Hi-Tec Hiking Boots Review

A while ago we were sent a pair of hiking boots for review. Stupidly, I ordered then for the hubby, who was a nightmare to pin down to do the photos. It didn’t help that we had kiddiewinks with uti’s, chicken pox and crazily busy schedules! Note to self- never order for the hubby again, as fitting things in, all five of us, is a challenge these days. Hubby has size 12 feet but they are very wide, and he has always had trouble getting comfy shoes, especially walking boots. We were both very impressed with the quality and simple look of the boots and he can’t get over how comfy they are. Not too heavy cumbersome. They look pretty smart and are completely neutral both are always a bonus.

 

When walking through puddles, the rain and mud just seem to slide seemlessly off the boots, leaving them clean and dry, even now after several uses, they are not cakes in mud, like my old boots. Even I can vouch for them now as I wo a pair of the woman’s (brand new) while working with a group of teenagers in July, the outward bounds centre had just bought in a batch of hi tech hiking boots, comfortable does not come close. Without any wearing in, I managed  to walk up Snowdon in them and they stayed waterproof and comfortable right up to the end, when my right one started to get soggy, pretty impressive considering I had had them on all day in torrential rain! I for one, will definitely be buying a pair for myself and am pretty gutted I got a pair for my hubby to try out not me. Simple, well priced and highly effective is how I would sum them up! 


Just a bit of slow motion footage, which will hopefully show how the mud and water just glides off them…

Although we were sent the boots for the purpose of the review, all opinions are my own!

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Wyevale Garden centre Spring Week

   

 We were recently invited to take part in Spring week at our local Wyevale garden Centre (Altrincham). It was a lovely session but not enough time had been planned. I don’t think the garden centre had anticipated it taking quite so long to paint a gnome- we had been allocated fifteen minutes, but we were still at it forty-five minutes later, luckily it was quiet so we weren’t rushed. The only downside, was it took us awhile to locate the workshop, staff didn’t seem to know it was even going on. However, It is definitely worth popping in for one of their workshops if you live locally to a Wyevale Garden Centre- they over lots of different themed workshops during school holidays. Over Easter, we had the choice of Enchanted Gardens, tomato plants, or gnomes, we went for painting a gnome as it fit in with our calendar. We didn’t get an activity sheet though but the kid’s still loved it.

  
We also got to sample the cafe while there, the little man said the cheese sandwich was the best he had ever had, not sure why, but he enjoyed it! There was also a good choice of other items to add to their lunch bags. I had a cheese and spring onion which was yummy (although a tad overpriced).

Well worth trying one of their workshops as a bargain at £2.50 per child.

Have a look at their website to see what they are offering in the future http://www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk/events

Excuse the short post with no photos, the camera ran out of juice!

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Secret Spy Mission… An interview with the Author

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Summary:
DOODLE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE! 
Welcome to Doodle…where you draw the story. Help finish characters, build up the town and design a GIANT ICE CREAM POWERED robot to fight off…the SUPER villains that you doodle! Doodles get into LOTS of trouble. Watch out, it is up to you to doodle them out of it!

Information about the Book
Title: Create Your Own Spy Mission
Author: Andrew and Chris Judge
Release Date: 7th April 2016
Genre: Create Your Own Doodle – MG
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Format: Paperback
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29753260-create-your-own-spy-mission
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1407163272
Book Website: http://www.doodle.town/
Author Information
Chris Judge is an award winning picture book author/illustrator (THE LONELY BEAST, TIN) and co-author, with comedian David O’Doherty, of DANGER IS EVERYWHERE. Chris’s work continues to feature in advertising, newspapers, magazines and exhibitions in the UK and Ireland.

Website: http://www.chrisjudge.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/chrisjudge

Andrew Judge has written and illustrated countless short stories and comics with his brother Chris, including regular features for arts and culture magazines Mongrel and Totally Dublin. Andrew lives and works as an architect in Ireland.

Website: http://www.andrewjudge.net/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/afjudge

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At ‘All things kiddiewink’, we were very excited to be asked to take part in the blog tour and were really interested in finding out how the Author come up with the idea and inspiration for the ‘Create your own spy mission’. We were lucky enough  to have the authors answering our question.

We asked… ” What inspired you to create a book involving the reader?”

A: Well, we’re brothers for starters, so we’ve always been doing stuff together.

C: Andrew is the eldest in the family, so our other brother Simon and I would copy what he was doing, and that’s basically how I learned to draw.
A: Our dad is a great cartoonist and our mum is an artist to, so there was always something to draw with at home.
C: Andrew used to buy 2000AD …
A: I still do!
C: … and we’d all sit around the kitchen table in the evenings in the eighties copying Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper by these amazing artists. Also the Asterix books. I loved copying stuff from them.
A: Then we grew up and got proper jobs, but we kept on making comics together in our spare time. We had a series in a free-sheet called Totally Dublin in our hometown for about a year and a half, which was set in a depressing, futuristic city.
C: We also did another one about a team of goofy aliens stuck on Earth for another magazine, which we eventually collected into a comic.
A: So when Scholastic, our publisher, asked Chris to come up with some ideas for a story book that kids could also draw in, Chris asked me to help out over a weekend. And that’s were the idea for Create Your Own Alien Adventure came to life.
C: We wanted to make something that kid’s could mess around with, draw on, fold, rip, and basically play with.
A: I just wanted to impress my seven year old son!
C: Scholastic asked us to come up with more ideas for a second book, so we gave our editor, David Maybury, a long list of other books we’d like to make, and he suggested “Spies.”
A: Which was the answer we wanted to hear, because we love spy movies and spy books. The KnowHow Book of Spycraft by Falcon Travis was one of my favourite books as a kid.
C: We’ve a hundred other ideas for the Create Your Own series. We can’t wait to get them into readers hands.
A: Yeah, the feedback from our readers about Alien Adventure has been brilliant. I can’t wait to hear what they think about Spy Mission!

Find out more at http://www.doodle.town

What did All things kiddiewink think about the book?

My daughter hasn’t read it all yet (we only received it yesterday) but for a girl that is not keen on reading, she seems pretty hooked, and has been seen walking around the house reading it- unheard of for her! She is not a big fiction fan, but this creates a more ‘real’ element and the fact she gets to do things throughout the book, really excites her. She came to ask me if she could rip out the pages, as it it told her to, she couldn’t believe she would actually be allowed. I think the spying theme is awesome, as my two bigger kiddiewinks are big into everything ‘spy’ at the moment!

Here is my eldest kiddiewink’s first vlog; she is quite shy so this is a big achievement for her!IMG_3268

 

 

 

 

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Randomise- the new interactive game.

  We were recently sent the game ‘Randomise’ to review and what fun it was.

Randomise is a card game so is easily transportable, perfect for holidays after a few cheeky drinks.

It is aimed at anyone over the age of 8, but it is still a little tricky for my eight year old. Although, with some support I am sure younger children could have a go at it, we opted for drunken fun instead.

The game, is very aptly named as it really is ‘random’ and you will find yourself drawing hairy grandma’s skateboarding; acting out an angry gorilla surfing, and describing an anxious chef eating spaghetti. You can choose from easy or hard, and the opposing team, choose the combination you have to do. For example, they may say you have to do 1, 3, 2 so on these cards up you would have to do a ‘happy jellyfish snowboarding’ or an ‘Enthusiastic kingfisher hitchhiking’ depending on whether you opted for easy or hard… 

 
It comes with instructions for playing different versions, which keeps it interesting. We decided everyone had to draw, then act, then describe etc, to keep it doubly amusing.  It really was great fun and I would highly recommend it, especially for the price of £9.99 at amazon.
 

 
Here is some pictures of us in action(granted they are rubbish due to lighting but we were too tipsy to twig)

Not all my videos would share for some reason, but here are some links to us playing- Disclaimer – some adult language is used and could cause offense : )

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Our family Easter Traditions

With Easter approaching, and my three kiddiewinks constantly asking what exciting things are we doing… It got me thinking about Easter traditions. As a child, my mum decorated the house for Easter and I loved it, it was a really special time and the excitement when we arrived home from school to bunnies, eggs and chicks everywhere, has stayed with me. But, do I do this for my kiddie winks? Sadly not, it is money we just don’t need to spend at the minute. Plus, as my hubby grew up in a house without Easter decorations, he doesn’t see the point (I will keep working on this though…). So it got me thinking how could we make our own Easter traditions? 

 

Easter Films

As a family we love films, and at Christmas we have particular favourites, but there is no Easter films as such, so my eldest and I have been trying to decide what makes a good Easter film. Animals are essential, as Easter is filled with animals… So here is the short list we came up with for films to watch at Easter…

  • Babe- filled with farm animals and super cute and cuddly
  • Watership down– cue lots of cute fluffy rabbits (if you can face the emotional turmoil for this one)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory- chocolate filled, need I say more.
  • Charlotte’s Web- just delightfu
  • Who framed Roger Rabbit- blimey I used to love this film
  • White chicks- * please note this was just for fun as white chicks is clearly not suitable for a young family

Hubby just wishes we had a brand new panasonic viera 4D Tv to watch them on, but I am always the ogre saying no! He really wishes we had the money to keep up to date with the latest gadgets and gizmos, I on the other hand, couldn’t really care less, as long as we have a TV I am happy. Although these do look pretty cool…

Easter Crafts

My kiddiewinks love craft, and I love doing them with them! However, as my hubby will vouch for me, I am not so keen on the clearing up and putting away, and glitter pots etc are often out long after they have been used. But it’s Easter so thats as much an excuse as any right… This year we are decorating eggs, but I am not faffing with the piercing and boiling nonsense, no way, I have purchased a pack of polystyrene eggs from tesco- genius idea

Easter Baking

This year (and pretty much every other year), we end up making Crispy cakes or cornflake cakes, with mini eggs and a token yellow chick. The kiddiewinks love making them, although littlest one ends flicking it on the floor. 

   
Bunny Hop

Our local town does a bunny hop around the shops, children find mystery letters and pick up chocolate treats along the way- fabulous fun!

All in all we will have a fabulous Easter, alongside going to church, we will have the family Easter hunt in the garden! Kiddiewinks are going to be crazy with excitement, I am just hoping the clock change means they won’t be up too early!

Disclaimer- this is a collaborative post

 

 

 

 

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Save our Swimming Clubs

 

Did you know that Cheshire East and other local authorities are trying to create a monopoly on the delivery of swimming lessons?

Did you know Everybody leisure wants to gain all the kiddiewinks  currently learning through the ASA Learn to Swim’ swimming schemes through swimming club, and transfer them to the ‘Everybody Leisure’ books.

This can’t and shouldn’t happen! Particularly because these changes are not proposed for the good of our kiddiewinks; instead these changes are proposed in order to maximise the capacity for income.

 Everybody leisure, are insisting all younger members, still working through the ASA schemes, are transferred onto their books, taking away the element of choice for young swimmers and their families.

Swimming clubs are so much more than just swimming lessons. Kiddiewinks matter! Kiddiewink’s swimming progression and enjoyment matter! Kiddiewinks gain experience of competitive swimming and become part of a social community. Offering them not only skills of swimming, but increasing confidence, self-esteem, friendship and self belief.

As a child, I swam with Knutsford Vikings, and have many find memories of point score galas and championships, as well as swimming for my town, and enjoying the social aspect it also offered. My keen interest in swimming was solely down to being part of a vibrant swimming club community, and if this had not been available to me at a young age, I very much doubt I would have progressed in the way I did.image

My own Kiddiewinks, both joined ‘Everybody Leisure’ at the age of three, and my experience of their programmes is not a positive one. The leisure centre offered no flexibility within their schemes, and seemed unable to differentiate for individual needs within the swimming stages. What is more, there was never any consistency, regular staffing changes and skills, meant progression for my Kiddiewink’s was minimal and they began to dread swimming lessons. Staff were unaware of individual strengths and weaknesses due to the staffing changes and some seemed to lack flexibility of approach according to needs of the group. There is something wrong with a system, where a four year old, who can get a dive stick from the bottom of the pool, is jumping in a circle in the pool, wearing three armbands on each arm and  blowing bubbles, I kid you not, this was a regular occurrences. That said, some of the teachers were excellent and it is not poor teaching that is my issue.Complaints were rarely dealt with, phone also and emails ignored. Everything and everyone seemed confused all the time. Am I the only one with this negative experience of everybody leisure? Sadly, not! many parents are unhappy with the standard of lessons they were being offered with ‘Everybody  Leisure’; I regularly hear parents moaning about the lack of progression and continuity. Holiday swimming lessons were a particular bone of contention. Why are parents expected to pay the same price for swimming lessons, which are of even more substandard quality? Staff holidays and absences, meant stages are often put together meaning, once again,no progression and continuity. Staff often didn’t know the children at all and  Everybody Leisure introduced these fancy learning portals, what a fantastic idea, one that should avoid teacher’s not ‘knowing’ their students. Well, it would be a good idea if all staff actually updated them. We went 8 months with no updates at all!

All in all, the idea and concept of parents and families having the choice taken away from them is disgusting, especially as it is not to help our kiddiewinks, only financial profit. I for one will not be taking it lying down. My kiddiewinks will not be joining ‘Everybody Leisure’ books, not tomorrow, next week or ever!  It would be cheaper and more beneficial to teach them myself, failing that I would rather pay a bit more for private lessons (these would still offer better value for money than everybody leisure).

Please save our swimming clubs and give our Kiddiewinks the choice and opportunity to join a swimming club community, and enjoying being part of a team. Letting kiddiewinks experience competitive swimming at a young age, fostering their love of self improvement, and health,  may mean swimming clubs are training the young Olympic swimmers of the future.

SAVE OUR SWIMMING CLUBS!

Just for fun, click here to see a video of my little swimmer at 4.5- the same little man who was being made to wear three armbands and was bored rigid!

Please join the Twitter stream at @knutsvikings and feel free to lobby councillors, and  anyone else you think could make a difference.

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10 reasons to love Jodrell Bank

This half term we decided it was about time the kiddiewinks got to visit Jodrell Bank, home of the Lovell telescope, which they enjoy looking at out of the landing window.  Living only 5 minutes down the road, it seemed wrong that the kiddiewinks were yet to visit.

We had a great day… Here are our top ten reasons to visit.

1) the Lovell telescope is humungous! Littlest Kiddiewink wowed lots and little man kept stating how it was bigger than he expected

2) whispering telescopes- the kids loved the fact they could give each other rude messages without being anywhere near each other. “You’re a smelly pants” was the favourite

3) gardens to explore as burn off that excess energy

4) a mini play park

5) learn more about our solar system- the kids loved the touch screens, granted not much was read, but they enjoyed messing.

6) not too big- very little chance of losing the kiddiewinks (whether that is a plus it negative, you decide)

7)two cafés- a takeaway one and an eat in (with an outside area). We didn’t sample to food, queues were big and we are skint. I would have bought them a drink and snack but the takeaway  cafe was cash only (I was not popular with the kiddiewinks)

8) lots of chance to get outdoors in the fresh air

9) staff that seem to genuinely enjoy working there, and are happy to help

10) Not to pricey- it cost £16.80 for the four of us, would have been a bit dear if hubby had been able to come

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All in all, a great day out, we will definitely be visiting again, but this time with daddy too.