How Hot Is Lava?

I’ve only been lucky enough to see an active volcano once in my life.  There was something quite amazing about looking at it from a distance and seeing a constant line of steam rising from its surface.  All these years later and they still fascinate me, and Monkey shares the interest too.  You might have spotted his rather wonderful Volcano top I bought him from Lands End which he loves.  I just knew that the How Hot Is Lava? book from Sterling Books would be a great addition to our reference books.

How Hot Is Lava?

How Hot Is Lava? is another great fact based book in the series – Good Question, like the book about rubbish trucks and recycling we reviewed recently. This 32 page paperback book is crammed full of information, diagrams and photographs which really help children understand all about volcanoes.

The book looks at the differences between magma and lava, where you can find volcanoes today and which ones might be erupting as I type.  I didn’t realise that a volcano can erupt in a number of different ways.  The book describes each of the 5 types and includes great photographic examples, making it easily relatable.

How Hot Is Lava?

Monkey and I have spent ages reading through this book.  At the moment it’s just an interest, but I can see How Hot Is Lava? being a great book when Monkey learns about Volcanoes at school.  It’s very educational.

How Hot Is Lava?

Being a bit of space fan too, Monkey was very intrigued to discover that Mars, Mercury and Venus, to name but a few, also have volcanoes.

Priced at £4.99, How Hot Is Lava? is a great little reference book and we can both thoroughly recommend it.  I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link below for your reference.

How Hot is Lava?

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

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My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD

I know a few little girls who have been obsessed with My Little pony over the years and Monkey has been known to watch them on TV occasionally.  With it being a Bank Holiday today I thought it would be prefect timing for my latest giveaway.  Today I have a copy of the My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD to offer one lucky reader.

My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD

My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD is released on DVD and digital download on 9th May and will be a big hit with fans of these lovable ponies.  This is the first release from the My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.

Twilight Sparkle is now a princess and has graduated from the library to the castle but is still helping her friends.  She’s off on an adventure to discover the true meaning of friendship.  Can she save Equestria from an attack from a deadly plant?  Watch what happens when she visits an abandoned castle with her friends Rainbow Dash, Applejack and Rarity.

My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD will certainly be a big hit with fans of the series and will be available for £10.85.  I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link below in case you don’t win this time around.


For your chance to win My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD complete the Gleam form below. 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 29th May 2016 at midnight.

My Little Pony: Princess Twilight Sparkle DVD

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Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Last month I was able to share my childhood memories of Hampton Court Palace with you through the latest Ravensburger Puzzle.  Today I’m showcasing the latest in their Historic Royal Palaces series with the lovely Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.  The Tower of London really is a truly iconic landmark of our capital city, and somewhere I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times.

Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

You can’t cease to be impressed with the Tower of London, it’s seen bloodshed, fire and countless wars and is still standing, these days surrounded by soaring skyscrapers.  But it’s still there, a testament to our past heritage. Steeped in history it’s somewhere I’ll be exploring with Monkey when he’s a little older, I’m sure he’ll be as amazed by the Crown Jewels as I was the first time I saw them.

Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

This Ravensburger puzzle has the quality you would expect from the brand and the photographic images work really well to represent the historic palace itself.  Famed for the Beefeaters that defend the Tower of London, the Guardsmen that keep guard of the Crown Jewels and the Ravens that protect us all, these are also represented in this 1000 piece puzzle.

Being a bit of a Tudor fan, I’ve always been fascinated by Traitors Gate and you get quite a sense of what prisoners must have felt as they arrived there by boat, to walk up the steps into the imposing Palace, their prison.

Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

There’s lots of detail in this puzzle, and as always it’s given rise to a few conversations with my son.  Always a good thing as far as I’m concerned.  The puzzle has plenty to keep a jigsaw puzzle fan busy, and it’s been a really interesting puzzle to complete.

Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Priced at £11.99 I’ve noticed that Amazon currently have this jigsaw puzzle on special offer so I’ve included my Affiliate link below for your reference.  The Tower of London 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle will be enjoyed by puzzle fans and history fans alike.

disclosure:  we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review.


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The Little Girl who lost her Voice

I always feel that we as a nation are rather lax when it comes to learning languages. Having worked in Export for most of my adult life, my rather poor French and German skills left a lot to be desired.  I would be so embarrassed when people would apologise for their standard of English, when in truth I could barely speak a word of Danish, Arabic or Russian.  With my parents living in Spain I’d really like Monkey to be more fluent in foreign languages from an early age.  It’s a struggle to fit it all in, I do so wish he was learning Spanish at school now in preference in French.  The team at One Third Stories is looking to introduce children to foreign languages by gently introducing words throughout a story.  We were sent a snippet of The Little Girl who lost her Voice which is currently being developed.

The Little Girl who lost her Voice

The story of The Little Girl who lost her Voice sees a little girl trying to regain her voice with the help of her cat.  The story introduces words of Spanish which are highlighted on bold.  I think it would be helpful if there was a phonetic pronunciation in brackets to guide children and probably and explanation in English too.

The Little Girl who lost her Voice

My Spanish is good enough to be able to explain what each word and phrase means to Monkey, but others may not.  But overall I like the idea behind The Little Girl who lost her Voice.  As I mentioned earlier, this book is work in progress and the team at One Third Stories are looking for children to decide what happens to the little girl and what adventures she will have as she tries to reclaim her voice.

By popping over to the One Third Stories website you can post your entry and be part of the adventure yourself.  You can also download a free audiobook too!  Do your children fancy themselves as a writer or illustrator, if they do, then this opportunity could be for them.

disclosure:  we were sent the first part of this book in exchange for this review, I think it’s a great idea and am happy to promote.

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Billingsgate Market in Black and White

We spent a day in London a few weeks ago and I could quite literally spend all day clicking away on my camera.  I love all the buildings, old and new.  They fascinate me in equal measure.  We couldn’t persuade Monkey to go on the London Eye, so we went on an Open Top Bus tour instead.  It’s a great way to see a beautiful city, and there were details to admire around every corner.  I love the details in the metalwork on this archway. Billingsgate Market in black and white, even Monkey spotted the fish.

Billingsgate Market in Black and White

The bus tour reminded me again, that we spend so much time just looking straight ahead, it’s always important to pause, and look up.

What have you been looking up at recently?


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An Alvis Hare – My Sunday Photo 010516

We were at the Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble this time last week.  I was on car heaven and this little fella caught my eye – an Alvis Hare, isn’t he rather adorable.

An Alvis Hare - My Sunday Photo 010516


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Project 366 2016 Week 17

Project 366 2016 Week 17 Day 115-121 with The Boy and Me.

Sunday 24th April – Day 115

Project 366 2016 Week 17

We popped over to Bicester Heritage for their Sunday Scramble event with Iona and her family.  The weather was considerably better than the last event in January.  We got to see lots of beautiful cars, and Monkey was thrilled to go on a trailer ride pulled by a traction engine.  The site is on an old RAF base and Monkey loved seeing all the old hangers and searching for some good hiding places.

After a quick sandwich at home we headed down to see his Beavers in the St Georges Day parade.  I’m not sure why it wasn’t on the actual day. We made it just in time to see the end of the parade and see his group.  Monkey couldn’t be persuaded to join in with the free activities so we headed home, via the churchyard to see his grandparents graves.  He raced ahead and we found him knelt over the graves chatting away to them both.  It nearly made Daddy P cry.

Monday 25th April – Day 116

Project 366 2016 Week 17

Another week at school.  I helped out with some reading first thing and then came hoe to catch up with some jobs. Monkey came home from school having totally wrecked an almost brand new pair of trousers.  Holes in both knees – grrrr.

In other news we spent some time observing our Worms, they were on top form today.

Week 3 at Beavers and after not wanting to go on the way there, Monkey came out beaming, he’d got his first badge before he’s even been invested.  He was very proud of himself.

Tuesday 26th April – Day 117

Project 366 2016 Week 17

I finally got round to rearranging our desk AKA the dining table that’s rarely used as such, and lives in our lounge. Now instead of facing the wall when I work, I can look out of the patio doors.  Finally a desk with a view.

Monkey came home from school and decided to put my maths skills to the test.

I started the Innovo #restorethefloor challenge for Mumsnet.  I’m trialling the product for 12 weeks to see if I’ll be able to run after Monkey and sneeze with confidence again!

Wednesday 27th April – Day 118

Project 366 2016 Week 17

Our sunflowers are coming along nicely.  Let’s hope this years don’t get eaten by slugs when we are on holiday in June.

It turned out to be rather a long night.  Monkey had been scared by a picture in one of his library book – cue a very interrupted nights sleep.

Thursday 28th April – Day 119

Project 366 2016 Week 17

We woke up to a frosty morning and the theme stuck for the day. I’d forgotten to set the alarm, so it was a bit of a rushed start to the day. After school we tried out our new Mr Frosty machine, apparently I’m the best Mum in the world right now.

Friday 29th April – Day 120

Project 366 2016 Week 17

I had Monkey kicking and screaming, not wanting to go to school this morning, and then when he comes out, he’s full of smiles and has had a good day.  I got some shopping done, and a few job around the house sorted.

We should have been going out for dinner with my eldest niece, but she wasn’t feeling well so a last minute change of plan saw Monkey glued to the CBeebies Midsummer’s Night Dream performance (again) whilst I sorted something for us to eat.  I just love the fact that youngsters are being introduced to Shakespeare.

Saturday 30th April – Day 121

Project 366 2016 Week 17

We spent the day with my ex MIL which is always lovely.  There’s always lots of chatting, lots of laughter and fun to be had.  We spent the day playing with Lego, going out for Pizza and then playing in her local park.  The hills there were just too inviting, and Monkey was in fits of laughter, rolling down, running up and rolling down again.  Simple pleasures.

Lets hope this isn’t the only sunshine we see all weekend!  Have a good one everyone

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A trip to Stoke Wood

Last Saturday Monkey and I were having a bit of a lazy day, we’d spent the morning catching up with some homework and had fun with some craft projects.  But we both needed a bit of fresh air, it was already past lunch time and I didn’t fancy driving far, so we decided on a trip to Stoke Wood.  It’s a Woodland Trust Woodland in Stoke Lyne, just outside Bicester.  There are no amenities other than a free car park, but it always has a plentiful supply of mud and sticks!  Wellies and waterproofs at the ready we headed off for a little adventure.

A trip to Stoke Wood

The area is popular with dog walkers but we managed to find a space in the car park and Monkey was eager to being our adventure.  There’s a map of Stoke Wood as you leave the car park, so we had a look and decided on the route we would take.

A trip to Stoke Wood

A trip to Stoke Wood is something we really should do more often, it’s close to home and an ideal place for Monkey to let off steam.  We were chatting away and realised it’s been quite some time since our last visit. Note to self – rectify this!

Even though the car park was busy, we barely bumped into anyone the whole time we were there, so it often felt as if we had this ancient woodland to ourselves.  We couldn’t help but notice the bluebells.  They were everywhere, such a beautiful blanket of blue with pockets of white wood anemones keeping them company.

A trip to Stoke WoodWe stopped to admire the scene and I told Monkey about the bluebells I used to see as a child in the copse close to where we lived.  They always make me think of fairies and pixies, a magical carpet of colour.

It has to be said that Monkey’s appreciation was slightly less than my own.  Come on Mummy, I want to find some mud!

A trip to Stoke WoodWe wandered along the paths changing our route from time to time and it wasn’t long before Monkey found what he was looking for.

A trip to Stoke Wood


A trip to Stoke Wood

You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you jolly well have to go right through it!

A trip to Stoke Wood

He was a Monkey in muck and that’s he’s kind of heaven.  We talked about all kinds of thing on our walk.  We had bought our bird book with us, but I’d left the binoculars in the car and Monkey and being quiet and still aren’t the best of bed fellows.  The interest is there, but the inclination to actually stop and be still, less so!

Monkey was on a mission to explore as much of the wood as possible, and he did eventually take time to admire the flowers around him.

Of course no adventure for us can possibly complete with out be joined by a stick, or two. There was mud soup to be stirred along the way. The sticks seem to be growing in size too.

Imagine Monkey’s delight when we turned a corner along the path and discovered a very impressive den.  Wow Mummy! and he was off to investigate.

A trip to Stoke Wood was such a good idea, the weather has behaved, we got to enjoy the flowers and fresh air for a couple of hours.

A trip to Stoke Wood

Monkey was intrigued by the catkins and some wonderful fungi.

It was well worth making a trip to Stoke Wood, Monkey was getting hungry, it was time to head home for dinner. We’ll be back again soon I’m sure, as we really do need to make better use of what’s on our doorstep.

Do you have Woodland Trust wood close to you, that you can recommend?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


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Quidco’s High Street Happy

I’m joining in with the Quidco’s High Street Happy campaign today. I’m clearly of an age where I remember clearly what life was like before the internet revolution, the days when shops weren’t open on Sundays or Bank Holidays.  There may have been less choice in those days, but I’ve always had happy memories of shopping on the high street.  Ok, maybe not the days when my brother and I were dragged around the supermarkets, but generally, I’ve always been high street happy.

Quidco’s High Street Happy

Daddy P comes from a line of shop keepers, from cobblers, greengrocers and the all important shop that sold everything.  He grew up in the bustling town centre, and can recall each shop and how it has changed over the last (almost) 50 years.  It makes me high street happy that my son is part of that heritage and that we have a unique insight into the world behind the shop window.

Quidco’s High Street Happy

When you have children, eating out can be a stressful affair but I’ve never found that the case with Pizza Express and I always look out for them on the high street wherever we are. We’ve celebrated birthdays there, and just generally had lovely, relaxed family time, whilst enjoying good food too.

Quidco’s High Street Happy

I always loved visiting our local toy and pet shops when I was a child.  Looking at the latest toys in the window display, and looking to see if there was another cute kitten or bunny we could bring home.  I have fond memories of many excursions to the high street.

Quidco’s High Street Happy

These days it’s my sons turn to create his own High Street Happy memories.  If I ask him what he loves about the high street, yes the toy shop is up there, but also the book shop and a collectible models shop.  He’ll spend ages wandering around all of them.  There’s nothing quite like seeing something for yourself is there.

Quidco’s High Street Happy

Quidco run a great scheme where you can earn cash back on your high street purchases. You link your credit/debit card up on their site and you can then earn cash back on your purchases with more than 5300 retailers nationwide, covering over 40 different brands.  Quidco tracks your purchases and pays you back a percentage of the price (once purchase has been confirmed by the retailer) straight into your account.  You’re bound to find something to make you high street happy, whether it be from shopping with Debenhams or Mothercare, maybe you fancy indulging with Hotel Chocolat, or your kids new a new bike from Halfords.  Everything is covered.

I’ve just joined up (it’s free to register) and very easy to do. I’ll be sharing my experience on a recent shopping spree with Argos through Quidco, next week. You can find out more about registering here with Quidco High Street.


What do you think of the high street?  Quidco asked some shoppers in Oxford for their thoughts recently.  Do you agree with them?

When asked about how they felt about their local high street, nearly 8 in 10 respondents in Oxford (79%) said they like their local high street with nearly 1 in 5 (18%) stating they love it. More than 1 in 5 respondents (21%) said they do not like their local high street.

When asked how often they go to their local high street, those in Oxford visit their local high street an average of twice a week. With 1 in 7 (14%) visiting their local high street 5 or more times a week.

When asked how often would you like to go to your local high street if there was nothing holding you back from doing so, those in Oxford would like to go to their local high street an average of 3 times a week. 1 in 5 (20%) said they would like to visit their local high street 5 or more times a week.

Why do people in Oxford go to the local high street? Half of respondents in Oxford (50%) go to their local high street to do other (non-food) shopping. 3 in 10 (30%) of respondents in Oxford go to their local high street to meet friends. 1 in 5 (20%) of respondents go to hit the sales. More than 1 in 5 (21%)  go for retail therapy.

When thinking about a favourite item of clothing, something that they love and makes them feel amazing. Where did they purchase this? 2 in 5 (40%) of respondents in Oxford said they purchased their favourite item of clothing on the high street.

If people in Oxford were planning a big night out, which do they do you do? More than 3 in 10 (31%) said they go shopping alone. 20% they go shopping with mates in the high street. Just under 13% do a mass online shop, try everything on at home and share the results with all their friends.

Would you agree with the people of Oxford and the experiences that make them happy?  More than half (56%) said they would be happy if they found a surprise bargain they didn’t know they wanted. Whilst 47% would be happy if they got free samples.  More than 44% said they would be happy if they bumped into a pal, changed their plans and spent some quality time chatting about nothing.

49% of those asked in Oxford, said they have experienced finding a surprise bargain you didn’t even know they wanted on the high street. Whilst 2 in 5  said they have experienced free samples on the high street.

Are you like the people of Oxford?  Where do you prefer shopping?  33% said they prefer to shop on the high street. Whilst just under 19% said they prefer to shop in shopping centres. 39% said they most often shop online. With 15% saying they most often shop in out-of-town retail parks.

30%  said their best shopping experience was on the local high street with 14% saying their best shopping experience was online.

So have you used Quidco before?  If not, it’s definitely worth looking into, every little penny helps after all.

disclosure:  I have been compensated for this post, but my thoughts still remain my own.


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Spring wish list with Lyst

A Spring wish list with Lyst

Spring is tantalizingly close and that means only one thing; it’s time to give your wardrobe a much-needed update. Bikinis and sunbathing may be a while off yet, but you can still say goodbye to your winter coat, chunky knits and beanies for the next six months and start investing in some ridiculously covetable new-season trends. Luckily, Lyst has made it easy with a run-down of the top five spring staples to wear now.

Ruffled Tops

Ruffles were all over the SS16 catwalks, reflecting the romantic mood that fashion’s feeling right now. Looking for an easy way to work the trend?

Ruffle blouse

Go for a ruffled blouse. Whether you opt for a mannish shirt with a subtle trim, or go all-out with a billowing chiffon style – as long as it’s got ruffles, you’re good.


No longer just reserved for the kids, backpacks are the chicest way to carry around your essentials this summer.

Back pack

Forget big totes that you can never find your keys in – practicality is officially in. Multiple pockets and hands-free wear make the backpack every mum’s new best friend.

Ankle Boots

A perennial favourite, this season’s ankle boots take things back to basics. This time around, it’s all about easy heel heights and neutral colours – think black, white and beige.

ankle boot

The best thing? They’ll go with anything, from workwear to your weekend jeans, and will feel comfortable at the same time (i.e. perfect for the school run).

Striped Dresses

This season, stripes are the pattern du jour. Any direction or combination of colours goes. Plus, it will work for day, night and everything in-between.

striped dress


Feeling brave? Make sure your accessories clash.

Leather Jackets

It’s the leather jacket, but not as you know it. Put the biker to one side, this summer it’s all about coloured styles in a variety of hues.


When the typical British summertime takes a turn for the worse, a bright leather jacket is perfect layered over a T-shirt or dress. There’s never been a better excuse to go bold.

disclosure:  this is a guest post for which I’ve been compensated for hosting

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