The B&W Photography Project Week 52 #bwphotoproject

The B&W Photography Project Week 52 with PODCast and today I’m introducing you to Sebastian Vettel, 4 time world champion and this year driving for Ferrari F1.  This photo was taken on Friday this week, before the start of first practice.  He very kindly signed my Ferrari cap and programme. The B&W Photography Project Week 52

It looks like Mercedes are set to dominate the race today, after yesterday’s qualifying, but hopefully my boys in red will show some pace during the race.  In a couple of hours we will know!

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Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 050715

Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 050715


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Project 365 2015 Week 27

I’ve been joining in with Project 365 since the start of 2014, and been inspired by The Boy and Me to make sure I take a Photo A Day, Every Day, For A Year!  Project 365 2015 Week 27 Days 179.

Sunday 28th June – Day 179

Project 365 2015 Week 27

The Banbury Steam Rally (or if you are as old as me – The Bloxham Steam Rally) has been an annual trip of ours for a number of years.  Redpeffer and her family joined us for the first time.  The event didn’t seem as well organised as usual this yea, we bought a programme but it had no running schedule with it, and it was luck if we ended up in the right place at the right time for the displays.  But the children still had a great time, and the boys ended the day pretending to be firemen.

Monday 29th June – Day 180

Project 365 2015 Week 27

An odd jobs kind of day, my sewing lesson was cancelled so I took the opportunity to open the door to the spare room and begin the task of sorting it.  I barely made a dent but at least some toys and games are now heading to Monkey’s old pre-school to be appreciated again.  After school Monkey’s teacher told me something which I know will be for the best in the long run, but which I know will break his heart when he finds out next week.  It left me an emotional wreck for the rest of the day.

The passionfruit flowers did their best to cheer me up.

Tuesday 30th June – Day 181

Project 365 2015 Week 27

Dreaded Sports Day.  I think Monkey’s teacher learnt today that once Monkey is determined, there is no changing his mind.  Bless him, he hates Sports Day and was the only child without broken bones who refused to join in with the running or mini hurdles race.  He reluctantly joined in with the beanbag race, holder his teacher’s hand the whole way, and probably recorded the slowest pace known to man.  But that’s it done for another year! We had a picnic lunch on the grass with friends and he was much happier, running around, having fun.  Then I had to take him back to class for the afternoon.  He had to be peeled off me, an indication of what we face in September I fear.

It was a scorching hot day, he’d made it through and the only thing to do was celebrate it all be over with an ice cream treat.

Wednesday 1st July – Day 182

Project 365 2015 Week 27

We thought yesterday was hot!  Oh no!  40 degrees just after lunchtime in our back garden.  Wowsers!  Once I’d collected Monkey from school and left Daddy P in charge I headed over to watch my youngest niece getting ready for her Prom.  She looked stunning, barely any makeup, just beautiful.  Didn’t envy them all being dressed up in this heat though.

Monkey slept upside down on top of his bed, but at least he did get some sleep.

Thursday 2nd July – Day 183

Project 365 2015 Week 27

Monkey seemed to have a happier day at school and even seemed happier to go and be in his swimming lesson – phew!

It’s that time of year again.  I nipped into Sainsburys to get my lunch provisions sorted for the next 3 days at the British Grand Prix.  Couldn’t help but by myself a coordinating water bottle to finish my Ferrari branding for the weekend!

Friday 3rd July – Day 184

Project 365 2015 Week 27 - Sebastian Vettel

Daddy P is in charge at home for the next 3 days as I enjoy some quality time with my brother at the British Grand Prix.  Up bright and early, over to my brothers and then headed to Silverstone.  We got to see most of the drivers before Free Practice with the notable exception of Lewis Hamilton, contrary to the perceived perception of him, he does everything to avoid the small group of fans outside the paddock every year.

A great day and we managed to be perfectly placed for locked brakes and off track experiences all day.  Lots of photos that need editing, but this one of Sebastian Vettel is my favourite of the drivers.  He signed my Ferrari cap so I was a very happy bunny.

Saturday 4th July – Day 185

Project 365 2015 Week 27

Another day at Silverstone after a rather rubbish night’s sleep thanks to a thunderstorm. Got to see a lot of the drivers again this morning, although I failed in my mission to get Kimi Raikkonen to sign my cap – one more chance tomorrow.  I only have an 18-55mm lens on my Canon 70D but I still managed some half decent Red Arrows shots.  Not with the detail my brother can get with his long lens, but good enough for me this year.

Shattered and off to bed, as tomorrow I really do have to be up at silly o’clock!

Project 365 2015 Week 27



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The Vyne #CountryKids

Over the last couple of years I’ve become friends with Tina at The Soup Dragons Says and we were lucky enough to stay with them last summer when we both went to an event at Butlins with our boys. Sadly we don’t live close enough to each other to meet up often but we decided to find somewhere halfway for a day out during the Easter holidays. Monkey is quite taken with her son and was looking forward to seeing him again too.

After consulting the map I suggested The Vyne, a National Trust property near Basingstoke. It seemed to have some woodland trails which would give the boys some space to let off steam. Neither of us had been before so we kept our fingers crossed that I’d made a good choice.

The Vyne

Monkey and I arrived first, grabbed a map and timed tickets for the house for later in the day. We got a text from Tina – she was lost and was going to be late. Ok, don’t stress.  It gave Monkey and I some time to walk around the grounds and have a bit of an exploration. There were a number of different trail leaflets available from the entrance desk, and we spotted different trees as we began our adventure.

The Vyne

I’ve loved weeping willows since I was a child walking by the River Wey in and around Farnham. They seem so serene don’t they.

The Vyne

There were deck chairs spread out on the lawn but Monkey was off in search of a Worm and a Butterfly which form part of the Sculpture Trail.

We then followed the path around the lake, past the bird hide and decided to head back around the other side of the lake to wait for our friends. If we’d been alone we would have headed off into the woodland trails.

The view across the lake to the house was lovely, especially in the Spring sunshine.

The Vyne

Tina and her son had arrived, he needed some time to let off steam after a long car journey so we headed back down the trail to an area we’d spotted that was great for den building. In between den building and stick carrying we all had a picnic lunch and caught up with each other’s news.  There are picnic tables dotted around but we were happy to perch on a log, enjoying the peace of our surroundings.

Our entry time for the house was approaching so we said goodbye to the dens and headed back around the lake. A couple of ladies were busy painting, so we stopped to admire their work. One lady lived in Farnham, which gave me a few moments to reminisce about my childhood.  Tina’s son was keen to try some art himself whilst Monkey looked on in awe.

The Vyne

Once in the house we followed the tour route and Monkey had the challenge of spotting mice in selected rooms. I do like this idea of giving children something to look for as we wander around National trust properties. It means I get to have more than a passing glance at the rooms and That Monkey actually takes an interest in what we see.

Mice spotted it was time to head outside once again.  The Brewhouse Tea Room is the perfect place to stop for a slice of cake and a cup of tea.  There’s seating inside and out and toilet facilities too.

The Hidden Realm Play area is a must for youngsters, Monkey had great fun exploring and it looks as if there should have been a water feature flowing through the area.  All of the children seemed to be having a great time.

We had a full on day at The Vyne and been so lucky with the weather too.  There was just time to say hello to the resident bees before heading home.

We’d had a thoroughly enjoyable day and got the chance to catch up with friends too. Perfect.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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John Deere Monster Treads Mini Pullbacks

Monkey loves all manner of vehicles but he has particularly soft spot for one particular brand, that we see all the time when he visit Granny and Gramps in Spain.  With that in mind the John Deere Monster Treads Mini Pullbacks from Tomy were going to be a sure-fire hit.

John Deere Monster Treads Mini Pullbacks

Monkey loves his two different types of Monster Treads Tractors and he’s been fascinated by pull-back toys for as long as I can remember.  There are 3 different  John Deere Monster Treads Mini Pullbacks in the series – Dump Truck, Tractor and a Gator.

The 3 different pullbacks are aged at children aged 3 years and over, and are made of really sturdy plastic.  They’ve certainly withstood a fair amount of crashes since they arrived here!

To add to the fun, each of the vehicles has moveable parts.  The bucket on the tractor goes up and down, the dumper truck can dump his load and the front blade on the gator goes up and down.  This all went down very well here.

Monkey has tried the pullback feature on the various vehicles on lino, carpet and the patio and they zoom along on all three surfaces.  Priced at £4.99 each they are going to be popular with any young fan and a 5 and half year old Monkey is certainly getting lots of fun including them in his imaginative play. They are a great size for younger children to hold but really look the part too, keeping the interest of older children like Monkey.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review

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Fun ideas from The Present Finder

It’s July now and I’m already starting to think of things for Monkey’s birthday in December.  I’ve been looking at some fun ideas from The Present Finder recently to help me get organised.  I also found something for myself!

Fun ideas from The Present Finder

The Present Finder have been helping people find the ideal present for a number of years and have ranges to suit all tastes and budgets.

Now as you all know Monkey is a bit of a construction fanatic and his love of building is taking on a new dimension as he moves from Duplo to Lego blocks.  I spotted something on The Present Finder website that I thought would make an idea present for him, but would also offer some practicality too.

Fun ideas from The Present Finder

The LED Light Stax will be great for my little construction addict but will also give him a more grown up light for his bedroom too.  The unit comes with 12 lighting cubes with LED lights in 6 different colours and works off either batteries (3 x AAA batteries are included) or with a USB to DC cable which is also provided.  The cubes can be put together in any number of combinations and only need one block to be connected to the Smart Base.  This is an ideal present for Monkey and I know he will love it.

Now I have to admit to getting a little side tracked with my mission as there were so many interesting ideas on The Present Finder site.  I spotted a fun idea for me, well something Monkey and I can use on our adventures.  I’m always the one taking photos, so getting a nice photo of Monkey and I in a lovely scenic location is extremely rare.  But not anymore! This techno dinosaur has joined the 21st century, I now have a Telescopic Selfie Stick! I even got to choose the colour of the handle, had to be blue naturally.

Fun ideas from The Present Finder

Yes, I’ve even managed to download a timing app – there will be no stopping me this summer now!  My selfie stick extends from 22-108 cms, and has a strap so I don’t drop the stick and my iPhone when taking photos.  There’s even an adjustable locking mechanism so I can get the perfect angle for my self shot.

Whether you are looking for a Wedding or Birthday present, or just something a little different, it’s well worth popping over to The Present Finder.  They are also offering FREE UK mainland delivery in July for orders under 2kgs.

disclaimer:  we were sent the items mentioned in exchange for an honest review

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Imprify photobook – review and discount code

I’ve always been a prolific snapper, no matter what camera I’ve had.  But with the digital age I’m as guilty as anyone else for not printing my photos out as often as I should. I do tend to make photo books up of Monkey’s adventures during the year, but forget about other favourite shots.  I was recently given the opportunity to review the Imprify photobook and decided it was time to rectify that.

Imprify photobook

Imprify is a free app available for both iOS and Android where you can create a photobook quickly, I used my iPhone and it really was speedy.  You can use photos from Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox to create your Imprify photobook with 22 photos as standard. There is also now an option to increase that to 34 photos.  I went for the standard 22 photo option.

Once you’ve selected your photos, you get a preview of the cover, and you have the option to change the 5 featured photos. You can also add a title to the first page of your book and there are 6 background colour options to choose from.  I went for white as I thought it would work well with a range of photographs.  You can flick through your photobook and add a text line under any of the photos and you can also add a message to the back page. This is a great idea if the Imprify photobook is a present, I left a message reminding me what year the photos were taken in!

Once you’ve confirmed your delivery address and paid £19.90 + £2.00 postage your Imprify photobook is completed and will be with you in 3 working days.  While you are waiting for your photobook to be delivered you can share it on Facebook and Whatsapp for free.

We nearly had a disaster with our Imprify photobook, a well-meaning postie left the package in our back garden on Saturday, but didn’t leave me a note. It rained overnight and Daddy P found a rather soggy package by our back gate.  It was just luck that he even went out there.  I prepared myself for the worst, but by some miracle the package inside was still dry! Phew.

The Imprify photobook is delivered in a case and comes in hardback form sized 18 x 18cms.

Imprify photobook

I’m pleased with the print quality, the paper is good quality with a matt finish and the book is well-bound.

The only slight niggle I have is with the placement of the text under the photographs – to me it should be more centralised in the border – it looks too low – or is it just me?

All in all I’m pleased with my Imprify photobook and it’s made me realise I do need to print out more of my favourite photos, not just the ones with Monkey in them!

I’m happy to be able to share a 20% reader discount with you all today – use code: 156FD1 at the checkout when placing your Imprify photobook order.  Enjoy!

disclaimer:  we were given a free code for our photobook in exchange for an honest review

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A Gold Star for George

We’re big fans of Alice Hemming in this house, you many remember our reviews for The Black and White Club, Robopop and one of Monkey’s favourite books ever Bibble and the Bubbles.  So it was far to see I didn’t see her latest release A Gold Star for George being anything other than a hit when we started reading it recently.

A Gold Star for George

Released through Maverick Arts Publishing at the end of May, A Gold Star for George sees us catching up with George the Giraffe and his friends.  In this story George and his friends are getting rather excited about the Heavenly Hippos Gold Star Awards.  There are a number of stars to be won for such things as Most Popular Animal and Best Trick. A gold star will be awarded to each winner and pinned on their enclosure for all to see.

A Gold Star for George is all about friendship and helping others, and as we read the story we learnt what a good Giraffe George is.  He celebrated with friends when they won stars, helped the messy lemurs to tidy their enclosure, which meant they beat him to the Tidiest Animal award.

Poor George tried his best in all the categories but to no avail.

A Gold Star for George

When he wakes up the next morning he has a lovely surprise and realises what true friendship is all about.  I won’t spoil the ending, but it’s really rather lovely. The message behind A Gold Star for George is a great one for children to learn and it’s another hit here.

Priced at £6.99, I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link before for your reference.

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

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Inkly Cards – app review

Modern technology never ceases to amaze me.  You all know I’m a bit of a fossil when it comes to all things techie, I certainly won’t be buying  an e-reader anytime soon.  Monkey always receives a postcard from his Auntie and Uncle when they go on holiday and he sent one to his best friend and school when we were in Spain.  Snail mail still rocks in this household.  Now, I’ve recently discovered an app (go me!) that fuses my love of the old with Monkey’s love of the new!  I used the Inkly Cards app to create a surprise for him and we both loved the results.

Inkly Cards

So the Inkly Cards app offers handwritten, personalised cards and it sends them for you too. I think this app would work brilliantly if you wanted to send a card home from your holidays.  No need to find somewhere that sold stamps, or worry about the postage. What a great idea, and even I think that! As I was going to be away for 3 days recently, which is extremely rare, and Monkey really didn’t want me to go, I thought the app could do me a favour.  I would create a card for Monkey that would arrive whilst I was away.

The app is really user-friendly, if I can work my way round an app, then anyone can.  You can decide whether to use one of the Inkly card templates, for a birthday etc or pick a blank layout.  I opted for the blank layout as I wanted to make a card featuring a combine harvester Monkey saw working in the fields in Spain on our recent trip.

Once I was happy with the layout it was time to personalise the greeting inside.

Inkly Cards

As you can see above there are three options to personalise your message with the Inkly Card app.  I didn’t really want to use the keyboard option, I did try the option using my finger on my iPad but I couldn’t get it work (that’s probably more me than the app) so I opted to write my message and use the iPad camera to scan it in.

Inkly Cards

Again, if I can figure it out, it means its easy to do! The instructions were clear and easy to follow and once I was happy with my design, it was just a case of adding the postage details to the envelope and for £2.99 plus 62p UK postage, Monkey’s card was on its way.

As luck would have it our post arrived just as Daddy P was about to take me to the train station.  I recognised the logo on the envelope and told him that the card was a surprise for Monkey and it was ok for him to open it when he got back from school.  I also asked Daddy P to take a photo of him doing just that, but that slipped his mind (still a bloggers husband in training).  But apparently, Monkey was over the moon, firstly with the combine harvester photos, and secondly that the card was from Mummy.

We re-enacted the scene when I got home!

Inkly Cards

Nearly two weeks later and the Inkly card still has pride of place on the mantlepiece, so I guess it really was well received.

For more information on the free app and compatible devices etc just pop over to the Inkly website.  I have a feeling I will be becoming a regular customer.

disclaimer:  we were given a free code to order a card in exchange for an honest review

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Alphabet Photography Project Y is for Yacht #alphabetphoto

Week 25 of PODcast‘s linky The Alphabet Photography Project and we are so close to the end.  What to pick for Y this year as I picked Yellow last year!   I’ve decided to go for The Alphabet Photography Project Y is for Yacht.

Alphabet Photography Project Y is for Yacht

Last year we went to the Bournemouth Wheels Festival event which was excellent, but not all the fun involved wheels! We got to watch some wonderful yachts racing close by.  I clearly know nothing about sailing, can you imagine me, my phobia and boats that don’t stay horizontal – not a good mix!  But I can still admire the skill of the yachtsmen as they tackle the winds and manoeuvre their craft.

I’d love Freddie to have the confidence to try sailing when he’s older, but think it will definitely have to be a Daddy/son activity.  I’ll admire from the beach!

Have you tried sailing?

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