15 Nov 2017

How to Design a Brand Logo with Logojoy

I have recently been giving the blog an overhaul. I have updated the header and social media buttons. I have changed the layout and colour scheme. Next on the list was a brand new blog logo. Logojoy, a blog designing website, invited me to try out and review their software.

Logojoy uses artificial intelligence to generate beautiful, unique logo ideas to suit your business. You can design a logo for free and keep refining it till you are completely happy with the result. You only make a payment once you are satisfied with your logo.

Logojoy uses artificial intelligence to generate beautiful, unique logo ideas to suit your business. You can design a logo for free and keep refining it till you are completely happy with the result. You only make a payment once you are satisfied with your logo.

I started off by filling in the name of my blog when prompted. The next step was to pick five or more logos that I liked from a list of pre-made ones. They differ in colour, font and layout. Logojoy then uses these choices as a guide to create a design just for you. 

The next page prompted me to choose a colour swatch from the nine available ones. I am partial to a cool colour scheme, so chose black, turquoise, blue, violet and orange.

Next I had to think of a slogan for my blog. This step is optional, but any business or blog looks better with a slogan. Rambling Through Parenthood is a family lifestyle blog that is all about taking on challenges, trying new things and pushing horizons. So I picked a slogan to reflect this. I was then prompted to search for and select five symbols to symbolise what my blog was about.

Logojoy now wanted me to create an account before I could continue. I had the option to log in via Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or use an email address. For reasons unknown, it would not let me log in via anything other than my email.

Once I had overcome this little niggle, I was shown all the logos that Logojoy had created for my blog. I could choose the ones I liked and edit colour, layout and fonts. This was the hard bit. They all looked so pretty and appealing; I found it difficult to narrow down on one.

I did eventually, and then had a go using the various tools to change things around. I would have liked an ‘undo’ button to cancel changes I had made. There was none, so I had to keep going back and forth with the choices. It would also be useful to be able to compare two or more choices next to each other. Other than that, it was fun to play around with colours and fonts till I found something I liked. The best bit was to generate a preview to see how your brand logo will look on billboards, t-shirts and business cards.

Generally speaking, the Logojoy website was easy to navigate. The instructions were precise and self-explanatory. The pricing structure was clear, so you knew exactly what you were getting in the package you select.

I am super pleased with my new blog logo and can’t wait to use it. Isn’t it striking!

Disclosure: I was given a Premium logo package for the purpose of this review and was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own. 

13 Nov 2017

Meccano M.A.X - the Interactive Toy Robot, Review

I grew up in the 1980s watching The Terminator movies and reading Isaac Asimov’s principles of robotics. It was a time when artificial Intelligence (AI) was the stuff of sci-fi fantasies. I never thought that one day I would own an intelligent, learning robot that can tell a joke!

Meccano M.A.X. by Spinmaster is the new AI-powered smart robot designed to learn through interaction. The more you play with it, the smarter M.A.X gets! As a personalised STEM toy, M.A.X. has the capacity to stimulate young minds and foster a passion for science and critical thinking.

Meccano M.A.X. (Meccano Advanced XFactor) by Spinmaster is the new AI-powered smart robot designed to learn through interaction. The more you play with it, the smarter M.A.X gets.

12 Nov 2017

170 mile Cycle Ride - Training and Weight Loss (Week 6 Update)

I am at the end of week 6 of training for The Way Of The Roses and after missing all of week 5 to a nasty cold bug, I am glad to say this week has been a lot better. I managed an average speed of 21mph on a stationary bike at a level 9 tension. This session may have lasted only 25 minutes, but it is the fastest I have ever ridden on any kind of bicycle.

My on-going struggle with chronic sinusitis affects cycling performance. I have introduced kapalbhati pranayama into my morning routine in an attempt to overcome this. I am also practising mindfulness because the mind plays just as big a part in performance as physical training.

10 Nov 2017

The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Studio Review

I don’t do sewing machines.  I can crochet beautiful patterns and I can sew with a needle and thread, but I don’t use sewing machines. The last time I used one was a couple of years ago when, under the watchful eyes of professionals, I managed to sew a Christmas gift bag.

What is life without a challenge, eh? So I accepted the task of using and reviewing the The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Studio.

The Great British Sewing Bee Sewing Studio comes fully equipped with a pro sewing machine with features like a finger safety guard, auto speed settings,  and a thread spool compartment. It can be battery operated or you can plug it into the mains. The Sewing Studio is aimed at ages 6 and above, but only with adult supervision. Creating with the Sewing Studio can be a fun family project, something to spend time together and bond over.

6 Nov 2017

Mi-Mic Karaoke Microphone Speaker - Review

I love to sing and so does my six year old son. I have never had any formal training and J is only just beginning his, but we have always bonded over music. We love to listen and sing along to our favourite tracks at home as well as in the car. So when the opportunity arose to review a karaoke microphone, I knew it was something we would both enjoy.

The Mi-Mic is a karaoke microphone with an in-built speaker and Bluetooth functionality. The Bluetooth allows you to connect the Mi-Mic to any paired device, so you can channel the music through it as you sing. It comes with 7 coloured LED lights for added fun. Mi-Mic is perfect for children's parties, as a single charge gives 4 hours of play-time.

2 Nov 2017

LinkIt Card Game - Review & Giveaway

PikyKwiky is a UK based start-up company that has launched a family card game called ‘LinkIt’. This unique picture card game has been designed to help children sharpen visual perception and language skills in a fun and competitive atmosphere.

LinkIt is a picture-based card game for all the family. LinkIt has been designed to help children sharpen visual perception and language skills. The aim is to spot the link between cards as quickly as you can! It will make for a great stocking-filler this Christmas.

In LinkIt, players compete to find the link between the cards in front of them. The aim is to spot the link as quickly as possible  before the other players spot it. No prior knowledge or game strategy is required, which means adults have no advantage over children when it comes to winning at LinkIt.

Your Winter Maintenance Guide for Outdoor Furniture

Relaxing in your garden may be wonderful during the summer months. As winter comes around, the harsh weather can be hard on outdoor furniture.  With the right care and maintenance, you can make sure your furniture survives the cold season and is ready to enjoy come summer. Whether your furniture is metal, wood, plastic or rattan, this maintenance guide will help you look after your outdoor furniture.

As winter comes around, the harsh weather can be hard on outdoor furniture.  With the right care and maintenance, you can make sure your furniture survives the cold season and is ready to enjoy come summer. Whether your furniture is metal, wood, plastic or rattan, this maintenance guide will help you look after your outdoor furniture.

31 Oct 2017

Drainage Issues to Look Out for in Your New Home

Buying a new home can be exhilarating and terrifying in equal measures. The excitement of owning your own property can be overshadowed by a variety of problems. From subsidence to faulty plumbing, there is a lot that can go wrong with a property.

Leaky pipes are a nightmare for all home-owners, old and new. We have all heard horror stories where things have gone wrong with the plumbing. I remember an episode where I came down one morning to a puddle on the kitchen floor. Turns out the mains tap leading into the house had worn out with age and a quick fix was all it took to sort out the problem.

Not everyone gets by this easily when it comes to faulty plumbing. 

30 Oct 2017

170 mile Cycle Ride - Training and Weight Loss (Week 4 Update)

Week 4 of training for The Way Of The Roses was marked by October half-term, a couple of fantastic days out with J and M and the inevitable appearance of snotty noses. As temperatures dipped and the clocks turned back, J came down with a nasty bug.

170 mile Cycle Ride - Training and Weight Loss - Week 4 Update

We had a couple of cracking autumn days but a poorly child meant I was not able to go out on the bike. I did manage to sneak in two gym sessions through the week, including a spinning class.

27 Oct 2017

The 3x3 Rubik's Cube - a Toy that Stood the Test of Time

Can you believe it’s been more than 40 years since the Rubik’s cube was invented!

I grew up playing the Rubik’s cube. More correctly, fighting my brother over ownership of the one Cube we had. It didn’t take him long to crack the puzzle while I struggled to solve it. The next step was trying to better our times.  The competition was intense.

Some things stand the test of time. The Rubik’s Cube is one of them. In a day and age when attention spans are getting shorter, screen times are getting longer and fingers seek to fidget constantly, the Rubik’s Cube continues to endure. It enhances problem solving skills and logical thinking. It improves concentration and focus. It improves dexterity.

The old Cube has since undergone considerable transformation. It now has a brand new mechanism that makes it smoother, faster and more reliable. Gone are the days when it used to come apart in your hands as you attempted a speed record. The stickers have been replaced with plastic, which means no more fading or peeling. It also means bye-bye cheating!

25 Oct 2017

10 Things To Do at The National Railway Museum, York

My son J loves trains. He loves playing with trains, reading about trains and travelling by train. So we took him to the one place that is all about trains – The National Railway Museum (NRM) in York. We could have driven over in the car but decided to make the day extra special by going on the train.

The National Railway Museum (NRM) in York makes for a fantastic day our for all the family. It is located just outside York railway station and offers free entry. We spent an entire day exploring the NRM. Here are our top 10 things to do at The National Railway Museum, York.

The NRM is located just outside York railway station. It is very well sign-posted and a footbridge from the station leads directly to it. The NRM is open from 10-6 every day except a few days over Christmas and entry is free.

We spent the entire day exploring everything that the NRM has to offer. Here are our top 10 things to do at The National Railway Museum, York.

24 Oct 2017

Christmas Party Style for under £150

Are you all set to face the Festive Season?  

The countdown to Christmas has begun. It won’t be long before the merry-making is in full swing and your diary is bursting with things to do and parties to attend. If you are looking to update your wardrobe for the upcoming festivities, the brand Esprit has a range of clothes and accessories you can choose from.

I have put together my Christmas Party Style wish-list and it comes in just under £150. That is a bargain, don’t you think?

170 mile Cycle Ride - Week 3 Update

Week 3 of training for The Way Of The Roses went better than the previous week. Despite celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights, through the week, I stuck to the training schedule.

Week 3 of training for The Way Of The Roses went better than the previous week. Despite celebrating Diwali, the Festival of Lights, through the week, I stuck to the training schedule.

Hurricane Ophelia followed shortly afterward by Storm Brian meant there were no outdoor cycle rides this week. I am not comfortable cycling in gusts of 20mph, let alone 40! So it was just the gym for me this week.

18 Oct 2017

Picturesque Glencoe in Popular Cinema

It is one thing to see a beautiful location in a film or television show. It is quite another to visit the place and experience it in person.  PCA Predict are set to launch an e-book exploring how certain parts of the UK have been transformed by their on-screen popularity.

The unspoilt landscape of Glen Coe, its unpolluted air and stunning natural light make it the perfect location for an outdoor shoot. Here are some of cinema's iconic scenes set against the stunning backdrop of Glencoe and the Scottish Highlands.

16 Oct 2017

170 mile Cycle Ride - Week 2 Update

Week 2 of training for the Way Of The Roses hasn’t been great. The week started with two back-to-back gym sessions. I was supposed to go back for two more or do an outdoor cycle ride, but managed neither.

I am aiming for between 30 to 40 miles per week on the cycle through the winter months but did only half that this week. I refuse to make excuses for why I couldn’t do it. It’s in the past now and there is no way I can alter any of it. What I will do instead, is stay positive and focus on achieving my targets for this week.

A key part of this training story is to lose weight. I have a food plan that should help me do so at a steady rate. I am not skimping on fats at all. It is the processed carbs that are being culled. Here is what the plan looks like.

10 Oct 2017

Rubik's Junior Pet Puzzles - Review and Giveaway

I am a child of the 1980s and grew up wearing shoulder pads and trying to solve the Rubik’s cube. A lot has changed in the last 20 years, but Rubik’s carries on even today. In addition to the cube, Rubik’s now has a range of puzzles to suit all ages and abilities.

The Rubik’s Pet Puzzle is a fantastic toy that encourages logical thinking and problem-solving skills. Available in four cute patterns - a puppy, kitten, bunny and bear, they are suitable for children as young as four.

The latest in the range are the Rubik’s Junior Pet Puzzles. There is a cute puppy, kitten, bunny and bear to choose from.

9 Oct 2017

5 Things to Consider When Buying Your Home

Buying your own house is by far the biggest and most important investment most of us will make in our lives. It so often happens that you find your perfect house, fall in love with it and end up buying without thinking about any consequences.

There are so many things to consider and much that could go wrong. I speak from experience. It wasn’t long ago that we were hunting for our perfect family home. Here is what I have learnt after weeks and months of trying to get on the property ladder.

Buying your own house is by far the biggest and most important investment most of us will make in our lives. There are so many things to consider and much that could go wrong. Here is what I have learnt after weeks and months of trying to get on the property ladder.

Key Things to Consider When Buying A House:

5 Oct 2017

How I Intend to Train for a 170 mile Cycle Ride

Eeeks! I can’t believe I’ve done it! I have only just gone and said yes to do the Way Of The Roses (Coast-to-Coast or C2C) Cycle Ride next summer. That’s a 170 miles of cycling from Morecambe to Bridlington over the Yorkshire Dales in the north of England. What was I thinking?

Or maybe I wasn’t. I had always wanted to do the C2C as a week-long ramble. But none of my cycling buddies seem interested in walking for seven days. The only way to do it is on a bicycle, they said.

How I Intend to Train for a 170 mile Cycle Ride

3 Oct 2017

Fort William to Mallaig - World's Greatest Railway Journeys

If you are a fan of Harry Potter, steam trains, trains in general, or if you appreciate a fantastic day out with or without children, then this is for you.

Fort William to Mallaig - World's Greatest Railway Journeys

If you ever find yourself in the Scottish Highlands, do pencil in a day to enjoy a train ride from Fort William to Mallaig. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most scenic railway journeys in the world and here is why.

There are two options, two ways to experience this spectacular train ride.

27 Sep 2017

On the Mawddach Trail, Snowdonia, Wales

J had been asking to go on a cycling holiday since he saw his parents do a big charity bike ride earlier in the year. Being only six means his legs can tire easily. So the prospect of riding at least 10 miles every day for a week is daunting. That, and at 6 years old I think he is too little to be riding his lovely Islabike on the road. He is brilliant on it but I can’t guarantee he will stick to the inside line and follow instructions – key factors to guarantee his safety when riding on busy roads.

So instead of a cycling holiday, we decided to do cycle rides through the summer on car-free, family-friendly routes. The first big one we did was on our week-long holiday in Wales. You can read more about our Welsh itinerary here, if you haven’t done so already. We chose to cycle along the Mawddach trail that goes 9.5 miles from Dolgellau to Barmouth along a disused railway track on the southern edge of the stunning Mawddach estuary.

Cycle (or walk) on the Mawddach Trail, Snowdonia, Wales

25 Sep 2017

Fauna at The Lowry

J and I were back at The Quays theatre at The Lowry. This time, it was to watch Fauna. J was excited even before the show started because we were in Tier 1 seats. He was perched on top of a tall chair and had an unobstructed view of the stage and everyone seated in the stalls.

Fauna opened with bird song. Six skilled performers then took to the stage. One of them took up the guitar and keyboard that sat in a corner. He went on to provide the live score for the show, while the other five performed breath-taking stunts in time to the music.

Fauna at The Lowry

22 Sep 2017

Secret Lamb Biryani Recipe Revealed!

Biryani has long been considered the meal of the Nawabs – princes of ancient India. The recipe was a closely guarded secret, passed along from one generation of royal cooks to the next by word of mouth alone.

My husband, M, loves a good lamb biryani and tried in vain to find somewhere that serves an authentic  version. In the end, he decided to re-invent the recipe in our kitchen. We now have a tried and tested lamb biryani recipe that is a firm family favourite. M loves to make it. His friends and family love to eat it.

After some persuasion, M has decided to reveal the secret to his lamb biryani.

Secret Lamb Biryani Recipe Revealed!

13 Sep 2017

Bala to Llanuwchllyn Ramble (part of Snowdonia Leisure Network)

The aim of today’s ramble was to walk from Bala to Llanuwchllyn and get the Bala Lake Railway back. There is also a bus service that runs on this route, if you miss the last train back.

Bala to Llanuwchllyn Ramble (part of Snowdonia Leisure Network)

We started this walk from the Abercelyn Country House where we were staying for a week long self-catering holiday.

We crossed the road to access the walking/cycling path that runs along the A494 from Bala to Glanllyn. There is a plan in place to extend this path all the way up to Llanuwchllyn, which will perhaps make this walk a lot easier and less adventurous than it turned out to be.

4 Sep 2017

Family Travel Itinerary for Bala, North Wales

Another summer has come and gone and we are back at school today. After a whirlwind few weeks where I was struggling to keep my head above water with regards to the blog, I now have time to reflect on the holiday that has been.

We spent the first few weeks at home waiting for the incessant rain to stop. We did have a couple of reasonable days with a hint of summer, which were spent in the park and meeting up with friends.

It was only in the latter half of August, when M had time of work and the sun finally made a more determined appearance, that it truly felt like summer. By then, the evenings and early mornings were distinctly cooler and already reminiscent of autumn. We were not about to let a little chill thwart our plans.

Family Travel Itinerary for Bala, North Wales

So we packed our bags, crammed the bicycles into the boot of the car (that’s right, the Honda Civic is not unlike the Tardis – you can fit the whole house in it and more), and headed off to North Wales to enjoy a much awaited break.

31 Aug 2017

Dining Out in Liverpool ONE

Any trip to Liverpool would be incomplete without a stop at Liverpool ONE, an outdoor shopping, residential and leisure complex spanning six districts in the city. In addition to lots of shopping, from high street brands to designer labels, Liverpool ONE offers a diverse range of dining options.

Choose to have a classy fine dining experience, a laid back meal in a more casual setting or just grab food on the go. No matter what your preference, you will find something to suit your taste from the wide variety of food and drink outlets spread across Liverpool ONE.

29 Aug 2017

New! Ben 10 Toys

A new range of Ben 10 toys has been launched by Flair and you are invited to the party! It is a Twitter party on Thursday 31st August from 1pm to 3pm. I am playing host along with a few other parent bloggers. Remember to save the date and join in on your mobiles, laptops or smart devices using  #Ben10Toys to be in with a chance of winning some Ben 10 goodies.

28 Aug 2017

Why You MUST Restring Your Pearls

Whoever said diamonds are a girl’s best friend overlooked the other significant gem in every woman’s life - pearls!

Sophisticated, romantic and oh-so- elegant, pearls are a must-have in every woman’s jewellery collection. Pearls are also often passed from one generation to the next and carry with them a rich history and lots of sentimental value.

But time tends to take a toll on these beauties, They actually need treatments to keep them secure and looking their best. Whether your pearls are a family heirloom or just an all-time favourite, they should be restrung as often as once a year.

18 Aug 2017

Create with the Bunchems! BunchBot

Who else thinks this summer has been a complete washout? We are more than halfway through the school holidays and I can just about count the number of warm, sunny days we’ve had on the fingers of one hand.

J doesn’t mind being indoors that much, though cabin fever does kick in after a while. He amuses himself playing with toys or creating with them. Like with the Bunchems! BunchBot. We have had a laugh creating all sorts of 3-D shapes and creatures with this snazzy toy.

Create with the Bunchems! BunchBot

14 Aug 2017

The Eternity Rose - A Unique Gift Idea

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. A concept immortalised by the greatest playwright and author that ever lived, William Shakespeare.

Thanks to those immortal words or otherwise, the rose now occupies a very special place in our hearts and our lives as a symbol of everlasting love.

Who can resist the charm of a hand-tied bouquet of long-stemmed red roses? There are times however, when a bouquet is not enough. You want to capture the romance of the rose but make it last for an eternity.

The Eternity Rose - a Unique Gift Idea

The Eternity Rose is just that. This unique concept in gift-giving comes from a company that specialises in precious metal-coated and glazed natural roses.

10 Aug 2017

MOKURU - the latest Fidget Toy - a Giveaway

“Is MOKURU Set To Be The Next Playground Craze?” scream the headlines from many national newspapers. This latest nifty toy has taken Japan by storm and is now headed for British shores.

Brainchild of designer Masakazu Node, this handheld wooden toy was designed to test an individual’s balance and focus. Now this simple design is testing the dexterity of fast fingered flippers everywhere.

5 Aug 2017

Crochet and the Colours of Christmas

Regular blog readers will know that I have taken up crochet again after a long hiatus. I have enjoyed the calm and focus that it brings, so have persisted with this long-lost hobby of mine.

After successfully completing the Sky Blanket, a year-long crochet project that had me picking up a crochet hook after nearly 20 years, I have gone on to finish a few other pieces. Like this ruffle crochet flower and this easy woolly hat I made to keep my ears warm last winter.

Crochet and the Colours of Christmas

Early this year, I visited a yarn and sewing exhibition with a friend who loves beautiful yarn as much as I do. She was on a self-imposed ‘yarn diet’, but I went a bit crazy and ended up buying armfuls of the stuff to replenish my depleted stock.

2 Aug 2017

Craft Time Mosaics Mini by Brainstorm

One week into the summer holidays and I am still waiting for the sun to shine and me to stop wearing a woolly jumper. No, I mean it. A nasty cold and no warming sunshine means I feel as miserable as if it was the middle of January.

With one difference. School is out, J is at home and I have to think of ways to keep him entertained. Creating has always been our strong point, so these cute Craft Time Mosaics Mini by Brainstorm fit the bill perfectly.

Craft Time Mosaics Mini by Brainstorm

Room on the Broom at The Lowry

I can’t remember the number of times we have read Julia Donaldson’s Room on the Broom. We bought the 15th anniversary edition a while back and it has remained a favourite since. So imagine the excitement when my son found out that we were at The Lowry to watch Room on the Broom live on stage.

30 Jul 2017

Outgrowing a Toddler Bed

It was three summers ago that J moved out of his baby cot into a toddler bed. We did up his room then, complete with lots of Thomas the Tank Engine decals, toy boxes and a big bookcase.

He is six years old now, tall for his age, and is very snug in his toddler bed. The time has come to move him into a proper sized ‘big boy’ bed.

A Parenting Dilemma - When the time comes to move out of a toddler bed, do you make the jump to a small single bed, or go straight up to a single bed? Would you consider a double bed for a child who seems to relish the prospect of a spacious bed?

27 Jul 2017

The Tiger Who Came to Tea at The Lowry

Does anyone else think it is feeling more like the Indian monsoon than a British summer? As if the incessant downpour wasn’t a dampener enough, there are these mystery viruses doing the rounds and making life miserable. I have no wish to be hunkered down in bed during the summer holidays, but going by the sore throat I woke up to this morning, that seems to be a distinct possibility.

Viruses and rain notwithstanding, J and I headed to the local library to register him for this year’s reading challenge. This is his fourth year doing it, and I am so proud of how far he has come with his reading (more on that later).

We next went to The Lowry for what was undoubtedly the highlight of our day. It was warm, but J had insisted on wearing his tiger onesie for one reason alone. We were going to watch The Tiger Who Came To Tea and he wanted to look and feel the part.

26 Jul 2017

Refract:17 and Anyday at The Waterside Arts

Should I be surprised that the first day of our summer holidays was nearly a complete washout? All plans for the morning were put on hold as rain took over our lives. So J and I spent the day baking a batch of banana and walnut muffins, improvising on the recipe as we went along since we only had one ripe banana.

Refract:17 and Anyday at The Waterside Arts

The skies brightened by mid-afternoon and after a quick meal of creamy vegetable pasta that M rustled up in under 15 minutes, we headed out to the Waterside Arts to watch a performance of Anyday.

Anyday is Max Calaf Seve’s one-man trampolining act that is part of Refract:17, a festival of experiential performances, music and events that are being showcased at the Waterside till the end of this month. It is about seeing things differently, being challenged and inspired.

“There is no gravity on that stage,” my six year old exclaimed in incredulous delight as we watched Max perform one stunt after another. Quickly followed by, “I wish I could do that,” in response to Max’s ingenious use of props and mid-air somersaults on the trampoline.

Grill in the Park at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

M and I hardly ever go on dinner dates. We have managed the occasional child-free lunch date when J was at school and M had the day off. But evenings out without a child in tow are a rare occurrence since becoming parents. I am not complaining, for I really do enjoy being accompanied by my son when out and about. I also have nothing against date nights at home. To be entirely honest, it is a lot less effort to curl up on the living room sofa with wine and cake in my pyjamas than sorting a night out.

Grill in the Park at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

But every once in a while, it just feels nice to put on something pretty and step out with my husband. So I did, and we headed to the Grill in the Park at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club to sample their new menu.

24 Jul 2017

Manchester City Bike Ride : The How and Why

Leading by example to motivate your child to bigger and better things is what parenthood is all about.

The Challenge

When his parents took on a cycling challenge in the new year and went on to complete it, six year old J was keen to follow suit. He wanted a cycling challenge of his own.

J has been on his Islabike for a year and a half now, growing ever more confident with his cycling. We have been out cycling as a family a couple of times, mostly on holiday, but had never done a competitive bike ride before.

Why We Chose The City Ride

Not that the HSBC UK Manchester City Ride is competitive. Far from it. It is touted as a family-friendly bike ride around the city, with roads closed to traffic along the route. It is open to people of all ages and abilities and you can choose to cycle on any type of bike. You can even hire a bike for the day if you don’t have one of your own.

20 Jul 2017

How the Internet Revolutionised Blogging

Can you imagine life without the Internet? Where would we be without it? I wouldn't be writing this blog nor would you be reading it if it were not for the Internet. 

As a blogger, Internet forms an integral part of my working life. The entire idea of an online journal stems from the premise that I have unfettered access to the World Wide Web, and I can call one tiny iota of it my own.

How the Internet Revolutionised Blogging

17 Jul 2017

10 Things You Need on a Road Trip with Kids

We recently went on a road trip from the north west of England up into the Scottish Highlands. We have successfully travelled long haul with our child, and we have been on a train with him on more than one occasion. This was our first time driving long distances as a family. 

A six hour journey along beautiful northern roads, where cruise control is of no use and you need your wits about you to handle the road, teaches you a lot about preparing for road trips with children.

Here is what I have learned about going on a road trip with kids.

10 Things You Need on a Road Trip with Kids

12 Jul 2017

This Girl Can!

It was early in the New Year when I signed up to do a charity bike ride along with a group of friends. 5 months of training culminated in the big ride this Sunday. I haven’t blogged about my progress in training, but there are snippets of my journey on my Instagram feed. Do pop over for a look.

Starting from Manchester, cycling 100 kilometres (60ish miles) to Blackpool and raising money in support of The Christie Charitable Trust was nothing if not challenging. I am pleased to say I did it!

As always, intense emotion makes me spout poetry. So here is a poetic take on what was undoubtedly my biggest physical challenge to date.

7 Jul 2017

Fantastic Mr Fox Live at The Lowry

An a capella quartet of birds is not how I imagined the opening of Fantastic Mr Fox. Having read Roald Dahl’s book and watched George Clooney preen as Mr Fox on screen, I wasn’t really sure of how this live stage version was going to unfold.  It was a delight to witness this rock/ jazz musical take on Dahl’s fascinating story of a fox and his struggle for survival against hostile humans.

Fantastic Mr Fox Live at The Lowry

3 Jul 2017

Digital Kids Show -10% off Tickets!

The Digital Kids Show is a unique family day out of techtastic family fun including everything from live shows with YouTubers to the latest family games and internet safety workshops and it is coming back to Event City in Manchester on the 18th and 19th of November this year. It will be my first visit to the show and I am so looking forward to it.

It promises to be a great day out for all the family. A dedicated family gaming zone will provide gaming fun for the whole family, including a Gamer Bus, Minecraft Hub and family friendly gaming, Augmented Reality and VR.

28 Jun 2017

Air Hogs Foot Powered Jet Rocket Review


Now there's a reaction every parent aspires to get from their child when they are presented with a new toy.

And that is precisely the reaction we got from our 6 year old after he had launched the Air Hogs Foot Powered Jet Rocket.

Air Hogs Foot Powered Jet Rocket Review

This toy from Spinmaster wins on so many fronts.

26 Jun 2017

Despicable Me 3, 100 Piece Puzzle Review

My son adores the Minions and Despicable Me. So much, that his fourth birthday was Minion – themed, complete with a Minion cake, candles and decorations.

To be honest, M and I enjoy the cute little blue and yellow characters ourselves and have watched the first two offerings of Despicable Me a good few times. We now eagerly await the release of Despicable Me 3. It won’t be long before we queue up to watch Gru and his gang take on another super-villain.

Who else loves The Minions?

We have watched the trailer of the new film. I don’t wish to spoil any surprises, but be prepared to meet Dru – allegedly Gru’s twin brother, only he has a head full of hair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          These two, along with a pair of Minions, are the characters that make up Ravensburger’s new XXL 100 piece jigsaw puzzle. It retails at £7.99 and is suitable for ages 6 and above.

25 Jun 2017

Tonka Tinys Car Crush Escape Review

We had heard lots about Tonka’s (you would, seen as they have been around a really long time and are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year), but this was our first time playing with Tonka Tinys.

                  Tonka Tinys Car Crush Escape Review

For those of you new to the world of Tonka, they are a range of vehicular toys that are now available in miniature as Tonka Tinys. They are available either as three packs or individually as interlocking surprise blind box garages, each housing one of 20 miniature vehicles.

Also new to the range are a pair of Tonka Tinys playsets available to buy now from Amazon.

18 Jun 2017

It's Not Cricket!

There is no disgrace in defeat, but in the manner of succumbing to it. 

                 It's Not Cricket!

You can't win them all, but when you fold in and give up without a fight, it's simply called 'taking the p***'.
That's exactly what the Indian cricket team seemed to do today in the final match of the ICC Champions Trophy. 

The stage was neatly set
For an enthralling game of cricket 
The sun shining in a cloudless sky
On what seemed the perfect wicket.

16 Jun 2017

Fabulous Family Fun at The Lowry this July

There’s always something amazing going on at The Lowry, and this July is no exception. There is an incredible line-up of family shows, with something for everyone no matter what your age or interest.

Here is a sneak peek at all the family-friendly shows on at The Lowry in July. 

The unmissable brand new production of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox (Wed 5 July - Sun 9 July), the classic tale of The Railway Children (Tue 25 - Sun 30 July), The Tiger Who Came To Tea (Thu 27 - Sun 30 July) and winner of the 2017 Olivier Award for Best Entertainment and Family The Red Shoes (Tue 11 - Sat 15 July).

The venue also hosts it first ever dementia friendly performance in the form of The Mikado on Weds 26 July at 2pm.

Although not yet confirmed, adaptions to The Mikado for the dementia friendly performance can include things like looking at the pacing of the story, if there are quick plot developments they may look to slow things down and make more obvious references to changes in the story. There may also be a lot of repetition so that theatregoers are able to follow along with the story.

As a theatre The Lowry can make adaptions like keeping the lights up in the auditorium so that theatregoers are not in complete darkness; having an open door policy so that theatregoers can see all exits and are free to leave when they need to; having extra trained staff on hand to help out with individual’s needs.

In the galleries, Lowry at Home: Salford 1966 (Sat 10 June - Sun 24 Sept) and the permanent display of LS Lowry: The Art & The Artist continues daily.

Why not head over to The Lowry website and book tickets to your favourite performances now?

Images courtesy The Lowry

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