbing experience. Fruit Shoot Hydro was there to help them stay refreshed

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The sun was shining so it was quite a warm day so even more of a reason to stay hydrated whilst working up a sweat.

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The boys enjoyed their session of climbing, pushing their bodies to the limit. Learning new techniques meant that they needed to keep hydrated, not just for energy but to keep them focused on the activity as well.

Climbing is definitely something that I should get my son into, he absolutely loved it and was in his element being able to climb the walls without Mummy telling him to get down. He just has a talent for it; with good techniques and a natural ability to climbing. We have obviously found ‘his thing’

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Castle Climbing is an amazing place to go and experience indoor climbing, run by ‘climber’ for ‘climbers’. Housing over 450 roped and lead routes from 8m to 13m in height and an extensive range of bouldering surfaces. Set over 5 floors – with floor to ceiling climbing walls for all abilities.

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what’s not lo love about climbing, my little monkeys were in their element

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After the boys had tried their hands at the sport, they was treated to some light refreshments and of course a bottle of Hydro to help them quench their first after some strenuous climbing. They enjoyed the drink going in for more and also grabbing an extra bottle for the journey home. I encourage the boys to drink water all the time, it is our preferred drink but I was very happy to give them the Hydro Fruit Shoot as it has no added colouring, flavours and sugar.

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The key benefits of Fruit Shoot Hydro are :

It is a natural flavoured spring water drink

No artificial colours or flavouring added

Zero sugar – gets a big thumbs up from us

Each bottle has a re-sealable cap; handy for on the go, lunch boxes and hand bags

We had a lovely day at Castle Climbing Centre, learning how to keep the children hydrated whilst they are keeping fit and experiencing a new sport.

Carrot Cake Doughnuts – What’s your NumNoms Crazy Creation?

Num Noms are all about crazy food creations, the little cute, scented characters are all about creating your own flavour fusion by mixing a little num with a little nom. It’s a recipe for mischief with so many different combinations.

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We’ve seen the Cronut (donut and croissant combination), a genius idea, which brought together two of our favourite pastry items into one amazing desert. Next it was the turn of green tea cake, for the slightly more health conscious, which saw a refreshing cake born from a popular hot beverage. More recently, Marks and Spencer introduced the Croloaf, a loaf of bread make out of croissants –yum!

But they are old news and now it is time for Num Noms fans to take to the kitchen and create their own Crazy Creations inspired by the different Num Noms themes and flavours.

We was invited along to join the next Num Noms foodie campaign. we were challenged to get creative in the kitchen to combine the wackiest of flavours and make the tastiest of food combination.

First we had a look through the num noms menu for some inspiration

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We picked out the num noms that we wanted to work with and then set to it in the kitchen to create our foodie masterpiece

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We picked out

  • Maple Sugars who is from the doughnut family
  • Bunny carrot who is a veggie
  • Softy Mallow who is a marshmallow
  • Blueberry Stampit

And we came up with a carrot doughnut with a blueberry and marshmallow centre

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 caster sugar
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • oil for frying
  • blueberries
  • mini marshmallows

Method:

  • Combine the dry ingredients together; flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg
  • Add in the oil, milk, carrot and egg and mix well
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Test the oil with a crumb of bread, if it sizzles and turns brown it’s ready.
  • Using a tablespoon, drop the mixture a spoonful at a time into the hot oil. Don’t over fill the spoon as i found that the smaller the better for the doughnut to be cooked all the way through
  • Fry until light brown all the way around the doughnut, about 2 minutes each side.
  • Remove from hot oil and drain on some paper towels
  • Cut a little hole in the bottom of the doughnut and push in a blueberry and marshmallow
  • Sprinkle with a little icing sugar and drizzle with maple syrup

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These doughnuts are super yummy! They are soft and very tasty. Perfect for an afternoon treat or to put into pack lunches.

What better way to get your children into the kitchen then getting them to create a num nom crazy creation.

Why not join in on the num nom fun, simply create a crazy creation using num noms as your inspiration and share on social media using #numnomscrazycreation dont forget to tag @NumNomsUK

 

Num Noms Series 3 Lunch Box Review

Num noms are cute, scented little collectible squishy figures that when mixed together create a flavour fusion. Stack them up to create your very own wacky flavour combination.

I have never come across such a toy that smells so divine, they make me hungry just looking at them let alone the delicious aroma that comes from the cute little characters.

As soon as you open up the packaging the first thing that gets you is the smell, oh my they smell delicious. It’s like walking into a sweet shop or ice cream parlour, they smell so sweet and yummy.

We was sent a Series 3 Lunchbox to review

20170509_165959There are 85+ Num Noms to collect in series 3. The Nums are cute little squishy characters and the Noms are either scented stamps or eraser. Stack the Nums on top of the Noms and create over 1500 sweet combinations.

What’s in the box?

  • 9 scented nums: 3 Donuts, 3 Candy, 3 Fruit & veggies
  • 1 mystery Num
  • 2 Scented eraser and stamp
  • Collectors menu
  • The box can be reused as a storage case

Watch our unboxing video to see what treats we got in our lunch box

apologies for the last bit of the filming the camera gave up on me

My boy can play for ages with these Num Noms, he especially likes to stack them up really high until they fall down.20170509_205451

He also likes the thrill of opening them up and seeing what he has got to tick them off on the collectors menu

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Everything about this toy is really cute, even the handle on the lunch box is quirky in the shape of a spoon

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There are two different style lunch boxes to collect one has the donuts Nums in and the other has marshmallows. The box is priced at £16.99 in Smyths Toy store

Keep an eye out for our next post on Num Noms foodie crazy creation. What will we be cooking up in the kitchen using NumNoms as an inspiration.

We was supplied with a Num Noms lunchbox for the purpose of this review

 

Developing Imagination and Creativity with #Starwarsreads and Giveaway

To celebrate Starwarsreads Egmont have invited along 10 bloggers to participate and help promote the Star Wars books during the month of April ready for Star Wars Day on May the 4th. Egmont have asked us to join them.

With a house full of boys this campaign seemed like an ideal one for the boys to get their teeth stuck into, especially when I found out that one of the books that we would be receiving was a ‘Make & Do’ book. I am always encouraging the children to not only read a good range of books but also to become more creative in their artwork.

We was sent 3 books to read and look through20170405_182147

The Star Wars Make & Do book is ideal for budding artists, young and old. I love a good craft and this book has some amazing crafts to try out. My son and I couldn’t wait to make up a finger puppet from the book.20170405_182319

Joseph is a Yoda fan, he is, so obviously this was the first activity we tried. The instructions are easy to follow, numbered and illustrated. It tells you the list of materials you will need.

Firstly we drew around my sons finger on a piece of paper to get the size of the finger puppet. We cut it out and used it as a template to get Yoda’s body and cloak. I drew the shape of Yoda’s head using the picture on the book as a template. Using the template we cut out two heads on green felt. The only thing we did differently to the instructions was to use a glue gun to attach the body together and a material felt pen for the face instead of using a needle and thread.

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Once gluing all the pieces together we added on Yoda’s hand, eyes and lightsaber

 

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What do you think of our mini Yoda Finger Puppet? We love it and so does Big Yoda

I couldn’t wait to attempt in a drawing so decided upon trying to draw Obi Wan. Following the step by step instructions, I summoned my skills to sketch the wise warrior.

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The Art Pad is on the right hand side of the book and the activity book on the left hand side.

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I am pretty chuffed with myself. It was a quick sketch and only took me about 10 minutes. I absolutely love activity books like this

Check out this flippy

 

It truly is an awesome book that will help you create cool crafts, design your own masterpieces and bring your own ideas and drawings to life.

Relive the story of Star Wars with The Force Awakens Illustrated Story Book. In The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister first order has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed. With the support of the Republic, General Leia Organa leads a brave resistance. She is desperate to find her brother, Luke, and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy.

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This book has beautiful illustrations, at first I thought they were photographs from the film but when you look closely you can see that they are drawings

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Every page has an illustration on it, making it an ideal book for children to follow. It is intended for children from 6 through to 8. My children are 5 and 9 and they both enjoyed flicking through the pages and looking at the cool pictures. This book consists of 125 pages, which doesn’t have many words to read but that’s just what a story book is.

The Star Wars Rogue One Book is aimed more for the older children, a junior Novel that doesn’t contain any images leaving your children to use their imagination when reading it. Relive the excitement of the film with this action packed story. The rebel alliance has learned of the existence of a terrifying imperial weapon, capable of destroying entire planets: the Death Star. A thrilling tale of ordinary people who choose to do an extraordinary things.

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These book will make a perfect addition to any child’s bookshelf.

As i said at the beginning of the post that this was a starwarsreads campaign with 10 bloggers involved, take a look at http://icklepickleslife.co.uk to read what they think of the books that they were sent, also try your luck with in their giveaway too

Egmont are giving a lucky reader the chance to win the Make & Do book as well as Adventures in Wild Space books for young readers

For a chance to win these awesome books then enter via the rafflecopter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions:

  • Competition ends 4th May 2017 at midday
  • Open to UK residents only
  • The prize will be sent directly from Egmont
  • The winner will be drawn by rafflecopter
  • The winner will receive an email and will need to respond within 24 hours in order to receive the prize

Good Luck 🙂

We was sent a copy of the books for the purpose of this review and giveaway. This is a collaboration post.