Our family day out at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon

Last Saturday we camped in the grounds of Hever Castle, Kent, all ready for the Castle Triathlon taking place there the very next day. The mister had entered The Gauntlet (half iron man distance) and we were there to cheer him on and enjoy a day exploring the castle and its grounds.

An early start to see daddy begin the first leg of his triathlon, the swim. I can tell you I was rather glad to not be joining in. It looked freezing!

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After watching the start we embraced the day and began exploring. The mister wasn’t expecting to finish until after 3pm so we had loads of time to wander round and find fun things to do.

Hever Castle itself is beautiful and my eldest enjoyed learning about it’s history. Her favourite facts include..

It was Anne Boleyn’s family home. When Anne Boleyn’s father died (some time after Henry the Eighth beheaded his daughter) the King took the castle and gave it to his then wife Anne of Cleves.

We spent about just under an hour exploring the inside of the Castle, it isn’t huge and when you have two eager children that keep wanting to move to the next room and then the next it doesn’t take long to look around. 

 

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We actually spent most of the day exploring the gardens and the grounds of the Castle which are beautiful.

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Thankfully there was a lovely coffee shop that we just had to try out, the cakes where crying out to be eaten and they were yummy! I was thankful for the take away coffee I picked up soon after seeing the race start and it helped with being up so early on a Sunday morning with two vert excited girls who were eager to run around and explore!

We spent the later part of the day in the Events field going on fair ground rides, listening to the bands and eating street food. This was all part of the Castle Triathlon event.

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Waiting for Daddy at the finish is pretty tiring…!!

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This pretty much sums up how we all felt at the end of the day. Tired out!

For those that are interested the mister completed The Gauntlet in under eight hours, it took him longer than he hoped, but as this was his first one I think he’s pleased really. We were obviously very proud and relieved to see him finish in one piece!!

 

morganaOur family day out at Hever Castle for the Castle Triathlon
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Kittie Lacey, the best Fairytale Hairdresser in all the land

My girls and I have a thing about books, whether it’s trips to the library, the bookshop or sitting at home and scrolling through online bookstores, we just love discovering new books. It’s such a great feeling when you find a book you love and discover that it’s part of a set. That’s just what we did a few years ago when we bought our first book from The Fairytale Hairdresser series, back when my eldest girl was only three and my youngest was a newborn. They follow Kittie Lacey, the go-to hairdresser for all fairytale characters, and in each book she meets one of the well known fairytale princesses. If you’re expecting to read the traditional versions of the princess stories then think again, these are much more fun and have a modern twist to them. Your little reader (or captive audience) will be relieved to know that there are still happy endings in all of them.

The newest book in the series is…

The Fairytale Hairdresser and the Princess and the Pea

We were sent over a few review copies and lots of Fairytale Hairdresser activities so E invited some friends over and they had loads of fun with them.

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As you can see they had lots of fun and even had a go at reading the book themselves. All of the girls got to keep a copy and I’ve heard from their mums how much they are enjoying it. One was surprised how much she loved it as she’s not a fan of fairytales usually and the other loves the fact she can read it independently and enjoys spotting the other princesses in the illustrations.

Like the rest of the Fairytale Hairdresser books we follow Kittie Lacey as she helps out her friends in the land of the fairytales. In this one she’s helping the Queen by styling all the princesses that will be coming to her party, however, while Kittie is doing their hair they are sat on a chair piled high with cushions and under the last cushion it, yep, you guessed it, the pea! Yet it’s not a princess that passes the Queen’s test in the end, but don’t worry there is still a ‘happily ever after’.

I must mention the illustrations by Lauren Beard, they are colourful, cute and full of detail. We spend ages just looking at each page and spotting other fairytale characters and seeing what they’re up to. Both the story and the illustrations make these books really special.

kittie lacey princess pea fairytale hairdresser book review

We’re really happy to add the newest Kittie Lacey adventure to our collection of The Fairytale Hairdresser books. 

You can win a copy of the newly released Princess and the Pea, we have three copies so there will be three winners!

 kittie lacey princess pea fairytale hairdresser book review

Just enter below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

 

A big thanks to Ladybird and The Fairytale Hairdresser team for working with us on this.

morganaKittie Lacey, the best Fairytale Hairdresser in all the land
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Being friends with my daughters

First off I feel like I have to say, I’m not a parent that has a deep desperate need to be liked and accepted by my children. I’m their mum and they’re not always going to agree with me or like the decisions I make but that comes with the territory in parenting and I totally get that. With all that said, I think being friends with my daughters is a relationship that I’d love to grow into as they get older.

By the time I was 17 my mum and I were living this kind of friendship dynamic. My dad worked abroad and we ran things together, I helped out around the house where I could, we spent evenings choosing dvds to rent and then sat watching them while eating copious amounts of chocolate and I felt able to talk to her about most things. I know, all very Gilmore Girls. I must add that we didn’t always have this kind of relationship, most of my younger teen years were spent shouting and screaming at each other, me slamming doors and her walking away. I think the mother – daughter relationship is such a tricky one to navigate for both parties and those poor bystanders! Those early teen years are certainly a stage of life that I can’t say I’m particularly looking forward to, it’s hard enough now.

Those of you that read my former blog But Why Mummy Why will be aware of the difficulties I’ve had with one of my girls and the anger issues she’s had since being very small. We’ve each worked so very hard over the years to navigate this in the best way, doing work on identifying and naming emotions, learning cool down techniques, spotting triggers, you name it we probably tried it! For the most part it’s really paying off. She is a wonderful girl to be around and spend time with, and she’s really working on expressing her frustration in a more productive way. She doesn’t always manage it and we don’t always handle it the best way but we’re all trying our best. This is definitely something I want to continue with, to have that door open where we can communicate and figure out a plan together. I really want both my girls to feel like they can talk to me about anything, at anytime without fear of judgement.

After school yesterday we sat around together and made friendship bracelets. N tried her hand at a trickier macrame style bracelet while both of us tried to teach E how to do a plait.

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Friendship bracelets –  made using Deramores wool

While we made them we thought about who the girls could give the bracelets too. They have tumultuous friendship as most girls do, lots of up and downs and that fierce kind of best friends as well as big friendship groups. They both soon realised that they couldn’t choose just one friend to give a bracelet to, or even limit it to five, they didn’t want to leave anyone out! That’s when we came up with making them for each other. I don’t know, it’s probably really cheesey, but I love that we can recognise that mother-daughter bond, even when it’s fraught with difficulties at times.

Do you have daughters? Sons?

Maybe you are a daughter yourself, what are your thoughts on this?

 

This is a collaborative post

morganaBeing friends with my daughters
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Roald Dahl’s BFG and the magic of dreams

Roald Dahl books were hugely influential to me as a child, I voraciously read my way through his classic children’s books with Matilda and Revolting Rhymes being my particular favourites. Now that my girls are older they are discovering the joy of Roald Dahl books for themselves. I often find N hiding under her covers with a book and torch late into the night reading the colourful tales and E loves it when I read to her at bedtime, giggling away at the ‘cheeky bits’. I just love how irreverent the books are, they really tap into the imaginative and albeit rebellious child!

Even my girls’ school honoured the man himself by making him the theme of their World Book Day celebrations. Each child had to come dressed up as a Roald Dahl character, and of course my two loved that. We ended up with a Mrs Twit and Sophie from the BFG, as you can see from the picture above! It was fantastic seeing all the children dressed up and be reminded of the plethora of funny characters Roald Dahl created.

My two may love being read to by myself or their dad, or even reading to themselves now they are older, but neither of my girls have really been interested in audiobooks, well that was until I tried them with the BFG. When we last travelled down to stay with grandparents I put it on and to my amazement they stopped squabbling and listened in silence! It seems to be one of the only things they’ll agree to listen to together without the prerequisite sibling argument! I need to make sure I’m loaded up with a few other titles in preparation for our next trip!

With this love of the BFG and all things Roald Dahl in mind you can imagine that we are super excited about the new BFG film that comes out later this month. We’ve seen the old animated one, obviously, but this live action and animated one looks amazing! Ever since my girls spotted the trailer while surfing around Youtube Kids they have been obsessed asking me constantly when they can go and see it. The week it hits our cinema is the week that my girls break up from school so I think it’s obvious where our first summer holiday trip will be!

One of our favourite things about the BFG and the imaginative tale told by Roald Dahl is the magic of dreams. We’re not alone in this love, Classic British Hotels have cleverly put together a BFG dream inspired list of a variety of hotels to visit around Great Britain. I don’t know about you but a list of hotels inspired by dreams sound pretty perfect to me! I could do with a few nights in any of these dream like hotels!

Do you love Roald Dahl as much as us?

Who’s heading to the cinema to see the new BFG movie?

 

This is a collaborative post 

morganaRoald Dahl’s BFG and the magic of dreams
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Everyone needs a Unicorn scooter

I’m constantly being berated by the five year old for forgetting to bring her scooter with me when I pick her up from school. The scooter she’s currently got she’s had since she was 3 and as soon as she mastered it she’s been zooming ahead of me ever since. She’s recently informed me, however, that she now needs a big girl scooter so that’s the next thing on the list to get, apparently!

I like to keep an eye out for new design led products and brands so when GoGo Heads popped up on my Instagram I took notice. I immediately knew that my youngest would love them. They are bags that clip onto the handle bars of a scooter and shaped like a character and then there’s a high vis sleeve that also has wings, or hands, obvs.

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As you can see there’s a few different designs to choose from but of course as soon as the unicorn was spotted it was a foregone conclusion that that was the one for her.

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Flappy Unicorn

When the Unicorn GoGo Head arrived E could not have been more excited about it. Of course we had to put it all on her scooter straight away so she could try it out in the garden.

She’s always been a child that loves to fill bags with all sorts and then take them out with her. I love that the GoGo Head is a bag and so does E. She’s crammed all sorts of ‘essentials’ in there, and if we take the scooter to the shops she can just unclip the head and take it in the shop as a bag.

I found that it really tapped into E’s imagination, I could here her chatting away outside involving the unicorn in some story and acting it out. It’s a hit with all her friends too, we took it to the park the other day and E hardly got a look in as her bestie took the unicorn scooter for a spin and then reluctantly gave it back when it was time to go!

We took a trip on Saturday morning to a park in town where daddy and N were doing the Park Run. This was the perfect moment to really take the scooter and GoGo Head out for a spin.

 

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E absolutely adores her ‘Unicorn Scooter’ and we would both really recommend the GoGo head as a fun addition to a child’s scooter. Of course the combination of safety and practicality with fun will always be a winner. As a parent you want something functional and kids want it to be fun and I really think that GoGo Heads have found this balance perfectly. A big thanks to the team at GoGo Heads for sending us this unicorn to try out!

Head on over to their website to take a look – GoGo heads – you can also find them on social media – Facebook, and Instagram.

 

We received a GoGo Head for the purpose of this review, as always our opinions are our own.

morganaEveryone needs a Unicorn scooter
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My girls get into science with Project Mc2!

You know by now that while my youngest is all about YouTube my oldest is definitely more of a Netflix kind of girl. A few months ago she discovered a show called Project Mc2 and was immediately hooked.

There are four main characters in the show – each with a different personality, interests and sense of style.

  • McKeyla McAlister (Mc2)
    • Writer, hipster and undercover spy! When McKeyla isn’t writing in her journal, you’ll find her reading a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel, upcycling or saving the world! Her catch phrase is “I’m smart. Get over it!”
  • Adrienne Attoms (A2)
    • Made of a more complex recipe than sugar and spice. Adrienne is a culinary chemist! Originally from Spain (her father is a diplomat), she just loves to host dinner parties. Her catch phrase is “Pretty Brilliant”
  • Bryden Bandweth (B2)
    • Bryden loves tweeting, digital photography, streaming music and anything tech! Just don’t ask her to go camping in the wilderness or anywhere without a hotspot! She’s a 24/7 #digitaldarling. Her catch phrase? “Stand Back, I’m Trending”
  • Camryn Coyle (C2)
    • Known for her high IQ, Camryn’s real genius comes out in the garage – especially when it comes to her souped up skateboard! Her catch phrase is “Nailed It” 

The four girls attend Maywood Glenn Academy – but are also part of a secret, seriously cool organisation, NOV8 (pronounced ‘Innovate’). Even their friendship makes mathematical sense – based on the Pythagorean theorem that A2 + B2 = C2

It’s just a shame that we only seem to have 3 episodes of it, fingers crossed they are making more! So why am I telling you about this TV show beloved by my pre-teen child? Well, even though I don’t do many reviews anymore knowing how much N loves the show I couldn’t resist the opportunity of reviewing one of the dolls that accompanies the series.

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We were sent ….

McKeyla McAlister (Mc2)

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Of course N LOVES the doll and to be honest I was really impressed with the quality and the extras that came with it.

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Each of the dolls comes with it’s own science experiment. So N got to make her own mini lava lamp!

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It was so easy! I think she went a little crazy with the food colouring so the lamp doesn’t really glow, but I think it’s still pretty cool.

It’s actually National Science Week this week so our little experiment was well timed!

Project Mc2 is just perfect for my girl, she loves fun and fashion but also loves science, tech and is constantly wanting to learn. Far too often it seems that shows cater to one or the other as if you can only like science or fashion exclusively and I find that such a lazy stereotype.

N is so obsessed she has even downloaded the accompanying Project Mc2 app – NOV8 (available in the app store) With the app you get to go on missions for NOV8, collect evidence, analyse the clues and solve the case! There are over 1,000 missions to play on the app, enough to keep N busy for a while at least! 😉

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We were gifted a Project Mc2 doll for the purpose of this review, as always all views are our own 🙂

morganaMy girls get into science with Project Mc2!
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A delicious Mother’s Day hamper of treats

Being a mum can go from being the most wonderful thing in the world to the most thank less task all in the space of a day. Sometimes my children are a joy to be around and other times they have me screaming into a pillow! Though I’m sure they could say the very same about me!

Mother’s Day is the perfect chance for a little treat, whether it’s something I’ve listed here, a bunch of flowers, a hand made card or breakfast in bed, or even a fab little hamper of indulgent treats such as this one from Spicers of Hythe

mothers day hamper

Now don’t you worry I’ve been hard at work testing it all out to make sure all the contents are good enough for us mamas!

My hamper is aptly named ‘Mother’s Day Treats

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It contains –

Cocoabean Love Heart Plaque
Belvoir Blackcurrant & Cox Apple Cordial
Farmhouse Rolled Oat Fruit Flapjacks
Verduijns Black Pepper & Seasalt Biscuits
Cocoabean Chocolate Coated Marshmallows Cubes
Farmhouse Chocolate Chip & Orange Biscuits
Taste Old Fashioned Milk Chocolate Eclairs
Sally Williams Milk Chocolate Coated Nougat  (instantly spotted and claimed by my husband!!)

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You can safely say this cute little heart didn’t stick around for long!

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A box of large chocolate covered marshmallows you say? Yes please! Now these definitely need to be well hidden* from my children.

(* in my tummy!)

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This cordial looks delicious, and I’m going to have some fun creating cocktails with it. 

mothers day hamper

mothers day hamper

mothers day hamper

As you can see this is a lovely hamper of treats and well worth checking out for your own mum, or just drop lots of hints about it to your partner and children!

 

A big thank you to Spicers of Hythe for sending this yummy hamper. As always all views are my own.

morganaA delicious Mother’s Day hamper of treats
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