I absolutely love Hobbycraft. I'm like a kid in a sweet shop whenever we visit. I spend ages in the shop looking at all the lovely crafty things available. My husband Mark usually leaves me to it as I'm in there for at least a couple of hours. Easter is fast approaching, and I can't wait for spring to arrive.Read More
It's the first time we've been to the cinema since... well I can't remember the last time! 20 years ago we watched the original Trainspotting in the cinema and I thought it fitting that we did the same with this one.Read More
You know when your child comes home from school, you look in their book bag, and then you see it, the dreaded letter that says: We would like you to make a model of a dinosaur. My reaction is yikes, my husband Mark's is woohoo!Read More
Don't kids grow out of their clothes quick! I recently sorted out my daughters clothes, socks, tights etc.. and found that she has 6 pairs of tights that are too small, then I had an idea...Read More
I recently bought a gorgeous Welsh dresser from eBay. When I bought this pre-loved item, I thought I would paint it. A bit daunting I hear you say. Well let me tell you, it was easy-peasy!Read More
If you have a little one who likes to get themselves dressed in the morning, your nice tidy T-Shirt drawer can become messy. I love that my son knows what he wants to wear, and we always encourage him to get himself dressed. So I decided to tackle the drawer and make it easy for little hands to grab a T-Shirt.
Here's what I did..
This is what my four year old son's T-Shirt drawer looked like before I tackled it!
Grab a T-Shirt and lay it front down on a surface - the bed is good as you can sit down while you tackle the mountain of T-Shirts!
Fold in the sleeves towards the back of the T-Shirt.
Grab one whole side of the T-Shirt and fold in to the centre, and do the same on the other side.
Fold up about one third from the bottom.
Fold up the bottom third to meet the top.
Turn the T-Shirt over.. and there you go! Easy peasy!
Lovely folded clothes. This gets much easier and quicker the more you do it.
Look how much space I have saved! Also much easier for little hands to get a t shirt out.
I have also shown my 11 year old daughter how to fold clothes like this so she has done her clothes too, and she enjoyed it!
I'd love to hear any tips on how you keep the kids clothes tidy. Leave a comment below.
When you are younger and you start anything new for the first time, you walk into the room and think to yourself, 'What are they going to think of me?' When you get older, you walk into that same room and think, 'What am I going to think of them?'
This was something my mum said in a recent conversation. It got me thinking of how we see ourselves when we are younger compared with when we are older and more experienced in life. Do we feel as old as we look?
I was at work the other day and I went to put my lunch in the fridge, and as I reached for the handle, I thought, who's hand is that? When did my hands become so old looking?
It also sparked a conversation which I think about a lot... Just how old do we feel? Have a think now, how old do you feel? I am 39 and on the inside, I feel like I am about 18 years old.
Yet I am married, have 2 children, a job that I love, a big mortage and responsibilites that go along with all of these.
I remember as a child thinking, wow, mum and dad know everything! Now I am a parent, I think, I don't really know what I'm doing, just muddling along and trying as best I can to get through any situation life throws at me.
When I was a child, I stayed a child for longer. I think this is because my brother is seven years younger than me and I always played with him and his toys. My husband thinks I sometimes still act like a child when I'm sitting watching a kids film, when the kids aren't interested in watching it!
I decided to ask my mum, to see, at the age of 58, just how old she feels...
Her reply was 'I feel about 25 years old'. I've never really thought about it. Mum thought the same about her parents, they were invincible and they knew everything!
I once remember asking my 82 year old grandma just how old she felt inside and her reply was 'I don't recognise the person I see in the mirror, that's not how I feel inside'.
My grandma has, in the past, been a little bit offended when someone once give up their seat for her on the bus. Thinking, why is this person giving up their seat for me when I don't feel old!
I was always taught as a child to respect my elders and if I was sat on a bus, and I saw an older person standing, I would offer them my seat. But what I see of that person, isn't maybe how they feel. Of course we are all different, and I will continue to get up so someone can have my seat. But it's really interesting.
At what point in our lives does our brain stop ageing?
So do we ever feel like a grown up? I guess not!
I'd love to know how old you feel on the inside, please leave a comment below.
Are you superstitious? Most people say 'Of course not'. But how many of you touch wood, don’t walk under ladders, don’t open an umbrella indoors, or if you spill the salt, throw some over your shoulder?
Ah, now you might say yes!
I am superstitious to a point, I always say 'I salute you Sir magpie', if I see one on it's own, no matter where I am, who I’m with or what I am doing, and yes this can cause some funny looks from people wondering what on earth I am up to, especially if I'm driving my car on my own!
I have read some really unusual superstitions throughout the years and I thought I’d list a few. I still do most of these!
- So you might think getting out of bed is easy enough, but you’d be wrong. You must get out on the right side (the side you got in). If you don’t, you will be irritable all day and your friends will say ‘Did you get out of bed the wrong side this morning!’ You must also put your right foot out of bed first or you will do things wrong all day.
- If you discover a knot in your shoelace, that’s lucky!
- You must put on your right sock and shoe first, if you forget, you are likely to have an accident before the day is out.
- Ever put an item of clothing on inside out? It’s lucky, but only if you keep it like that all day!
- Never put new shoes on the table, this is bad luck.
- Salt was a precious commodity in the days before freezers and cans, as salt was used to preserve food. Because of it’s value it was thought to be unlucky to spill even a grain of it. In Yorkshire (I’m a Yorkshire lass), it was thought the devil lurked around the table at meal times, waiting to do mischief. Spilt salt gave him the chance he was waiting for. To foil his evil plans salt had to be thrown over the left shoulder by the person who split it, where it would hit the devil straight in the eye!
- In early times crossed knives were a sign of hostile intentions, it was important to lay your knife tidily on the plate next to the fork. Many people still do this.
- If you have a spare knife, put it under the front door mat - it will keep the witches out!
- After breakfast, don’t throw your eggshells on the fire or the hens will stop laying.
- If you have to pass under a bridge, try not to speak when you walk under it - it’s thought to be unlucky to walk or drive under when a train or car is passing over the top.
- If you do accidentally walk under a ladder, you can solve the problem by crossing your fingers and keeping them crossed until you see a dog.
- Brooms must be locked away, in case a passing witch should steal one and cause havoc (thank goodness for the good old vacuum cleaner)
- Do not pass anyone on the stairs, this is bad luck, but you can get rid of the bad luck by crossing your fingers or touching wood.
So if you see someone walking around with clothes on inside out, throwing salt, saluting magpies whilst walking around with knotted shoes, say hello to me!
I'd love to hear what things you do if you are superstitious. Leave a comment below.
International courier ParcelHero looks at how Mum would have spent her day back in 1965.
1 Washing nappies
Terry cloth nappies, fastened with large safety pins, were by far the main type of nappy in 1965; leaving Mum the gory task of scrubbing and washing baby’s best efforts in her Rolls Razor Twin Tub. By the end of the 1960s Pampers disposables had become hugely popular – one of the fastest switches in consumer buying patterns ever. We wonder why?
2 Slaving over a stove
With no ready-meals or microwaves, Mum spent much of her time cooking. Meat and veg was the staple meal, with take-away fish n’ chips a weekly treat. ‘Instant’ food was limited to Spam and other tinned items. Mum didn’t launch into spaghetti bolognaise or prawn cocktails until the 1970s.
3 Shopping, shopping, shopping
Much of Mum’s time was spent shopping. In 1963 only 3% of UK homes had freezers. She probably visited the corner shop and the grocer daily; and the local butcher, the fishmonger and baker more than once a week. There were only 572 supermarkets in the UK in 1961. By 1969 there were 3,400 including Gateway, Fine Fare, Tesco and Sainsbury. Thrifty Mum was careful to collect her Green Shield Stamps.
4 NOT going to work…
Most women either chose to give up work or were ‘let go’ when pregnant! In 1960 only 35% of married women worked at all, and most chose to give up work when they had babies. It was still legal to sack someone who was pregnant until 1975. Only 17 percent of moms who worked during pregnancy in 1961 went back to work before their children were five, compared to 65 percent of women today.
5 Leaving kids in front of the TV – but only for 15 minutes!
There was no all-day TV and no DVDs, so Mom looked forward to 1.30pm when, despite its name, she could leave the kids to view Watch with Mother on their own while she enjoyed a rare break. Andy Pandy and The Flower Pot Men were great for keeping toddlers entertained. For older kids Doctor Who was already a Saturday favourite and Thunderbirds proved to be a F.A.B. hit from lift-off in 1965.
6 Not doing much for Mother’s Day!
Poor Mum wasn’t likely to receive a Mother’s Day gift from her grown-up kids. There were no courier services to pick up the parcel from the senders’ door, no choice but Royal Mail’s prices, and definitely no Sunday delivery! Few families ever went out to a restaurant or drank wine, so no big celebrations. It wasn’t until the arrival of Bernie Inns and Mateus Rose, Black Tower and Blue Nunin the 1970s that eating out and enjoying a glass or two became popular.
7 Wearing a wedding ring
It may be thought of as the permissive swinging ‘60s, but only 5.8% of babies were born to unmarried mums in 1961; today 44% of mums have not tied the knot.
8 Pushing a heavy pram
Heavy metal Pedigree prams were still most popular for babies, their basic design hadn’t changed much since the Edwardian era. They needed a hefty push to climb kerbs, and forget getting them on a bus – especially as lowfloor buses weren’t introduced until the 1990s.
9 Having a cigarette
Half of all women smoked in the 1960s, compared to 1 in 5 today. It wasn’t until 1964 that the first major report into smoking health issues appeared. Women continued to smoke during pregnancy and, if they were anaemic, doctors would also often prescribe them free Guinness on the NHS!
10 Collapsing in front of Corrie!
Busy Mum picked up her kids from school in her shiny new Mini, Fiat 500 or Beetle, helped with homework, fed them Birds-Eye Fish Fingers, kept them amused with Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie and Batman toys, before she finally collapsed in front of Coronation Street, complaining Dad didn’t help out much. How times have changed… Or maybe not!
Says ParcelHero’s Head of Public Relations, David Jinks: ‘Mums certainly had it tough 50 years ago, and, despite modern conveniences, it’s still massively hard work for today’s mothers, and they are probably holding down a career too! Mum deserves a treat so, rather than sending parcels, we’re sending one lucky mother and her guest on a pampering £400 spa visit. She can choose from a wealth of luxurious Wahanda spa venues, with indulgent treatments, breakfast, bubbles and dinner.’
David explains: ‘Entering our #senditwithlove Mother’s Day competition is simple. Just visit the ParcelHero Facebook page and tell us why your mum deserves her spa break. What’s the most wonderful thing she has done for you? In what way is she the Queen of Mums? We’d love to hear. For full details visit www.parcelhero.com/competitions/mothers-day
Boy Meets World was a TV programme that ran from 1993 to 2000. It followed the story of Cornelius "Cory" Matthews (played by Ben Savage) through his coming of age, and everyday life lessons with his friends and family. From his middle school days as a pre-pubescent child to his life in college as a married man.
One important person in Cory's life was Topanga (played by Danielle Fishel), who was Cory's girlfriend and who eventually became his wife.
Fast forward and we pick back up with favourites Cory and Topanga in the new Disney Channel series of Girl Meets World.
We meet Rowan Blanchard who stars as Riley Matthews, the tween daughter of Cory and Topanga Matthews, while Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel reprise the roles of one of television's favourite couples.
Made for kids and families, Girl Meets World tells the wonderfully funny, heartfelt stories that Boy Meets World is renowned for – only this time from a tween girl's perspective. It focuses on relationships with family and friends and the important, indelible values therein, as the relatable and adventurous Riley and her bold best friend Maya traverse the twists and turns of teenage years at Manhattan's John Quincy Adams Middle School where Riley's dad is their History teacher.
I caught up with Ben and Rowan to ask them all about it.
'Boy Meets World' was a great show. How did the 'Girl Meets World' idea come about?
Ben Savage: I think it was initially thought of by someone who worked at Disney, who grew up by the name of Cory Marsh. He had grown up with the idea of Boy Meets World and he was a big fan of the show, he spoke with Michael Jacobs our executive producer about bringing the show back. That's probably a boring story but it was brought up to me probably in about October of 2012. I got a phone call about it and we had a lot of discussions and talks and I think once we kind of all understood where we were coming from in terms of the show, that we weren’t just going be redoing the old show but we would be doing a modern version with a twist from a different perspective, I think we were all really excited about it. Personally for me I was excited to get a chance to play the Dad, and a teacher, I just thought that would be really exciting and I hadn’t done that role. I thought it would be really interesting to be the same character but as a dad now.
Rowan Blanchard: I got involved in the show during November 2012. They had just started auditioning girls and I actually originally auditioned for Maya who’s now played by Sabrina and somewhere in the middle we both swapped because she had originally auditioned for Riley. That’s how I got involved, I knew that when I read the script it was something different that I hadn’t seen, something fresh, something that I hadn’t seen from my generation. When I saw the names Cory and Topanga I made the connection and I was like ok that’s cool.
What do you think made 'Boy Meets World' such a huge success and can you see the same happening for 'Girl Meets World'?
Ben: What I’ve said is that I think that we tackled issues that young people deal with but we did it in a fun relatable way and were never too preachy, so I think people appreciated that, they appreciated the fact that we didn’t talk down to them but we also presented them with storylines, issues and characters that they could identify with and hopefully we did it in a fun way. That's what people have said to me throughout the years you were such an important part of my childhood because you know they trusted us to convey a message but do it in the right way. As far as Girl Meets World, we are kind of taking it one step at a time and hopefully people like the show.
Rowan: Right, and we told our story for the first season for sure and we got messages across that we wanted to get across and hopefully we will be able to do it again.
Ben, how is it for you now acting the grown up?
Ben: I’m really enjoying it again it's really fun to be playing the same character from a different perspective. He’s older, he’s hopefully a little wiser, and is much more focused in this point in his life because he is a dad with two kids and a teacher. It’s still sort of this same quirky, neurotic, fun sweet guy but that being said I think he is really endeavouring to be a good teacher and to set a good example to his kids.
What is it like working with Danielle again do you guys keep in touch?
Ben: It’s been great, I mean she is great. Her character is now a lawyer and its fun reconnecting with everyone on the show because it’s like you’re just getting to spend time with your old friends again so it’s been a lot of fun!
How do you think Cory and Topanga cope with a pre-teen on the show?
Ben: I think they cope with it exactly the way people would expect. I think Cory doesn’t want his daughter to grow up at all and he loves her so much.
Rowan: Topanga kind of accepts change because she is a girl and she understands what it's like.
Ben: So if it was up to Cory she would probably never leave the house.
So what do you think Cory and Topanga have been up to since we last saw them?
Ben: Well they have been busy obviously they moved to New York and they had two kids and as I said Topanga is now a lawyer and Cory is a full time teacher and they are very focussed again about being good parents and spending time with their family.
Can you give us a sort of sneak peak, will we see any of the 'Boy Meets World' cast appearing in the new series?
Rowan: Sure we did a holiday episode that will air at Christmas time. That is also referred to as the reunion episode and we had Shawn come back, and we had Alan and Amy who are Cory’s parents come back, and then we had, fans of the later seasons of Boy Meets World will remember Joshua who was just born and was probably two when the series ended, so he’s grown up, and he’s seventeen and he comes back for the reunion episode. Besides from the reunion episode we have an episode where Minkus comes back, an early Boy Meets World character and then we have Janitor Harley comes back.
Ben: I just want to say one more thing about the guest stars, is that we have always said that the door is always open for all the former Boy Meets World cast when they’re ready and one of the things that has been so fun this past season was that every day that we got to set there was always someone visiting or someone just stopping by to say hi and just visiting so it’s really like a family atmosphere on the set so we really enjoyed that.
Rowan, how do you feel about playing the role of Riley, it must be amazing for you?
Rowan: It’s pretty amazing, it’s a really special role for me and it’s something I’m really proud of and I know I put my best work into it. I know that people will love Riley for her realness for being so off-beat and not a perfect character. What was the other part of the question?
How do you feel about being a Disney star, and how did your family and friends react when you told them?
Rowan: To be honest my family and friends were happy for me but nothing changed, thank god!
So what kind of relationship does Riley have with her parents on the show? How would you describe it?
Rowan: I would say that the father-daughter relationship between Riley and Cory is the epitome of a father-daughter relationship, you know we argue sometimes but at the end of the day we love each other and he’s out to look for me
Ben: You mean the characters?
Rowan: Yeah that’s what I meant.
Rowan: And we are looking out for each other.
Ben: You don’t mean we argue sometimes?
Rowan: I’m talking about Riley and Cory, but that’s what I mean it’s a very real relationship. I often compare it to my dad and I’s because my dad is a lot like Cory, if he had it his way, I would never leave the house. But my relationship with Topanga is very special, it’s a lot like Topanga was in my place during the seasons of Boy Meets World, so Topanga is like the cool mom and gets that her kids need to grow up and that sometimes her kid wants to be with her friends, she is a very nurturing mother.
How do you think Riley feels about her dad teaching her school?
Rowan: I think she likes it and I think there are moments where she might be embarrassed by him but he’s her dad of course she’s going to be embarrassed by him. I think it’s very special for her top come to class and always see her dad and I think that sometimes that can be annoying because she comes home and see her dad and she goes to school to see her dad but I think she deals with it well.
And how does dad feel about teaching his daughter?
Ben: He loves it because I think it’s just more of an opportunity to spend time with his daughter. He loves being a dad and being around his daughter and I don’t know if Riley likes being around Cory as much
Ben: Ok so he loves to be around her and I also think it’s a nice opportunity for him to impart some wisdom in a different atmosphere then at home and I think it is something he really enjoys.
Where could you see this show going in the future, maybe Baby Meets World?
Rowan: Well I mean we are taking it one step at a time and however long it takes to tell our story and if there is a new story we will find that out when the time comes.
Watch Girl Meets World on The Disney Channel, starts 5.30pm, Friday, September 12.
Great Scott! I was one of the lucky ones who got to go to the Secret Cinema screening of my all-time favourite film, Back to the Future.
Anyone who knows me will know how obsessed I am about the film, from my iPhone case, to my ringtone, to collecting memorabilia, and also having the film on various formats. I even got my husband Mark, to put Back to the Future 1 and 2 films together by blending them onto the same VHS so I could watch both films in one go! And my long-suffering husband refuses to watch the films with me as I know them word for word. So yes, obsessed is the word.
I had high expectations, after the disappointing news last week that the first week of shows had to be cancelled.
Fabien Riggall, founder of the immersive film-experience company, said it was a 'myriad of reasons' for his decision to cancel the first week.
Many people took to social media to express their anger, and I could understand as people had paid for tickets, hotels, bought special fifties outfits, come from far and wide, so I had sympathy for them.
Along with my daughter, Amber, we were all dressed in fifties gear and met at Hackney Wick station. As it's Secret Cinema, you never find out the details of the events and are just given a place to turn up and will be directed when you arrive.
After a 15-minute walk we arrived at the entrance to the Olympic Park, only a venue of this size could cater for what we were about to experience. I just wish we could have met at the Olympic Park, as Hackney Wick station is a little awkward to get to.
People who had mobile phones had to give them in at the entrance, as mobiles weren't around in 1955, but it was really so pictures of the event didn't get out and spoil it for others going to the following shows.
The experience started with a walk down Riverside Drive, where there were houses from some of the characters in the film, a little disappointed with these as they were just a one room, large shed with not much inside, yes I realise they can't build full-size houses!
Walking past 1640 Riverside Drive, we looked into Doc Browns house, some nice touches in there.
As we entered the Hill Valley square, I was blown away.
Full-size clock tower, over 30 buildings including, Hill Valley High school complete with Enchantment Under the Sea dance inside, plus a very good actor playing the part of Mr Strickland. Also in the square were familiar shops from the film, the Texaco garage, Lou's diner, Roy's records, and of course Ruth's frock shop.
Everyone who registers are given a character, I was so please to be working for the Hill Valley Telegraph, and wore my press pass with pride. Amber was a student at Hill Valley high.
As we walked around taking in the sights, it was great to see almost all of the 3,500 people had made the effort to dress up, and that really made it fell like you were in 1955.
There was also a fair, complete with a ferris wheel and stalls.
As the doors opened at 5.30 and the screening didn't start until after 9pm, it was quite a long time, but we made a little base camp on the green in preparation for the film.
It was a shame we had to wait so long for food in Lou's diner, over an hour, and the toilets were ones like at a festival! But that aside, it was fantastic.
As the sun started to set over the Olympic park, the film began, to cheers from the crowd who all now sat on the green in the middle of the square.
The film was projected on to the clock tower so everyone had a great view.
At key points in the film, actors dressed as the characters treated us to some great scenes. As soon as I saw the DeLorean come out from backstage in a cloud of smoke, I knew this was going to be good.
I wasn't disappointed at all, and loved every minute. I loved the audiences reaction to certain scenes, enjoyed having a dance to Johnny Be Good and it was great to be with people who loved the film as much as I did.
Secret Cinema, I look forward to you putting on Back to the Future 2, next year as it will be the year Marty travels to in the future!
I'll have my own hoverboard by then (I wish).
Tickets available costing £53.50 (standard 16+) and £25 (child 5-15) www.secretcinema.org
The fab people at Morrisons have put together this really interesting infographic Christmas by Numbers.
It shows how they have been testing, tasting and developing everything you need for your Christmas!
Also check out this info graphic on The Great British Christmas Table.
As parents, we've all been in the situation when travelling with our kids and we need to keep them entertained.
On the Movies is a great range of kids back packs that include a 7 inch touch screen Tablet PC, allowing kids to play movies, games and go online on the move.
No more 'I'm bored' on a long journey.
No more faffing with getting a tablet out of your bag, then having to put it back in again.
This back pack has a clear window in the pocket on the front of the back pack that let's kids use the tablet while it's still in the bag!
These tablets have been specially designed with a coloured bumper protective case. As well as playing games and watching movies, kids can take their own photos with an integrated camera.
The tablet that comes with the bag has a high resolution 1024x800 screen, and 8GB of storage. Perfect amount of space for your little one, and allowing you to download photos, games, Apps, Music and movies. If you need more space, it can take up to a 32GB Micro SD card.
It comes with wide selection of educational and fun games pre-loaded, and a USB, and HDMI ports allow you to connect to other computers to download films or more apps.
The good thing about this little tablet is you get around 4 hours of play for games and movies before it needs re-charging. Perfect for any journey.
A great little idea is that the kids can plug in headphones while the tablet is still in the bag!
These cute little back packs come in four designs, Pretty Kitty, Bouncy Tiger, Cheeky Monkey, and Lucky Ladybird.
If you're flying, pack the back pack with stuff your little one needs on the flight, and they will be entertained on the flight with the tablet.
If your travelling in the car, why hang the back pack over the head rest without having to have an in-car DVD player.
You can buy the back packs with the tablet, or without.
The bags with the tablet are priced at £89.95 and the back pack on it's own without the tablet is £24.95. So if you already have a 7 inch tablet, you can buy the back pack to keep it in while you're on the move.
Available at www.onthemovies.co.uk
There's nothing I like better than getting in from a busy day at work, and arriving home just in time for our bedtime routine.
The Lost My name books are beautiful and would make a gorgeous gift for a special little person in your life.
When ours arrived for my son Jacob, he couldn't wait to read it.Read More
You know when you receive one of those letters from your child's school saying 'costume needed', it sometimes fills me with dread!
My daughter, Amber brought a letter home from school about a school trip where the kids had to dress as Victorian schoolchildren.
The Victorian era is my favourite. I started to Google what kids wore in this era. The theme for girls seemed to be a white pinafore over their dresses, to keep them clean. As I carried on reading, I found that the mums used to make these pinafores. So I bought a long black skirt and a long black top but I set about making the pinafore myself.
Now I love sewing, I mainly only have time to read about sewing so when this project came up I thought I'd give it a go.
We had an old off-white bed sheet that I thought would be perfect to use, and I also found an old piece of material from my stash (I love collecting fabric, especially from charity shops), which had a crocheted edge, I also had an old pillowcase that had lace all around the edge.
I set to work trying to figure out how I would make it. The first thing I did was find a t shirt that Amber currently wears, so I knew it fitted her. Then I folded the t-shirt in half and traced around the edge onto baking parchment (this is my cheap version of dressmakers paper). I then added an extra 1 cm all around the edge for the seam allowance.
I cropped the t-shirt pattern quite high as I noticed the Victorian children wore them like this.
From the width of Amber's t-shirt at the bottom I just roughly followed it down to create the skirt part (again adding the seam allowance).
I then went round and hemmed all the edges, I double folded and sewed down the middle. You can just zig zag stitch the edges (which would be quicker).
I ended up with 4 pieces, 2 tops (1 front, and 1 back) and 2 skirt parts (front and back).
Because I used a well washed old sheet there was no need to pre-wash, if it had been new material, it's best to pre-wash to get all the shrinkage out of it.
I cut off the crocheted piece and the lace piece off my pillowcase and fabric.
I sewed my 2 top pieces together at the top (across the shoulder), then I sewed on my crocheted fabric from the arm hole from the back, right the way up and over the top, down to the front arm hole area.
I then sewed the skirt part to the top, both front and back. I wanted a few pleats in so I made the width a little larger.
After doing this for both the front and the back, I had almost finished. I know, by looking at Google images, that most Victorian school children tied at the back, but I discovered this after I had already cut my fabric! I could have cut it up the back but I decided to put some small metal press stud fasteners on instead to hold the shape, and for ease for my daughter.
The ribbons in here hair came from a tie on an old pair of my pyjama bottoms!
I'm really pleased with the finished look to say I wasn't working from a pattern. I'd love to know what you think. Leave a comment below if you have had to make certain outfits for your kids for school.
I should have taken pictures for a tutorial, I will do next time!
Who doesn't love spending a traditional day out with the family. Forget all the gadgets for a day, and spend some good old fashioned fun on a day out with the kids. Whether it's going for a picnic, skimming stones or picking blackberries, spending quality time as a family is really important.
Traditional family activities seem to be making a come-back. This weekend my husband Mark and I will be taking our two children, Amber, ten and Jacob, three, to the seaside for a bit of rock-pooling.
VisitEngland encourages families to experience life’s simple pleasures inspired by the tales of Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin.
Enjoying a fish supper on Blackpool Pier, negotiating Hampton Court Maze and taking a stroll beside Hadrian’s Wall have been named as some of England’s greatest ‘simple pleasures’ according to a new study released today.
The new study on behalf of Egmont Publishing and supported by VisitEngland asked 2,000 parents to vote for the traditional activities, attractions and days out. The results provide a fascinating overview of the activities, which hark back to a bygone age when the great outdoors was considered the ultimate family tonic.
From learning to skim stones to fossil hunting, exploring castles and forests reaching from Northumberland to Treyarnon Bay, ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’s 25 Simple Pleasures’ were named as:
1. Enjoying a fish supper on Blackpool Pier, Lancashire
2. Indulging in afternoon tea, Devon
3. Picnicking on the shores of Windermere in the Lake District, Cumbria
4. Rock-pooling in Treyarnon Bay, Cornwall
5. Camping in the New Forest, Hampshire
6. Marvelling at Stonehenge, Wiltshire
7. Getting lost in the maze at Hampton Court Palace, Greater London
8. Taking a stroll beside Hadrian’s Wall, Northumberland and Cumbria
9. Boating day out on the Broads, Norfolk and Suffolk
10. Watching the puffins on the Farne Islands, Northumberland
11. Stargazing in Exmoor National Park, Somerset and Devon
12. Taking in the vista from the peaks at the Peak District National Park, Derbyshire
13. Trying to make the Queen’s Guard laugh at Buckingham Palace
14. Watching the changing of the Guards at Windsor Castle, Berkshire
15. Fossil-hunting on Brook Beach, Isle of Wight
16. Exploring the famous White Cliffs of Dover
17. Playing Pooh Sticks at 100 Acre Wood, East Sussex
18. Rolling down the hills around Corfe Castle, Dorset
19. Visiting a honey farm in Devon
20. Skimming stones at Holy Island, Lindisfarne, Northumberland
21. Picking blackberries on Box Hill, Surrey
22. Riding a narrow boat through the canal ways, Birmingham
23. Taking in the grandeur of Chatsworth House from the park, Chatsworth, Derbyshire
24. Seeking out the deer at Richmond Park, London
25. Admiring Bamburgh Castle from the beach, Northumberland
The poll reveals that dining alfresco is a firm favourite, securing the first three slots in the top 10. No fewer than four National Parks appear in the full list of 25, highlighting our appreciation for England’s green space. Of these, two made it into the top 10.
Negotiating the maze at Hampton Court Palace was the only activity from the capital to make the top 10, although making the Queen’s Guard laugh came close at number 13. Winnie-the-Pooh’s Hundred Acre Woodin East Sussex, the original destination for playing Pooh Sticks in A.A. Milne’s classic novel, was voted into the 17th spot, closely followed by another favourite activity Pooh would enjoy - visiting a honey farm at number 19. Overall, the South West of England came out on top as the area that offers the best opportunity to enjoy life’s simple pleasures, closely followed by the South East and the Midlands.
Nearly half of respondents claim their fondest holiday memories are from time spent in England, with having a picnic, taking a walk and building sandcastles coming out as the most memorable activities. Interestingly the research shows that kids today get outside almost as much as their parents did, with nearly 50% of families enjoying outdoors activities. Parents also highlighted just how precious quality family time is, with over a third saying they enjoy at least one family outing a month.
The ‘Simple Pleasures’ campaign was developed by and inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh to encourage modern families to enjoy the great outdoors whilst celebrating our great English heritage. The activities reflect the core themes in A. A. Milne’s best-selling books, which centre around a series of simple adventures for Winnie-the-Pooh and his close friends in the Hundred Acre Wood - including playing the game ‘Pooh Sticks’.
The top 10 have inspired a new illustrated guide for families featuring brand new artwork by Mark Burgess, who coloured the original E.H Shepherd Black & White art and the latest book ‘Return to the Hundred Acre Wood’. The guide is available to download for free from the VisitEngland website.
James Berresford, Chief Executive, VisitEngland said: “It’s great that respondents’ fondest holiday memories are from time spent in England and we are thrilled that Pooh’s simple pleasures can be experienced across the country. We hope the guide will inspire families to discover, explore and enjoy the best of England this bank holiday.”
Sarah Bates, Publishing Director, Egmont commented: “Winnie-the-Pooh shares many a simple adventure with his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood so he is the perfect character to remind us how to enjoy the simple pleasures that England has to offer.”
To download the guide, visit www.VisitEngland.com/WinnieThePooh
With so many apps to choose from, it can be tricky to pick one that's right for your toddler.
Disney have just launched the new Disney Junior Play app and we love it!
By we, I mean my three year old son, Jacob, and I.
Jacob's face lights up every time I let him play on it. We're big fans of all things Disney, so we were really excited to see this new app.
It doesn't dissapoint. Great for little fingers, easy to navigate, quick to launch, and lots of games included.
The new iOS app Disney Junior Play is home to Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Disney Junior fans can now get even closer to their favourite characters on the go through a variety of activities including fun games, engaging video-clips and a digital sticker book.
Free to download, Disney Junior Play comes with the “Disney Junior Favourites” pack, featuring four multi-level games and a digital sticker book featuring Doc, Sofia, Jake and Mickey. Additional packs based on Disney Junior’s smash-hit shows Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are available to purchase from within the app, each containing four games, a short form video and a digital sticker book.
It's easy to create a simple profile, and little ones can easily navigate through the home screen and access the games. One of Jacob's favourites is popping the balloons with Mickey and Goofy.
The games encourage creativity, the kids learn how to solve problems, develop dexterity and the app helps with hand-eye co-ordination.
You know how much kids love stickers! Well, stickers are rewarded and collected during gameplay and can be saved in the sticker book; each pack having its own character themed sticker book and 25 stickers to collect.
Disney Junior Play will definitely keep little ones busy with fun, challenging games. Jacob didn't need muy help while playing on it, and I am pleased beacuse there are no adverts within the game, so he can't accidently click on anything. Jacob didn't want to stop playing it!
The app is free to download and you get a good variety of games with the free app. I would recommend you buy the bundle which is currently £4.99, better value which will unlock 4 more parts of the game. Or you can buy them individually at £1.99 each.
These are the games you can buy extra:
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 'Farmyard Fun'
- Doc McStuffins 'Here to Help'
- Jake and the Never Land Pirates 'Island Adventures'
- Sofia the First 'A Royal Party'
- 20+ games available, including;
- Jigsaw puzzles to encourage problem solving
- Catching games to reward fast fingers
- Dress-up games to inspire imaginative play
- Placement games to encourage logical thinking
- Hide-and-seek games to reward observation skills
- Three levels in each game
- 25 digital stickers to collect in each pack
- Catchy videos to watch again and again!
- Supports up to four profiles, so each of your children can save their progress
- Play anywhere, any time as all content works offline, including videos
- No adverts so your child can play safely
- In-app purchases are only available in the pin-protected store, so only an adult can access
- Supports iPhone 4+, iPod 4+, and iPad 2+
Check out my video review and see the app in real-time.
Each pack features a set of adventures and stimulating play topics that transport kids into the world of their favourite Disney Junior characters; from helping Doc choose the right clothes for the weather to helping Jake and his crew design a sand castle for a pirate king.
Disney Junior Play has been designed to keep little ones busy with fun, challenging games that feature everyday themes, but while a lot of fun for kids, the app has also been developed with parents in mind.
Purchases within Disney Junior Play are both safe and secure with payments facilitated only after parents have correctly passed through the child-protection screen. Once within the store parents can browse and purchase additional character themed packs to add to their Disney Junior Play collection. Each pack retails at £1.99, or can be purchased as part of a money saving bundle, all 4 games for £4.99
What are you waiting for, go an have a play on the Disney Junior Play app.
Available to download from the app store.
Disclosure: I was provided with the full app to review free of charge.
If like me, every year you’re completely stumped on what to get for Father's day. Not just for your Dad, but also for your husband or partner from the kids... then I have a few ideas for you.
Each year we leave it to the last minute and end up sneaking out to the supermarket to the generic aisle of useless, novelty items that are just going to be shoved in the drawer or in back of a cupboard to gather dust, why not get something that he’ll enjoy and even be practical.
Don't forget Father's day is on June 15.
Cool Clothing and Superior Smellies
TK Maxx Mens Accessories: Henleys Trunk Boxers (£9.99), Storm Aviator Sunglasses (£12.99) and Original Penguin Cap (£12.99).
TK Maxx have a great selection of men’s accessories either available to buy online or just browse and visit one of their 277 stores. With a wide selection of big names at affordable prices you’ll be sure to find something to suit even the most stubborn, unfashionable man! Examples here are the modern looking ‘Henleys’ cotton boxers at half price, cool and classic ‘Storm Aviator Sunglasses’ for under half price and stylish yet casual ‘Original Penguin Cap’ available in 5 different colours.
Bad Boy Clothing: Walk-in Hoodie (£49.99) and Legacy II Camo Shorts (£39.99)
For the sporty dads ‘Bad Boy Clothing’ offer a broad range of training clothing and urban casual wear for all year round and modern dads will love the vibrant colours and extreme branding. With free delivery on orders over £30 and same day dispatch, you’ve no excuse leaving it to the last minute and getting him yet another Family Guy T-shirt from a supermarket that he won’t wear! Featured are the Legacy II Camo training shorts which are great not just for the Gym but would suit a wide range of uses including cycling or even just the beach and the ‘Walk-in Hoodie’ is not your standard hoodie but high quality with a striking embroidered logo to the rear.
Gold JAY Z edt (£35), XANTHE Mens Urban Quickfix (£35) and Davidoff Cool Water (£27.99)
Now apart from Christmas, the best time to get some posh smellies for your husband is Father’s Day and let’s face it you're the one who has to smell him so why not get something you both like? Exclusive to Superdrug ‘Gold by JAY Z’ is a fantastic new eau de toilette launched by the rap legend Jay Z, spicy and rich this is no doubt a masculine fragrance but the ladies will love it too! Available online, ‘BeautyLab’ in Harley Street London make some high-end yet affordable male grooming serums and the ‘Xanthe Urban Quickfix’ is ideal for everyday anti-aging moisturizing with anti-oxidants and that all important UV sun screen. Finally if you’re really stuck on what smellies to get him, why not go for ‘Davidoff Cool Water’ from ‘The Fragrance Shop’? You can’t go wrong with this extremely fresh smelling moreish scent. Currently at a great price you even get a free luxury washbag and mini wash/balms.
Police ‘Voyager’ Watch (£99)
If you’re looking for a watch with character then what about this super timepiece from ‘Police’. The ‘Voyager’ model oozes retro yet contemporary charm. The rectangle brown watch face with chunky typeface is perfectly evocative of the 1970’s, with water resistant (5 ATM) and genuine leather strap it’s just the quality item you’d expect from this Italian designer-wear company.
Premium Drinks and Spicy Condiments
Delaforce Vintage Port 2007 (£27.99), Barolo Briccobergera 2009 (£18.99) and Rioja Reserva 2007 (12.49)
If the old man is seriously into his wines then take a look at the devilishly good fun ‘Rude Wines’ where they scour the earth finding wines that are different and exclusive delivered directly to your door. As these fine wines are meant for sipping not slurping don’t expect a cheap Beaujolais nouveau or Blue Nun, there’s nothing but quality here! Starting with roast dinner on Father’s Day the medium bodied ‘Rioja Reserva, Villa del Camino’ from Spain - fruity, spicy and hints of vanilla, this ruby red goes perfectly with lamb. Moving on to the cheese board, the fitting and little more expensive Italian ‘Barolo Briccobergera Piemonte’ is a beautiful full bodied yet subtle Garnet red which features orange highlights. Finishing off the evening it’s got to be Port and the ‘Delaforce Late Bottled Vintage’ makes a perfect gift, coming in a smart presentation box with two port glasses. This deep red Port is full of flavour, rich with plumb and berries and goes perfect with those late evening nibbles such as Stilton or Roquefort and fruit and nut chocolate, mmm!
Yamazaki and Hakushu Distiller's Reserve Japanese Whisky (£42 each)
You’d be surprised if not very knowledgeable on the subject of Whiskies and how many countries produce this famous spirit, Australia, Germany and India to name a few. Owned by the famous Suntory brewers and distillers and available from Sainsbury’s, these two Japanese Whiskies, ‘Yamazaki’ and ‘Hakushu’ single malts are great examples from Japans oldest distillers. The flagship single malt ‘Yamazaki’ is gold in colour with red berry and oak aromas alongside raspberry, peach and slight coconut on the palate with vanilla and hint of cinnamon to finish – if that doesn’t get you salivating nothing will! ‘Hakushu’ on the other hand is rather different. Distilled in the mountains and forests attributes to the freshness of this much lighter gold in colour whisky. Peppermint, melon and cucumber to the nose amidst citrus and thyme on the palate with a refreshing smokey finish. I think you’ll agree these sound fascinating and would be a talking point at any gathering.
Round the World Chilli Tour (£35) and Borderfields Infusions Oil Sets (£10.99)
I’m useless with anything spicy and hot, I even had a korma which was too hot for me once, but we all know men and their love affair with chilli! ‘Sous Chef’ do a great tongue-tingling ‘Round the World Chili Tour’ package (free UK delivery) that includes 12 chilli based ingredients including Hot Texas Sauce, Sambal Oeleck Paste and the quite deadly Nag Bhut Jolokia Chilli Powder! With such a great array from Asia, Europe and the Americas there’ll always be something in the cupboard waiting to be added to Dad’s favourite dish. Another culinary idea for Dads is the’ Infusions Oil’ Set from ‘Borderfield’. Made from cold pressed rapeseed oil, this 125ml x 4 set contains the light & fresh Basil, Hot & Fiery Chilli, Fresh and Zingy Lemon and Warm & Aromatic Garlic. Furthermore to rapeseed having a lovely slightly nutty taste it’s full of a mix of omega oils, so good for your body too. Ideal on salads, pasta and meats. My favourite use for them is to bake a fresh loaf of bread and just simply use them for dipping oils with olives and cheeses, yum!
Borderfields Infusions Oil Sets available from Amazon from 6th June.
Adnams 5l Mini Cask Twin-Pack (£31.98) and Kirin Ichiban Japanese Beer (£1.69)
Now that the weather is warming up (fingers crossed) and you fancy a BBQ on Father’s Day, Adnams do a selection of their tasty beers (stock subject to availability) in handy mini cask twin-packs to guarantee he won’t run out of his favourite ale! Each twin-pack contains 10 litres of beer which is equivalent to 17 ½ pints, great value for a premium beer at £1.80 a pint. Featured are 2 pale ales ‘Mosaic’ 4.1% abv made with mosaic hops, a fresh and fruity blonde and ‘Ghost Ship’ 4.5% abv a blend of American citrus hops and inspired by Adnams own haunted 600 year old pub, both ideal for sunny afternoons in the garden. If you’re a lager drinker then may I recommend ‘Kirin Ichiban’ 5% abv Japanese Lager. Being made only from the 1st pressing (other lagers are pressed more than once) giving you a sweet and very flavoursome beer, making it one of the world’s most expensively brewed beers and to enjoy Kirin Ichiban at its best try it superchilled with Sushi and Tempura.
Ruark R1 Tabletop DAB Radio (£179) and Maxell Retro DJ Headphones (£25)
With loads of brilliant radio stations, DAB radios have been a must in households for some years now. Early models looked cheap and dated and sound quality pretty naff too, not anymore! The splendid looking ‘Ruark R1’ not only looks great with its retro walnut veneer styling, but the radio housing acts like an amplifying speaker which certainly packs a punch for a small desktop radio. No complex buttons all over the place either, just one uncomplicated dial on top for easy navigation. The large display is crisp and easy to understand and with a light sensor, dims in low-lit rooms, with this and an alarm makes it also perfect for the bedroom. On the rear there’s auxiliary inputs so you can enjoy the superb sound of the R1 through your iPhone, additionally a headphone socket so you can’t annoy everyone with Jazz FM!
And what better way to listen through when you’re plugged in is these retro DJ headphones from ‘Maxell’. Available from QVC these very comfortable headphones have an amazing rich & full sound whilst blocking out any background noise. With the cable on just one side, tangling becomes a thing of the past and with a 6mm jack adaptor you can easily listen to multiple audio equipment.
Forge Steel 47 Piece General Tool Kit (£59.99) and Draper Ultimate Spanner Set (£39.95)
Fed up of bemoaning Dads that can never find their philips screwdriver or that he’s mislaid his tape measure? The ‘Forge Steel’ 47 Piece General Tool Kit from Screwfix not only keeps all his tools all in one place in a handy carry bag, but comes with all the general purpose tools he’ll need to my jobs done! There’s a great selection of good quality tools including 6 screwdrivers, utility knife, measuring tape, pliers and hacksaw to name but a few.
But if the men in your life have plentiful types of tools but never seem to have the right sized spanner then what else do you need but the ‘Ultimate Spanner Set’ from ‘Draper’, Ingeniously colour coordinated so you can quickly Identify what size you need, this 13 piece hi-torque, hardened steel set will last him a lifetime.
Seagate 2TB External Hard Drive (£59) and Netgear AC750 WiFi Range Extender (£64.79)
Is your PC full up of junk that you wouldn’t mind keeping but killing the performance of your machine, or are you paranoid that when your computer goes pop you’ll lose all those mp3’s and precious family photos? Then a ‘Seagate External Hard Drive’ from ‘Currys’ is definitely the answer. Much more affordably priced than they were a few years ago and now available with absolutely massive storage. Compatible with XP, Vista Windows 7 & 8 operating systems it stores data information in seconds via USB 3.0 cable by simply dragging and dropping. Also available in 500GB, 1TB, 3TB and 4TB models.
Another amazing product that’s not just essential for home PCs, laptops and tablets but smartphones too is the ‘Netgear WiFi Range Extender’ from ‘Amazon’. If you suffer from loss of WiFi signal in your home because of thick walls or lack of coverage upstairs, you just simply plug in this clever little box to boost the WiFi coverage all around your home and even the garden. There’s also a Ethernet port for you to plug in games consoles, smart TVs and bluray players.
Roku Streaming HDMI Stick (£49.99) and One For All Tablet Remote Control (£59)
Can’t find anything to watch on TV? The ‘Roku Streaming Stick’ streams 500+ TV channels via the internet all through this marvellous little stick that you plug into your TVs HDMI input. With free channels such as BBC iPlayer, You Tube, 4oD and Facebook it’s worth it alone, but there’s all the top pay channels to like Netflix, Sky Sports and Now TV. You can either control Roku through a simple remote or an app through your smartphone which via Roku apps you can send music, videos and photos to your TV.
I think at the last count we had about ten different remotes for various devices, it’s ridiculous, but the war on who controls the remote is legendary in all households across the country! Make him feel special this Father’s Day by treating him to the ‘One For All’ Tablet Remote Bridge by ‘Nevo’. It turns you iPad or android tablet into a smart remote via a WiFi Bridge and a free downloadable app. Works with 1,000s of TV brands, this device is simple to set up you can personalise your tablet to suit his needs and with one simple control to watch a programme it will switch on your TV, select the right HDMI ports and turn on your amplifier, now that’s quite special.