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Five Gift Ideas For Seven Year Old Girls.

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This is a paid collaboration. 

Little J has made it all the way to year 3 at school without being invited to a girls birthday party. He goes to all the boys parties but never manages to bag an invite to a girls party. When I asked him why he is very honest and says he just doesn't play with them. Being in a house and a family full of boys I would love to go present shopping for a girl for a change so here are some of my favourite gift ideas for seven year old girls
Bath bomb factory
Bath Bomb Factory
There is nothing better than relaxing in the bath with your favourite bath bomb. With The Bath Bomb Factory you can create your own bath bomb using your favourite colour or colours, maybe add sprinkles and choose from three delicious flavour scents strawberry, pineapple and vanilla or add all three together to make tutti frutti. 

The bath bombs are fun and easy to make and will be ready in just 30 minutes. The Bath Bomb Factory is currently priced at £24.95 and is a great gift for creative kids. 
Rock Painting
Hide and Seek Rock Painting
Last year we visited the park and whilst exploring in the woods we found a painted rock. I told little J that we couldn't touch it and that it had been put there by someone for us to enjoy. After that we loved looking and searching for rocks whenever we headed out. This Hide and Seek Rock painting kit is perfect for little artists who would like their masterpieces to be found. 

The Hide and Seek Rock Painting kit is currently priced at £12.99 and includes 6 rocks, 6 paints, 2 fine paintbrushes and a 48 page booklet bursting with ideas for your rock creations. 

100 kids activities - scratch off bucket list
100 Kids Activities - Scratch Off Bucket List
Every six to sevens weeks when half terms arrive and kids are home from school, parents across the UK hear the dreaded words 'Im Bored'. The 100 Kids Activities - Scratch Off Bucket List gives the kids 100 different ideas and activities to do. Every time they complete one of the activities they can scratch it off and it will reveal a pretty picture. 

Currently £12.95 it's the gift that keeps on giving.
imagidice
Imagidice!
I used to love writing stories when I was younger and always had lots of ideas however if you need a little bit of inspiration you can used Imagidice. Imagidice includes 12 dice featuring 72 different pictures which you roll and then use to inspire your story. 

Imagidice is currently priced at £15.95 and features over 10 million different picture combinations. 

Dreams diary


Dreams ans Secrets Lockable Diary
Every young girl loves having their own privacy and somewhere where they can jot down their thoughts and their secrets. The Dreams and Secrets Diary features over 100 colourful pages to write down all your secrets using the ball point pen which smells like candy floss and once you are finished you can secure your secrets under lock and key. 

Currently priced at £8.95 and is perfect for seven year old girls. 

These gifts are not only perfect for birthdays but also Christmas will be here very soon and would make the perfect presents. 

Michelle

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Finding Childcare In My Area With Childcare.co.uk | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration

boy and woman looking up at the sky


As you may already know there are 11 years between our two boys. At first I wasn't sure about having the big age gap but it has been amazing in so many ways and one is big J can now help out with looking after his younger brother. I do not miss the days of trying to arrange childcare for when I returned to work or if John and I fancied a date night, it was a nightmare. Not everyone has family or friends they can rely on so it can be tough knowing where to turn to. I recently found childcare.co.uk and it has amazed me how easy it is to find childcare in our local area with just a few clicks. 

childcare.co.uk home screen


What Is Childcare.co.uk?
Childcare.co.uk is an award winning online social networking platform for parents, childcare providers and private tutors with over 2 million members.

Where Do I Start?
If you are looking for childcare then you have definitely clicked on the right site. All you need to do is register and create an account. This is free and super easy to do. You need to let childcare.co.uk know whether you are a parent/guardian or a childcare provider and pop in a few details such as where you live, date of birth and your requirements then you are good to go.

childcare.co.uk home screen


How Do I Search For Childcare In My Area?
You can search for childcare in your area without registering however if you did want to get in touch then you would need to be a member.

To search all you do is click on the search menu on the home screen and choose what service you are looking for. There are lots to choose from including babysitter, childminder, nanny or nursery. Next pop in your postcode and click search. 

childcare.co.uk home screen


Choosing The Right Childcare For Me?
I was quite surprised that 133 possible child minders were registered within 5 miles from our home. This is obviously a lot of profiles to search through so you can then choose to browse all the possibilities or you can narrow down further by filtering your search results. 

Once you have narrowed down your search results you can now view your childcare options in more detail. 

The profiles of the individual childcare providers have lots of information about themselves, their experience, their qualifications, their availability and their fees. 

My favourite part is the reviews section. You can read honest reviews from other parents which I think is really important, knowing what others think. 

My Thoughts
Would I use it? Absolutely. Big J is heading to university soon so I have no idea how he can fit in looking after little J when we need him so we will be needing to look at the childcare options in the future. Also due to the current situation with covid19 we just never know when we may need emergency childcare and I honestly feel confident that with 133 results close to home we could find someone. 

I think childcare.co.uk is an amazing tool to have to hand for all your childcare needs. It's free to register, easy to use and I am not surprised it has over 2 million members. 

Michelle
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Scarefest At Alton Towers

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Beginning on the 8th-10th and then the 15th - 31st October, Alton Towers will transform the resort in to a Halloween haven of all things spooky for its Halloween event, Scarefest. We visit every year and in our opinion it keeps getting better and better and we couldn't wait to see what was in store for us this year. 

Alton Towers have promised that this year it will be as spooktacular as ever with lots of thrills and chills planned. The one thing we love at Alton Towers is they provide Halloween fun for all the family. 

Scarefest sign at Alton Towers
What To Expect When Visiting Scarefest, Alton Towers 
Alton Towers really do get their spook on when it comes to the Halloween event and you can expect all kinds of tricks and treats. 

Open till 9pm every night you can experience your favourite rides in the dark, 4 scare mazes, family fun and lots more. 

Scarefest at Alton Towers


NEW FOR 2021 - Trick O'Treat Town
Suitable for all ages Trick O'Treat Town is an interactive walkthrough where you must pluck up the courage to knock on doors. The residents of Spooky Avenue up to Witchy Woods love Trick or Treating so be prepared for plenty of treats and tricks too.

Adults (12+) must purchase a bag (£10) to gain entrance to Trick O'Treat Town. An adult can share a bag with up to 2 children aged 11 and under.

Alton Ancestors
On Arrival you will usually bump in to the Alton Ancestors. They have left their gravestones behind and are back from the dead. One thing you should know about the Ancestors is they love to dance so make sure you check them out and even join in.

CBeebies Land Monster Ball
Join the CBeebies characters live in Big Fun ShowTime as they dance and play games. the show features Bing, Ubercorn, Peter Rabbit and many more of your favourite CBeebies friends, you can even dress up in your favourite costume.

Garden Lights Walk: Whispering Souls
We visited the Alton Towers gardens for this first time last year just as lockdown eased and I have said ever since that I hope we visit again. This year the Gardens has its own event during Scarefest. View the gardens as never before and witness them come to life in a whole new spooktacular…LIGHT! This is a free attraction and not a live scare maze.

scarefest at alton towers


Freaky Fun Zone
You won't want to miss the Freaky Fun Zone on the front lawns.  The five super-freaky Halloween characters put on the most spook-tacular shows, with meet and greets and photo opportunities. Little ones will love this as the characters are so much fun and very colourful. 

Thrilling Frights

scarefest at alton towers


Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard
New for 2020 the Freak Show: Toxic Junkyard is an outdoor maze inviting you to venture into the Freak Show hidden den to discover the secret of the psycho clowns’ next big show.

Altonville Mine Tours
The ‘Skin Snatchers’ are the outcasts of their whole family. Rumours are they lived in that old mine. It’s deep, dark and the damp inside gives you the proper shivers. Just recently some fool reopened it – for tours! Be careful: they say those Skin Snatchers have a secret, too horrifying for words. 

The Attic: Terror of the Towers
In Alton people talk of the Governess – how she’s haunted by the death of young children. She wants revenge, and she will do it by seizing the spirits of the living in retribution. They say her ghost haunts The Attic and that’s where you’re headed.

Alton's scare mazes are award winning and definitely not for the faint hearted. Recommended for those aged 15+ and make sure you are prepared for anything. The scare mazes are an extra charge which can be pre booked online. 

We have done a few scare attractions over the years with The Attic our most recent and I can confirm they are very scary.

scarefest at alton towers


There are also many other reasons to visit Alton Towers during Scarefest including the Alton Towers Dungeon and Darkest Depths

Darkest Depths
Enjoy some extra-spooky swashbuckling aboard ‘The Mutiny’, a notoriously spine-chilling ghost ship. You’ll truly earn your golden Piece of Eight by venturing into the darkest depths, avoiding the hazardous calls of the treacherous Sirens, dodging the swords of terrifyingly ghoulish pirate mutineers and coming face to face with the Kraken – the legendary monster of the seas!

Alton Towers Dungeon
As Scarefest descends on the Towers, enter The Alton Towers Dungeon for a little less laughing… and a lot more screaming! Will you be found guilty by the Bishop of Stafford, survive a visit to the Plague Doctor and make it out of The Witch of Burslem’s Cottage? Enter The Alton Towers Dungeon this Halloween, as we celebrate the most hideously horrible time of year with your delightful peasant screams… If you dare!

Both attractions are recommended for guests age 10+ and a charge is applicable. Pre booking is advised. 
scarefest at alton towers
scarefest at alton towers


As well as as this scary fun you can enjoy your favourite rides in the dark as the theme park is open till 9pm every night during Scarefest. 

Also if you want to make the most of your visit to Scarefest you can stay over at the resort where the spooky fun continues. 


If you found this post useful there are a few ways that you could say thanks and support Playdays and Runways.

Leave us a comment below and let us know about your visit 

Visit our Out and About section for more days out ideas

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Share This Post With Friends Who May Also Find It Useful. 


Michelle
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Discover The World Game | Review

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Disclosure - We were sent the products below for the purpose of this post. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are our own unless stated. This post contains affiliate links.

Boys playing Discover The World Game
Over the past few weeks we have been racing around the world, visiting different countries and learning lots of facts as we go and we haven't even left the house. We have been playing Discover The World game, not only is it fun for all the family, it's educational too.

Boys playing Discover The World Game



The Aim Of The Game
To be the first person to collect 10 destination cards.

Before You Start
Discover The World game by Fiesta Crafts is aimed at children aged 7+ up to Adult. You can play with 2-6 players and set up is very easy. All you need to do is open your map of the world game board, shuffle the destination cards, arrival cards and journey cards and you are ready to play.

Boys playing Discover The World Game



How To Play
Each player takes a coloured token and places it on any country of their choice on the board, this is your starting point. Once deciding on your starting point is done each player picks up a destination card. The destination card is the country that you need to visit. You can show other players your card if you wish.

Play begins once every player has chosen a starting point and has a destination card. You can decide amongst yourselves who goes first, we usually each take a roll of the dice and highest roller wins.

On your turn you roll the dice. If you roll a 1,2,3,4 or 5 you move that number of countries from where you are starting. For example if you are in France and roll a 2 you can move your piece to two connecting countries in the direction of your destination card country. Play continues until a player reaches their destination.

Journey and Arrival Cards



Journey Cards
If you roll a 6 on your turn you do not move that number of spaces you have to pick up a journey card. Each card has different instructions to follow. It may let you add moves on to your dice roll or it could send you on a detour to a different country.

Arrival Cards
Once you arrive at your destination you have to pick up an arrival card. There will be instructions on how to claim or not claim your destination. You may have to challenge another player if so whoever wins will get your destination card.

Discover The World Game



Win The Game
Once a player has claimed 10 destinations the game is over and the player is the winner.

Boy holding up a fact card




You can adapt the game to the ability or attention span of the players. We started with a player just needing to claim 3 destinations to win. Also the destination cards are full of fun facts about the countries which we enjoyed reading too.

You can find out more about Discover The World Game by visiting Fiesta Crafts or you can buy online at Amazon.


Michelle
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What To Expect When Having A Covid19 Test

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Boy in a car


So we managed seven days back at school before we received a phone call to say little J had been coughing in class and that we needed to pick him up. Little J seemed fine in himself however he was coughing. We had two choices. We could try and get a Covid19 test to rule out Covid, or we would all self isolate for 10 days and hope he improved during that time. Luckily we managed to get a test the next morning and received our results the morning after confirming a  negative result. 

We were all quite nervous getting the test as we didn't know what to expect but it all went well so I thought I would share what to expect when having a Covid19 test. 

When Should You Book A Test
If you have coronavirus symptoms, you need to get a test done as soon as possible. Ideally you need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms for the test to be most accurate. 

The main symptoms of Covid19 are a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

Booking A Test
Trying to get a test is proving quite difficult at the moment depending on where you live. You need to visit the gov.co.uk website to book a covid19 test. You need to be prepared to answer lots of questions and once completed you will be offered a choice of walk in or drive through test centres. Most tests are available from 8am-12:30pm.

After Booking Your Test
You will be emailed and also sent a text to confirm your test details. You will need to bring the QR code and photo ID with you when you arrive at the test centre. 

Arriving At The Drive Through Test Centre
When you arrive at the test centre you stay in your car and leave your windows closed. You will be asked to confirm your identity by showing your QR code, photo ID or text message. They will also check your car registration.  Once your identity has been checked you will be shown where to go. 

Staff will be there to show you which way to go. We reached a cabin and a man told us to wind down our window just enough for him to slide through the grey plastic bags. Each bag was open with contents inside, numbered with a bar code and receipt attached. We were told to keep the contents inside the bag until instructed to open. 
 
We joined the queue of cars and waited to enter a numbered tent which we drove in to once it was our turn. 

A staff member approached our car window and confirmed our names and checked our car registration again. He told us we would be performing the Covid19 test ourselves and that he would give us instructions on how to perform the test on adults and then on children.

Performing The Test
Once you are ready to perform the test you open up your plastic bag. 

Inside is a tissue and some anti bacterial hand gel. You must blow your nose before the test and use the hand gel provided to clean your hands afterwards. 

Next you will open up the swab. At our test centre we were told to swab each of our tonsils for 5 seconds each and then use the same swab up one nostril for 10 seconds. This seems to vary at test centres. 

Swabbing the back of the throat isn't a nice experience especially if you have a strong gag reflex but if you can try and not let the swab touch your tongue. 

Once you are ready choose one nostril and push the swab as far up as you can until you feel some resistance. 

Once finished remove the swab and place in the liquid filled tube inside the bag. The swab is to big for the tube so you have to snap it at the line on the stick. 

Ensure the lid is placed on the tube tightly and wrap in the soft pad provided and place in the clear bag.

All your rubbish goes in to the grey plastic bag just make sure you remove your receipt beforehand that is attached to the bag. 

If a child is to be tested and is under 11 you will need to do the test for them. The process is exactly the same however we did not swab the back of the throat inside we had to swab both nostrils for 10 seconds each. It was harder to gauge when the swab was high enough but I just used my own judgment and also the look on little J's face. 

Thats it. You are done and the member of staff will scan the bar codes on the bags and link them to your name. They will do this through the window. 

You then drive to another tent where you will place your swabs in one bucket and rubbish in the next. 

What Happens Next?
Most test results will be delivered via text and email within 24hours however you should allow up to 72hours. 

Everyone in the household should isolate until the results have been received. 

Once you receive your results you must follow the appropriate guidelines based on the outcome of the test. 

The experience wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and it's so important to get tested if you have symptoms. It can save lives. 

Michelle
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Intelino Smart Train Review

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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. 

Intelino Train Track

We have always enjoyed playing with train sets. From when Big J was little we still have both the wooden and plastic Thomas the Tank Engine sets that come down from the loft from time to time. Of course times have moved on and although the classics are usually the best there is also room to add and innovate these days with technology. 


Intelino Smart Train

Intelino have developed the 'Smart Train' which looks to build on the classic set with a number of add-ons that can help children's development in STEM and in coding, which is really popular at the moment. 

Intelino Smart Train track pieces

The starter set itself contains the Train and Wagon, 20 pieces of track, 40 colour snaps and some stickers to decorate your train. You can also buy extra packs containing track, snaps and there is also an adaptor set that you can buy that will allow you to add the intelino set to your existing wooden train track. 

Intelino Train and Track

Intelino Train and Track

Set up is easy. The track pieces snap together easily and you have enough to create a reasonably complex track if you wish. The train requires a charge before first use, but does last a long time before needing charging again.  The snaps, which are the coding instructions for the train to follow snap into the track really easily and come out again just as easily. 

The Smart train offers two different ways to play. You can choose to use a device such as an Ipad to control everything, or you can use the snaps alone to code instructions onto the track that the train will then follow. its good to have an option that is device free to give some time away from the screen. 

track pieces

To use the Snaps, you first start with a white snap piece that tells the train an instruction is coming. Next you use a combination of colours from the instruction sheet to give instructions.  You can choose the speed from three settings, tell the train to go left, right or straight on at an intersection, make the train stop, make the train drop off the wagon, make the train make different sounds and also change the lighting on the train. You can even put the train into reverse.  Its amazing to see how the train reacts quickly to the snaps, especially when you put a sequence of instructions one after the other. 

ipad

Intelino Train Track

When in device mode, you need to download the intelino app, pair the train within the app via bluetooth and then you have a very simple control panel to control everything. You can control the same things as you can with snaps all at the touch of the screen. The added benefit of pairing with the app is the ability to design your own snap instructions. This gives an extra layer of complexity for the child, and we loved the idea of choosing our own instruction for the train. 

Intelino Train and Track

Intelino Train

Overall, the Intelino Smart Train is great on its own, or when combined with your existing wooden set.  We haven't added the wooden set in yet as we wanted to explore everything that the set can do before hand. Little J has really enjoyed playing with the set and creating his own tracks, and it's been good to see him using his imagination with the snaps and coding and develop an understanding of how programs work in a simple way. 

To read more visit Intelino or view the range to buy on Amazon.

If you would like to be in with the chance to win your very own Intelino Smart Train Starter Set then all you need to do is complete the entry form below. Make sure you pop back every day after 8:30pm and check the entry form for extra chances to win. 


John
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Top Tips for Monitoring Your Child’s Progress at School | AD

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books

If you want your child to succeed in school, it’s important that you monitor their progress at regular intervals throughout their academic journey so that you can uncover any areas for improvement, while also giving them the praise and reassurance they need to encourage them to continue trying their best. In other words, if you don’t pay attention to your child’s education, you won’t be able to help them make the most of their experience in school and reach their full potential. But how do you go about monitoring your child’s progress? A pre-prep school in London has shared some advice below.

First of all, it’s important to arrange frequent catchups with your child’s teacher, even if this is just via email, to find out how they’re getting on in class. By the time you receive the once-a-year feedback at parents’ evening, it might be too late for you to make a real difference in helping your child improve in certain areas. It’s crucial that parents and teachers have this sort of relationship because it means that you can keep one another updated with anything that might be happening to interfere with your child’s academic or personal wellbeing, such as friendship problems, moving house, a death in the family or another major event. 

However, bear in mind that the teachers have tons of kids to look after and it would be impossible for them to know every tiny detail about your child, especially if they are fairly quiet. With that said, try and encourage your child to open up to you about school as much as you can so that you can hear directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, how they’re getting on. Let them know that you support and love them no matter what so that they feel more comfortable sharing things with you. If you reprimand them or judge their decisions, they might be more reluctant to talk to you about any issues they’re faced with.

When your child is doing their homework, try and make yourself available to them so that they can ask you for help if they need it. Without that support, your child will be more likely to give up in frustration. If they don’t ask you for help, be sure to offer instead, as they may be afraid to bother you. Getting involved with your child’s homework will give you an indication of how easy or difficult they find the subject. If they seem to struggle time and time again with the same subject’s homework, this is a clear sign that it’s not their strongest area and you may want to consider hiring a private tutor.

So, monitoring your child’s progress is as simple as getting yourself as involved as possible in their education. Not only will this help you grasp how they are performing, it will also show them how much you care, which may encourage them to try even harder as a way to impress you. So, be sure to attend school plays, sports day and other events, while also enriching your child’s education with activities at home so that you can develop a better understanding of their growth.

Michelle
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Top Tips for Helping Your Kids with Maths | AD

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Disclosure - This is a paid collaboration.

maths on a blackboard
Maths is quite an intimidating subject for those who find it tough. For some people, it comes naturally but other people are more comfortable with music, art or literature. However, maths is an important part of the school curriculum and students are forced to study it until the end of their GCSEs, even if they don’t like it or find it tough. 

Fortunately, there are lots of ways that parents can help their children with their basic maths skills, and it doesn’t necessarily require you to be a mathematical genius. It’s certainly worth investing your time in this particular area of your child’s education, as Maths and other STEM related qualifications can really open up a lot of doors in terms of a fantastic future career. So, you’re probably wondering where and when to start? Here are some tips from a junior school in the Cotswolds.

Well, there’s no time like the present than starting to teach your kids maths at home. If your child is young, there are lots of nursery rhymes that can help them learn how to count, such as “Ten Green Bottes”, “This Old Man” and “Ten in the Bed”, to name but a few. You can look them up on YouTube if you’re unfamiliar with any of them and you’ll all be singing along in no time. Pre-school and Mother and Toddler groups will explore nursery rhymes and other techniques to help your little one become more familiar with numbers. 

Older children, on the other hand, may be able to help you count your cash at the till when paying for your groceries or assist with weighing and measuring next time you cook. Encourage them to play board games that involve basic sums, like Monopoly, for example. These sorts of activities demonstrate to your child not only how crucial maths is to everyday life, but also how its not as complicated as it seems and can actually be quite fun.

Numeracy is all around us and the sooner your child understands that, the more comfortable they will feel in their maths lessons. Helping your child outside of lessons will give them the confidence to see maths in a positive light and approach sums and equations with optimism. However, if you’re truly concerned about your child’s progress in maths, don’t hesitate to contact their teachers for some advice. They may be able to suggest a lunch or after school club that your child can attend to boost their maths skills, which would be particular beneficial in the run up to any important exams.

Michelle
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How Does Moving House Affect Your Child’s Education? | AD

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apple on top of books

I think its fair to say it's been a very strange 2020 so far and it looks like it could continue to be strange until at least the end of the year. John and I spent have spent most of this year of lockdown at home safe with the boys. We didn't go to work like some people, it was just us in our house for months. Having this bonus time together made us look at our home and whether we wanted to spend some money making improvements or did we want to move? We chose to make some home improvements and I'm so glad we did because with everything that has gone on this year I don't think we could have coped with a house move too. Also moving house would have a massive impact on the boys and it's definitely not what they needed right now.

Whenever a child is faced with a life-changing event, like a new baby sibling, divorced parents or moving house, it is likely that their education will be affected, even if it’s just for the short term.
The events can be very distracting for young people, and often emotionally challenging, making it harder for them to focus on their studies. However, when it comes to moving house, there are other reasons why your child’s education might suffer. An independent school in Hammersmith explore in further detail below.

There are lots of reasons why a family might move house. Perhaps they have outgrown the previous property or maybe one of the parents has to relocate due to work commitments. Sometimes it’s completely unavoidable but knowing how it affects your child will ensure you are better equipped to help support them during the transition. So, if you move to a new area and your child has to start a new school, you might notice a drop in their grades to begin with. This is because they are getting used to so many new things, including a new teacher who may have a completely different teaching style to their previous teacher. What’s more, the curriculum might be slightly different. Don’t be too hard on your child if their grades do suffer, as it will probably just be for a short while until they are completely settled. It might help to hire a private tutor in the meantime, just to help them with the move.

Your child might also have some reservations about making new friends and leaving their old ones behind, which is also something you can help with. Where possible, encourage them to meet up with and keep in contact with their old friends so that they feel a sense of familiarity, but also try and arrange play dates with kids at their new school. It’s also a good idea to encourage your child to join some extra-curricular clubs in the area where they can meet likeminded people. The more confidence your child has in terms of the social side of their life, the more confident they will feel in other aspects of life, such as in the classroom when answering the teacher’s questions.

All you can do is try and remain optimistic about the whole situation around your child so that they can feed off your energy. If they see that you’re stressed about the move and worried about what the future holds, they will have the same sort of emotions. Alternatively, if you shelter them from the stressful side of things and try and talk about all of the positive aspects of moving house and starting at a new school etc.
Michelle
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Does My Child Need a Tutor? | AD

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boy writing

All parents want to raise a happy, healthy, successful child, but that’s easier said than done. Your child might be the smartest or most popular in their class, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need a helping hand from time to time to give them a little boost in the right direction. Sometimes that helping hand comes from a private tutor. Our children have been through so much over the past 6 months having to stay at home so if you have noticed a drop in your child’s grades or perhaps a reluctance to complete homework or attend school altogether, this might be something you want to consider. 

There are lots of advantages to hiring a private tutor. Obviously, they can help your child with their overall academic performance, but there’s more to it than that. Since sessions are one-to-one, your child gets the attention they deserve and their learning experience is tailored to suit them, which is an entirely different experience to a classroom setting with 20+ other kids. The tutor might be helping your child with maths, but the confidence they’ll develop from developing their skills and knowledge can be transferred across all subjects. However, private tutors are costly, so it’s important that your investment is worthwhile. But how do you know if your child truly needs a tutor? I have teamed up with a private prep school in Surrey to explore some of the things you should look out for. 

One of the most obvious signs that your child needs some support with their learning is a substantial drop in their performance. Other signs include getting upset when discussing schoolwork, getting easily frustrated when doing homework and showing a general reluctance to attend school. Maybe the teacher has reported that your child isn’t paying attention in class or they’re not handing in their work. Don’t jump to conclusions, though, as there might be another reason why your child is struggling. For instance, they might require glasses and not be able to see the white board, which is causing them to fall behind. They might have some friendship problems that are distracting them and making it difficult to concentrate in class. Do some digging and try and figure out what might be causing the drop in grades before you hire a tutor.

Ask your child what they think about a tutor. If they are interested in the idea and admit that it might help them, then it’s definitely something to properly consider. They might say no, which could just be because they’re feeling a little shy, or it might be because they know that’s not the reason why they are underperforming. Let them know that you support them no matter what and that they can trust you with anything that might be bothering them. This should help you get to the bottom of the problem and figure out what to do about it!

Michelle
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Nintendo in 2020 - The Fun Games

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Disclosure - this post contains affiliate links. These add no extra cost to you but if you do buy through my link I may earn some pennies.

A selection of Wii GamesThis year both Microsoft and Sony will be releasing the next generation of Xbox and Playstation. What are Nintendo releasing? Nothing.  There are rumours of a Switch 2 or Switch Pro but nothing will be released in 2020.  Does that mean that Nintendo are ahead of the competition following the updated Switch Lite release late 2019, or are they behind?  Are they even in the same competition? 

I have owned Nintendo consoles since the early days of the Super NES, Nintendo 64, Gameboy and Gameboy Advance.  Right up to the later releases of the Wii, Wii U and more recently the Switch. That said, Nintendo have never been my favourite consoles and often left me thinking "how much better that could have been", although many people would disagree with me. 

However, there is one thing about Nintendo consoles that still ring true today, they have fun games. Fun games that I find myself returning to, to play with the family, especially on the original Wii.  There are so many game releases these days that look amazing, offer huge gameplay times and detailed storylines but actually miss out on the whole point of gaming.  In my opinion, the fun. 

That is why, these days, where we spend more time at home than anywhere else, I recommend you dust off your old Wii or Wii U console.  Boot it up and then play some of the games below to rediscover what fun gaming is all about. 

wii u and switch



 1 - Wii Party.  (Wii) An absolute classic and the reason why Wiimotes are still for sale on the likes of amazon. The original Wii Party has so many games modes to choose from, made up of mini games that are really fun to play for all ages and accessible to all.  We still play at least once a week and this game has been in out home since 2010. 

2 - Nintendo Land (WiiU).  Another mini game orientated fun set of games.  Makes use of the Wii U control pad to add an extra layer to the mini games.  The extra screen on the control pad is really useful for hide and seek type games. This is also played on regular basis here, originally released in 2012.

3 - Super Mario Bros. U (WiiU)  / Super Mario Bros U. Deluxe. (Switch).  There isnt much to be said about Super Mario Bros that hasn't been said a thousand times before. The game is much the same as it always has been - why change what isn't broken?

4 - Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii). Another game that has been with us for a while. In fact since 2007 around the time we first got a Wii console. This game offers a replayability that even the most up to date Fifa can't match.  Its frustrating and fun all at the same time. 

5 - Wii Sports (Wii). The original Wii sports came packaged with our Wii in 2006. Its another one that comes out time and time again.  The Tennis is the best of the games, although the bowling is a close second. If you are looking for some quick sports action that is really fun - then look no further. 

You can still pick up most of these games for a reasonable price on amazon, however if you are looking for a Wii or WiiU you may best looking in some car boot sales or charity shops as the prices on these are really high at the moment as they are no longer made. 

Whichever you choose, there is no doubt that Nintendo still have a recipe for a fun game, and its this quality that keeps gamers coming back for more, no matter the generation of console they are using. 

Do you still own any older devices? What are your fun game recommendations? 

John
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Snowdonia View Farmhouse

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Snowdonia View Farmhouse


For the past few years every Summer we have come together as a family and booked a trip away for a few days. We have visited Simgill Cottage in The Lake District in the past which was a great base to explore the Lakes but this year we decided to head west and visit North Wales. Finding a property that can accommodate 14 can be tough but we managed to find Snowdonia View.

Snowdonia View is a large cottage farmhouse situated in Bryn y Maen with Conwy, Betwys-y-Coed and Llandudno being a short distance away.

On arrival Snowdonia View can comfortably park 4 cars at the side of the property and 1 at the front.

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Dining Room

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Kitchen
Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Kitchen


When you enter you will be greeted by a large hall/main entrance. This leads on to an open plan dining room with seating suitable for up to 16 people. The kitchen is to the right of the dining room and has everything you need for a self catering holiday. Just at the side of the kitchen are two utility rooms with washing machine and also another full size fridge.  The door from the utility leads on to the back garden.

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Living Room
Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Living Room

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Living Room

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Conservatory


Back to the main entrance if you turn left you will enter the living room which is a decent size and was more than comfortable for us all.  The living room has a step up towards the back of the room leading to a pool table area and then a door into the conservatory.  The living room comes equipped with tv and DVD player and a wide range of DVD's to choose from. There is also a selection of games and books too. 

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - downstairs bedroom


There is a bedroom downstairs just to the left of the dining area. It is a double bedroom with a fireplace, wardrobe, dressing table and looks out on to the back garden. We actually popped a single bed in the room too as there was plenty of space. 

There is also a small toilet room downstairs with sink. 

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - bathroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Triple Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - Twin Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - double and single Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - twin Bedroom

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - ensuite

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - master bedroom
Upstairs consists of a master bedroom with double bedroom and ensuite, a double room which can also include a single bed on request, two bedrooms with two single beds in each and another room with two single beds and a third on request. There is one master bathroom with toilet, sink, bath and walk in shower. 

At the back of the property you could see horses on the field which the children really enjoyed. 

We all arrived at different times during our first evening but the property was ready and waiting for us. The owners do not live far from the property and the key was waiting for us on arrival. 

Check out time was 10am and within minutes of the check out time a van arrived which I think may have been cleaners so there is no hanging around. 

Snowdonia View Farmhouse - boy on rocking horse


Snowdonia View accommodated our needs perfectly. Some of the decor and furnishing was a little dated and could do with a freshen up but we definitely would return in future.  The property and gardens are very spacious and with 4 children travelling they had plenty of space to explore and play both inside and outside. 

For us Snowdonia View was the perfect base for us to explore North Wales including Greenwood Forest Park, Llandudno and The Welsh Mountain Zoo which were all a short drive away. 

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Michelle
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