Customising with Gel-a-peel #review

I love a good craft project, especially when its one that combines summer and neon pens.

I had never heard of Gel-a-peel before, maybe because my boys are more into football or climbing trees. But when we was contacted and asked to join in on the gel-a-peel summer campaign I couldn’t wait to introduce it to my boys. The box itself doesn’t really appeal to my boys as it was a little girly but once I showed them what the pens could do they were showing signs of interest.

20170810_194726

We was sent a gel-a-peel box which contains 3 glow in the dark pens and a pair of sunglasses for the boys to decorate and customise to their own taste.

What’s in the box:

  • 3 glow in the dark gel tubes
  • 16+ design templates
  • Gel tray with shapes and letters
  • 4 designed tips
  • 1 plastic sheet
  • Instruction sheet
  • Cleaning tools

20170810_195435

The pens are easy to use. They come in 30g tubes and made from silicone. You can create any fashion accessory in 4 easy steps

  1. Choose a template or create your own
  2. Pick a colour gel pen and a tip
  3. Place the plastic sheet over the chosen template and trace over it. Use some tape to secure it to the table (your drawing sheet may slip otherwise) Once finished leave it to dry. Each template tells you how long it takes for it to dry
  4. Once dry, peel it off and now your ready to wear/use it

20170810_201658

We found that when you are tracing over the template onto the plastic sheet you need to make sure that the lines are nice and thick, be generous with the pen but try to keep it even. Overlap the lines and reinforce thin spots. Our bangle, in the shape of a cherry snapped when we was putting it on, but the magic of these pens is that they can easily be fixed. Just apply more gel to the break and wait for it to dry.

The boys made me a lovely bracelet following the instructions. They also used the tray to make some letters and using the gel pens they attached them to the bracelet

20170811_111801

20170811_112051

Cute isn’t it!

These pens are such a brilliant idea, fun and easy to use.

My son couldn’t wait to decorate his sunglasses with the pens.

20170810_201919

He chose the fine tip to decorate around the frames and a the star tip to leave little stars on the arms.

 

20170810_201836

The tips included are round tip, rake tip and star tip. Remove the cap and plug from a gel tube, then twist on your chosen tip. The longer you squeeze the bigger the shape will be. These tips help you create different effects.

Once you have finished with a pen and tip just place the lid back on the pen and clean out the tip with the tool provided. I found that the next day, once the gel had set and dried I could easily pull it out of the tip ready to use again with another pen.

The Tray is easy to use, not only does it have the alphabet in capital letters but also, numbers, 4 emojis and 5 different shapes. You use the round tip to completely fill in the shapes and then use the cleaning tool to remove out any bubbles in the gel. Then use the squeegee tool to remove any excess gel from the tray. Once your chosen shapes are filled in leave them to dry, loosen them with the cleaning tool and just peel them out ready to use on your designs.

He chose to use some of the shapes to decorate his sunglasses

20170811_111838

We left our sunglasses over night to completely dry out before we wore them.

My son was really pleased with his glasses, it makes them extra special as they are his own design. He couldn’t wait to try them out in the sun.

20170811_120324

They have been packed and ready to use on holiday. His very own customised pair of sunglasses, an original that he knows that no one else with have. This pack of pens are glow in the dark so will be ideal for customising any accessory ready for the summer festivals

The pens are a really good idea for any child to get creative, they are advised for children over the age of 8.

My only complaint about them is that the advertising is aimed at girls and really boys will enjoy this activity just as much. As you can see from my son’s face in the above pictures, he enjoyed the activity and the outcome of his design.

Gel-a-peel is available to buy from £14.99

We was sent a box for the purpose of this review

Keeping the Children Busy with Rock Painting Activity

Summer holidays are well and truly here but in Great British style the weather is not! The hot summer days seem to be over now and we are left with windy, rainy days instead. Weather like this makes it hard for us parents to keep the children entertained outdoors, especially when it comes to keeping the budget at a low cost.

Since the children have finished school for the summer we have had pretty crap weather, I don’t want to keep the children indoors (otherwise my house looks like a bomb site) I want to see them outdoors enjoying the time that they have off school, playing with friends and making new ones.

I came across a Facebook page called ‘Love on the rocks uk’. It’s a page where people paint on rocks then hide them for others to find. All they ask of you is to get creative as you want with a rock and some paints and then write on the back “love on the rocks” with the Facebook symbol then hide the rock within your community; a park, forest or a beach promenade. Take a photo of it and share it on Facebook for other rock hunters to find it. Once found, the hope is that people will look up the Facebook page and join in with the fun.

This activity is cheap and fun. Not only are you getting creative but also getting out and about in the great outdoors.

We visited Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex for the Wind in the Willows Trail and whilst we was there we found some rocks to paint on. We took some felt tip pens and sharpies with us. Found a quite spot to sit down at and got drawing

IMG_20170726_091218_202

That’s what is great about this activity it keeps the children busy, it’s fun and they get to explore at the same time.

20170725_153139

The eldest drew a sunset onto his rock, using tippex for the shadow on the sea

20170725_154559

Our little collection of love on the rocks

We found a few spots in Hanningfield to hide them and left them feeling very happy with ourselves, that maybe we can put a smile onto someones face.

Would love to see the face of the child/adult that finds these rocks. They’re not a work of art but they are fun

A shadow of a cat sat in front of a sunset
A shadow of a cat sat in front of a sunset
Love on the rocks written on the back
Love on the rocks written on the back

Why not join in on the fun. Wouldn’t it be fun to spread the love of rocks further afield. I am thinking of hiding some abroad

 

 

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.

20170406_185601

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

 

20170406_190755

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.

20170405_182335

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

20170406_190907

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

20170406_191020

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.

20170406_191202

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.

Easy Sewing Project – Fabric Button Flowers

If you have any left over pieces of fabric laying around the house these cute button flowers are simple and quick to make anyone can do it. There is no need for a sewing machine as they stitched up by hand. They take about 5-10 minutes to make and will make the ideal accessory to add to sewing, craft or homeware projects. In fatc they are a perfect first project for children to be introduced to sewing with.

I am thinking of making some girls hair accesories with the ones that I have made, so have ordered some colourful alice headbands and some hair clips. You could add them onto cards, brooches, baskets and throws.

 

20170114_160815

You Will Need:

  • Mixed fabric pieces. Any size will do, depends on the size of the flowers that you want to achieve
  • Buttons. Any colour, be experimental and add patterend ones. Again no size specific.
  • Cotton
  • Sewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Pen/pencil/marker/tracing wheel

Method:

  • First choose a piece of material and draw around a circular object. I used a big soup mug, but a small serving plate will do. Remember the flowers will be smaller as the edges get pulled into the middle

20170114_144644

Cut out the circle with the scissors and thread the needle with the cotton. Tie a knot in the end of the cotton

  • Using a running stitch, stitch around the edge of the circle, not too close incase it frays. About 0.4 cm away from the edge. Stitch all the way round until you come to the first stitch. You can stitch on either side of the fabric but I like to use the underside

20170114_155936

  • Pull the cotton until the edge gathers into the middle and sew into place just to secure the edge in.

20170114_145357

  • It doesn’t matter if the edge is seen it will be covered by the button. Now attach the button to the middle.

20170114_150134

Go wild with your colours, experiment with different style and shaped button. Depending on the size of the fabric circle you can make small or large flowers.

I’m looking forward to experimenting with my new fabric flowers.

Easter/Spring Crafts with Yellow Moon

It’s Easter weekend, you’ve been out hunting for your eggs, eaten your weight in chocolate and now the rain has started to pour down. You’re exhausted in what activities to keep your children entertained, especially when the weather outside is dismal. What can you do? Why not take a look at www.yellowmoon.org.uk. An online store full of art and crafts supplies.

Being part of the Yellow Moon bloggers programme, ment that we were sent our seasonal package full of easter craft sets for us to try out. The sets are ideal if you’re not very crafty and lack in ideas (perfect for me) plus everything is included in the pack that you would need to create an art master piece.

Here are some of the Easter sets that we received

 

yelloe dots

 

Easy Dotty Sticker Art comes with 8 assorted designs including a chick, lamb, bunny rabbit and an Easter egg. Each pack contains 16 sheets of assorted colours and sizes of dotty stickers.

The dots are easy to peel. You get to choose the colours that you want to use. This activity kept myself and the children busy for a while. The result is pretty and are perfect for hanging up on the wall at Easter time. I love how the vibrant colours of the dots stand out against the black background.

yellow easter box

The Easter gift boxes comes in 4 assorted designs- chick,bunny,Easter egg and a daffodil. The designs are pre printed onto the box, decorate with felt tip pens or crayons. They are easy to fold and put together, just secure in place with some tape once closed. We filled ours with some of the Easter tissue and then placed some eggs inside ready to hid in the arden for the children to find them. They are ideal for placing gifts or chocolates inside for friends or family. Or even to give out as a party treat box, allow your guests to colour them in forst and then place a slice of cake inside to take home.

 

easter wood

The Easter wooden shape pack comes with 10 assorted designs-Easter basket, daffodil, chick, butterfly, chicken, lamb, chick in an egg, bunny, bunny head and an Easter egg. Made from 3mm plywood, approx. 8-13cm wide. Decorate with felt tips pens or acrylic paint. Ideal for any Easter activity. The eldest has saved a few of the shapes so that he can make a wind chime with them . The youngest coloured his in with felt tips and then stuck a lollypop stick onto the back so that they could be placed into the ground during his Easter egg hunt. He even placed some yellow feathers onto the chickens tail.

easter basket

The Spring baskets come in 4 assorted colours – blue, pink, yellow and green. Each kit contains card basket templates, card handle and split pins. Each side of the basket template and the handle are decorated with a different pattern, flowers on one side and gingham check on the other. Contrast your basket by changing the pattern. The instructions are easy to follow. Fold along the lines and then slot the pieces together. There are already pre-cut holes where the split pins go, so they are really easy to make. We filled our ones with some of the shredded tissue and then the boys went off into the garden for their egg hunt

IMG_20160325_181917

They managed to fill them up with the goodies they found in the garden. I think they got quite a lot into them. They are ideal for spring parties or displays.

 

easter bunny

The Easter bunny mix and match kit comes with 8 assorted designs. Design your bunny by mixing up his/her clothes and accessories. Decorate your bunny with a hat, shoes, bow tie or flower, t- shirt or dress and no bunny is complete without holding onto an egg. The foam decorations are pre cut and easy to peel away from the backing. These bunnies are perfect to hang around your house or to hang on your Easter tree. You could even stick them onto some paper an creat a bigger picture.

yellow paint

The paint pad comes in 4 colours – red, blue, yellow and green. Each paint section is approx. 7.5 x 7.5cm. Ideal for finger painting or use with stamps. We made sping flower cards for our friends. The pads are fun to use and the paint easily washes off. It dries really quickly and is quite watery.

We have thoroughly enjoyed our Yellow Moon spring craft sets. They have kept the children entertained on rainy days.

We have been provided the craft sets for the purpose of this review

 

 

Creating crafts from nature : Our morning at RSPB Rainham Marshes

DSC_3882 (1)-opt

Outdoors, Nature and crafts. Just about sums up my family.

We love to be out and about and I’m always encouraging the boys to use their imagination more when it comes to the outdoors. My boys love science and nature. They can often be found sitting amongst the mud, dirt ground into their pores and deep into their nails, searching for signs of living creatures. In fact my middle boy, who is 8, wants to become a zoologist when he is older. He says he wants to explore the hidden depths of Earth to find new living animals.

We was recently invited along to an event that was very local to us at RSPB Rainham Marshes to meet a fellow Mum and author Hattie Garlick, for the launch of her new book Born to be Wild. Hattie Garlick is a writer and journalist.  She has written for The Times, The Guardian, The Spectator and The Huffington Post amongst others, and also writes the blog Free Our Kids where she received lots of press coverage for pledging to not spend a penny on her children for a year!  She’s a passionate modern eco-warrior.

We was promised a morning of fun and that is certainly what we got. Our day started off with a walk through the nature reserve, led by Rainham Marshes expert Louise. We was shown the ant hills, there were tons of them and what a teasel was. A tall brown, prickly plant. It was very popular with the children and they all wanted to take one home with them. Without harming the reserve, they was all given a magic wand to carry.

PhotoGrid_1458506234027

 

As we walked over the bridge, we looked out along the water to search for voles. The boys loved being outdoors and revelled in the surroundings. My Joseph was in his element. He had taken along his nature book and was constantly looking through it to see what he could spot.

As we arrived at the hide, where we was to meet Hattie Garlick for a spot of crafts and lunch. We all gathered outside amongst the grass where the children ran around feeling the wind on their little faces and pretending to be certain animals. Mimicking their movements and noises. It was good fun. They enjoyed frolicking around on the grass.

We made our way inside for a little warm up and an introduction to Hattie and her adorable little assistant, her daughter Frida. Hattie spoke about her book and how we should allow our children to take the lead when it comes to crafting with nature. Let their imaginations run wild and see what wonderful twists and turns they take.

“Born To Be Wild is an inspirational book packed with over 100 activites to reconnect your family to the outdoors.  User friendly, you can flick through to the relevant season and materials you find (for example sticks, stones, blossom…) and find a fun and interatctive activity to do with your children.  The ideas can be easily adapted so they are suitable for children of all ages. Beautifully illustrated with colour photos by Nancy Honey this book is sure to become a family favourite.”

The activities in the book promise to be easy on the wallet and planet and most importantly fun for all the family. Hattie believes that children have the wildest imagination and Nature allows it to become free.

Hattie invited us all outside for a spot of pond dipping to get closer to nature

After a quick introduction from Louise we was ready to give it a go.

DSC_3863-opt

 

I was little apprehensive allowing the youngest to get so close to the water, he doesn’t see danger and was leaning right over the edge trying his best to scoop up some living things with his net. But one look at his face and I knew I had to let him try. He was loving it. IMG_20160319_122859-opt

We found lots of pond minibeasts around the reeds in the water. We got quite a water nature haul, finding a Whirligig Beetle, biting midge larva, damselfly nymph, blood worm and water mites.

After our fun outside, we made our way inside for a spot of nature crafts with Hattie. On each table was a selection of object for us to make an Easter tree with, some from the outdoors and some from the craft cupboard.

DSC_3862-opt

We filled our jar with some soil that had been gathered up for us beforehand and then placed some twigs into the soil, pushing down deep for it to stay. Then all was left to do was allow the boys to use their imagination and see what they come up with. The boys enjoyed getting messy, in fact Hattie said the messier the better

DSC_3875-opt

The boys used wool, paint, glitter, tissue paper, flowers and ribbon to brighten up the twig and produce an Easter tree perfect for any living room. It was bright and colourful and lots of fun.

PhotoGrid_1458506575224

 

Hattie gave out prices to all of the children that created a nature project. Joseph was given a book about wolves. He loves to read and was over the moon with his prize.

DSC_3876-opt

We had  a wonderful morning at the reserve, learning about nature and meeting Hattie Garlick. I think Hattie had made a friend for life in my boy, he adored her and now carries her book about with him.

IMG_20160319_135652-opt

 

This short film sums up our morning with Hattie and RSPB

Read about Hattie’s book Born to Wild here The book contains easy to follow instructions for over 250 activities that requires nothing more than a small persons imagination and the outdoors. The book guides you through each season. It introduces you to the toolkit that you will need, just normal everyday household items, collect everything together and place them into a bag ready to use on your next outdoor adventure.

Born to Wild is available to buy for £16.99 here

We was invited along to the event for the purpose of this post, no payment has been received 

Born to be Wild : Hundreds of Nature activities for families

Want to save cash, your child’s imagination and possibly even the planet?  This is the book you need.

born

If you yearn to get your children off the Xbox, away from the iPad and back to nature, Born to be Wild by Hattie Garlick provides an essential guide to getting your family out of the house, immersed in the outdoors and having fun, without costing the earth.

The average British child watches over 17 hours of TV per week, a figure that has risen 12% since 2007, despite the rival attractions of the internet. Britain’s 11-15 year olds are so addicted to their electronic devices that they spend 7½ hours a day in front of a screen – an increase of 40% in a decade and around half their waking lives.  A generation ago, half of British children regularly played in wild places, now it is less than one in ten.

“This book is written by a parent… one who is neither an Earth Mama making her own yoghurt from a yurt, nor a countess with a country pile in the Cotswolds.  One who has real kids – the kind who throw tantrums and worship at the altar of the Sky box.”   Hattie Garlick

Packed with beautiful photos of real families taken by award-winning photographer Nancy Honey, the book provides hundreds of fun activities to embrace nature, from ‘Building a Butterfly Feeder’ and ‘Making a Bark Monster’, to ‘Take off your Shoes and Socks and… Stomp’.

With simple instructions for those times when your creativity needs a bit of a kickstart – whether you are looking for activities for Mini Matisses or small scientists, adventures that take ten minutes, or that absorb whole afternoons – all that’s required is a small person’s imagination and access to a little outdoor space.

Organised by season and then by material, the book lets you skip straight to Spring, then ‘Blossom’, ‘Grass’ or ‘Earth’, depending on what you and your family would like to explore. Everything you need to engage in and create hundreds of activities can be found in your kitchen cupboard.  No expensive art supplies or outward-bound kit required, merely Hattie’s suggested ‘toolkit’ listed at the front of the book, featuring everyday household items including scissors, rubber bands, glue and an empty jam jar or two.

“Hattie Garlick has the wonderful knack of engaging whole families in nature, in ways that are exciting, easy to do, and require little more than a child’s boundless imagination”

RSPB

The book is available to buy here for £16.99

This is a press release. Blog post coming soon with more detail about our day with Hattie Garlick