All About Book Trust

Book Trust Logo

I’m so excited – we’re going to be working with the BookTrust in the coming year as one of their Book Trust Bloggers!

So who are the Book Trust? Chances are you’ll have come across them at some point. For me, my first time was getting H’s first bag from our Health Visitor, which had an Elmer book in it, which was read constantly – we’d seen Elmer but didn’t have any of the books, and this led to more purchases. The idea of getting a bag with free books and activities was amazing to me – up until then, the only thing I’d come across which was free were the bags you get when you’re about to give birth.

Finding out that you could get more free books as my child grew up was INCREDIBLE. We knew she loved reading and being read to, and discovering new authors or ones we hadn’t yet read opened up a world of adventures, stories, great things. Needless to say, when anyone who had a child of a similar age said they had a new Book Trust bag, we all made a point of getting them. Once H was at school she got her Booktime pack in reception.

Book Trust BookBuzz

And that, I thought, was that. But no – you see, Book Trust have loads of different schemes, and on the 1st April we headed to their offices and met with them to learn about what they do.

I love the Letterbox Club – a service which provides books to children who are being looked after. Often it can be the first thing they receive which is theirs – and it’s for children aged 5-13. The packs are tailored and have books, maths games, stationery and it’s all designed to encourage reading and learning at home. There are five levels – Letterbox Orange (5-7 year olds), Letterbox Yellow (7-9 year olds), Letterbox Blue (7-9 year olds), Letterbox Red (9-11 year olds) and Letterbox Green (11-13 year olds). The books are carefully selected and have loads of fun things – each child will get the books for six months and have their own collection of things to use and keep. Children can be a member four times every other year – and having seen example packs I think this is an amazing scheme. For more information head here.

Book Trust Letterbox example

At Book Trust they believe in a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. They want to get children and families reading – and I know we’re extremely lucky with H and how much she loves and enjoys reading.

The Letterbox Club isn’t the only service for older children. Book Trust also have a service for schools to sign up, as well as a new service launching later this year, Story Hunters – and while it says which children these packages are targeted towards, it’s open to everyone.

Book Trust Story Hunters Book Trust Story Hunters

There’s a lot on the Book Trust website too – you can search for books based on ability and age – something which has always confused me with H as she’s such an advanced reader – what exactly would make a book suitable for an 8 year old, when she’s only 4? I’m going to be using this section a lot!

I love the Bookbuzz scheme too – a fantastic choice of books, and for students in years 7 & 8 at school!

At the networking event on April 1st, a lot of bloggers were also authors – and it was great to chat to them. I was curious what makes a book suitable for a certain age – as I obviously don’t want H reading anything too teenage right now, but do want her to push her reading skills where she feels she wants to (usually it’s the words and grammar used). We met the author Sita Brahmachari and received a copy of two of her books. See, this is the other fantastic thing about the Book Trust – they’re working with authors all the time, reviewing books and encouraging children to read. It’s wonderful – and, in case you didn’t realise, they’re a charity.

I knew this, but didn’t realise we could raise money for them – so we’re now thinking of a way to do something. Maybe have H see how many Harry Potter books she can read without sleeping or something! You can also buy Christmas Cards at Waterstones which help raise money, something we’ll be doing this year.

I came away from our meeting knowing that working with the Book Trust was a really positive thing – they’re really making a difference for many children. I have so much more I could write about, but I’ll save that for a follow-up post – and instead direct you over here, where you’ll find so many things.

We’re delighted to be Book Trust bloggers, and I’m planning to write something for their site soon!

Computer Woes!

I have a few posts almost finished, so my computer decided to stop working… I thought I had lost everything, to find that actually, no – I still have everything, just computer woes! It’s either a hard drive ribbon failure or a failed logic board…

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

So right now I’m slowly getting back into action with everything and am now the queen of all things that involve backups, having realised I could have lost EVERYTHING.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on

Coming soon, posts on The Jungle Book, all about The Book Trust, a review of some Disney colouring books, and our excitement at the return of The Powerpuff Girls!

But today we’re heading out to the Tower of London for their exciting sounding Tudors at the Tower event! (which I’m sure I’ll be mentioning on here)

It’s Girls’ Football Week Next Week!

Girls’ Football Week is back – starting next week, Monday 25th April to Sunday 1st May.

Girls Football Week, H in goal, girls' football week

Girls’ Football Week comes from the FA, and is set up to encourage girls to get involved with the beautiful game. There was a similar event last year which we covered here.

We’ve had a quiet start to the year, our Saturdays no longer at Carshalton – not because we’re stopping but because H has been exhausted with school. But soon we’ll be back for her Saturday morning kickabouts – and even though we haven’t been for a while, we’re still watching games on tv. It’s an exciting time to be a football supporter at the moment – from us as Tottenham supporters (what on EARTH is going on? Fantastic season), to York supporters (hanging on by a thread to the Football League) – and of course all the Women’s games that are on at the moment – which can be watched on BT Sport so are accessible to loads of people.

Add to that the Women’s FA Cup final (Arsenal v Chelsea) is happening next month at Wembley, where children under 18 can go for free, and it’s a fantastic time to be involved – I love that women’s games are super-affordable and we can take H along, and she enjoys it.

Now we have Girls’ Football Week, which starts next week. It aims to increase the participation of girls within the game – and you can sign up here.  There was a week of events last October, which didn’t filter down to Carshalton Athletic, so I’ll be sending them the link to make sure they get involved. I’ll be making sure WE get involved again!

There’s a great ticket initiative, on a strict first come first served basis, if your school or club signs up, then you can apply for some free tickets for women’s games – for more information head here.

Football Mum of the Year, girls' football week

I love that we can watch the women’s game and not have the same feelings towards the teams as we do with the men’s. Her favourite player is still Fran Kirby, and she has her England shirt with Casey Stoney’s name on the back – still going strong.

I’ve always loved football, and my love of the game has been passed on to H. She’s a lucky girl getting to see the England Men’s team next month (and we’re hoping Harry Kane gets to play, then we can all watch him at a game rather than on tv!) – exciting!

If you have a love of football, help spread the word! Girls’ Football Week starts next week, so you don’t have long!

School Choice Day

I hope everyone got the schools they wanted. We got our results today too.

See, we’re in this slightly odd scenario of H being at the local Infants School, and having to apply for the Junior school that most of the kids go on to. They even keep them in the same classes (which is a relief, I’ve only just memorised the names of the children in her class) – so it was a fairly safe bet we would get a place there.

Except, of course, we don’t know what’s happening with our house. As I posted about way back when I was still a bit in shock of it all, we had the leaky flue in the loft. I haven’t felt sick once since our heating was turned off, and our landlady is mulling over whether to get central heating installed or replace the flue. If the latter happens we’re never switching the heating on again, so will leave this house. If the former happens, we’ll stay. So having to think about moving house and getting the school place has happened at a confusing time. We don’t know what’s happening and probably won’t for another week or two. We’re great tenants, but unfortunately great tenants who have been exposed to carbon monoxide does not equate to wanting to keep us in the house. But that’s another rant for another place.

Because now we know H’s Junior School! Yet strangely I didn’t feel as stressed, probably because I don’t know what’s going to happen these coming months. The result came through at 5pm when I was at Rainbows, so had to irresponsibly hide under a table to check the text from Shaun, then let H know everything is fine and she has the school she wants.

The Junior School choice was a bit weird anyway. There only seemed to be religious schools who *might* offer places – her current school isn’t a church-affiliated one. That or they were over the other side of Sutton. So really, anywhere else wasn’t happening. Slowly word is coming in and most of the class are all confirming they’re moving over the road too.

Now if only all decisions could be like this, it would save us a lot of stress! So that’s two half terms left to go at this school, and making sure I replace any uniform with things that will be worn at the new one – who of course, being an academy have a completely different colour for their uniform, and you can only wear official school jumpers or cardigans – not cheaper shop ones. Whatever happens we’ve got our Bandino Cup Bands and our Stamptastic stampers both still going strong and labelling clothes and drink cups perfectly.

That’s one less thing to think about anyway.

When Your Gas Boiler Leaks.

Anyone who knows me knows how I’ll often blog about most things, but I’ve struggled with this one – mainly because everything is still processing in my head.

We rent, and in doing so receive an annual Gas Safety Check, to make sure everything is safe. We had ours on Saturday morning – the man came really early, earlier than he’d planned and yet again I got up to deal with it, feeling groggy and a bit dizzy as the virus I’ve had since January didn’t seem to want to shift.

He asked to have a look in the loft. Shaun let him up there, and he came back down pretty quickly. This got placed on our boiler.

When your gas boiler is switched off for safety reasons, Leaky Flue Safety Warning Gas Boiler

Apparently the flue which links the boiler pipes from inside the house to outside have come away – rusted or rotted or something, but away. Fumes have been living in our loft, being inhaled by Shaun, H and I.

Which explains a lot about my dizziness I’ve felt every single morning. Some mornings I’d stagger to the train feeling like I was drunk, not understanding why the virus wasn’t shifting as I’d definitely had nothing to drink so couldn’t blame that. The idea that it could be carbon monoxide didn’t even occur to me. I had no idea that such a thing was in the loft anyway.  You know when you’re ignorant to things, not because you choose to be, but because it’s not the kind of thing you’d think about. That’s me. I mean, it makes perfect sense the fumes have to leave the house somewhere. But it’s not the kind of thing I’d think about.

Because I was too busy, too dizzy with work and life to go to the doctor to get checked out. Because H kept saying she felt sick without actually being sick. Because Shaun was tired a lot. It was “the virus that wouldn’t shift”. Right?

Now, I don’t think things were at a critical level, but I do believe we’ve been affected by it. Fortunately we get out of the house and open the windows, and with this winter being so mild, there has been plenty of air circulating around the house. (I even had washing out on the line in January)

Had it been colder, it doesn’t bear thinking what could have happened. I’m trying not to think what could have happened – but the reality is in that Sliding Doors other universe it really could have happened and we didn’t realise.

We have a Carbon Monoxide detector downstairs next to the heater (and it’s an awful hot air style heater – with air vents upstairs and downstairs) which didn’t react – obviously because it’s all going on up in the loft. So we’re lucky in that respect. We’re getting another Carbon Monoxide detector in the loft as a matter of priority.

But yet again, I hadn’t thought about it and just assumed you’d need a detector near the boiler, which makes sense.

Since our gas has been turned off I haven’t felt dizzy once. H hasn’t felt sick, although Shaun is still sleepy – then again, he’s always been a bit sleepy! Which is when the penny dropped really, that and thanks to Facebook friends pointing it out.

So now we have to wait for our landlady to decide what she’s going to do. After our £230 monthly increase last year, I’m pretty sure we’ll get another whopping great big rise this year to pay for this; the joys of renting privately.

I have the clearest head I’ve had in a long time (I started feeling ill in January), and I’m not sure what to do next. Thank goodness we don’t spend a lot of time at home and get out quite a lot. Thank goodness for the weather. Thank goodness it was in the loft and not in the house. Thank goodness we had a Carbon Monoxide detector downstairs.

Thank goodness we get an annual Gas Safety Check. I hope if you’re reading this that you do too – and hope that if you don’t, that you’ll get one sorted now. Please don’t put it off. My friends who own their place pay for British Gas to check theirs – and I’m sure plenty of other companies offer this service.

Our Easter Weekend

Good Friday was a trip to Emmett’s Gardens and Chartwell, Winston Churchill’s home.  We did the National Trust Easter Egg hunt at Emmett’s Gardens, somewhere we haven’t been before. It was a gloriously sunny day too, and the perfect weather for being outside and relaxing. I felt like my break had started! We’ve been to Chartwell before, so just wandered around the grounds. H was three when we last went so didn’t remember anything about it, whereas I remembered a lot more than Shaun!

Emmetts Gardens and Chartwell

I did stare at the house, wondering how people with so much money could justify living in such gigantic houses, but reading the Chartwell Wikipedia page, Winston Churchill couldn’t afford to live there as it was too big, so a friend bought it, he lived there for a nominal rent until his death when it was given to the National Trust. It’s a huge house…

Ebb and Flow Sutton Afternoon Tea

Saturday was a trip to the cinema to see the excellent Zootropolis in 3D – and it didn’t disappoint. Shaun spotted the Breaking Bad reference (these things always go over my head), and we all enjoyed it a lot. H enjoyed it so much she went to see it again today with Holiday Club! We popped to Ebb and Flow in Sutton afterwards for Afternoon Tea – at £10 each (and we only needed two for the three of us) it was a bargain, although I was high on sugar for ages afterwards!

H Easter Eggs 2016

Easter Sunday came, and H got WAY too many Easter Eggs – the lucky girl won one at school, and got two from her childminders! The day itself was a bit wet, and in fact, there were hailstones, so what better an idea than to go to Legoland? It’s just over an hour for us to get there, and we always seem to time it on a rainy day that brightens up, making the most of the short queues. We did loads! H got on rides she wouldn’t have dared go on a year ago – and we ended up on Mia’s Riding Adventure three times (I couldn’t do it any more after that – it is amazing though!). When we’d parked up and got into the park the sun came out – and we got a decent day of sun, with some rainy patches. We were dressed for a cold, wet day so ended up having plenty of fun!

Legoland Easter 2016

Easter Monday was a horrible weather day. H decided she was going to be sick (she wasn’t), and it was so rotten, and we had been so busy that we stayed at home and had a lazy day. I think we deserve it!

Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families a cracking Easter weekend 

It’s that time of the year again when Cadbury teams up with the National Trust to offer families the ultimate day out with their popular Easter Egg Hunts.

A photo posted by Jo Brooks (@mumfriendlyjo) on


This year, the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt (25 – 28 March*) will be inviting families to unleash their inner explorer with adventurous quests taking place across the country.

From spring woodlands and craggy coastlines, to historic houses and enchanting castles, there are over 250 Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts to choose from across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, guaranteeing a fun-filled Easter for everyone.

What’s more, everyone will be rewarded with a delicious Cadbury chocolate treat at the end of each completed hunt, and every single Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt will help support special places looked after by the National Trust for future generations to explore.

To join in with the fun and find a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt near you, visit: www.cadbury.co.uk/easter

National Trust Easter 2016 Topiary bunny
Conservation charity, National Trust, unveils a series of show-stopping topiary Easter bunnies to celebrate the ninth year of their partnership with Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts. Taking place at 271 National Trust locations over the Easter weekend (25 – 28 March), the special topiary bunnies will be on show at select National Trust places for visiting families to spot on their Egg Hunts. Helping to preserve special places for generations to come, the National Trust anticipates over 3 million visitors over the course of the weekend, and has received an impressive 362,592 Cadbury chocolate bunnies in preparation.

 

London & South East

Mottisfont, Hampshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 5pm

Ancient trees, bubbling brooks and rolling lawns frame this lovely house. Crafted from a medieval priory, it is full of surprises, both inside and out. Pick up an Easter hunt sheet, full of brain teasers and craft activities. Follow the trail to discover giant eggs hidden around the grounds, and complete challenges with your family to earn a delicious Cadbury treat.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01794 340757

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottisfont

Morden Hall Park, London

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 3 – 6 April, 10am- 4pm

At the end of the Northern Line deep in the heart of sprawling south London, you can step off the train and hop into the countryside at Morden Hall Park. This Easter, families are invited to follow a special hunt, with clues that will have you searching high and low through tree-lined paths and riverside lawns. To top it all off, each egg hunter is rewarded with a yummy Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £4 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 020 8545 6850

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/morden-hall-park

Stowe, Buckinghamshire

Stowe’s Sleeping Beauty Quest – Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March 10am-4.30pm

This Easter embark on a quest to awaken Sleeping Beauty from her slumber, and in return claim your delicious chocolate treat. Fairy-tales, myths and legends have been weaved through the garden, where chivalrous knights and courageous princesses will hunt for clues. The quest will take you past mystical lakes and deep into the Sleeping Wood to claim your egg and finish on a happily ever after.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01280 817156

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stowe

Chartwell, Kent

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at Chartwell, 25 March – 10 April, 11am – 4pm

This year, discover Easter characters from the 1920s era as they take you on a good old-fashioned adventure around Chartwell. The Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt will wind through the natural play areas and finish with a delicious chocolatey treat. Afterwards, stick around for more Easter related fun and grab a chick-shaped shortbread in the café.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01732 868381

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/chartwell

Woolbeding Parkland, West Sussex
Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and Spring Nature Trail, 27 March, 10.30am – 3.30pm

Hop down to Woolbeding Parkland for an exciting day of Easter fun. There’ll be a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt down by the River Rother where adventurers can hunt to claim their Cadbury treat. Make a day of it and stay for crafty egg-decorating fun and all sorts of competitions from egg rolling and egg and spoon races, to face painting, an old-fashioned egg shy and creative craft activities. It’ll be hard to know where to begin!

Price: £3 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01730 816638

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/woolbeding-gardens

South West

Dunster Castle, Somerset

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 4pm

This dramatic Norman castle, perched on the top of a wooded hill is an impressive place for an Easter Egg Hunt. The quest will take noble explorers through the garden where they will solve clues to win the ultimate reward, a delicious Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01643 821314

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunster-castle

National Trust Easter 2016
Conservation charity, National Trust, unveils a series of show-stopping topiary Easter bunnies to celebrate the ninth year of their partnership with Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts. Taking place at 271 National Trust locations over the Easter weekend (25 – 28 March), the special topiary bunnies will be on show at select National Trust places for visiting families to spot on their Egg Hunts. Helping to preserve special places for generations to come, the National Trust anticipates over 3 million visitors over the course of the weekend, and has received an impressive 362,592 Cadbury chocolate bunnies in preparation.

Dyrham Park, Gloucestershire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 5pm

Complete with roaming deer and herds of cattle, Dyrham Park’s 270 acres of wild parkland is perfect for a day of adventure. And what better way to explore than on an action-packed Easter Egg hunt? Complete the hunts to claim your Cadbury chocolate treat, and afterwards take a look around the house, where tours will take you high above the roof of this 17th-century mansion to see the restoration works from a birds-eye view.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0117 9372501

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dyrham-park

Kingston Lacy, Dorset

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 11am – 4pm

With acres of beautiful gardens and parkland to explore, including a kitchen garden with a royal reputation, you can have a great family day out at Kingston Lacy. This Easter help Bunny find all his giant egg creations around the garden. Each egg is different and some are easier to spot than others. Once you have found them all claim your very own Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01202 883402

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kingston-lacy

Knightshayes Court, Devon

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 28 March, 10.30am – 4.30pm

Head over to Knightshayes and revel in the Easter fun, where little explorers can hunt high and low for clues in the magnificent garden. There’s a yummy chocolate treat from Cadbury when you’ve completed the hunt. Stick around after for craft activities and face-painting.

Price: £3.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01884 254665

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/knightshayes

Lanhydrock, Cornwall

Lanhydrock Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 4pm

Calling all Easter detectives, there’s a mystery to be solved! Head to Lanhydrock to uncover the clues while exploring the colourful garden, ancient woodlands and riverside paths. All detectives can claim their Cadbury chocolate treat once the mission has been completed. Afterwards head to the adventure playground for some wild play, or go on a family bike ride on the special family trails.
Price: £3 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01208 265950

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock

Stourhead, Wiltshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

Take a trip to Stourhead this Easter where egg hunters can explore through towering trees, by mystical grottoes and past a glittering lake. Make a day of it and bring a picnic, best enjoyed on the rolling lawns with views that stretch across the Wiltshire countryside. Afterwards, keep the family fun going and play giant games in the garden.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01747 841152

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/stourhead

East

Melford Hall, Suffolk

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 28 March, 12pm – 4.30pm

Enjoy a family day out at this eclectic home deep in the Suffolk countryside. Join the ever-popular Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt to solve the clues and claim your chocolate treat. Afterwards why not test your skills in the egg and spoon races or try your hand at some colouring in the crafts corner.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01787 379228

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/melford-hall

Sutton Hoo, Suffolk

Eostre – Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 5.30pm

Easter is named after Eostre – the Anglo-Saxon goddess of the radiant dawn, so what better place to celebrate than here at Sutton Hoo. Discover the secrets of the Anglo-Saxons on the fabulous Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt and collect your chocolate treat at the end.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01394 389700

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sutton-hoo

Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 8 April, 10.30am – 4.15pm

Take a trip to this beautiful country home complete with a working farm and resident bunnies. Rhyming clues will lead you on an egg hunt around the gardens, but to claim your chocolate treat you’ll have to find the hidden magic word.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01223 206000

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wimpole-estate

Easter-Nymans-West-Sussex-©National-Trust-Images-David-Levenson

Midlands

Kinver Edge and the Rock Houses, Staffordshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 3pm

Go on a woodland hunt to learn all about the wildlife of Kinver Edge, and find your chocolatey treat awaiting you at the end. Afterwards, take a stroll around the unique rock houses, carved by hand out of the sandstone ridge, and let off some steam on the Adventure Play Trail.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01384 872553

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kinver-edge

Attingham Park, Shropshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 4pm

Explore Attingham’s vast parkland this Easter and follow a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt to unravel the clues and claim a chocolate treat. Continue the family fun with spring activities and a good old run-around in the playfield.

Price: £2.50 per egg hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01743 708123

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park

Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

Upton’s gardens are worth exploring at any time of year, and even more so when there’s chocolate at stake. Discover the great outdoors on this Easter Egg Hunt through the sweeping lawns and colourful flowers. Afterwards, have a go at the Wellington boot trail and see if you can spot some spring wildlife.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01295 670266

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/upton-house

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am-4pm

This Easter there will be no less than four days of family fun, with the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt through the Pleasure Grounds and across the mansion site, along with mini children’s rides and activities such as face painting and a BBQ. And if that’s not enough, there’s the whole park to explore on foot or by bike with plenty of wildlife to spot.

Price: £3 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01909 544917

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-park

North West

Fell Foot, Cumbria

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt at Fell Foot, 27 March, 11am – 3pm

Perched on the edge of the stunning Lake Windermere with rolling lawns and views up to the mountains, Fell Foot couldn’t get much more idyllic. Enjoy an action-packed day out in this glorious park with a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, traditional Lakeland Egg rolling, family-friendly games and much, much more.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 015395 31273

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fell-foot

Wray Castle, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 4pm

This Easter make a splash and visit Wray Castle nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere to discover turrets and towers fit for a knight in shining armour. Have fun exploring this quirky building, weaving your way through woodland and rambling along the lakeshore, solving clues along the way in order to claim your Cadbury chocolate treat.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 015394 33250

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle

Ennerdale, Cumbria

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 27 March, 11am – 3pm

Enjoy the great outdoors at this activity-packed Easter Egg Hunt in the wild Ennerdale Valley. There’s a Cadbury chocolate treat waiting for you at the end too. Starting at the Bowness Knott car park, the hunt will take you on an adventure around the lakeshore, through the woodland and along the forest track with loads to discover along the way. Perhaps you’ll find a Tree Spirit, help the Easter Egg Tree to grow or hear a woodland tale.

Price: Free event

For more information, please call 017687 74649

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ennerdale

Dunham Massey, Cheshire

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

The Earl and the Countess are coming to Dunham Massey for a picnic to celebrate their wedding but the food is hidden all over the garden! Can you save the day and follow the hunt to find the food? It’s hungry work, so chocolate treats will be plentiful at the end.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0161 941 1025

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/dunham-massey

Speke Hall, Liverpool

Cadbury’s Easter Egg Hunt, 27 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

Glorious gardens and woodlands surround this magnificent Tudor manor house. Venture through the blooms of daffodils and bluebells to solve the clues on the Easter Egg Hunt and receive your delicious Cadbury treat. Once you’ve finished the quest why not head to the house and see if you can track down all the run-away chicks? They’re counting on you!

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 0151 427 7231

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/speke-hall

National Trust Easter

Yorkshire and North East

Wallington, Northumberland

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 3 April, 11am – 4pm

Amble down to Wallington’s West Wood for a wild Cadbury Easter Egg hunt amongst the trees. This rambling wildlife haven is complete with red squirrels and a bubbling river. Follow the hunt through the woods, keeping an eye out for resident wildlife, and claim your yummy Cadbury treat at the end. Why not top the day off with a hearty family picnic and a game of Frisbee?

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01670 773606

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wallington

Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal, North Yorkshire

Easter Egg Hunt, 25 March – 10 April, 10am – 4pm

I spy with my little eye… an Easter bunny! This spring at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal little bunnies have been hoppety-hopping around the estate. Head over bridges of the river Skell, explore around every corner of the Abbey ruins, and follow the waterways of the Georgian gardens to find them and get a yummy Cadbury chocolate treat. There’ll be lots of family fun along the way too, including crafts in Swanley Grange and a brand new adventure playground.

Price: £2 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01765608888

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fountains-abbey

Northern Ireland

Murlough National Nature Reserve, County Down

Easter Egg Hunt, 26 March, 2pm – 3pm

Join the Easter fun on these beautiful windswept sand dunes, where an Egg Hunt will have you searching high and low to discover the hidden treasure. Murlough is a wonderland of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for seals and resident seabirds as you explore.

Price: £1 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

Booking Essential

For more information, please call 028 4375 1467 or email murlough@nationaltrust.org.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/murlough

Ardress House, County Armagh

Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 30 March, 1pm – 6pm

The Easter Bunny has made a hunt around the farmyard and gardens at Ardress House. Follow the clues to unlock the tasty Cadbury treat. Stick around afterwards to explore the apple orchards and feed the resident chickens. And on Easter Sunday there’ll be games, face painting and more family fun.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 8778 4753

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ardress-house

The Argory, County Armagh

Easter Egg Hunt, 21 March – 3 April, 12pm – 5pm

Where could be better to enjoy Easter than in the beautiful wooded estate surrounding this country house in County Armagh. Solve the clues to find the Cadbury chocolate treats with this fantastic hunt around The Argory Estate. Enjoy some eggstra fun on Easter Monday and Tuesday with face painting, games and more fun for all the family.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 8778 4753

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/argory

Springhill, County Londonderry

Easter Egg Hunt, 21 March – 3 April, 12pm – 5pm

Bounce down to Springhill this Easter where you can search the house and grounds for clues on the Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt. After you claim your delicious chocolate treat, why not stay for extra fun on the natural play hunt, or join in the face painting and games on Easter Sunday and Monday.

Price: Free event (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 028 8674 8210

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/springhill

Easter-An-Easter-Egg-Trail-day-at-Charlecote-Park-Warwickshire-©NTPL-John-Millar

Wales

Erddig, Wrexham

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 10am – 5pm

The Easter bunny will be hopping over the wall into Erddig’s beautiful garden to offer families the ultimate day out with a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt. Unleash your inner explorer to solve the clues dotted around the garden and outbuildings to claim a delicious Cadbury chocolate treat. Once you’ve completed the egg hunt there’s more fun to be had inside the house where some special Easter chicks are hiding, can you spot them all?

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01978 355314

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/erddig

Plas Newydd House and Gardens, Anglesey

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 3.30pm

Bunny has hopped over the Menai Strait and has been up to his tricks again. He’s hidden clues for you to find all around the gardens at Plas Newydd. Help us find them and claim your special Cadbury chocolate treat. You can even take part in the famous Easter Sunday egg rolling race after, or head to the Dairy Wood for some wild time in the adventure playground.

Price: £2.50 per hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01248 714795

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/plasnewydd

Penrhyn Castle, Gwynedd

Cadbury Easter Weekend, 25 – 28 March, 11am – 4pm

The cheeky Easter Bunny has hidden clues behind the front doors of our woodland friends’ houses, dotted around the woods and garden. And that’s not all, while he was busy setting his clues, Bunny’s family have disappeared. Can you help him find his family, who are lost inside the castle? After you’ve helped Bunny and claimed your chocolate treat, there’s even more fun to be had with fluffy-eared team games and Easter crafts galore.

Price: £2 per egg hunt (normal admission charges apply)

For more information, please call 01248 353 084

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/penrhyn-castle

* Some Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts will be running for an extended period over the Easter holidays, please visit www.cadbury.co.uk/easter for more details.

National Trust membership offer

This Easter, if you take out a National Trust membership by Direct Debit, you’ll receive access to over 500 special places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland that can be enjoyed all year around. Any new membership taken out with Direct Debit over the Easter weekend at a National Trust place will receive a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt voucher, valid until Monday 28 March. The voucher entitles the holder to free, unlimited Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts on presentation at a participating property – the voucher is multi-use. The cost of the hunt bought on the day of taking out a membership to the National Trust will also be refunded. Plus every membership helps the National Trust carry on looking after these special places and spaces for ever, for everyone.

National Trust and Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts logo

Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktails

It’s getting warmer outside, which means one thing in this house – it’s almost that time of year when you can sit outside and drink! When you’re sent a bottle of whisky and prosecco to try out some delicious Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktails, well, it had to be done.

Aldi spring and summer cocktails don’t need many ingredients, indeed, you might even have some growing in your back garden.  I have to admit that usually I’m a wine kind of girl, and haven’t had cocktails in a long time – mainly because I thought they were a lot of trouble to make (how wrong could I be?). I know we’ll be trying these out as the evenings get warmer and we can sit outside again!

Ingredients for Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktail Grilled Peach Julep

Grilled Peach Julep

Ingredients
50 ml Highland Black 8 Year Old Whisky
6-8 mint leaves
15ml honey
1 peach
10ml fresh lemon juice

1) Add the mint to the cocktail shaker (we don’t have a cocktail shaker, so just used a blender container) and cover with the Highland Black 8 Year Old Whisky. Lightly muddle using a wooden spoon.
2) Add the honey to the cocktail shaker and stir until dissolved.
3) To make peach puree cut one peach in half and de-stone. Lightly grill the two halves until they begin to caramelise. Add to a blender until smooth and place in the fridge to chill.
4) Add 25ml of peach puree and all the remaining ingredients and stir to ensure all the flavours are combined.
5) Pour into an ice-filled tall glass and serve with a large mint sprig.

Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktail Grilled Peach Julep

The Grilled Peach Julep is a great drink to have after a Sunday roast lamb. The caramelised homemade peach puree adds another depth of flavour to the smoky Whisky notes. The mint cuts through with a crisp and light refreshing finish. Personally, I loved it – it softened the whisky and I’d never think of mixing it with peach – but it worked a treat!

Ingredients for Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktails Prosecco Thyme

Prosecco Thyme

Ingredients
1 bottle Prosecco
2 large ripe plums
½ cup of white sugar
½ cup hot water
4 springs of fresh thyme
25ml fresh lemon juice

1) Cut the plums into quarters and discard the stones
2) Muddle the plums in a cocktail shaker (again, we used a blender container)
3) To make thyme syrup add dissolve the white sugar in the hot water. Once dissolved add the thyme sprigs. Allow the mix to cool, and then strain before storing in the fridge until needed
4) Add 25ml of thyme syrup and ice to the cocktail shaker
5) Add the remaining lemon juice and shake hard
6) Strain into a rocks glass filled with cubed ice and top with Prosecco. Cut a fresh plum into wedges and place this into the glass. Strip a few leaves of fresh thyme and scatter over the drink.

Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktails Prosecco Thyme

Prosecco Thyme is the perfect cocktail for a celebration, whether you’re toasting the Queen’s 90th birthday or just celebrating the first signs of spring. The cocktail is full of fresh seasonal flavours and zing. We could taste the thyme, but preferred to have it just with the thyme syrup and the plums, leaving out the lemon juice. It was delicious anyway – and definitely worth trying out!

We enjoyed both Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktails over two nights on the Easter Bank Holiday. They’re both delicious, and definitely something we’ll be trying again – once I’ve bought a Cocktail Shaker!

We were sent a bottle of each to make these Aldi Spring and Summer Cocktails – all opinions are my own. Aldi’s website is over here. (please open one near us soon!)

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins

We were approached to try some Bioglan Smartkids vitamins. H has had a few issues recently, so I figured it was a win-win situation and we put them to the test!

bioglan smartkids vitamins

Bioglan Smartkids vitamins are a new brand to me – and indeed, they’re quite newly launched in this country.

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins Brain formula

We were sent the Smartkids Brain Formula – which helps support normal brain function, learning and memory, and healthy growh – and are 30 citrus flavoured chewable squirts. They have a high DHA, Omega 3, six B vitamins and iron too. Unfortunately H hated the taste – and Shaun tried one and said it felt like fish oil with flavour – so this wasn’t really for us. I didn’t try it being vegetarian!

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins fussy eaters

We were also sent Smartkids Fussy Eaters Multi vitamins, which include fruit and veggies as well as multi vitamins. They help maintain healthy growth, immune function and healthy bones – and I’m pleased to say these ones went down much better – in fact, she was asking for a second one! The vitamins in these Bioglan Smartkids vitamins are sourced from sixteen types of fruit, vegetable and herbs, which is good to know. They’re also blackcurrant and strawberry flavour.

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins Brain formula tablets

The Brain Formula tablets come in a crunchable tablet which the liquid comes out of when crunched, whereas the Fussy Eaters Multi are a more straightforward tablet.

Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins fussy eaters tablets

Has it made a difference? We’ve had a rough month and a bit with H, where she’s seemed to pick up lots of little things making her quite run down. I’ve since found out she has two molars (the 6-7 year ones) plus one of her front teeth is ready to cut through the gum – so I’m wondering if that has lowered her immunity. Nevertheless, when she started to take the Fussy Eaters tablets, she definitely started to be on the right side of being well.

Both packs of Bioglan Smartkids Vitamins can be ordered direct, and sell for £9.99 a packet – within each packet you get 30 tablets. The Brain Formula tablets are here, and the Fussy Eaters ones are here.

We were sent a pack of each for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own. 

Celebrating Science Week With Project Mc²

Project Mc² is a new programme for us – and as we’ve recently resubscribed to Netflix, an easy one to watch. We were asked if we’d like to review a doll from the series to celebrate Science Week 2016 – and given how much H loves science we jumped at the chance!

Project Mc2

Project Mc² is a US programme about four girls, and is described as ‘where science meets style, and everyone knows it’s cool to be smart’. We’ve watched the first few episodes which are on Netflix now, and H took to it straight away. Those girls are smart, and Project Mc² reminds me of the school-type programmes you get on CBBC which she also enjoys watching.

Here’s a bit more info about the girls:

Aspirational and effortlessly cool, the programme focuses on four main characters – each with a different personality, interests and sense of style. They are:

• McKeyla McAlister (Mc2) Writer, hipster and undercover spy! When McKeyla isn’t writing in her journal, you’ll find her reading a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, upcycling or saving the world! Her catch phrase is “I’m smart. Get over it!”

• Adrienne Attoms (A2) Made of a more complex recipe than sugar and spice. Adrienne is a culinary chemist! Originally from Spain (her father is a diplomat), she just loves to host dinner parties. Her catch phrase is “Pretty Brilliant”

• Bryden Bandweth (B2) Bryden loves tweeting, digital photography, streaming music and anything tech! Just don’t ask her to go camping in the wilderness or anywhere without a hotspot! She’s a 24/7 #digitaldarling. Her catch phrase? “Stand Back, I’m Trending”

• Camryn Coyle (C2) Known for her high IQ, Camryn’s real genius comes out in the garage – especially when it comes to her souped up skateboard! Her catch phrase is “Nailed It”

The four girls attend Maywood Glenn Academy – but are also part of a secret, seriously cool organisation, NOV8 (pronounced ‘Innovate’). Even their friendship makes mathematical sense – based on the Pythagorean theorem that A2 + B2 = C2

Project Mc2 McKeyla doll

It just so happens that MGA Entertainment have made some brand new fashion dolls available, with science-inspired play. We were sent the McKayla doll which also includes a kit to make your own lava lamp style light. So what did H think?

Project MC2 red lava light

She loves her McKayla doll – the arms and legs bend (and can easily be removed), and she’s already making “friends” with her other dolls and moving into the dolls house! McKayla also comes with a lava light (you need to supply your own ingredients to do it), which had some brilliant results – with simple water and food colouring, vegetable oil and an effervescent tablet. H really enjoyed doing the activity and felt pretty cool because it was part of Project Mc²!

Project Mc2 yellow lava light

There is a large range of dolls available now as well as a Spy Notebook – all available from good toy stores. They’re suitable for age 6 and upwards. I like this range of all four dolls (different to the one we got) which Argos stock.Project Mc2 McKeyla doll and lava light

You can also visit www.ProjectMc2.com to become an honorary member of NOV8 and ‘ladder up’ through the organisation through a series of fun Ops tests. You can play games, take quizzes, watch videos, learn more about the girls from Project Mc2 and even ask them questions!

Download the free app, Project Mc2 Case Files, from the App Store to go on missions for NOV8. Collect evidence, analyse the clues and solve the case! If you’re playing on a smart phone, you can pop your device into the A.D.I.S.N. Notebook for added secret spy mission play, just like you’re McKeyla McAlister. Use the key code in the back on the booklet included with A.D.I.S.N. to unlock even more clues. With over 1,000 missions to play on the app, NOV8 will be keeping you busy.

Watch exclusive content with AwesomenessTV and on Dreamworks TV and Project MC² is on Netflix now!

Follow on Facebook (Project Mc2 UK), twitter (@ProjectMc2UK) and Instagram (Project_Mc2UK) for exclusive news, competitions and more!

We were sent the McKayla Project MC² doll for the purpose of review, all opinions are our own.

project mc² british science week 2016

not bad for everyday recording