Saturday, 23 July 2016

Review: Cool Cardz Scratcheez

It was my girl's birthday last weekend and they were super pleased to receive the "Boho Chic" themed Cool Cardz Scratcheez to review as it meant they could make little thank-you cards for the girls that came along and celebrated with them. You can make all sorts though, whatever takes your fancy - party invites, VIP passes, secret club cards etc.

The Cool Cardz range is something most young girls (aged roughly 6 - 12 years) will enjoy as it combines creativity with cool and there are loads of different sets to choose from. You make little credit card sized laminated cards for any occasion. This boxed set comes with a Boho Chic handbag design studio, 20 cards and laminate pockets as well as some gems, two sheets of stickers, a pen, a couple of ring stampers and the new scratcheez stickers.

These are the part that my girls really enjoyed. You can use the supplied tool to scratch a design into them or you can write a secret message on the card (one pen included) and then add one of the scratcheez stickers over the top of the laminate and your friend can scratch it off to reveal the message. There are two sheets, one with black stickers that scratch through to a multicoloured zig-zag pattern underneath and the gold coloured stickers that scratch through and reveal whatever you have underneath - writing, the pattern on the card or you could even put a little photo underneath it.

There are a good variety of card designs included and the cards are good in that they have shapes on them that match the scratcheez stickers exactly so you know just where to write or draw your secret message.

I'm pleased to say it was all super simple and my 9 year old's were able to just get on and play by themselves. I do hate it when craft packs are so fiddly that I have to be involved every step of the way. Independence is a great thing for the girls to learn.

Here is how to make your cool cards -

Step 1 - Choose your card, write messages, do drawings, add stickers or scratch into the scratcheez sticker. Ensure you are happy with your design.
Step 2 - Take one of the laminate pouches and slowly place your card into it, removing the arrow placeholder
Step 3 - Place your laminated card into the handbag design studio and pressing down use the roller to smooth the laminate and make sure it looks nice
Step 4 - Add any extra embellishments that you fancy, like gems or a scratcheez sticker if you wish your friend to scratch it off.

My girls made about five cards each and a friend joined them and made a couple. So that was 12 of the included cards gone in about 20 minutes and thus at £19.99 for the set it was quite a lot of money for a short activity. Each card works out to a cost of about £1.00, which for something that is credit-card sized is quite high I feel.

If you are buying this just for one child to do alone then I'd imagine they would have about 1-2 hours of fun with this set and if they really like it they can buy the refill set which is £7.99 to make 10 laminated cards, thus giving a cost of about 80p per card for extras.

I like that idea that once you finish one play session all the cards and stickers can easily be stored in the Boho Chic handbag design studio, so this is nice and small for storage.

In all my girls did enjoy this set but like with many craft sets I feel the price is quite high for what you get and I'm not actually convinced that you need the plastic design studio. When I made a card and put it carefully in the laminate packet and just used a credit card to rub across it to ensure it is sealed nicely that worked just as well.

Cool Cardz are part of the Cool Create brand and there are loads of other fun items you can get like Mr Frosty Crunchy Ice Maker, Chocolate Bar Maker and Shaker Maker models. Find out more and download fab craft project ideas from Cool Club Create.

Disclosure: We received this set free of charge for the purpose of this review. I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Happy 9th Birthday Little Ladies #R2BC

This last week has all been about my little ladies birthday. They have turned 9 and the celebration feels as if it has gone on forever. I think they have had a good time but we are all ready for the end of school now as the tiredness has arrived along with the heat.

Having a birthday on a school day is never the best thing, so we arranged for their birthday treat with friends to be on the Saturday and let them open their presents spread over the weekend and on Monday too. They went to a new craft shop with a friend each on the Saturday and made either mosaics or decopatch, I also had a go at the decopatch and really enjoyed myself, I'll definitely do it again.

Sadly Miss E's friend was feeling quite poorly so we didn't head on to McDonalds and the park as we had planned but instead went home for an impromptu birthday lunch and play with their local friends. I then treated them to a trip to our Orangery tea room for an ice cream and milkshake, they felt very grown-up girls just the five of them together and had lots of fun searching in the fountain for lost coins.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Giving Myself Permission...

I've lost my blogging way at the moment. If I'm honest it's been gone for some time and I've been trying to persevere and keep on going but I'm really not sure what I'm up to. My mojo for it has gone, perhaps it is just on holiday or maybe it is a boat that has sailed its final voyage. I don't know right now but I do know I'm out of love with blogging and it just feels like a chore. Not good, right?

The off feelings started late last year with a scary trolling episode that really sent me off kilter and my love for blogging has not returned since. It's evident as I've not accepted any paid work yet this financial year (and I now realise we are a quarter of the way into the year) and I even missed BritMums Live in June, which is my go-to blogging event each year.

I've also realised this guilt I feel when I'm not writing is not helping anyone. It's is just a millstone round my neck dragging me down. I don't feel completely ready to give it all up yet, it has been way too big a part of my life for the last eight years and I think God's hand is in this and He will use my writing somehow but for now it is time for a bit of a break.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Review: Mountain Warehouse Backpacker Lightweight 2 Man Tent

My JJ loves to camp, he has been so many times that that I've lost count and I'm really quite proud that he is a competent camper. When we go to events that involve fire starting or outdoors work like wood whittling or kayaking JJ is on it and always asked to help set things up or to supervise.

Previously on his camps he has shared a tent with his Dad or with other scouting friends so we haven't needed to get him a tent but this time around he was asked to take his own tent rather than use a Scout group one and Dh's is a bit big for him to take when he needs to carry all his own kit, so we asked Mountain Warehouse if they could help us out with a small but effective tent that JJ could take to this Scout camp.

I have to say, they really came up trumps. JJ was sent the Backpacker Lightweight 2 man tent which is currently an absolute bargain at £49.99, this being half price from its regular price of £99.99. When JJ first showed me this tent online and said he was interested I thought it looked a good model as it is super small when packed and only weighs 1.8kg.

Friday, 15 July 2016

10 Top Gift Ideas for Loved Ones Abroad

I don't know about you but I always draw a blank when thinking about what to buy the members of my family who live abroad. I have to admit that I've been guilty in the past of sending some money via PayPal and asking my Cousin to get a present that their child would like and whilst this does leave the child happy it feels to me like I passed the buck!

With more family birthdays coming up I wanted to be better organised this year so I asked some of my friends who live abroad what ideas they have and here is the top 10 that we came up with -

1.  Cupcakes - Who doesn't love a cake on their birthday? Lucy at Lish Concepts suggested using the internet to check out a local cupcake delivery company and spoiling your loved one with a dozen!

2.  Cadburys Chocolate Hamper - On the subject of food, what better reminder of home than a Cadburys hamper filled with all their favourite childhood treats? This is definitely a gift that would appeal to me, I can't imagine not having access to Cadburys Buttons, Double Deckers or Curly Wurlys and I assume nor could Sarah who recommended this gift.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Date Night, Walking the Cliffs and Beautiful Sunsets

Happy Thursday friends, how are you today?

I'm doing well but getting desperate for the end of term, there is so much going on and the kids are getting more and more tired. I really struggle to understand why primary school children still have homework at this time of year, mine just can't focus... but not long now!

It has been a fabulous last week in general and here are just a few of the highlights -

1.   A great date night with my hubby. We went to see the film Absolutely Fabulous and it gave us a good few belly laughs and we also enjoyed a fabulous authentic Italian meal. I'd highly recommend Rustico Italiano in Hastings, East Sussex if you are ever local. Such reasonable prices and the food was exceptional.

2.   Cliff walking with our Pastoral Group at Seven Sisters and the Birling Gap. This area of outstanding beauty managed by the National Trust is truly beautiful and really worth a day trip. We have been here dozens of times but I never tire of it. You can walk for miles or just lie there and take in the glory of God's creation. I'll be blogging separately about this soon.

Thanks to Erica for this great picture

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

What Do I Really Really Want?

Were you a Spice Girls fan back in the 1990's? Sshh, I was, I suspect I was a bit old for them really as Wannabe was launched in 1996 and I was 23 years old then but I still loved them. So much fun and such a lot of energy along with their catchy tunes. Baby Spice was my favourite in general but it was Mel C all the way when it came to the voice.

It is 20 years since the original 'Girl Power' tune and I have to say that I love, with a capital L the new video that Wannabe has been loaned to 20 years after its original release.

So powerful to watch all those girls fighting back and shouting out that the world youngsters are growing up in today isn't fair. There has been progress but in so many countries there are still many, many girls and women who are not allowed to own land, gain an education, spend their own money or have a say in important decisions, such as whether they feel ready to marry as young as 14.

I've posted about the Global Goals (also known as the Sustainable Development Goals) a number of times before. These are the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals and the aim is that by 2030 three extraordinary things will have been achieved -

  • End extreme poverty. 
  • Fight inequality and injustice. 
  • Combat climate change.

This years focus as part of the fight for these important things is focussed on the rights of girls and women everywhere. In September the General Assembly of the United Nations will meet and we (yes us, Joe average) are being asked to help make some noise so that our objection to girls and women being treated worse off than their male counterparts will be heard by our world leaders and then they can take action.

So please, please why don't you join me and tell our leaders what you  really, really want for girls and women everywhere. I've chosen that no girl should ever have to be forced into a marriage that she doesn't want.  Having seen in Ethiopia some of the thousands of young women who have ended up needing surgery for a fistula that was caused because their tiny body was not yet developed enough to carry a baby down the birth canal this really tugs at my heart strings.

So join me, take a selfie, showing what you want to see change and then share it socially with the hashtag #whatireallyreallywant and these will all be collected up and presented at the UN to show the strength of opinion that is out there worldwide.

I know it is easy to turn off and believe there will never be change when it comes to some of these massive world problems, like poverty, child marriage and global warming but there has already been massive leaps forward and the more of us that engage and press for change the more it will happen.

We all want change but for change to happen we all have to get on board and make it happen.

Simple steps taken by many people equal collective voice that can't be ignored.

Come on, Join in!

1. Share your selfie across your social media channels or blog

2. Share the updated Wannabe video on your social pages

4. Follow the ONE Girls and Women Facebook page for updates of great articles and resources

Thanks for being involved, Mich xx

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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful - Desks, Clearing Out and New Opportunities

Good morning friends, I hope you are well today. Welcome to this week’s edition of Reasons to be Cheerful, which is being hosted here for the month of July. A massive thanks to Becky for hosting in June and she’ll be back again for August.

If you are new to this, Reasons to be Cheerful is a super friendly linky party that has been running for around five years now. 
  • We are a small but positive and welcoming community and we’d love to read and comment on any linked up posts. 
  • All you have to do is link something up that is making you feel happy/ cheerful/ positive/ joyful/ thankful. 
  • We are not big into rules but it would be cool if you either add my badge or link back to me so people can find the linky
  • Then comment, comment, comment as we find the love comes back when you give it out. Please don't link dump and run....
For me this week, I have loads I could share but I'll keep it nice and simple with three things -

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