What We Did This Summer

10 September 2017

The summer holidays have now come to a close and we are back in the daily school routines but the fun doesn't have to stop. There are lots of activities you can do with the children after school and in the early evening if they are older.

We were kindly sent a hamper of goodies for over the summer to enjoy and had lots of fun baking cookies, making friendship bracelets, playing card games and finding new and exciting ways of watching movies i.e. we made an indoor cinema with blankets on the floor and plenty of tasty snacks to enjoy whilst we were all cuddled up watching our favourite Harry Potter movie.

Gee's favourite activities were keeping a diary of all the things she had enjoyed, it is a lovely memento to look back on in future years and will definitely provide her with memories to reflect on. Her diary consists of photos, tickets from days out and plenty of narrative which she can have as a keepsake. Her absolute highlight of the summer was getting her own pony.

With a little help from me, we also made some lovely friendship bracelets and these have made lovely presents to give to her friends on return to school this week. It is so good to craft these yourself with braid, adding beads along the way for added texture and such a lovely activity but a little fiddly at times.

Who thought throwing a Frisbee could be good fun? Whilst Gee wanted to play with the Frisbee, Marlow our dog had better ideas and could not help himself from retrieving it whilst we were playing in the fields.

Room to Grow have many great ideas for keeping the children entertained with useful summer activities and colouring downloads to enjoy throughout the year.

We were sent some activities free of charge for the purpose of this post.

Apple & Jujube Fruit Cake

5 September 2017

It is once again time for the Great British Bake Off and this week I decided to make an apple cake with an added ingredient. Jujube Fruit (also called the red date) is a berry from Asia, not only is it healthy but it has been enjoyed for many years as a longevity berry and gave the apple cake a lovely texture and of course is full of goodness. Once again I will be linking up with Jenny at Mummy Mishaps as part of the Bloggers Bake Off just for fun.

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Apple & Jujube Fruit Cake by Cathy
  • 3 large Bramley Cooking Apples
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • 225g Butter
  • 260g Demerara Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 33g pack Abakus Jujube fruit
  • half a lemon Lemon Juice
1. Preheat oven to 160c (fan), 180c or gas mark 4. Grease and line a 12 inch round cake tin with baking parchment.2. Peel and cut apples into quarters and place in blender with 1 pack of Jujube fruit and juice of half a lemon. Blend until small pieces.

3. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and finally add the flour and baking powder. Mix well.

4. Add the apple mixture to the cake mixture and mix well.

5. Pour the mixture in to the prepared cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for around 45 minutes, test with a skewer to see if the cake is ready.

6. Remove the cake from the tin carefully and leave to cool on a wire tray.

This cake may not look anything special but believe me it tastes wonderful, so moist and with a dash of cream or custard makes a wonderful dessert.

Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 12" cake tin
Mummy Mishaps

British History Timeline - Board Game Club August

5 September 2017

It is once again time for the monthly Board Game Club with Esdevium Games and this month we have been sent British History Timeline to play. I must admit I am not very knowledgeable where history is concerned and it never really appealed to me at school but we give it a go. We are loving trying out new games especially when the weather is not so good, there is nothing more satisfying than lazing around and having a leisurely afternoon or evening playing games with family and friends.

British History Timeline is a card game consisting of 109 cards, each card pictorially depicting an event in history on both sides but on one side is the date it occurred. The cards are packaged in a lovely vintage style tin which will keep them in good condition. It is aimed at the 8+ years age group and is suitable for 2 - 8 players.

The cards should be shuffled and each player dealt 4 cards, date side down. A main card is then placed on the playing surface with date side up and the remainder of the cards stacked at the side. I love how Marlow always gets his paws in the way.

Each player takes a turn at putting one of their cards on the timeline according to the presumed date, remember you cannot look at the date of the event until you have placed the card in the position. Once placed you can reveal the date and see if you were correct. If you were correct, well done and if not you must select another card from the pile. The player to place all their cards correctly is the winner.

This game opens up conversations about history, making it educational as well as enjoyable. I have learnt so many historical facts since playing British History Timeline and needless to say Gee is so much better at it than me and her dad. This is a great game to play anytime with friends and family or perfect to take on holiday as it doesn't take up much room, perfect for hand luggage.

British History Timeline costs around £13.99 and is available online at Amazon.

We were sent this game by Esdevium Games for the purpose of this review but the opinion is entirely our own.

Device Security Whilst on Holiday

1 September 2017

Photo by Linda Xu on Unsplash

It feels so good to plan a holiday, after all, we all work hard and look forward to our annual trip, a time to relax and rejuvenate and get away from the everyday work life. When we go on holiday we always take our phones and iPad with us, not that we spend a lot of time on them once we are enjoying our holiday, but they are useful to have. Boredom can be a huge problem for children, especially on long plane journeys and we find it handy to download a film prior to leaving the UK, enabling the children to have some form of entertainment whilst travelling.  I also find it useful for keeping track of internet banking and receive alerts to any suspicious activity on our accounts. Many excursion companies also offer discounts if trips are booked online prior to visiting whilst you are away.

With more children now having access to mobile devices, it is becoming increasingly important to ensure we protect them from varying sources of cybercrime and educate them of the dangers they may face. It is so important to have regular conversations with children about social media and discuss any worries they may have, being open can help children to not feel pressured into hiding things and not discussing any concerns they may have. Below are many ways that you can help them to become more cyber aware of the problems and difficulties they may face.

Set a Pin or Finger Print scan – a good way of protecting our devices is to set a pin, password or finger print scan to gain access.  This way all your personal information will be safe. This is something I really worry about as I have an internet banking App and although it is secure, you can never be certain.

Parental controls – these can be activated by your broadband provider. Many offer software or tools you can download which allow you to filter and/or block content whilst your children are searching the web. Parental controls can also be used so that age appropriate Apps can only be downloaded.

Cyber Bullying – this can involve anything from hurtful text messages or emails, embarrassing photographs being shared which can lead to low self-esteem and mental health problems.

Passwords – when creating passwords, it can be quite difficult to remember them if they are too complicated. Phrases are a good way of remembering, especially for children and are often harder to replicate.

Limit time online – obviously each child is an individual and we as parents should judge how much screen time our children have. It is also great for them to get outdoors and play and have screen free time. As a family, we find devices useful at night time, especially if you are wanting to unwind after a busy day, this can give you 30 minutes to chill out before you enjoy your evening meal and entertainment.

Connecting to Wifi – warn them of the dangers of connecting to Wifi networks when they are out and about, especially if there are not any safety features activated on their mobiles or tablets. Connecting to public Wifi in foreign countries can leave your devices vulnerable to hackers.

Social Media – keep accounts private and make sure any geo-tagging is deactivated. This will make sure only their friends see their posts. There was a lot of talk recently about Snapchat and their geo filter which lets you see people in your vicinity, this could put your child in danger and can be deactivated quite easily. Ensure you show your children how to block people who are not being nice, or they find offensive, and how to report somebody if they feel threatened at all.

A useful tool to help you manage your device security is Kaspersky Security Cloud solution. This can help to protect you and your family from online threats such as viruses, trojans, worms and phishing. Also featuring Safe Money to protect online payments and a Password Manager that can create and store passwords for you, this is useful especially for people like me who often forget passwords, and would save the hassle of resetting passwords on a regular basis. Kaspersky Security Cloud Family package allows you to link up to 20 accounts so that you can monitor or restrict each one, alerting the main account when a questionable site has been accessed. One of the features I find useful is the ability to lock out identity thieves whilst on Wifi in public areas, a great idea especially when on holiday abroad and with the Security Cloud being Cloud based it does not take up too much memory on mobile devices which can free up a lot of space for other items.

Armed with lots of useful tips and a security package for all your devices in one place, it is possible to make the online world as safe as possible for our children.

This is a collaborative post.

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