Activities

EMB_COVER_FINAL_adj.indd    I know crochet has been a ‘thing’ for quite some years. While I love crafting and making many things, crochet has not really been something I’ve been inspired to take up…. until now. I’ve been introduced to the world of Edward’s Menagerie: Birds. The book released by Kerry Lord, founder of TOFT a British DIY knitwear and wool company, features 40 patterns for quite frankly the cutest collection of amigurumi (Japanese art of crocheting very cute stuffed animals) birds I’ve ever seen.

stork_bird_dk_amigurumi_crochet_edwards_menagerie_kerry_lordtoft_british_crochet_workshops_amigrumi_pattern_robin_edwards_menagerie_birds_kerry_lordflamingo_bird_dk_amigurumi_crochet_edwards_menagerie_kerry_lordThe patterns are split into sections for 1. beginners, 2. intermediate and 3.advanced, so even a novice crocheter like me can attempt to make one! What I love so much about these birds apart from their obvious adorable design, is the indiviudal personalities and identities each bird has. From Florian the Ostrich ‘who works in fashion’ to Tricia the Silkie Chicken ‘who is a middle-aged, self-employed aerobics instructor thrilled that so many women are still so bad at getting fit and staying thin’, each bird has its own kooky name and personal backstory written by Kerry. Once you’ve read about their likes, dislikes, daydreams and delusions, you can get a sense of their personalities; then you can crochet a bird for each of your family and friends. The birds can even be crocheted in four different sizes, making over 160 different pattern possibilities.

I cannot wait to make one for my girls! I’m already planning which amigurumi bird I want to make for Littlelish and Tinylish and while I’m at it my nieces and nephews AND the rest of my family and friends. I’m thinking they will make the perfect maternity leave project and I have a feeling if I get hooked, everyone will be getting one for Christmas!!

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To celebrate the book release, Friday the 28th of August will be a family- friendly celebration at the Toft Alpaca Shop in Warwickshire http://www.thetoftalpacashop.co.uk. From 11am-3pm you can visit for FREE farm tours, drop-in workshops, and a 2pm short talk about the process of designing the book. RSVP is essential though so please email help@thetoftalpacashop.co.uk with the number of people attending!

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“Mum, pleeeeeease, can I have a sleepover?” is a question we’ve all been asked time after time. Now that school’s out and we don’t have to worry about our daughters being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for Monday morning, now’s a good time to take the plunge and finally say yes to a pyjama party. Read on to see how to give your daughter an awesome slumber party without losing your own sanity in the process!

Safety in Numbers

If it’s your daughter’s first sleepover, start small by just inviting one friend over. If she absolutely insists on more, make four the limit, including her. Odd numbers can cause problems as one person is more likely to be left out and big gangs of girls staying in your house overnight will spell crazy chaos and tears before bedtime!

Time For Tea

Don’t be tempted to go for a mid-afternoon start – by 5pm, you’ll be wanting to shoo them all out the door. Invite them over around 6pm for an easy tea of pizza, veg sticks and ice cream. Then they’ve still got plenty of time to hang out or play before it’s time to get changed for bed.

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Wind Down Time

There’s no chance you’ll have a bedroom full of sleeping beauties by 8pm, and after all, part of the fun of a slumber party is staying up thrillingly late. Having said that, you don’t want them still on the rampage at 10pm, so when the time feels right, take things down a notch or two by settling them on the sofa with a DVD. There’s nothing like a sing-a-long to Frozen to keep them entertained but stationary.

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Midnight Feast?

It wouldn’t be a proper sleepover if they weren’t oh-so-subtly planning a midnight feast under your nose. Despite their best efforts, even older girls will probably fall fast asleep long before the witching hour, but if they insist on a feast, why not suggest 9 or 10pm? If they refuse to go for it, you can always change the clocks!yumyum

Sleepover Style

Let’s face it, as the item of clothing fewest people see, our girls’ pyjamas are often the last thing on the list when it comes to a wardrobe refresh. But no sleepover is complete without a brand new set of sleepwear to make a style statement in. Whether she goes for a cute’n’cosy character set, a beautiful bunny motif or some fashiontastic One Direction-themed pyjamas, these girls’ pyjamas from George will fit the bill.

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The Morning After

If you’re lucky, the excitement of the night before will mean your houseguests will sleep beyond the crack of dawn – but this is kids we’re talking about, so don’t bank on it! Make sure you’re on hand early doors with toast, juice and cereals and, most importantly of all, make sure they’re out of their pyjamas and ready for their parents to pick them up by 10am. At this point, providing lunch isn’t an option!

Hurrah – you’ve hosted a successful sleepover – now for a bit of me time!

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Looking for ideas for a winter sun family holiday? In today’s guest post, Katie of Delight So Me shares with us her wonderful family friendly ideas of things to do in Tenerife, an ideal all year round holiday destination. Katie I’m sold, my bags are packed :)

My Favourite Family-Friendly Activities in Tenerife

Tenerife is one of my favourite places to go for a family holiday. Not only is the weather almost always superb, but there are loads of family-friendly activities available for everyone to enjoy.

We regularly stay in the south of Tenerife and over the years we’ve put together a list of our favourite things to do each time we visit. Some of them cost a little bit of money and some of them are free, but all of them are guaranteed to bring smiles to our faces. Here is a small selection of some of my favourite family-friendly activities in Tenerife:

Spend a day at the beach

My most favourite beach is the one at Fañabe – it’s easy to get to and can be accessed by walking along the promenade, just south of the resort at Playa Real. This beach stretches on for what seems like miles and has a type of sand somewhere in between volcanic and golden grains. The sea is very gentle at this part of the coastline, too, so we rarely have to be concerned about waves or tides.

We love lounging on the plush sun loungers and sipping drinks from the beach bar whilst the kids play in the supervised inflatable play area, just a short distance away from the shore. There are loads of cafes, restaurants and supermarkets in the area, so we’ve got plenty of choice when lunchtime rolls around. If we don’t bother with the drinks and pack our own lunch, spending a day at the beach can even be a completely free activity.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hisgett/400958396/

Visit the water park

Whilst Siam Park may be known as one of the best water parks in Europe, I think Aqualand is a better choice for families with young children. Aqualand tickets are much cheaper and some excursion companies even offer a deal where one child gets to go free for every paying adult. The park has loads of different slides and several kids’ zones full of mini water slides and other rides for them to enjoy.

My favourite thing about Aqualand is the number of lifeguards – there are loads so we always feel like the kids are in safe hands. Plus, we never get stuck paying extortionate prices for food and drink – we’re allowed to bring our own lunch and snacks into the park with us. This can make the difference between it being too expensive and it being an affordable day out everyone can enjoy.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/srgblog/2326433339/

Play Mini Golf

Sometimes the simplest activities are the most fun and this is true when it comes to mini golf. There are quite a few mini golf courses in Tenerife but my absolute favourite is the one at Vivo Treasure Island. This course is divided into two – one suitable for children and one which is a bit trickier, more suitable for adults. Both courses are decorated beautifully with full-size statues of pirates, pirate ships and waterfalls.

After we’ve finished our game, we usually chill out on the mini man-made beach whilst the kids cool off in the pool and play on the bouncy castles and trampolines. There’s also a bar/restaurant which serves food and drink throughout the day if we get hungry.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bigdumptruck/3670368180/

Spend Time at the Monkey Park

Loro Parque is a great place to spend a day, but when you’re a family of four it can get a bit expensive. Monkey Park Tenerife is a much more affordable option and it’s much closer if you’re staying in the south of Tenerife. We always have a great time wandering around the enclosures and checking out the animals, but our favourite part of this park is the interactive section.

The interactive section is a walk-in enclosure full of all different sorts of friendly animals. We buy small bags of animal food at the entrance to the park and keep a hold of them until we get here with the hopes of attracting as many animals as we can. Exotic birds usually perch on our shoulders whilst spider monkeys climb up our legs to get to the food.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/crlm/2320871081/

Katie is a newbie blogger from Bradford. She thinks that spending time on holiday together as a family is very important and always tries to do things that everyone can enjoy. This is one of the reasons she we continues to return to Tenerife – there are so many things to see and do to keep everyone happy and ensure everyone has a great holiday. You can follow Katie’s adventures on twitter @delightsomeblog

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