Encouraging my Children to be Adventurous

‘Fill your life with adventures and with stories to tell’

Children need adventure, they need to experience risk in order to develop their ability to deal with situations and to build up their self confidence. It encourages them to be more resilient and to think for themselves. Whether the adventure be small or big, indoors or out children should be experiencing adventure to build up their skills and to able to assess the danger around them. Not only do children develop trust, empathy and compassion but they  learn to master their own fears and are able to help others get through them.

As parents we should be teaching our children to assess the danger and how to deal with the risk of being adventurous. As much as I want to wrap my boys up in cotton wool and lock them away from any danger I know that I must allow them to experience adventure to gain knowledge and new skills.

I want my boys to have memories of us being adventurous together and hopefully they will last a lifetime and something that they will then take on with their own families.

I want us to visit new places together.

I want us to try new challenges, like rock climbing and diving.

A couple of years ago I took my boys camping in Lee Valley, we travelled around on our bikes and spent the summer nights out walking along the River Lee. It’s a holiday that they still talk about and are constantly requesting to go back. It didn’t cost much and wasn’t a glamorous holiday but it was something we did together as a unit. We cycled along the river bank with an unknown destination, stopping where it took our fancy. We cycled for miles using only our sense of direction to get back. Searched for geocaches. Played hide and seek in the forests. Climbed trees. And picniced in fields.

Enjoying the scenery

It was the first time I had ever gone out cycling alone so far with the boys, but I am so glad that I did it. As we don’t live too far from there, we travelled there and back on our bikes with just clothes in our rucksacks. We had to deal with getting lost, bee stings and how to deal with punctures. It was amazing, in fact I am too scared to go back as I don’t think we could experience another holiday like it.

Now, we’re not the most adventurous family but we still try new things, even if we are scared.

We have hiked up Mount Snowdon as a family  ,entered Mud races, jumped from a crane, been canoeing, open water swimming; not all that adventurous compared to some but it’s a start 🙂

We spent this summer in Malta. The boys went swimming in the sea everyday. They taught themselves to dive, to snorkel and faced their fears by jumping off of cliffs into the crystal clear water below.

I, myself, am not that confident and would call myself a scaredy cat. As I watched my boys jump in but couldn’t face doing it myself. It took me at least a week to pluck up the courage to jump in from about 2 metres high. I was so glad that I did it, my boys just kept hugging me. I felt that I had achieved something, although it was little in comparison to what my boys had been doing. I felt a sense of adrenaline rush through me.

Here are a few things the boys got up to in the summer

Exploring caves
Exploring under the water

Jumping from cliffs into the sea. They were taught to assess the danger first. To swim around first and to see how deep it was. And to also look out for any jellyfish.

Having a mud wash

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In this day and age where children would rather communicate via social media and spend most of their spare time with their face in front of a screen I think that it’s important to encourage our children to venture outside and explore, to learn for themselves and to achieve that sense of adrenaline from adventure. I want my boys to be challenged and to be comfortable in their surroundings.

I want to spend time with my boys outside, it’s something we can do together without the distractions of modern technology. It’s about making memories, enjoying each others company and creating stories to tell for when they grow up.

 

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Christopher Robin: Afternoon Tea with the Voice of Pooh and Tigger – Jim Cummings

Just over a week ago we were invited along, by Disney, to celebrate the upcoming release of Christopher Robin for an afternoon tea with Jim Cummings.

It was truly a magical experience.

If you are anything like me and you grew up watching/reading Winnie the Pooh, then you will understand how excited I was to be able to meet Jim Cummings and listen to him read a short extract from the book of the film. Winnie the Pooh was the first teddy bear that I bought for my eldest boy when he was a baby, you which he still has now.

Christopher Robin is a heartwarming film about a young boy, who on embarked on countless adventures with loveable animals, who has now grown up and lost his way. It is now up to Christopher’s childhood friends to help him remember the loving playful boy that he once was by venturing into our world.

‘Sooner or later your past catches up to you’

The afternoon tea was being held at Claridges. We arrived and was quided to a room that was full of Pooh themed food, tea (obviously, as it’s afternoon tea), face Painting, colouring in tables, old fashioned games, biscuit decorating and a lovely big chair – hmmm, I wonder what that was for!

The boys quickly made themselves at home, grabbing some of the delicious cakes and sitting down in the corner on the cushions to eat them whilst cuddling their Winnie and Tigger teddies.

They designed some balloon shaped cookies with lots of sugary items and ate some ‘beary’ ice cream.

I’m not sure what this design was but he assures me it tasted nice.

As the children enjoyed getting their face painted us adults sat down to tea and cake.

It wasn’t long before we were joined by Jim Cummings, he sat down in the chair and the children gathered around him on the cushions. Clutching on to their Pooh bears, Tiggers, Eeyores and Piglets they say mesmerised as Jim read an extract from the book to them.

The room was silent.

Adults and children around the room were quickly joining Pooh and Christopher on their adventure, getting lost in imagination as Jim brought the characters to life.

I couldn’t help but smile.

I looked around the room, I could see the magic I the children’s eyes as the story was coming alive. It definately was a wonderful thing.

Once Jim finished he kindly waited around for photos and chatted to the children.

We had a wonderful time and are very thankful for the invite. The boys came away with a plush teddy and a memory that they will cherish forever

Christopher Robin opens in the Cinemas on 17th August.

We can’t wait to watch it! How about you?

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My First BIG Concert with the Children

Last year I went along with a friend and her daughter to watch Ed Sheeran at the 02. It was my first real concert; by real I mean big. The first concert I ever went to was when I was 15 years old, my Dad dropped myself and a friend off at Crystal Palace to watch a selection of acts on stage, which included Take That, East 17 and Right Said Fred. I think it was a Capital FM Roadshow at Crystal Palace. I remember the car journey there and being really excited that I was off to watch the bands that I loved to sing along to. I remember screaming along with the rest of the crowd when the acts entered the stage. I remember dancing away to their songs and not being able to sleep for days after with the sheer sense of euphoria.

I wanted my children to have that special memory, I wanted their first concert experience to be a memorable one. I wanted my boys to experience being in an arena filled with thousands of people screaming their heads off while a musician ran around a lit-up stage, belting out hit after hit. But above all, I wanted to be their with them whilst they had this experience.

After watching Ed at the 02 in 2017, I decided that when he next went on tour I would try to get tickets for myself and the boys to go. We all really enjoy listening to his songs, so I thought that it would be a brilliant choice as a first concert to attend for the children. I managed to grab 3 tickets to see him at Wembley, it wasn’t a choice venue as I would have preferred the 02. Not only is the 02 nearer to us but it is also a smaller venue than Wembley, But nevertheless we got tickets and that’s all that matters.

So last week, the boys and I jumped on the train straight from school and headed on over to Wembley Stadium. We were all very excited and the boys couldn’t wait to get into the Stadium. As soon as they saw Wembley Stadium, there mouths dropped agape. It is huge!

We had bought seating tickets as the youngest is only 10 and children have to 12 to be standing in the arena. Unfortunately, our tickets were not amazing ones. We were quite high up but we were to the side of stage so we had a good view. It helped that the stage was massive and Ed and his supporting artists stood at the front which meant you could see them.

We had made our way to our seats and got comfortable ready to see the supporting acts; Jamie Lawson and Anne Marie. I must say they were both great but Anne Marie was brilliant. It helps if you know the songs of the artists to really enjoy the experience. My boys were singing along and really getting into the mood. The artists were warming up the, now very crowded, stadium.

We were having a lovely evening and I wouldn’t have wanted to be there with no one else.

We laughed, we smiled,we danced, we sang, we screamed, we bounced, we held hands and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I had never seen my younger son dance so much, he jumping about to the music and singing at the top of his lungs.

I will never forget the sheer excitement on my boys faces as Ed Sheeran came onto stage, I didn’t think their smiles could get any bigger

I knew that this night would be a night that they wouldn’t forget, etched in their memories, the night that they went to their first concert with their Mum.

We finished the evening with sore throats and tired feet.

We left before Ed finished his set as I knew just looking at the amount of people in that stadium that there was no way we were going to get out of their in a hurry. It was late already and we were getting very tired. We was very lucky, even though the crowds were gathering at the exits, that we managed to get out without any stalling and actually got a seat on the train.

The boys had a little nap on the train as we had many stops to get home. It was a very late night for them but worth it.

We now all have the concert bug and are looking for our next one to attend. Although, I think we will make sure that its at the 02 next time as Wembley is just too huge a little too far for us to go to.

 

 

 

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Sheep & Wolves DVD: Review and Giveaway

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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
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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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Geocaching in Malta

Last week we was away on holiday in Bugibba, Malta. We was lucky to have wifi in our apartment so using the Geocache app on my phone I searched to see of there was one local to where we was staying. To our surprise there was one just on the next road along.

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We have found a couple of geocaches back home in England and couldn’t wait to see if we could find the Welcome to Bugibba one.

I gathered the boys around and read out the Geocache description

“Living in Bugibba I came across the thought it needs a Geocache near the Main Square, but also a bit hidden so the cacher gets a closer look into the back roads of the touristy town and can log undisturbed from the tourist-muggles.

Don’t be afraid of the dogs next door, they bark only”

The Hint was ‘Corsair’

We knew from walking around the local streets that Corsair was the Diving centre around the corner, so we headed on over to them.

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It was on a short walk away, a few minutes later we was stood in front of the shop and looking up at a big shop sign.

Joseph put his hand behind the sign and felt around, he touched something hard and pulled it out.

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Inside the box was a log sheet and few items to exchange something for.

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The boys placed in a 10 pence piece and a luggage lock, they took away a little bead and a shell.

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Joseph with his treasure

We love to explore new areas and geocaching is a great way of doing that, it’s exciting and thrilling, especially when you get the cache.

We did try to find another Cache that was a little further away but as I had no GPS on my phone it was a little harder and we didn’t succeed in finding it. We will try next time we are there and hopefully we will be adding another find to our geocache list.

If you like exploring, why not download the app and get finding some geocaches 🙂

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Run Daddy, Run!

The weekend just gone the whole family travelled down to Exeter to watch Daddy compete in the British Athletic League. Daddy goes out running everyday and trains to compete in running races, we don’t normally go and watch him as the boys have drama to attend or there is always something else on. But this time Daddy booked us all in to a hotel as it was my birthday too.

We drove down to Exeter on Friday after school, passing by Stonehenge on the way

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Joseph was so happy to see the big stone creations as he had made a clay model himself this year for a school project.

After a 5 hour drive and a good hour of sitting in traffic, we arrived at our hotel. It was 10pm in the evening, so after a quick bite to eat we soon made our way to the room.

Jak still in his uniform
Jak still in his uniform

We all fell asleep pretty quickly, must have been the long drive down.

It was the morning of my birthday, Daddy and the boys went downstairs for breakfast before me, but when i got down their to join them i was greeted with this

My beautiful birthday cake
My beautiful birthday cake
Flowers for Mummy
Flowers for Mummy

After a slice of cake and cuddles all round, it was soon time for us to make our way to the Arena where the event was to be taking place. It was only a short drive away. We dropped off into Morrisons on the way to buy some food for a picnic as we was going to spending most of the day there. As soon as we arrived we pitched up our two-man tent on the hill, surrounding the athletics track. The perfect spot for the children to play safely and watch the races, we had a good view of the whole arena.

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The boys done well! They pitched up all by themselves.

Daddy was racing in the 800m, 1500m and the 4x400m relay. We sat and watched the rest of the Havering team before Daddies race, until it was time for daddy to make it to the start for his first race, the 800m. Daddy wasn’t expecting to do well as he was up against some really good runners (plus some of them were youngsters compared to him) The gun went off and off they ran. It was close race, all of the runners sticking together.

PhotoGrid_1437022452993Daddy finished with a time of 1:57 in third place, impressive! But not for Daddy, he always wants to do better. Can you see the pain in Dads face?

There was a good hour and half in-between races, so we all sat down for a picnic on top of the hill and cheered everyone else on.

It was soon time for Dad to warm up for his next race, the 1500m. This is Dads best race.

After the first lap, Dad was in the chasing group, but he soon caught up. He made a breakaway on the last two hundred metres.

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The boys were running along on the outside of the track, cheering their Dad on. He said he could hear them and it gave him extra energy to run faster as he wanted to make them proud of him. His time was 4:13

It wasn’t long before after finishing his last race that Dad had to race in the relay. Dad was starting it off with the first lap.

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The baton was handed over smoothly

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The team ran well! They came second overall, with 6 teams in the league. The next event is in a weeks time and it is the last in the season. The relay was the last race of the day. We packed up our tent and drove back to our hotel.

The hotel was beautiful and we had a stunning view of the Northernhay Gardens across the road

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We spent the evening eating our dinner in the hotel restaurant, the boys were well behaved and we even treated them to ice cream, where on the other hand, I got a nice large glass of wine 🙂

We had a wonderful time in Exeter watching Daddy run, something that we don’t do that much considering the amount of races he is entered into.

Here’s wishing the team well in the next event.

 

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A winter Feeding #countrykids

Winter is here! But that isn’t going to stop us from getting out and enjoying the facilities in the park. The sun was shining but it was bitterly cold so we wrapped up warm and headed off to the local park which has a lovely big lake and a small adventure play area. We made sure that we packed some bread to feed the ducks as this is a favourite outdoor activity for Oliver to do.

Oliver had fallen asleep in the buggy on the way there but i knew he would be happy for me to wake him as soon as he saw the ducks by the lake, he loves walking to the edge and throwing in his bread for the ducks to eat.

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As we was feeding the ducks a swan came swimming over to get in on the action too, Oliver got a bit too close and the swan waddled up to him to grab the bread from his hands, lucky for Oliver, Mummy was close at hand to pick him up and shoo away the greedy swan lol

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Joseph enjoyed feeding the ducks too, but he throws in a whole piece of bread at a time unike his little brother who picks the tiniest pieces of his slice to throw in.

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After all of our bread was gone, we said goodbye to the ducks and went for a walk through the park.

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As we followed the path we came across a wooden statue, which is of a local marathon runner, it was carved into a tree trunk by a chain saw artist

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The boys had fun on a part of the trim trail which is spotted around the park, these are made from wood and are a brilliant way of keeping fit in the outdoors and also a lot of fun for the little ones. Joseph practiced his balancing on the poles

20131123-080804.jpgAnd Oliver pretended that they were canons and he was shooting out balls to the houses

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We finished off our trip with a visit to the play area where they have a zip wire, It was Oliver’s first go on it and he loved it!

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He came off giggling away and shouting for more 🙂

I’m linking up this post with Coombemill’s CountryKids

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

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Cooking with Children

Move over Jamie Oliver! Jak Wright is cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

Ever since I can remember my eldest, Jak, has enjoyed baking cakes with me and just recently, as he his 10, I have allowed him to do his own baking. He has come up with some lovely tasty ideas and I must admit they have all been really nice.

Whenever I am in the kitchen and the boys can hear the scales coming out from the cupboard and the bowl being placed on the side they come running in to offer their help, Joseph enjoys doing the mixing and Jak cracks the eggs and does the measuring. Once the mixture is all mixed up, they attempt to place it into the cake cases (I say attempt as the side gets more of the mixture than the cases do lol) Once all in the cases I take over and place them into the oven and when they are done I take them out, then the fun begins! As the cakes cool the boys come up with ideas on how to decorate them, some of their ideas have been almond buttercream, green peppermint icing, Squirty cream with bananas and coffee cream. Once they have done their topping they then have lots of fun putting hundreds and thousands or sweets on top.

I really enjoy the time that we spend together in the kitchen, I used to worry the fact that I had all boys that they wouldn’t want to bake with me saying that its too girly, but not my boys, they love it!

Jak enjoys baking that much that I have bought him his own cook book ‘Annabel’s kitchen’ which has simple step by step instructions on how to cook food from around the world in a fun and easy way.

Cooking with your children should be fun and enjoyable and it should be a skill that all children should learn. I remember the days when I used to help my mum in the kitchen and how much I enjoyed spending time with her teaching me the basics of baking a banana cake or helping her prepare the dinner, I remember feeling close to my mum and enjoying that special time we had together, this is something that I want my children to remember about our time together too!

So far Jak has cooked a Fruity Chicken Korma served with Naan Bread with Sultanas

Cooking his Korma
Cooking his Korma

 

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Krispie Chicken Nuggets – Marinated chicken coated in crushed rice krispies.

Coating the chicken with Rice Krispies
Coating the chicken with Rice Krispies

 

The end result
The end result

 

I love how Jak just grabs his cookbook and heads to the kitchen, he does all the preparation himself (This may take him a long time but its worth it) but he needs help with the oven for obvious reasons!

 

Do your children like to cook/bake? What’s their favourite recipe to do?

 

Thank you for reading my post 🙂

 

 

 

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