Snow Fun | Living Arrows 4/52 (2021)

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This past week was exactly the same as the weeks before with the juggling of work, home schooling and trying to keep things fun. We got to midweek and I could see that sitting at the table doing school work is just so boring for little J. He loves school but doing school work at home isn't fun. There is no one his own age to bounce off during class discussions, there is no one to play with at break time and there is no escape from us. He needs to see his friends, he needs to chat to kids his own age, he needs to be a 7 year old boy and as much as we all love each other he needs space and time away from us, its natural to need a break from people even if just for a few hours.

a boy making a snow angel in the snow

I was dreading the weekend if I am honest as there is no difference really from midweek to weekend at the moment. Every day feels the same however over night on Friday we had some snowfall. 

Our snowfall wasn't as heavy as other parts of the country but it was enough to perk up our moods and we headed straight out in the garden for some snow fun.

boy falling off a sledge

Little J didn't want to make a snowman, all he wanted to do was have snowball fights, make snow angels and be pulled around on his sledge. 

After a morning of fun we headed out for an afternoon snowy winter walk at Speke Hall. It was so lovely to see the hall and grounds covered in snow. We became members of National Trust just a few months ago and haven't had chance to visit many of the NT properties yet so it was nice to visit. 

man and boy having a snowball fight

We enjoyed snowball fights on the main lawn and enjoyed a walk overlooking the airport runways. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any planes take off or land but we did see some parked on the runway. 

Our walk was cut short when it started to hail and the temperature dropped quickly but it was lovely to get some much needed fresh air.


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How To Make Home Schooling Fun

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Disclosure - This post contains mentions of previously gifted items

Nearly a year ago now we became home school teachers. We had no idea what we were doing, neither did the schools at the time as home schooling or learning at home was something none of us have experienced before. We got through it somehow but now we are back in the same situation as before and although this time the school seems so much more prepared, our children may not. Sitting in front of the screen all day isn't appealing to some children but there are other ways that we can teach them that seems more fun. Children follow the curriculum in school but at home it is a completely different environment and I think we need to remember that.

boy looking at a computer screen

There are so many ways you can incorporate maths in to your day. We use numbers and shapes all the time and it can be fun.

Playing shop with real money. This can help little ones learn numbers and basic addition and subtraction.
Complete a jigsaw. Jigsaws help concentration and help encourage problem solving.
Baking. Measuring out ingredients is a great way to encourage children to learn about simple measurements and counting.
Singing. There are lots of 'number' nursery rhymes and  songs.
Apps. There are lots of apps that can encourage basic maths skills.

boy reading

There are lots of ways to make English fun.

Watch a short movie and then ask the child to write a short story based on what they can remember. Pixar 'Shorts' 'are only between 4-7 mins long and they cover a range of topics. Encourage the child to write about the beginning, something important that happened in the middle and the end.
Treasure Hunt. Ask your child to create a treasure hunt and encourage them to write their own clues.
Reading. This can be together or the child reading alone.
Spellings. Create a spelling sheet for your child using words that they are familiar with.

map of the world

Other areas of learning. 
This is such a simple idea and can cover so much.

If you ask your child to think of a place. It can be a city, a country, a landmark, a theme park, anything. You can use the internet or books to find out everything you can about the place they have chosen. This could cover

Geography - Where in the world is it? 
History - When was it built?
Technology - Research as much as you can online.
Mathematics - How many people live or visit there each year?
Reading - Finding out the facts.
Art - Ask your child to draw what they think it looks like.
Imagination - Create a role play area based on their chosen place.
Fine Motor Skills - Write out a list of facts they have found.

Making use of resources around the home. We will be using....

Geomag Mechanics Gravity Magnetic Track - Encourages STEM - Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning. Exploring science without the need of batteries or electricity.

Osmo - Osmo is educational without the kids knowing. It encourages basic maths and english, problem solving concentration and it's fun.

boy playing osmo
Games - We have lots of educational games that are fun and we can learn from them to.

Lego / or similar building blocks. Helps with imagination and fine motor skills.

Garden - Physical activity is very important and if you have a garden making use of this space for outside play/exercise also helps get fresh air.

Daily Challenge

Each day we are going to have one daily challenge that we need to complete. The daily challenges will be fun and could include baking a cake, making a den or creating an obstacle course. Educating your child doesn't always mean sitting a desk writing, if they are using their imagination, their fine motor skills or being creative this all adds to their development.

Our children learn every day without them knowing.

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Trying To Mix It Up | Living Arrows 3/52 (2021)

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Last week was our second week of home schooling and just as I expected the novelty had definitely worn off and little J was not as keen or interested to get started on Monday morning as he was the week before. However he managed to pick himself up and get stuck in and seemed to enjoy some of the work set.

boy with sunlight behind him
At the moment we have no idea how long the schools will be closed for so we are trying to mix up the home school day as much as we can so he doesn't become bored. There is quite a lot of work set this time around and zoom calls at the beginning and the end of the day so he doesn't have a lot of free time. 

boy measuring out ingredients

One of his lessons last week involved measuring so we took it one step further and made some cookies. Little J enjoyed measuring the ingredients out and made sure we took lots of photographs so we could send them to his teacher. 

He has one scheduled PE session a week which encourages the children to head outside for a walk or bike ride or do an indoor PE / Exercise session such as PE with Joe. We have tried to make sure we get out and about at least 4 out of the 5 days for a walk or bike ride. We are lucky that we have lots of cycle paths and a park close by so it's been nice for him to be able to enjoy a bike ride locally.

boy looking at a computer screen

Little J is reading Charlie and the chocolate factory at the moment and was really keen to know what happened at the end so I suggested we watch the movie. I am a huge fan of the original so I popped it on and he didn't move all the way through, he absolutely loved it. He has also loved being able to bring his teddies to his homeschool lessons.

box of sweets

For RE he had to talk about someone he loves and we had a discussion about why he loves that person. I had no doubt in my mind who he would choose, his brother. To make it more interesting and fun he made a gift box which he decorated himself and we filled it with a few chocolates so he could treat his brother. 

two boys on bikes

Big J had a good week doing his university course online. It has been hard learning how to become a teacher through zoom calls but he has just found out that he will be actually going in to a school to help out until half term so is over the moon. It means he won't be at home during the day as much and I know the boys will both miss each other. They did spend lots of time together this past week both in and outside which I just love. 


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How To Watch Marvel Movies in Chronological Order

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marvel poster

Disclosure - this post has been updated and republished. It also contains affiliate links.

I can't believe it's two years ago since we binge watched all the Marvel movies in just 3 weeks. Neither of us have ever wanted to watch the Marvel movies before but the world had gone Marvel crazy and everyone we knew was heading to the cinema to watch Avengers - The End Game. 

Captain Marvel running

As we had never watched any we decided to look up all the Marvel movies and then we decided to watch them in chronological order rather than release order. Watching the movies and storylines in this order made more sense. 

Once we had our list we headed to Amazon Prime Video to begin. We had just over three weeks before End Game finished on the cinema to watch all 21 movies and we did it. 21 movies in 21 days. 

If you are thinking of watching the Marvel movies then here is the list in chronological order.

Captain America - The First Avenger
Set in 1943-1945

Captain Marvel
Set in 1995

Iron Man
Set in 2010

Iron Man 2 
Set in 2011

The Incredible Hulk 
Also set in 2011

Also set in 2011

Avengers Assemble
Set in 2012

Iron Man 3
Set in 2012

Thor - The Dark World 
Set in 2013

Captain America - The Winter Soldier
Set in 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy
Also set in 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2
Also set in 2014

Avengers - Age of Ultron
Set in 2015

Ant Man
Also set in 2015

Captain America - Civil War
Set in 2016

Spiderman - Homecoming
Also set in 2016

Doctor Strange 
Also set in 2016/2017

Black Panther 
Set in 2017

Thor - Ragnarok
Also set in 2017

Ant Man and The Wasp
Also set in 2017

Avengers - Infinity War
Also set in 2017

Avengers - Endgame 
Set in 2019

Spiderman - Far From Home
Set in 2019

iron man in Disneyland Paris
Now we have Disney Plus I am thinking about starting them all again. I think now is a good time as the new Marvel mini series WandaVision starts on the 15th so its a good excuse to have a recap. 

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Back To Home School | Living Arrows 2/52 (2021)

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Well things have certainly changed since last weeks Living Arrows post. On Monday it was announced that all schools were to close after being told the day before they were safe. We all knew a National Lockdown was on the cards and that it was going to be soon but it was still a shock. Home schooling began here on Wednesday and it was definitely more organised than the last time schools closed. 

at boy doing homework
Little J starts his day with a Zoom call. It's a chance to see his friends on the screen and for his teacher to discuss what she has planned for them throughout the day. It's a lovely way to begin his day but it's also so sad because I know how much he missed his friends last time and seeing them on a screen just isn't the same. 

After the zoom he has four lessons to complete. Maths, English, RE and then a foundation subject. The workload has been okay so far but I am expecting more this week now they have had a little more time to prepare. 

a boy doing homework
The home schooling isn't as easy for us this time around as parents as I am now in work. I was furloughed last time which obviously made it easier but now we are trying to fit everything in-between John's work and mine. 

John and I are both key workers however we made a decision to keep little J home as the infection rate in our area is so high and we obviously want him safe at home. 

a boy reading
After he has finished his lessons we have been colouring and then also reading. He is reading Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and loves it so far. 

Once his school day is done we email all his work over for marking and he finishes the day with another Zoom call. It's a little catch up of the day and the teacher reads then a short story. 

boy on a zoom

So far little J is enjoying being at home and it is definitely the best place for him to be until this madness is over. 


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Top 7 for 2020

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I usually like to do a round up post of the year highlighting the ups and downs but then I spotted this on We're Going On An Adventure blog. It's a Top 7 for 2020 including 7 of my favourite posts, 7 things I have loved about this year and 7 things I am looking forward to in 2021. I'm a little late sharing but here it goes...

3 people looking over a bridge

boys walking

Firstly here are my top 7 posts of 2020

We are regular visitors to Alton Towers throughout the year but we have never actually visited and appreciated the gardens. Alton opened the gardens only just after lockdown eased and this was our first day out and it was just what we needed. A change of scenery and some normality. 

Boy on a bike

Little J's birthday was right at the beginning of lockdown and he decided he wanted a bike with birthday money he received. He has had a bike in the past but has always preferred a scooter so we were shocked when he asked for a bike. Teaching him to ride became a project for John to focus on over the lockdown and they got there and he is now a whizz and loves going on bike rides with his Dad. 

Boys walking through woods

This post is one of my favourites for many reasons. It brings back lots of good and some bad memories of our walk and how much we laughed and cried (me) but mainly it is one of my favourites as it opened up a new passion in us all we didn't realise we had. We loved the walk, figuring out how to get to the top and pushing ourselves when we didn't think we could go any further. The walk we took was supposed to be an easy one however it took us twice as long and it wasn't easy, not for me anyway but the sense of achievement when we got to the top and then back to the start was amazing, I will never forget it. 

Mum and Son on a ride

Another Alton Towers post. We were obviously a little anxious about visiting the theme park when Covid-19 was still very much present and we hadn't been anywhere like that since before lockdown. We were really impressed with the rides and how they operated queues to allow social distancing although it was still a little busier than we had expected but we used our common sense and if an area or ride was busy we moved along to the next one. 

Dad and son standing on a large rock

For the past few years we have booked a Summer weekend break with all the family, so 14 of us in total. We booked Snowdonia in 2019 so had no idea whether we could make it or not but we did and we all had an amazing time. It was our first visit to Wales as a family and we would definitely return again. 
boy standing up a mountain

I mentioned before that our walk from the Grizedale Visitor Centre was one of my favourite memories as it made us realise we love going for walks. Our walk at Rivington Pike was just the three of us but we enjoyed it so much. Again we didn't find it easy and we managed to go off the path and ended up adding some steep climbs to our route but we loved it. 

Disneyland Paris Castle

This post was so hard to write as it reminded me of how much I love Disneyland Paris and how we hadn't stepped inside a Disney Park in 2020. However I also enjoyed writing it as it brought back so many happy memories and I loved browsing through old photos and videos of our trips from the past 15 years. 

Next here are 7 Things I Have Loved In 2020. 

mum and son playing a game on the grass

Unexpected Family Time
No one could have ever expected what was thrown at us in 2020. When we went in to lockdown I was placed on furlough and the boys were at home from school. John and I did everything we could to make the boys time at home fun and educational. I will never forget all the extra time we got together and even though we were at home we created so many memories that I will cherish forever. 

Turning 40
I had so many plans for my 40th but as my birthday was during lockdown none of my plans happened but I actually had a lovely birthday and spent it with my favourite people in the whole world. As I didn't get to celebrate it the way you should celebrate a 'big' birthday it means we have an excuse to celebrate on my next. 

Our Walks
I have loved our walks this year and I love that we have all enjoyed them too. It's a great way to challenge yourself physically and mentally and I enjoy browsing online finding new ones to explore.

playing football in the garden

Our Garden
We spent so much of this year in the garden. We went outside first thing in the morning, ate breakfast, lunch and dinner out there and stayed out until it went dark. Having the astro turf meant we could be outside no matter what and we did most of our playing and learning outside and it was amazing. 

A Level Results
John and I are so proud of big J and how he handled leaving school early. The last few months of school would have been hard taking his A Levels but he missed the experience and I am sad for him but he did amazing and is now in university beginning his journey to become a primary school teacher.

boy splashing in the pool

Pool Time
The weather was very kind to us this year and some days it felt like we were abroad on holiday, it was that hot. Very early in to lockdown John bought us a pool so little J could have a splash. When it arrived it was huge and could actually fit all four of us in with room to spare. Each morning we would fill it up and spend most of the day in there. It really was like we were on holiday. 

Our favourite time of year. Christmas was quieter than usual and we didn't go on as many Christmas days out as we would have liked, but we had a lovely Christmas and we got to see our families which made it even better. 

Last but not least here are 7 things I am most looking forward to.

Spending Time Together
I think it will be a long time before we will back to normal and I think tier restrictions and possible lockdowns will dominate especially the first half of 2021. I am looking forward to spending time together.

Using Our National Trust Passes
Just before Christmas we purchased National Trust passes after visiting a few of the sites over November and December. We are really looking forward to using our passes over the year and exploring more of the UK (hopefully)

We love travelling and it doesn't always have to be abroad. We love visiting cities and places in the UK too. Travelling was something we all missed in 2020 and it felt so good when we finally were able to go on days out. 

Visiting A Disney Park
I am hopeful that by Christmas 2021 we will be able to head to Disneyland Paris to celebrate Christmas time in our favourite place. 2020 was the first time in a very long time that we hadn't visited a Disney park so I really do hope we get to go. 

Seeing Family and Friends
Spending time with our family and friends is something we really missed this year. We love having people over even if just for a cup of tea and a catch up. The boys also love having their friends over and it was definitely a lot quieter than usual last year having no visitors.

Getting Fit
Both John and I want to be fitter in 2021 and hopefully our walking will help us achieve that. We say it every year and we do so well for the first few months but I am hoping this year we will make it happen. 

Watching The Boys Grow
I made myself a photo slideshow of 2020 and it was amazing to see how much the boys had grown over the past twelve months. It's not just their appearance that has changed. They adapted so well and so quickly to the changes 2020 threw at us and they were both so mature about the whole situation. 

Now that I have looked back 2020 wasn't as bad as I remembered. We tried to make it as normal as possible for the boys and I think we managed .... just about. 

My list of things to look forward to is quite big but I will just take every day as it comes and hope for the best. 

What are you looking forward to most in 2021?

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Trapped Escape Room Game. Perfect For Date Night At Home

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

Last year was the year of date nights at home. John and I made sure that amongst all the home schooling, late nights in the garden and all the other craziness we got together to have a date night. We would cook for one another, have a movie night, go for a walk or play a game. Playing games is my favourite and last year for the first time we tried out a range of escape room type games that were lots of fun. Just before Christmas we received a lovely bundle of three Trapped games which are family friendly escape room packs. 

man and woman playing an escape room

Each pack has everything you need to turn any room in to an Escape room. The 3 games we received are from series 1 and included

Room 1 - The Art Heist Trapped Escape Room - Puzzle Level Medium
Room 2 - The Bank Job Trapped Escape Room - Puzzle Level Hard
Room 3 - The Carnival Trapped Escape Room - Puzzle Level Easy

trapped escape room game

We are no strangers to Escape rooms and have done a few actual games and also played at home but these were new to us so we started at the beginning with easy. Did we escape The Carnival?

The Carnival is designed for 2-8 players aged 8+

trapped escape room game

In the trapped game The Carnival it is our lifelong dream to work alongside the fabled fortune teller and jaw dropping performers of Muggins Carnival. Soon after we apply for a job the ringmaster invited us to an interview we will never forget....

Nothing is what it seems as we perform admission tests including a series of baffling puzzles and mysteries. We soon were racing head to head to see who was crowned king or queen of The Carnival. 

trapped escape room game

The Carnival was very easy to set up. As I said before you can create your own escape room by popping all the posters and puzzles around the room. You don't have to do this you can just spread them out on a table, the choice is yours. 

When you are ready to start you just dive right in and start solving the puzzles. I won't go in to any detail about the puzzles so not to spoil it. Once you think you have solved a puzzle you can check you have the correct answer by checking the arcade machine. If the answer is there you score the points.

trapped escape room game

trapped escape room game

You might not solve all the puzzles so you can get clues. Each puzzle gives you the chance to have clues and you can use the red clue reader to help you on your way. 

Each Escape room is designed to give you 1-2 hours of play. Between us we managed to complete the easy room in 40 minutes. We worked as a team to solve the puzzles and it was lots of fun.

trapped escape room game

I have teamed up with Trapped Escape Room Games to offer 1 reader the chance to win all 3 games. All you need to do is complete the entry form below and remember to pop back daily for bonus chances to win. 

Our Giveaway is now closed but you can purchase Trapped Escape Room games on Amazon 


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The Fresh Sea Air | Living Arrows 1/52 (2021)

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Between Christmas and New Year was so cold and although we just wanted to stay in our PJ's I knew we needed to head out for a walk so little J could burn off some energy. Unfortunately we were placed in Tier 3 on New Years Eve so we are quite restricted for places to go. We decided to head to the beach and get some fresh sea air. 

boy with toy story mask on

When we arrived it was so busy, I guess everyone had the same idea as us. I suppose this will happen now, everyone will congregate in the same places as there are not many to choose from. We popped on our masks and tried to social distance as much as possible. There are only a few paths to the beach so that was hard but once on the beach it was a lot easier as there was lots of space.

boy writing name in sand
The tide was quite far out but the sand was nice and wet. I prefer wet sand rather than dry, it's much easier to walk on. Little J drew his name in the sand and then made up a game for us to play with his big bouncy ball. 

I did try and walk towards the sea but my wellies got stuck in sinking sand. Luckily I kept my balance and John came to my rescue. 

sunset over the beach and sea
It suddenly went extremely cold and the sun started to go down so we headed back to the start. We walked the longer way round back to the car to try and avoid any crowds. 

boy looking at the sunset

Although it was freezing it was lovely and we definitely needed the fresh air. 


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