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Teaching Your Kids About Animals in the Garden


The earlier children learn about local wildlife, the sooner they can start appreciating different species and protecting our fragile ecosystem. Garden animals can be a great source of interest for little ones, so why not get out and about and see what you can discover together?

3 Ways to Teach Your Kids about Animals in the garden including how to create a bird feeder, how to identify birds and how to build your very own worm farm.

Here are some useful tips to get you started:

Enjoy a Spot of Bird Watching

The great thing about bird watching is that it’s simple, inexpensive and highly educational. Start by putting out a mixed seed bird feeder to satisfy all types of birds. Soon your garden will become a hub of activity as different species fly in to suss out the type of snacks on offer. Bird watching can be done all year round, but in order to make this activity as educational as possible, how about creating a ‘bird watching scrapbook’ to document your finds? 

To do this, note down what type of birds come into your garden on a regular basis (you can use handy bird finder tools if you’re not sure), draw pictures, take photos and do everything possible to cement learning. What’s more, let your children take an active role in preparing food to stock your feeders be it sunflower seeds, suet balls, seed mixes and such, so that they become familiar with the process and can eventually do this task without help.

Then there’s cleaning. Just as people prefer a sparkling plate to eat from, birds also deserve somewhere hygienic to dine – so be sure to regularly clean your feeding stations, especially if you have a lot of bird activity. Similarly, placing a bird bath in your garden will show children how their feathered friends like to take a dip – something which they’re sure to love watching.

Make a Worm Farm

As adults, we tend to spend a long time ensuring our children are clean and pristine. This is all well and good, but sometimes it’s necessary for them to get messy and dirty. So, try your hand at creating a worm farm to learn all about recycling and taking care of the environment!
3 Ways to Teach Your Kids about Animals in the garden including how to create a bird feeder, how to identify birds and how to build your very own worm farm. - soil

For this activity, find a clear container and layer it with moist mud and sand. This provides more of an interesting ‘visual’ when the worms start to wiggle and mix everything up – although shredded newspaper will work just fine too. Whatever container you use (a jam jar, drink bottle or small aquarium), ensure it has air holes in the top and drainage holes in the bottom. It will also need a cover to prevent escapees and to protect worms from the rain. 
Next, collect the worms and supply them with food scraps cut up into small pieces. Place the worms in a dark spot and keep an eye on how they turn food to compost and tunnel through the soil, which, in a garden environment, helps plants access water and air more efficiently.

Read Books 

Reading books about garden animals is a fun, imaginative way for children to learn about the creatures on their doorstep. You could even make up stories or encourage older children to write their own including drawings of what they’ve seen outside.

There are many ways to teach your little ones about animals in the garden. Whether you’re installing bird feeders and doing a spot of bird watching, or making worm farms, you can make learning as upbeat and interesting as possible. Their faces are sure to light up with excitement!

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A letter to Jack on your 6th birthday


Wow Jack, I can't believe you are now 6! That seems so grown up when I say it out loud. In my eyes, you will always be the baby of the family. How cute is this snap of you with H & H on Christmas Eve 2010 when you were just 2 days old! I love it.


You are such an amazing character who is full of life - your dad and I are pretty sure you're going to change the world. You're seriously fiesty and if you don't want to do something, you won't and there is absolutely no reasoning with you. You're stubborn and strong willed and I thought I had parenting nailed with Harry and Heidi but then you came along and were a different kettle of fish completely. You have definitely taught me that every child is different and I am definitely a million times less judgemental of other parents thanks to you :-)

You also have a very loving and caring side and although you are 6, you still like to hold my hand all of the way to school. Long may this continue! You give the best hugs and love snuggling in to watch tv. You have the cheekiest smile and glint in your eye and I really hope this never goes.


You have a kind of split personality - you are extremely bright and love numbers. Our walks to school often involve you counting in 3's to 500 and you're always asking me to test you with your sums. You have turned a corner with your school work this year and after refusing to complete any homework last year, you are now keen to do it and to be honest, can do it with your eyes closed. You are in the top set for everything at school and are such a smart boy - it is just something that comes naturally to you. We couldn't be prouder.


You also have a very lazy side to your personality and flat out refuse to tidy your room or learn to ride a bike. In fact you won't even scoot on a scooter! Harry and Heidi love playing outside and going off on adventures but you would much prefer to just walk along, holding my hand and having a chat about all sorts of random thoughts . I'm not too worried about the bike issue as I know like everything, you'll do it in your own time and surprise us when we least expect it.


You love to tell jokes and are so funny - you often have us all crying with laughter and that just encourages you more. As you turn 6, your latest obsession is Super Mario Bros. You watch YouTube videos of people playing the games and have a few games yourself. Your favourite character is Bowser! Your favourite food is my homemade sausage rolls and you like to make them with me on a weekend. On tv you refuse to watch X Factor with us on Saturday nights and just prefer to take yourself off to bed by yourself. After you've had your share of the tv snacks of course (usually minstrels - they're your favourite). You're also a little obsessed with nettle cheese - you're definitely a funny one!


Happy 6th Birthday Jack - we all love you with all of our heart and hope you have a lovely day. We're going to McDonalds for chicken nuggets (your choice) and the cinema to watch Star Wars Rogue One. 
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5 Ways to Add Fruit & Veg to your Child's Lunchbox

*This is a collaborative post

We all know that it's super important to help our children reach their 5-a-day and in January, we've decided to get the whole family involved in making sure we do just that. We're going to design some charts for us all over the holidays and in 2017 we're going to really make a conscious effort to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg every single day.

5 ways to add fruit & veg to your child's lunchbox and help them reach 5-a-day

Recent research by Tropicana found that breakfast was the least likely meal to include one of your 5-a-day, closely followed by lunch and 72% of Brits think it's more difficult to stay healthy when you're eating lunch on the go. Today I am sharing some handy hints on what to include in your child's packed lunch box that will help them reach their 5-a-day target on the go.

1 - Fruit and yoghurt dip


This is my go-to way to include some extra fruit in the kids' lunch box and it always goes down well. I use handy snack tubs that have 2 sections. I fill the smaller section with a natural yoghurt dip and the larger section with chopped fruit. The kids love to dip and these tubs always come back empty.

5 ways to add fruit & veg to your child's lunchbox and help them reach 5-a-day - grapes and yoghurt dip


2 - Little bottles


Little bottles by Tropicana provide the perfect serving of unsweetened 100% juice to count as one of your 5-a-day. The juice is available in pressed apple or smooth orange and contains 100% pure squeezed fruit in each bottle - there are no added sugars, preservatives or artificial flavours. My children normally have a bottle of water in their lunch box but I have also been adding a 'little bottle' recently to boost their fruit and veg intake and they've been a big hit.

5 ways to add fruit & veg to your child's lunchbox and help them reach 5-a-day - Tropicana little bottles


3 - Silly faces


A tried and tested way to liven up the fruit in your child's lunch box is to draw a silly face on their banana or orange skin.

4 - Fruit kebabs


My three love to create their own fruit kebabs and getting them involved in preparing their food always encourages them to eat more I think. I'll often get them to help me prepare their own lunch and one of their favourite tasks is to create their own fruit kebabs. We often make these for dessert and I get them to make one extra to pop in their lunch box the following day.

5 ways to add fruit & veg to your child's lunchbox and help them reach 5-a-day - make fruit kebabs

5 - Soup


At this time of year, homemade soup is the perfect addition to your child's lunch box and a fantastic way to add some extra vegetables into their diet. We use small leak proof flasks and include a spoon. Tomato soup and homemade vegetable broth are our favourites.

5 ways to add fruit & veg to your child's lunchbox and help them reach 5-a-day - take tomato soup in a flask


Let me know if you have any creative ideas for adding fruit and vegetables to your child's packed lunch box.

 *Please note The Department of Health counts 150ml of unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice as one of your 5 a day. Because juice contains less fibre than whole fruit, 100% juice can only count as once portion

Disclosure | This is a collaborative post with Tropicana and Tots 100. I have been compensated for my time. All thoughts are my own. 

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Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail at Woodhorn (until 23rd December)

I vowed that I wasn't going to squeeze any more activities into our Christmas break as we've had a super busy December and already have a few things booked this week. However, after reading all about the skating at Woodhorn over on Sprog on the Tyne and their new Frost of Forgetfulness trail by Babyfoote, I couldn't resist a visit. We enjoyed a chilled out morning watching Harry Potter and headed over to Woodhorn at lunchtime. 

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail at Woodhorn (until 23rd December)


Woodhorn is FREE to enter and their Frost of Forgetfulness Winter Trail is also completely free of charge (car parking is £3.50 so make sure you take some cash with you - cards aren't accepted). Ice skating is £5.50 for kids or £6.50 for adults. I visited Woodhorn thinking I wouldn't blog about their Frost of Forgetfulness trail - after all it's only available until 23rd December. We honestly had THE best afternoon though and I couldn't not share! 

Frost of Forgetfulness Trail - A Review


The trail is free of charge and you begin in the main exhibition centre where you are greeted by very enthusiastic staff and volunteers who will help you create your own canary and bird cage (which children can take home). These canaries form the heart of the trail and I have to say, the crafting stations were very well organised. Everything we needed was provided - no cases of blunt pencils or not enough card at all which is so often the case with these sorts of things. 

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - free birdcage and canary craft

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - free canary and bird cage craft

Canaries and cages complete and our children were given a mission passport. Basically it is around 6 different missions that you have to complete - all based around the heritage of Woodhorn and mining in Northumberland and creating/remembering special memories. Your passport also folds out into a special trail map.

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - trail map

The trail was a lot more thoughtful than a few other trails we've tried and the activities were varied. We had to count the canaries in one room, design our own banner in another and even write a poem after listening to the sounds of the mine. I was worried Harry (aged 10) might have another moan but he honestly loved it. All three children did in fact and it's perfect for all ages. I even noticed a couple of families with teenagers taking part.

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - solving clues

We took a quick break half way around our quest for Heidi and Steve to try skating. The skating rink at Woodhorn is made of synthetic ice and it's definitely not as slippy or fast as regular ice - this suited us just fine though as it was Heidi's first time and Steve's first time in around 20 years! They did well and had lots of fun. The atmosphere was fun and festive and Harry and Jack enjoyed playing in the park next to the rink. If you fancy seeing more skating action, check out our Facebook Live from the rink side here.

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - ice skating

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - ice skating

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - ice skating

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - ice skating and play park

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - synthetic skating rink

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - children's skating

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December)

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December)

It was after 2pm and we realised we hadn't eaten lunch yet so we popped into the Woodhorn cafe. I was really impressed with the prices - lunch and drinks for the 5 of us was just £25. This is a serious bargain, especially considering I had fish and chips and Steve had a Ham and Pease Pudding Sandwich, Fentimans lemonade, fancy crisps and gingerbread biscuits! Because entry to the museum and trail was free, I certainly didn't mind giving Woodhorn some money back, especially when it was a bargain.

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - woodhorn cafe kids' lunch box

After lunch, we headed through the indoor part of the main museum and completed more of the trail tasks. We've visited Woodhorn on countless occasions so it was good to have something specific to find and added something new to our visit.

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - coal cart

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - 80s room

One of the tasks was for the kids to create their own banners featuring a special memory - Harry decided to create a Minecraft banner and Jack a Super Mario Bros one (predictable!). Heidi was so sweet though and designed a banner based around the time she made her first friend. Ahhhhh!

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - create your own banner

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - banners

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - Pitman Paintings

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December)

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December)

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December)

It was just after 3pm and the sun was already starting to set! We had finished the trail just in time and walked back to the main exhibition centre for our final task...........

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - sunset

 One of the lovely members of staff took the time to talk with our children about their missions, asked their answers and about the memories they'd remembered or created. She was really lovely and engaging and all of the staff we encountered really were superb. We were led to a magic curtain and as they opened we were led into the most beautiful room with a gigantic canary cage and canaries and lots of memories dotted around the room that we were encouraged to explore. It was heart warming reading everyone's happy memories which ranged from 'Visiting Legoland' to helping build ships at Swanhunters. Our canary passport was stamped and our mission was complete.

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - trail ends with giant bird cage and canaries

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - flying canaries

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - memories

Frost of Forgetfulness | A FREE Winter Trail and activity at Woodhorn Museum in Northumberland (continues until 23rd December) - inside giant bird cage


There is so much pressure to spend a lot on a day out, especially at this time of year but I can honestly say that some of the regions free or low cost experiences have been fantastic this year and Frost of Forgetfulness is one of them. The trail is free and the day out could cost you just £3.50 parking which is a steal. Even with the £25 we paid for lunch and £11 we paid for skating, £40 for a full afternoon of fun feels like fantastic value to me. I will also say that this is the first day out in a loooooooooooong time where I haven't had to ask my children to stop misbehaving or put up with at least one of them moaning about something. They all thoroughly enjoyed themselves, as did Steve and I.

I would LOVE you to take a look at our short 4 minute video from our day - it gives you a much better feel of what to expect from the trail. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you'd like to see more videos like this.



Frost of Forgetfulness continues until 23rd December. Visit the Woodhorn Website for details. 

Disclosure | We paid for our own day out

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13 years of trying and today is the day I FINALLY achieved streak free windows - here's how

*This is a collaborative post

I work from home and from around the end of November I have switched from working in my usual office in the conservatory to the table in my front room. It is just more cosy in there and I like working with the Christmas food channel on in the background at this time of year (Sky channel 133 - you need it in your life).

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows

One thing that has bugged me about working in here though is just how streaky my windows are! The low winter sun streams through the window and no matter what I try, they just stay streaky! At the end of November I spent a good 45 minutes trying to achieve a streak free finish. With a combination of 'special' cloths and glass cleaner, I thought I'd done just that. But then what do you know, the next day, the sun reappears and my windows look worse than ever! OMG I was at my wits end.

I've tried everything in the past - vinegar and newspaper, glass cleaner, special wipes.......nothing worked! Then as if by magic an email landed in my inbox asking if I'd like to review a Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Cleaner. You know you're getting old when this is the sort of thing that excites you! I was sceptical as nothing had worked for me in the past but I was willing to try anything and agreed to put it through it's paces.

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Cleaner Review


The Vileda Windomatic retails at £49.99 (although there is currently 20% off if you order via their website) and has received the Good Housekeeping Institute seal of approval for 2016.

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows

In the box you'll receive the main vacuum, the wiper blade and a mains charger plus a couple of instruction manuals (in every language known to man).

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows - what's in the box

The Vileda Windomatic is super easy to put together and not at all technical - you simply click the blade in place. Ours arrived already charged too so we were good to go straight away.

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows - easy to use

First of all, I love how light weight the vacuum is and it is very ergonomic - it fits very easily in your hand. The neck of the cleaner is flexible meaning it is super easy to use.

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows

To use, you simply spray your window with window cleaner or water, turn on the vacuum and glide over your window. The way that it 'sucks up' all of the moisture is very impressive and there isn't a single streak in sight.

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows - streak free finish

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows

When you're done, simply detach the water reservoir bottle and empty. It honestly could not be easier. The bottle is dishwasher safe too. 

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows - easy to empty water reservoir

My reviews are always 100% honest and I promise you will not be disappointed with this product. I loved it so much I had to text my mam about it!

Vileda Windomatic Window Vacuum Review | How to achieve streak free windows



What I liked about the Vileda Windomatic Vacuum Cleaner


  • Super easy to use, lightweight and ergonomic
  • Rechargeable battery included and the charge lasts around 15-20 minutes
  • Wire free - no need to plug in when using
  • It actually works - we now have streak free and sparkling windows
  • Quiet
  • Easy to steer with no 'dragging'
  • You can also use the vacuum for liquid spillages (perfect for mopping up any spilled wine this festive season) and it works a treat on mirrors too
  • Because it's cordless, you can also use it on your car windows 
I am actually a bit obsessed with my cleaner now and can't wait for January when I'm going to give the house a full clean and clean every window. My `actual window cleaner won't know what's hit him when he cleans our windows and they are actually clean on the other side too!

Room for Improvement


I would love it if there was also a smaller attachment. I have a door with square glass panels that goes from my kitchen to my conservatory and it gets covered in finger marks from the kids. The Vileda blade is just a tiny bit too big for these panels. Gutted! 

I've created a short video below so you can see the Vileda Windomatic Vacuum Cleaner in action:-


Disclosure : This is a collaborative post. We were sent this product to review and compensated for our time. 

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