The Brill Restaurant- A Review

I was invited to partake in a bite to eat at the newly opened ‘Brill Restaurant’ set in a quiet little village called Nana’s Dining Room. Owned by young entrepreneurs ‘The Picking Up Toys Kids’ I was delighted with the warm welcome and green surroundings accompanied with the distant “BAA” of the local wildlife.

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Busy Things Online Educational Games & Activities

Busy Things is a great award winning online educational games and activities site that supports children’s learning from Early Years to Primary School aged children – making it suitable for children from ages 3-11. There are options for schools, nurseries and families. As my younger children are 5 & 8 they are the perfect ages to try out the Busy Things family subscription. The first thing you need to do is sign up and watch the 3 minute introduction video.

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OOKS Story Creation App Review & Giveaway

If you haven’t heard of OOKS yet then you’re missing out! OOKS  is a story creation app that puts your child at the heart of and in control of the story and they get to make the story into a personalised book- perfect for world book day.

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We’ve spent some time trying out the OOKS app and making our very own stories! The wizard character OOK-Laf starts by asking the child some questions about a few of their favourite things such as:

  • Their name
  • Favourite Colour
  • Favourite Animal
  • Favourite Food
  • How they feel (happy/sad/excited etc)
  • What they most enjoy doing (movies/games/singing etc)
  • Then choose their favourite OOK character

All via little choice wheels as you can see in the picture below.

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The choices then all combine together and up pops your Ook!

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The OOK can be moved around via the touchscreen on your chosen tablet/phone (we used both an Iphone 6s and a Samsung Galaxy Tab and it worked great on both) to interact with the other characters to the make the elements of a unique story and ultimately a book starring your chosen OOK!

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What the characters say can be seen on screen as well as heard and the story changes dependent on which answer they give to the questions. There are also chances along the way to take part in activities such as drawing/colouring in a chef’s hat which the OOK then goes on to wear, choosing the days specials from the menu – who wouldn’t fancy a green overcooked shoe huh?!

Once the story is completed the book is created and goes into your library for you to see and buy the books, delivered straight to your door which include the options your child chose and the drawings they did as part of the story! To order the books an adult needs to have registered.

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  • The books are priced at £16.99 each.
  • The App is available from the Apple  and Google Play stores
  • Free to download with no in app purchase and no advertising
  • Helps with literacy
  • Age 4+ (was perfect for my 5 + 8 year olds)

We really loved the OOKS app, it’s bright and colourful with brilliant graphics and keeps the children’s attention along the way with humour and anticipation in what’s going to happen next. When they realised they would also get the book to keep forever they were delighted. This would make a lovely present or just a lovely way to sit and have reading time with the kids.

Here’s what the lovely people behind OOKS had to say:

‘Here at OOKS HQ, we are all too aware of the importance of stories in the lives of children. With the world becoming more technologically advanced and digital devices playing a big part in the lives of children, it’s important for traditional practices to be nurtured as part of a harmonious relationship that embraces digital and the changing landscape. We created OOKS for this exact reason – to allow storytelling to continue to be at the forefront of play experiences for kids!’

A Balance of Real World and Digital Play

Encouraging learning through play, OOKS is an interactive story-creation app for children that enables them to create awesome real world books through digital play, and develops their love of books, reading, and storytelling in the process!

Interactive Storytelling Where your Child is the Author

While playing in the OOKS world, your child will create a book that is ultra personalised to them! Their drawings will decorate the landscape and their choices will direct the story. How did they defeat the dinosaur at Mount Gargoyle? A catapult? A dance-off? A tea-party? Your child’s unique OOK book will reflect the magic of their own imagination!

A Personalised Book to Read Over and Over

Watch your child’s face light up when their book arrives full of artwork they created and personalised just for them! Not only have they created their very own book but they’ll gain a love of storytelling, writing, and reading – gifts that will stay with them for the rest of their life.

I’m giving 3 of my lovely readers a chance to win an OOKS Tote Bag and a code for a free personalised book including shipping!

To enter click on the Rafflecopter below:

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1. The giveaway is open to residents of the UK only.
2. There are 3 prizes available of 1 OOKS Tote Bag and 1 free personalised book code.
3. There is no cash alternative offered.
4. To enter, please use the rafflecopter widget above.
5. The winners will be drawn at random from all qualifying entries.
6. The giveaway will run until Midnight 18/03/18.
7. Once the giveaway is over the winner will be contacted for their details to arrange postage of their prize.

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*We were gifted items in return for this review.All opinions remain honest and my own*

Game For A Laugh With Ginger Fox #2

Picture the scene, it’s chucking it down with rain, the kids have said the word ‘bored’ approximately 438 times since 7am and colouring just isn’t cutting it anymore.

Thanks to the Ginger Fox Games Club we were sent some more Family Games to try out. We have played some of their games before and loved them. This time we got to play with Corks and The Emoji Game.

Corks

Could you be the last person holding the gold cork?

A fast and furious card game of elimination, speed, thought, co-ordination, stealth and dastardly cunning – when the need to get a cork comes before all others…

It’s a corker of a game!

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Corks is a fab colourful game that the whole family can get involved in. It’s fast and fun and you could find yourself winning the brilliant golden cork!

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Fat Like I Was At Fifteen

Look how fat I was. Just look. Can you see it? Nah, me neither. It’s one of those photos that you show someone and they say “oh wow, look how tiny you were” leaving the “what happened?” unsaid, hanging in in the air.

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I spent that holiday in Gran Canaria plus several years before and after thinking I was huge. I loathed wearing those horrible netball knickers/skirts combos at school because my thighs wobbled when I ran and I thought that equalled fat. Being fat never equalled having a boyfriend. It sounds ridiculous to look back and think that was my thought process. Being accepted and liked is all that really matters at that age. I realise now that as a pear shape I carry my weight on the bottom half and I was perfectly fine just as I was.

Now that I really am overweight as an adult I see that back then there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, I would love to look like that again now. Not that there is anything wrong with me now so to speak, it’s unrealistic to think that you could come away from having 3 babies unscathed. Carrying a few extra pounds isn’t the end of the world but for me I find it really affects my self esteem. I don’t feel right, particularly since I’ve just hit the big 40. I feel podgy and nothing fits me properly like it did when I was slimmer. At only 5’2 every extra pound shows and I dislike my ‘hamster cheeks’ when I smile so I tend not to that much in photos or avoid being in photos at all. So yes, I intend to lose weight but for myself. Not because I feel I should, not because I’ve read the latest ‘beached whales in bikinis’ article in a scummy magazine and not because anybody has told me I should.

Over the years my weight has been up and down, I’ve ranged from a size 6 to a 14 and everything in between. I’ve tried Slimfast, cabbage soup, starvation and all manner of ridiculous diets. I’ve even tried so called safe diet pills before finding out they contained ephedrine when my heart started racing uncontrollably one day at work. Did any of it help? No, absolutely not because yes, I may have lost weight and felt I looked much better but I felt lousy. I’m slowly losing weight properly now and being more aware of getting up and moving, I have a desk job and since I’ve started working full time it’s surprising that although I feel like I’ve been on the go all day the very few steps I clock up over the course of the day is far, far lower than I would have done when I was doing the school runs with the kids.

It worries me that now I have a daughter that one day she may look like this, may think she is fat because media all around us tells us that slim is pretty, flesh on show should be toned and tight and if not it should be covered up. I intend to talk to her about body image because I wouldn’t want her to feel like I did. This has no reflection on my own Mum as I never spoke to her about how I was feeling, my Mum was never one of those Mums that was always on a diet or moaning she was fat. We were fed plenty of fruit and veg (and the odd Findus crispy pancake). Had I spoken to her about it though I know she would have told me there was nothing wrong with me (because there wasn’t).

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Oh how I loved my perm, my hair was so much better then. Why can’t it come back into fashion? Now that’s a 90’s throwback I could really get behind!

So to my 15 year self and to my children I say be who you are because who you are is perfect. All that time and energy spent worrying about whether you’re slim enough or attractive enough could be put into something far more worthwhile. People can either take you as you are or get stuffed. Don’t ever let anyone put you down or make you feel bad for just being you. That boyfriend that tells you that your fat arse sticks out when you walk? He can do one. (Yes this happened to me). The friends who take the mickey out of your appearance? They can either shut up or ship out too. You don’t need their negativity and certainly don’t have to put up with it.

Although you might want to work on not being photographed like this…

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