Ways To Make An Adults Birthday Special

No comments
Disclosure - We received gifts from Moonpig to help us celebrate John's birthday. The idea for this post, thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own.

Moonpig Happy Birthday Balloon

This month we celebrated the last of our four birthdays, the rest of our birthdays were in lockdown with little J's being right at the beginning and mine and big J's a few months ago. We had huge plans to celebrate this year with an 18th, 40th and 10 years married but unfortunately there were no huge celebrations as we were in lockdown. As John's birthday is in July we are usually on holiday however this year is the first year we haven't celebrated it abroad so we wanted to make John's birthday as special as possible. Birthdays are not just for kids, there are lots of ways to make an adult birthday special.

personalised birthday card

Decorate The House
No matter how old you are it's nice to see birthday banners and balloons around the house on your birthday.

Start The Day With Their Favourite Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and on your birthday it's even more important. Give the birthday boy or girl their favourite breakfast to help kick off their birthday celebrations.

Personalised Cards
I am a huge fan of personalised and unique cards. You can create a card for the birthday boy or girl with a unique message or you can even upload photographs to make the card more personalised. As we celebrated 3 of our birthdays during lockdown we had to order cards online and I was so happy with how much choice was available on Moonpig we used them again for Johns birthday.

Choose The Perfect Gifts
Find out what your birthday boy or girl likes or enjoys and find the perfect gift for them. It's not about giving the most expensive or biggest gift it's the most thoughtful gift that is usually the most appreciated. We found so many suitable gifts on Moonpig. They have lots to choose from and can be personalised too.

Hunt The Presents
Treasure hunts are not just for the kids, adults love them too. Hide all the birthday presents and give clues to help the birthday boy or girl hunt down their presents. It's also fun for the kids to join in too and help find the presents.

Party Time
Parties come in all sizes. Some people like huge parties with their family and friends whilst others prefer to spend their birthdays at home with just their immediate family. Plan a party to help celebrate their special day whether its a party for 40 or just for 4 it can still be as special as the other.

Plan A Special Day
If a party isn't on the menu then plan a special day just for them. Think about what they enjoy and how you think they would like to spend their day. Maybe a trip to the spa, a round of golf or afternoon tea.

Give Them The Gift Of Time
Spending time with the birthday boy or girl shows you care. Maybe sit down together and watch that movie that they are desperate to see, cook them their favourite meal and enjoy it together or spend time doing something they really enjoy but you wouldn't usually be interested in such as gaming.

There are so many ways to make a birthday special for adults and these are just a few of our favourites.

If you would like to receive a free card from Moonpig all you need to do is download the app, purchase any gift and enter the code APPFREEWGIFT.

John had a lovely birthday at home and even though we were not in Greece as planned he had a very special day.

Read More

Starting Juniors With Treads Shoes

No comments
Disclosure - We were gifted a pair of Treads shoes for the purpose of this post. Any thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own. 

treads shoes

Way back in March we went shopping for little J's Summer uniform. There is something so special about buying white polo shirts, shorts and new school shoes to start off the Summer term. Unfortunately the uniform is still in his wardrobe unworn and his new Treads shoes have not left the box as his school closed shortly after.

Unfortunately by the time he needs a Summer uniform next year it will no longer fit but luckily I did order a size up in his shoes so they fit perfect ready for him to start Juniors in September.

When Treads asked me to choose a pair of shoes for little J I knew I would have to choose a wider fit shoe as he has very broad feet and also a shoe that gives protection at the front so he can play football and sports and they don't look worn after the first day. Luckily every Treads shoe has those key features so I was able to browse the entire collection.

Why Choose Treads?

Reinforced Heals to help prevent splitting through stamping
Permair Leather offers a breathable and water resistant shoe
Reinforced Seams for additional strength
Easy Clean
Scuff Proof to withstand bumps and scrapes
Texon Cellulose Board reinforces the sole
Removable EVA Foot Bed to covert the shoe to a wider fit
Velcro Straps shoes are available
12 Month Guarantee

treads shoes

If you are worried about buying online Treads shoes do offer you the chance to buy a measure gauge or download a paper measure then try their size calculator. If you do purchase the wrong size you can use the free returns to get a refund or exchange.

The style we chose is called Madrid which was one of three pairs that offered velcro straps, which is a must for little J. They are sturdy but not to chunky, we can choose wider fit and we love the scuff proof design at the front which will hopefully keep his shoes looking new for longer.

I will update this page once School starts again letting you know more about the quality after wearing, fit and comfort. 

Read More

Biscoff and Banana Weetabix Waffles | Recipe

No comments
This post contains affiliate links - purchasing an item through an affiliate link adds no extra cost to you but might earn me a few pennies. 

Banana and Biscoff Waffles
I have been following Slimming World now for few weeks and I have been trying out different recipes and also creating my own as I go. One of my favourites so far is Biscoff and Banana Waffles using Weetabix. They are really good and definitely fill me up till lunch time if not longer.
Read More

Geomag Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track | Review

No comments
Disclosure - We were sent the product below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track

Little J is now at the age were he doesn't really enjoy playing with 'toys' anymore. He is more interested in technology and building and he loves to learn. Over the past few weeks we have introduced STEM in to our daily routine and little J has enjoyed creating the Geomag Gravity Magnetic Track.

Geomag Mechanics helps children to explore the world of the magical invisible forces of magnetism and gravity. Gravity represents an innovative evolution in the Geomag Mechanics products available. The “Gravity Motor” in the new range uses the weight of the Geomag spheres to trigger movement in the Mechanics constructions and there is no need for electric or battery motors.

Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track

The Magnetic Track comes with 115 pieces and is suitable for those 7+ which is the perfect age range for little J. The idea behind the set is you can construct a track using various different pieces to create a magnetic cannon that fires a ball around the track and then a magnetic catcher catches the ball before it falls off the track. This is easier said than done.

Boy playing with Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track

Boy playing with Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track

The instructions manual gives you the choice of two models to build and little J chose model 2 first. After following all the steps and with a lot of adult help and supervision the track took 90 minutes to build.

It's not particularly hard to build but there are a lot of steps and also a lot of 'fiddly' bits which sometimes did not fit right on the track or into the adding piece.

Boy playing with Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track

Boy playing with Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track

It was a relief when it was finally built and it was great to see our ball whizzing around the track using the magnetic cannon.

We have yet to build model 1 but little J is looking forward to it so that's a good sign.

What We Loved
Giving little J some understanding of how magnets work.
The chance to work together to create the track.
Sense of achievement at the end.
Watching the ball whizz around the track.

What Could Improve
Some of the pieces did not fit together properly which can lead to frustration.

The Mechanics Gravity is a truly STEM product, stimulating all levels of scientific exploration and I know it will make home schooling more fun over the Summer. For more information about the Gravity range head over to Geomag.

Read More

Easy Read Books Suitable For 7-9 Year Olds

No comments
Disclosure - This post contains gifted items. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

boy reading a book
Little J is at the age now were he can sit alone and read a book. Reading a book is not something that we make him do as we want him to enjoy reading as much as we do. At first he read a chapter of a book that was given to us from his school as part of his reading homework and he really enjoyed it so we gathered a selection of books that are easy read books suitable for 7-9 year olds.

a collection of books

Horrid Henry early reader book
We have a large selection of Early Reader Horrid Henry books that we bought so we started with these. They are adapted versions of the books with smaller chapters and illustrations. They were a great starter for learning to read alone.

Horrid Henry hates car journeys - especially when it means going to visit Prissy Polly and Pimply Paul, and missing Rude Ralph's birthday party. Watch out, Mum and Dad, because Henry is prepared to do whatever it takes to get out of this trip.

dirty bertie totally epic
Dirty Bertie Totally Epic has 3 books in 1 Burp, Monster and Disco. Dirty Bertie is gross, grubby and a trouble magnet but lots of fun and has little J laughing to himself. He is currently 99 pages in and just about to start Monster. He hasn't asked for help at all with the words used in the book yet and seems to be really enjoying it.

dragon detective schools out
Dragon Detective : Schools Out is a book we have been reading together before bedtime. Little J is able to read most of the words however there are a few that he doesn't understand or cannot pronounce so it's nice to have us there to help him with it.

Holly is desperate to be sleuthing with her partner-in-solving-crime, dragon Dirk Dilly, but instead she’s stuck at her exclusive boarding school for children of the rich and famous. She’s determined to escape, until she meets Callum, the son of the Prime Minister, who claims he was kidnapped by dragons a year ago and hasn’t been the same since. And when Dirk’s own investigation into dragon activity brings him to the school, the two cases collide. What if Callum isn't as crazy as he seems?

Diary of the wimpy kid book
Next on the 'to read' list is Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. We have just started watching the movies and he is really enjoying them so I know he will like the books. I like the idea of him watching the movies first so that he can imagine the characters and the settings whilst reading.

Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride. But when Rowley's star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend's popularity to his own advantage. Recorded in his diary with comic pictures and his very own words, this test of Greg and Rowley's friendship unfolds with hilarious results.

Mug the Wumph and the dancing wizard
Mug The Wumph The Dancing Wizard is a new addition to our collection for 7-9 year olds and little J is very excited to read this one. We have had a flick through and it looks perfect for his reading ability and I cannot wait to hear all about it.

Minty Taylor dreams of a life less ordinary. Then, one day, she discovers a coin that transports her on an epic magical adventure. Little does she realise the owner of the coin is none other than Mug the Wumph the Dancing Wizard. At every twist and turn you will root for Minty as she uses her intuition and bravery to help thwart the evil plans of the dark and grisly Grimacant…This is the first novel for children from Nicola J Rowley, the bestselling author of James and the Amazing Gift and the multi-award-winning James and the Birthday Balloon. 

I think these book will keep little J busy throughout the Summer. I love that he enjoys reading and I am looking forward to watching his book collection grow.

Read More

Town, Zoom and Milkshake | Living Arrows 28/52

No comments
boy standing looking up
This week we had our first trip into town. Up until now we have had no need to visit any shops so have avoided our main town centre however big J was on the lookout for new trainers so we decided to head to town. Little J was very nervous but still wanted to go. Luckily this mirror illusion in Footasylum kept him busy whilst John and Big J tried on trainers. He couldn't work it out and spent ages staring at it. 

Town wasn't as busy as I had thought however not many people were wearing masks, I would probably say less than 10%. It made me feel a little uneasy and I was actually glad when we left.

Little J's class had arranged a zoom call this week and although he was very nervous he decided he wanted to take part. It was actually really lovely to see all the kids faces and how happy they all were despite being at home for so long and missing their friends. It's juniors next year for little J so it's big changes. I wish he was able to meet his new teachers and visit his new classroom like some other schools have done but unfortunately his school haven't given us that option. 

Sunday was a treat day and both boys chose a visit to the local milkshake shop. I told little J to just drink half of his shake as it was huge and it was late afternoon and I didn't want it to spoil his dinner. He ignored me and decided to hide it under the table and drank it thinking I couldn't see. He actually finished it all and was too full for dinner but he really enjoyed his milkshake.


You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Living Arrows
Read More

Osmo Pizza Co. | Review

No comments
Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our unless stated. This post contains affiliate links. 

boy playing a game on iPad

We have been using Osmo now for almost a year now and it has made our home schooling a little easier and definitely more fun. We currently have Osmo Detective Agency and Super Studio Mickey and Princesses but today we are reviewing our newest addition to our games, Pizza Co.

What is Pizza Co?
You have been left in charge of a pizzeria whilst the owner takes a well earned vacation. He hands you the keys to the shop and that's when the fun begins. Each day you will have a variety of customers come in to your pizzeria to purchase a pizza. It's up to you to make the perfect pizzas for each customer and create a 'buzz' about your shop.

osmo pizza co game

osmo pizza co game

How To Play
To play Pizza Co you need to have the Osmo Base, red reflector and a compatible device (iPad or Amazon tablet) which is not included. If you already own the items you are ready to play.

Place your pizza base close to your iPad with your ingredients to hand. Your customers will enter the shop and order a pizza. It's up to you to create the perfect pizza for each customer. They may order plain cheese pizza or a pizza with two mushrooms on and a pepper, it changes every time. Once you are happy that you have made their pizza you swipe the pizza to the right. This will push the pizza in to the oven on the screen. You will be able to tell from your customers reactions whether they are happy or not.

The customer will sit down and enjoy their pizza. They will let you know when they have finished and are ready to pay. To let them pay you turn the pizza base over and they will hand you their money. However sometimes the customers require change so you will have to work out how much change is owed and place their change on the upside down pizza base.

It may sound easy but believe me you will soon have a queue of customers waiting to be served and also waiting to pay. It's very fast paced however you can change the setting to fit the level of ability. There is also a junior mode too.

osmo pizza co game

What Is The Aim Of The Game?
The overall aim is to make your customers keep coming back for more and have lots of people talking about your pizzeria creating a 'buzz'

At the end of each day you will be given a review of your day including your income, how much you spent on ingredients, rent and also how much in tips you received. You will be then given your total net income which will go straight in to your bank and you will receive your buzz score. You can use the  money you have earned to upgrade your shop with new items such as a new oven or wall decorations.

osmo pizza co game

osmo pizza co game

Is It Educational?
Absolutely.  Osmo definitely makes learning fun and can help encourage the following..

Following Instructions - You need to follow the customers instructions to make their pizza.
Colour Recognition - Customers may ask for just green ingredients or red.
Sorting - Your ingredients and money have their own trays so they need to be sorted after each day ready for the next.
Patterns - Some customers may ask for a smiley face pizza or a sunflower.
Maths - Maths features throughout the game with addition and subtraction when customers are paying their bills and also fractions when a customer just wants half a pizza with ingredients on.

osmo pizza co game

What We Loved
Having physical items to use really enhances the play and makes it more realistic when playing. The pieces come in a compact storage box too which is very easy to store. The option to change the settings based on ability is a great feature. You can choose to just include notes when handling the money or for more complicated maths you can include coins too. The game can be played alone however I really enjoy playing with little J too. Sometimes I will be in charge of restocking the ingredients or handling the money whilst little J creates the pizzas.

What Could Improve
Not really an improvement just a recommendation but you need to be in a well lit room as sometimes the sensors don't pick up the pizza sliding in to the oven or the ingredients on the pizza.

For more information regarding Osmo and games available you can visit Osmo 

Pizza Co is definitely our favourite Osmo game so far. It's fun, fast paced and educational too without the kids realising.

Read More

Shopping During Lockdown | Giveaway

No comments
Disclosure - The gift card used in this giveaway is a combination of cards I have been paid with in the past. Unfortunately you cannot use them online for grocery shopping.

Asda Gift Card

Last week was the first time since March that I have stepped inside a supermarket. We usually get our shopping delivered each week anyway as a delivery pass holder so that just continued throughout lockdown. I was quite nervous visiting as I had heard stories that the queues were huge and the shops inside were so busy but it was actually okay.

There was a queue outside but it wasn't huge. There was a staff member at the front of the store letting customers in. I think it was a one in one out system. When it was our turn we grabbed a small trolley and headed inside. There was plenty of hand gel and wipes for trollies and baskets.

Once inside it wasn't much different than usual except there is a one way system around the shop with arrow markings on the floor telling you which aisles you can go up or down on.

There are plastic screens around the checkouts now just in front of the cashier and till. You can still load your shopping on to the conveyor belts and pay as normal. When we left I didn't notice any hand gel for on the way out but we had wipes in the car anyway.

Overall I thought it was well organised. Some people didn't follow the one way system at all but as long as you stick to it you can shop as normal.

Will I be rushing back to do a weekly shop? Probably not but I definitely will feel more comfortable now  if I need to pop in for milk or bread, as I know what to expect.

How have you found shopping during this time? Is your local supermarkets well organised?

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning £100 Asda Voucher complete the entry form below and make sure you pop back daily for bonus chances to win.

Read More

Teaching Your Child How To Ride A Bike

No comments
boy riding a bike

You may have seen in our earlier post that Little J has learnt to ride his bike during lockdown. During the time teaching him I have noted down the most useful things  I learnt while teaching him. Here are my nine tips to help teach your child
how to ride a bike.

Start As Early As You Can
The younger you start teaching, the better.  We started quite late with little J and he was scared of falling off.  If we had have started earlier then the fear of injury isn't there as much and can help progress quicker.

Be Prepared To Be Patient
You need to set time aside every day to practice, practice and practice some more.  Praise after every try, even if no progress was made that day as this will make the next days practice easier.

Set Small Goals
Make use of safe spaces to start with. We started in the garden, on artificial grass. Although its harder to pedal on than road, Little J felt safer knowing he would land on the soft floor if he fell.

Start With Balance and Basic Control
We started with stabilisers on to get used to getting on and off the bike,  and general control, steering and pedal movement.  Even stabilisers can be hard to balance so make sure you explain this and don't expect too much on the first go!

Continue With Balance
Take the stabilisers off as soon as they have mastered the basics.  Then focus on helping them get the balance of the bike.  No need to use pedals (and maybe take them off - we did this to help Little J) Make sure they can push themselves off and then glide along with feet off the floor as much as possible.

Re - Attach The Pedals
Begin by holding your child, not the handlebars, or the bike. Hold onto then from the side and help them start off. Keep hold of them while they get used to the pedals and combining with balance.  This is the part that took the longest for us, maybe as the space we used wasn't big.  Keep going forward and back, and start to let go of them for seconds at a time so they start to get used to riding alone.

Move outside
We moved to the road outside next.  Here there is much more space, the road is easier to ride on than the grass, and here is where you will make the most progress. Continue to hold on to your child to get them started and then follow the same pattern as before. Stay alongside them, not in front or behind and when you hold on, hold on to the child only.

Let Go
As you repeat this, let go for longer periods of time, encourage turning, be prepared to start running alongside if your child is still scared of falling.

On Their Own
As confidence grows you will be able to stop running alongside and let them go. Well done - they have now learned a skill they will never forget.

I hope this short guide will help you with the challenge fo helping your child learn to ride their bike. Remember to be patient, as not all children will learn at the same pace, and it times you will think they will never get it, but they will and they will be over the moon when they do.

Read More

Rain Rain Go Away | Living Arrows 27/52

No comments

It's Monday again and we are on the countdown to the Summer Holidays. I'm not sure how different the six weeks will be to the last few months but just knowing it's Summer always make me happy. Last week was filled with the usual home schooling and trips to the park although the weather wasn't very kind to us last week with quite a few rainy days.

On Saturday we went for a walk and although playgrounds can now open, the playground was still closed in the park we visited. However as it was raining the exercise machines that are usually busy were empty so little J enjoyed having them all to himself. 

I was trying to last out till Autumn but I think if the rain continues I will have to get little J some new wellies as he has outgrown his. It wasn't long before the rain started to pour down and we had to head home but it was nice to get some fresh air despite the weather. 


You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth

Living Arrows
Read More

Kids Stuff Crazy | Giveaway

No comments
Disclosure - We were gifted Kids Stuff Crazy and also another set to giveaway.

Kids Stuff Crazy have been making bath time more fun and exciting for children for 20 years. They have a range of products that help transform a boring bath routine into something stimulating and creative. All Kids Stuff products are mild, gentle, hypoallergenic, dermatologically tested and made in the UK. I have mentioned before that little J has very sensitive skin so trying new products is always a nervous time for us in case he has a bad reaction however he has been absolutely fine with the Kids Stuff range.

boy using Kids Stuff Crazy foam soap

Trying to find ways to make bath time more fun for little J was actually a lot easier than I thought and I managed to use items that we already had lying around rather than rushing out to buy stuff. I did however stumble across Kids Stuff Crazy and little J has had lots of fun playing with their crazy foaming soap which he can shape and mould. It's great for sensory play too outside of the bath if you have a tuff tray or something similar.

We have also been using the Kids Stuff Crazy Magical Sparkling Bubble Bath. The Bubble Bath adds a shimmer of glitter to the water within creates lots of bubbles. It smells like purple grape too which smells amazing.

I was keen to try out the hair and body wash as some brands we have used in the past have left little J's hair with a sticky feel but the hair wash rinsed out well and he smelt good enough to eat afterwards.

kids stuff crazy

kids stuff crazy

kids stuff crazy

Unfortunately our giveaway is now closed but you can still enjoy Kids Stuff Crazy by purchasing on Amazon

Read More

Ways To Make Bath Time More Fun

No comments
Disclosure - We were sent a selection of Kids Stuff Crazy products which have been included below and this post also mentions products previously gifted and contains affiliate links. 

boy in the bath smelling soap

I'm not sure whether it's a boy thing or just a little J thing but recently having a bath has been a no go area for little J. He has started to prefer just to jump in and out of the shower. Firstly I am grateful that he actually wants to get a wash but I do like him to have a bath at least once or twice a week as not only is it nice to have a soak but it's relaxing and sometimes he needs that 'calm down' just before bed. Apparently bath times are boring when you are a seven year old so we have decided to come up with ways to make bath time more fun again. 

boy holding up a ball in the bath

Water Basketball

It's not actually a basketball and a hoop, it's a small ball and a jug but little J loves trying to score points throwing the ball in to the jug. We pretend he is in a fairground and he can win 'pretend prizes'.

Making Potions

Using empty and clean toiletry bottles little J enjoys making potions. I will let him squirt a few drops of different body washes (the more colourful the better) in to the bottles and then he fills them up with water and mixes the colours. 

Slime Bath

Creating a gooey bath is so much fun. We use Gelli Bath products. They come in a variety of colours and textures such as slime or gelli. They are really fun and it just adds a little bit of fun to bath time. 

Hide and Seek

When the bath is full of bubbles we will drop in a few of small items while he has his eyes closed. He then has to keep his eyes closed and use his hands to feel for items and try and guess what he has found.

boy squeezing shaping foam soap

Sensory Play

Adding textures and smells to bath time can really help relax a child. We have been using Kids Stuff Crazy soap and not only does it smell amazing (especially purple grape) but the soap can actually be moulded and shaped to add to the fun. 

Music Time

Whether it's chill out music or the latest pop songs adding music to our bath time routine has definitely helped get him in the tub. 

Extra Screen Time

We bought a very cheap tray that goes across the bath. It was actually meant for me but sometimes little J will use it to finish off a you tube video he has been watching. It's a great way to get a resilient child in to the tub by offering an extra ten minutes of screen time.

Hopefully these ideas will help make bath time more exciting for your little one and if you have any different ideas we would love to hear them so pop them in the comments below. 

Read More
Copyright © Playdays and Runways. Blog Design by SkyandStars.co