Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham #CountryKids

We were meeting up with Monkey’s godmum and her daughter at the beginning of the month and we try to find somewhere new to explore each time we get together.  They live in Wiltshire, so we’re always on the lookout for somewhere that’s easy for both of us to reach.  She suggested the Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham and so off we set on a wonderfully sunny November morning.

I had got a bit confused because I thought there was a RSPB Nature Reserve at Thatcham, but apparently they are one and the same thing.  It’s now run by Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Firstly, parking is free which is always a great start as far as I’m concerned.  We donned our wellies and walked to the visitor centre.  Godmum and I always need a cuppa and a quick catch up before we set off on an exploration!  The kids couldn’t wait to see what lay beyond the windows.

It was such a glorious sunny November morning that we sat outside on a picnic bench to enjoy a drink and a snack whilst looking out over the lake.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

The children were fascinated by all the waterfowl.  Ducks, swans, geese and seagulls were aplenty.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

We noticed that there were a few different walks, all more than manageable for a 5 and 8-year-old.  We decided to try the longest walk, the Open Water and Wetlands Trail – a 3km walk that would take us around the reserve and along the Kennet and Avon canal.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

We were off.  Sadly GodMum V’s inbuilt Sat Nav is as bad as mine, so we took a slight detour, but who cares!  It was just lovely to be outside in the sunshine in November!!!

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

There had been a Halloween trail up during the week and Monkey and Miss M were busy finding the remnants as we walked.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

The view over the water was lovely and we got to see some beautiful birds.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

Monkey spotted some swans and we kept on walking.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

The children would run ahead and we’d catch them up.  I have to confess to getting a little panicky with Monkey near water, but I tried to let him have the freedom to explore.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

The trail is an easy walk and we could sit and watch the world go by or stroll along at our own pace.  It was so tranquil, a really lovely way to spend a day.

Monkey was in his element, water, nature, bridges and the prospect on a canal.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

I liked the different aspects to this particular trails, lots to keep us interested as we moved to the edge of the reserve and wandered along the tow path of the Kennet and Avon canal.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

We came up to a set of locks and watched as two narrow boats navigated through them. Monkey loves canal boats and is always fascinated when we see them on our trips out and about.  Time to take a break and enjoy the action.

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

Mummy I’m hungry!  Ok, let’s head back to the visitor centre and grab a bite to eat. He was off!

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

Over our lunch we discussed the various birds we’d seen on our walk.  I wished I brought my bird book with me, but most we had an idea of what they were.

Here are some of the beauties we saw on and around the water.

After lunch the children explored the activities inside the visitor centre before heading outside to the wooden play areas.  There are two for different age groups and the kids had great fun.  I took a moment out to have a cuppa and look who came to visit!

Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham

We had a wonderful time at the Nature Discovery Centre at Thatcham, we will most definitely be back!

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

 

 

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The Elephant & The Beaver – book review

When Orion Books asked if we’d like to review a picture book by Keith Lemon I really wasn’t sure what to expect.  Would this be suitable reading material for a virtually 5-year-old Monkey?  Let me share my thoughts on The Beaver & The Elephant which is written and illustrated by Lemon.

The Beaver & The Elephant

The Beaver & The Elephant is a 58 page hardback picture book containing three different stories – The Beaver and the Elephant go shopping for shoes, The Beaver and the Elephant go on holiday and The Beaver and the Elephant at Christmas.

The Beaver & The Elephant

 

Monkey loves this book – instant hit.  It doesn’t matter to him that he has no idea what Cuban Heels, who Keith Lemon or Emma Bunton are (Elephant is her biggest fan), he giggles every time we read the stories from The Elephant & The Beaver.

Elephant and Beaver are best friends who share a house in London.  Monkey’s favourite story is the one where the best friends go on holiday together.  Their landlord Mr Sweaty Fox! has just returned from Mauritius.

Mummy have you been to Mauritius?  Yes, Monkey, in fact Mummy and Daddy have both been there, just not together (that’s a whole different story!), it’s an island in the Indian Ocean, a long way away.  Oh ok.  Poor Beaver can’t pronounce Mauritius which had Monkey giggling.  Anyway, the friends decide they deserve a holiday and off they fly, to Mauritius.

The Elephant & The Beaver

 

Mummy, Elephant and Beaver have got Trunki cases just like me!  The mix of photographs, drawings and punchy text work really well in this book.  Keith pops up briefly in each story and there is a moral to every tale.

I’m really lucky that Monkey is very good when it comes to applying sun cream.  He knows it’s necessary and never creates a fuss when it’s needed.  He knew that Elephant was being really silly, going on holiday and not wearing any!

The Elephant & The Beaver

The story explains the consequences of not looking after your skin in the sun, in a fun way that children will understand.

The Elephant & The Beaver has been a bit of a revelation really.  We don’t have any books like it and Monkey has loved seeing what the best friends get up to.  I’m sure older children will find it entertaining too.

Normally priced at £9.99, The Elephant & The Beaver is currently on special offer over on Amazon for £4.45!

disclaimer: we were sent this book in exchange for an honest review

 

 

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Santa’s Noisy House – review and giveaway

I’ve got a few lovely Christmas book giveaway’s lined up for you and the first one is Santa’s Noisy House.

Santa's Noisy House

This lovely 12 page hardback sound book is sure to get children in the festive mood and Monkey has loved looking at it since it’s arrived here.

There are six double page spread festive scenes from inside of Santa’s home are full of detail in Santa’s Noisy House.

Santa's Noisy House

Sebastien Braun’s illustrations are so colourful and they’ve given Monkey and I lots to talk about as we’ve read this book together.

Santa's Noisy House

Santa’s Noisy House is available for £12.99 and it really is a lovely book which any young child is going to enjoy.  Whether you listen to Santa snoring or the sound of him eating his breakfast, there are plenty of giggles as he gets ready to deliver our presents on Christmas Eve.

Now, with Christmas just around the corner I thought it would be lovely to share this book with one lucky reader.  So Campbell Books have very kindly offered a copy for one of you – just complete the Gleam form below for your chance to win it.  Good luck!

**********************************

Terms and conditions:

(Please note that all entries will be checked against comments for validation).

Only the first step of this form is mandatory, all other steps are optional. Only one entry per person is allowed.

This giveaway is for UK residents only.

Once a winner is randomly picked, I will check if the winner has done what was requested and I will contact them, if they do not reply within one week, the prize will be allocated to another person.

The giveaway will close on 1st December 2014 at midnight.

Santa’s Noisy House Sound book worth £12.99

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Alphablocks Reading Programme

Alphablocks Reading programme

As you know Monkey started school in Reception in September and has since started to learn to read.  It was a wonderful moment the first time he read a few words in a book. We’ve been trying to encourage him for months, and then one day it all started to fall into place.  Over the last month we’ve been using the Alphablocks Reading Programme to help Monkey on his learning to read journey.

The Alphablocks Reading Programme is designed specifically for children aged 4-5 years, in the Foundation Stage at school.  It helps them to master their phonics alongside what they learn at school.  The programme  consists of 15 magazines which are supplied with supporting items such as stickers, flashcards and finger puppets.  We will be working through the Alphablocks Reading Programme over the coming months and have received the first 5 magazines to get us started.

Alphablocks Reading Programme

The first magazine introduces children to phonics.  Monkey started to learn phonics at school in Nursery last year and he really enjoys this part of school. In this magazine we look at the letters s, a, t, p, i, n, m and d.  There are activities throughout the magazine, including letter writing practice (something we really need to work on here!), sticker matching and letter blending.  All things which will help Monkey learn to read and write.

Slpsblock Reading Programme

We’re finding that Monkey is really tired after school so we are leaving a lot of the Alphablocks Reading Programme magazine activities for the weekends.  As with everything Monkey is taking his time, but I’d rather we went slowly and kept the enthusiasm up, than push him and see him switch off!  As he completes each page of the magazine he gets a gold star sticker – always a bonus.

I’ve been really impressed with the Alphablocks Reading Programme, it’s given me ideas to help and encourage Monkey and he has really taken to the letter tiles, finger puppets and word magic game.  He loves making words and it’s wonderful to see his face when he puts all the right letters together and then sounds out and blends the letters correctly.  Love it, especially when he sits Daddy P down to give him a lesson in phonics with his Alphablocks tiles!

Alphablocks Reading Programme

The magazines are well put together and offer a good variety of activities and we’re having fun.

The magazines and resources introduce the 26 letters and their sounds, blends, and combinations, allowing you to feel confident in helping your child get started on the exciting journey into reading.

I’m sure Monkey isn’t the only child who likes to take his time with things, and I like the fact that this programme allows children to work entirely at their own pace.  There is no pressure to complete anything by a certain date; great when you have a tired 4 year old to contend with.  But when he does complete the Alphablocks Reading Programme he’ll get a lovely certificate to congratulate him on all his hard work.

The full Alphablocks Reading Programme costs £39.99 (plus postage) which I think is really good value for money.  It works out much cheaper than some other magazines I currently buy for Monkey, the programme is educational and all the extra items included really are helping him already with his reading.

If you’d like more information on the Alphablocks Reading Programme then please visit the website.  You can also keep up to date with all the latest news on Facebook and Twitter and get lots of great tips, activities and phonics guides here.

We’ll be keeping you updated as we work through the Alphablocks Reading Programme over the months ahead.

disclaimer:  we will be receiving the full Alphablocks Reading Programme in exchange for our honest reviews.

 

 

 

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Christmas books at Coles Bookstore

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

I love books as you all are more than well aware, so when I was offered my first #CollectiveBias mission recently I knew it was for me.  I’ve been to visit my local independent book shop and had a good look around at the Christmas books at Coles Bookstore.

Christmas Books at Coles Bookstore #ad

The Christmas books at Coles Bookstore can be easily found in the Children’s section at the back of the store.  It’s a lovely book shop and children are always welcome.  Monkey and I used to pop in if we were free on Friday mornings for their children’s story time. I always buy Monkey a new Christmas themed book for Christmas.

But this year I’m taking the idea a bit further.  I’ve heard a number of people mentioning book advents and love the idea.  Basically, you wrap up books (can be old as well as new) and each morning from 1st December to Christmas Day, your child unwraps one book from the pile.  The unwrapped book will be Monkey’s bedtime reading for that night.

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

So with this idea in mind I set off to look around the book shop for some new additions.  I much prefer looking at books than just going online; far more inspiring. Although there are so many lovely books to look at, I tried to remain focused – Christmas themed!

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

I had a pretty good idea of what I was looking for, and the assistant was really helpful and mentioned a book that Monkey might enjoy.  Santa is Coming to Oxford by Steve Smallman.

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

Although we don’t live in Oxford, it’s our nearest city, and the assistant advised me that our town got a mention.  Santa is Coming to Oxford is one of a series of books that are available for various cities across the country.  I’d seen them last year and had been tempted and I think the time is perfect for a 5-year-old (as he will be very soon – eek!) Monkey to really enjoy this book.

The illustrations are wonderful and Monkey is going to love the idea of Santa having a Sat Nav!  He’s also more aware now of where we live and places nearby, so I know he’s going to love reading about Santa flying over Oxfordshire.

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

Next up was a book that I already had on my wish list to get for Monkey this year.  The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg.

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

We’ve often borrowed The Jolly Postman from our local library and I’d already decided that if the Christmas version was on the shelves in the bookshop it would be coming home with me.  I’m a great believer in teaching Monkey about our family history, on my father’s side of the family we have a few postmen in our past.

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

So books that we can relate our family too are always a winner here.  Also Monkey is in love with our Postlady.  So books about delivering letters will be a big hit here. I love the fact that the ‘letters’ are actually activities, such as games and puzzles.  Makes this book extra value for money in my opinion.

I was going to stop at two new additions but something caught my eye on the bookshelf. This is why I love going into shops myself as there is always the opportunity to spot a little gem.  I came across The Twelve Days of Christmas which is beautifully illustrated by Britta Teckentrup.

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

The Twelves Day of Christmas is a classic Christmas song, which I love.  Takes me right back to my own childhood and the times of trying to remember all of the words.  Monkey is really good with his counting now, so this year we practice the song! This peep-through picture book is a lovely way for him to learn the song, as each page reveals slightly more characters.  I love it already, and I’m sure Monkey will too.

Other Christmas themed books that have caught my eye ……

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

The Christmas Treasure Hunt by Ag Jatkowska is a wonderful lift the flap book that is much loved here and would make a great Christmas present for any little bookworm.

Charlie Crow in the Snow by Paula Metcalfe isn’t strictly Christmas themed but it’s a lovely tale of friendship during the winter time.

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore is a classic rhyming tale that is perfect for Christmas Eve.

Little Robin’s Christmas by Jan Fearnley is a heart warming tale about a Robin who gives away his warm vests to friends in need, only to find himself shivering in the cold on Christmas Eve.  Along comes Father Christmas to save the day.

The Christmas Show by Rebecca Patterson is a must for any family living through School Nativity plays this year.  It’s funny and we’ll be opening this as the first of our Christmas Advent books this year.  Monkey can read all about the little boy, who like him is a Shepherd in the school play

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a Shirley Hughes story – Alfie’s Christmas is a wonderful tale of Alfie and his adventures as Christmas approaches.

Which books would you add to this wish list to buy a child this Christmas?  Do you make use of your independent book shop?

 

Christmas books at Coles Bookstore #ad

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Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show – review

 

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

You may recall that I recently ran a giveaway to win tickets to the Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live Show. The preview photos looked great and I was thrilled when we were offered some tickets to see the show for ourselves.  One of Monkey’s NCT buddies is a huge Octonauts fan I just knew that we should take him with us.  So with childcare for his younger brother sorted, Monkey, Master O and his Mum J headed to Birmingham at the beginning of the month. Our boys have very similar tastes so a train journey to start the days adventure went down well.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

After a short walk from Moor Street Station we arrived at the New Alexandra Theatre. Just time for a quick #OctoSelfie before heading to our seats.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

Monkey has been to a couple of productions now, but I’m always a little anxious. Somewhere new, new production, will he like it?  Having his friend O with him was lovely. It felt like a big boy excursion and they were both excited.  While we waited for the show to start we asked the boys to name all of the Octonauts characters.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

Whilst we were busy trying to remember one of them, 2 Octonaut Cadets appeared. Excitement levels mounted as the Cadets explained that we would all need to learn to steer our Gup-X craft to get us to the Octopod.  The boys loved this, we all got involved, it was a really clever way to start the show and meant their attention was grabbed right from the start.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

Before long we’d reached our destination – it was time to meet the Octonauts!  The costumes were very good, as were the accents.  The kids were hooked, we were off on an Octonauts Adventure.  We love Quazii and Peso in this house so Monkey was in his element seeing them for real.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure – UK tour 2014/2015 – OCTONAUTSTM Meomi Design Inc. OCTONAUTS © 2014 Vampire Squid Productions Ltd. Licensed by Silvergate Media & Photography by Dan Tsantilis.

The show is very clever and J and I agreed that the interaction with the audience works really well. I think my personal highlight was when the Octonauts were in the deepest part of the ocean – the midnight zone and we got to see all the amazing sea creatures.  Very clever and educational too.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure – UK tour 2014/2015 – OCTONAUTSTM Meomi Design Inc. OCTONAUTS © 2014 Vampire Squid Productions Ltd. Licensed by Silvergate Media & Photography by Dan Tsantilis.

Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Live show lasts for about 90 minutes with an interval, it kept our two nearly 5 year olds glued to their seats and was the perfect length for slightly younger children too, in my opinion.  Did the production translate well from the CBeebies cartoon?  Absolutely, in my opinion.  The children believed everything they saw to be the same as the Octonauts they saw on TV.  The script was funny and we were all entertained.

What did Monkey and Master O think?  I loved it Mummy!  It was really good!  You can’t ask for much more than that.  I honestly think it’s the best production we’ve seen to date. Monkey responded really well to the audience participation so it looks like I’ll be booking seats for his first Panto this year!

The Octonauts and the Deep Sea Volcano Adventure show is touring the country right through til July 2015 so there is plenty of time to catch the show.  You can find full details on the tour website.

disclaimer:  we were given tickets for this event in exchange for an honest review

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Horrid Henry’s Royal Riot – book review

Monkey’s become quite a fan of Horrid Henry this year thanks to the Early Reader books we’ve received from Orion Books. When we were asked to review Horrid Henry’s Royal Riot, I knew it would be a hit.

Horrid Henry's Royal Riot

Horrid Henry’s Royal Riot was published last month and is a bumper paperback edition containing four great Horrid Henry adventures.  These are Horrid Henry’s Thank You Letter, Horrid Henry Meets the Queen, Moody Margaret’s School and Horrid Henry’s Sports Day.

Each story is around 70 pages long, but there’s not a great deal of text on each page, so Monkey is more than happy to listen as I read him one of the stories at bedtime.

Horrid Henry's Royal Riot

The magical thing now is that he can sometimes help me with some of the words!  Yes, Monkey is learning to read and it’s totally wonderful.

The Horrid Henry’s Royal Riot collection is written as ever by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross.

With Monkey’s birthday and Christmas next month we will have lots of Thank You cards to write, and I’m hoping that Monkey doesn’t have the same issues with them as Horrid Henry!  He has a brother called Perfect Pete who has been a good boy and written all his thank you letters, Horrid Henry can’t see the point, especially when his Great Aunt Greta sent him a Baby Poopie Pants doll.

When Horrid Henry finally decides to write his thank you letters, he is a little too honest with his feelings.  He then comes up with a master plan, he’ll write personalised letters for his friends, for a small charge obviously.  Business is brisk and when faced with a mountain of letters to write …… well it’s Horrid Henry isn’t it, so it all goes horribly wrong!

In Horrid Henry Meets the Queen, you can imagine the chaos that is going to be caused by a royal visit to Henry’s school can’t you. Even worse when Perfect Peter is chosen to meet the Queen whilst Horrid Henry is put as far away as possible.

Horrid Henry tries to sabotage his brother as he practices what he needs to say to the Queen.  Then on the big day, think mud, lots of mud, Horrid Henry and the Queen. Monkey loves this story.  It’s his favourite.

In Moody Margaret’s School we meet Horrid Henry’s next door neighbour and she can certainly give him a run for his money.  Finally in Horrid Henry’s Sports Day our hero/villain isn’t very good at the events.  He is looking at another year of not winning a prize. Chaos will reign when Moody Margaret and Horrid Henry are paired together for the Three Legged Race!

This collection would make a wonderful present this Christmas for any Horrid Henry fan starting out on their reading journey.  I know it’s going to be much read here over the next few years!

Priced at £9.99 it’s a bargain and you can click on my Amazon affiliate link below to purchase.

disclaimer:  we were sent this book in exchange for an honest review

 

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Christmas ideas for you

Yes, there’s no escaping it, we are edging ever closer to December.  A time when I start to panic as it will soon be Monkey’s birthday and then time for the Big Man himself to make an appearance.  Today I have a few Christmas ideas for you.

Firstly, if you are looking for a few special luxury Christmas cards, then why not try Made With Love Designs.  They offer wonderful handmade cards which are a little bit different from those you’ll find in high street card shops.

Christmas ideas for you

I fell in love with this Children’s Magic Reindeer Food Christmas Eve card priced at £5.50.  You can get the card personalised an a special message inside for an additional charge.  I decided on a blank card inside as I’m still not sure which lucky child will be receiving this card yet!

Back in July I was lucky enough to be invited to The White Company event showcasing their Christmas range – it was love at first sight as you can imagine! Being the softy I am, I fell in love with their Penguins, how cute are they – ranging from £14-£45, they are so soft.  I was gifted some lovely candles and the wonderful Dear Father Christmas Envelope (price £8) you can see in the centre of my collage below.  It’s fabric, has a button fastening on the back and Monkey is going to love it.

Christmas ideas for you

From baubles for the Christmas tree to luxury towels, candles and table decorations, The White Company is a great place to shop for family, friends and yourself!  It’s a favourite of mine.

Now how about something a little different to wear? I have to be totally and say I’ve not been much for the traditional Christmas jumper, but Tipsy Elves might just change my mind.  They offer a comical take on the Christmas theme, whether you are looking for a onesie, jumper for hubby or even a jumper dress for yourself.  They even have a range for kids now and with a dinosaur mad son I had to go for the Youth T-Rex jumper priced at £29.95.

Christmas ideas for you

I went for the smallest size S, the size chart did say 6-7 years and in fairness it is too big for Monkey at the moment.  But he loves the design and keeps asking to try it on again – Mummy, have I grown yet!  The jumper is well made and soft to the touch and can be machine washed.  I do quite fancy the Gingerbread Nightmare jumper for myself!

I find photo books are a great idea for Christmas presents and we recently tried out a new provider – Superphoto.  I do have to warn you that I found the upload process quite slow and awkward but I’m quite pleased with the finished result.  I went for a 3 photo per page layout, you can add text and backgrounds but I didn’t go down that route.  Hardback photo books start from £9.99.

If you are looking for something to watch with the kids this Christmas then how about The Snow Queen. on DVD or Blu-Ray?  It’s a magical tale and perfect for this time of year.  You can see the trailer here.

The Snow Queen was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 3rd November and is based on the fairy tale of the same name from Hans Christian Andersen.  Can poor orphaned Gerda rescue her brother Kai from the evil Snow Queen?  Monkey has loved watching this film and it’s currently available from Amazon for £7.00.

Christmas ideas for you

We will certainly be looking out for The Snow Queen: Magic of the Ice Mirror which is released at cinemas across the country from 12th December 2014.

Watch out for my post tomorrow which will give you some ideas for Christmas books!

disclaimer:  We were sent the items specified in exchange for an honest review

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The Bully and the Shrimp – a book review

We recently received our latest Book Buddy book from Parragon Books and I was interested to see what Monkey would make of the subject matter. The Bully and the Shrimp is a paperback book written by Catherine Allison and illustrated by Kim Geyer.

The Bully and the Shrimp

Bullying isn’t something Monkey has come across yet; he’s only just starting out on his school journey.  Sadly I know only too well how upsetting the results of being bullied are, so I was intrigued to see how The Bully and the Shrimp would tackle the issue in a way that Monkey would understand.

The story revolves are a little boy called Noah Shrimpton who has moved and is starting at a new school.  The first child he comes across is naughty Connor, who calls him Shrimpy. It’s the start of a cycle of name calling and petty ‘accidents’ that poor Noah has to endure.

The Bully and the Shrimp

But there is a happy twist to this tale, Noah has made friends at his new school, he is not alone.  This gives Noah the confidence he needs to stand up to the bully and tell him he won’t be bullied any more.

Monkey asked lots of questions the first time we read  The Bully and the Shrimp together.  The subject matter is dealt with very cleverly and I have to be honest, it’s not a topic I would have covered with Monkey.  But, I’m glad we have using this book.  Monkey couldn’t understand why Connor would be so mean to Noah.  We talked about everyone being different and that that was a good thing, that name calling wasn’t nice and being friendly was a good attitude to have.

There is a good moral theme running throughout The Bully and the Shrimp and Monkey has enjoyed reading it with me.  I can certainly see us reading this as a story book but also to reinforce our own family values.  It could also help if Monkey finds himself on the receiving end of a Connor type character in the future.  Fingers crossed that he doesn’t, but forewarned is forearmed.

You can currently purchase The Bully and the Shrimp through Amazon for £5.99 and my affiliate link to the relevant page is shown below.

disclaimer:  we were sent this book in exchange for an honest review

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Murder Mystery over the festive season?

I do love a good thriller or detective story and I’ve had a bit of a passion for Murder Mystery evenings for years.  Being 6 months pregnant when I had my hen weekend stopped any ideas of mad weekends in Paris but it didn’t stop me and my friends have a wonderful time in Baker Street, London on a Murder Mystery Weekend.  Will you be having a Murder Mystery over the festive season?

Murder Mystery over the festive season?I’ve always been to murder mystery events run by professional companies but Red Herring Games offer you some great fun this festive season with some games you can play with friends at home!

So if you fancy getting together with friends and trying out a Murder Mystery over the festive season, then look no further.  Red Herring Games have a few sets perfect for this time of year – Murder at Merkister Hall and Rung Out in the New Year are games for 10 players and T’was a Death before Christmas is a set for 8 players!  Great titles aren’t they.

The sets come with everything you need to stage your own Murder Mystery Evening.

Murder Mystery over the festive season?

Even the box forms part of the game.  Inside you will find invitations and envelopes to post off to your guests along with a character booklet for each of them, full instructions, name labels and place settings for your dinner table, CD, DVD and script for the inspector as well as a booklet with hints, and recipes to make your night go with a bang!

Murder Mystery over the festive season?

In Murder at Merkister Hall you might be entertaining guests as Brigadier Balderdash or his wife Lotta, when their butler Leversham is found dead in the billiard room.  Personally I would have to fake it as a man for the night and play Bruce Bugatti – a rather untidy racing driver – the part is made for me!

In T’was a Night Before Christmas you could be a carol singer visiting Mid-Trimming Manor,where you find the owner Bob Scratchitt dead in his lounge.  With another bit of type casting Daddy P would have to play Chris Tingle – the Grocer, who does love his fruits.  The perfect role for my husband!

There will certainly be some New Years fun with friends over Rung Out in the New Year

So much for being a season of goodwill and glad tidings; this Christmas it looks as though someone had some very ill will indeed! Who could have killed the New Years Eve host with most – Mark Roundim?  One of my friends has played a lot of home set murder mystery parties so she will be giving us her viewpoint on this particular game in the future.

But from my point of view, these games look great fun.  They are well presented and everything you could need bar the costumes (should you wish to truly get into character) are provided.  Priced at £39.99 these sets can provide a different idea when entertaining friends over the Christmas period.  They are specifically designed to play over dinner, therefore taking 2-3 hours to play out.

Are you a super sleuth looking for a new challenge this Christmas?  Have you played this sort of game with friends at home before?  Would love to hear your stories.  Obviously I was the Hen who had been plucked and stuffed!

disclaimer:  we were sent this game in exchange for an honest review

 

 

 

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