The Easter holidays are nearly upon us and Spring has sprung, it’s the perfect time for a Nature Trail! We are big fans of encouraging you to get out and about no matter what the weather, but the lighter nights and warmer days make it so much easier for everyone. To help encourage you get more »
In honour of International Women’s Day this Sunday 8 March two great Belgian brands are offering six lucky Mum in the Mad House readers the chance to win some amazing prizes.
Our children are growing up and learning in an environment so different to when I was at school. Online technology is a given. Video content is available at the click of a button. I remember the school only having one TV on wheels and often my class would come to my parents house to watch more »
In conjunction with Birds Eye I have a Samsung WB350F Smart Camera (White, 16.3MP, Optical Image Stabilisation, 3 inch LCD) to giveaway to celebrate the modern British mealtime and their Birds Eye View exhibition. Birds Eye have been on a quest to document the modern British mealtime with photographer Martin Parr. To help them understand mealtimes more »
To help celebrate the launch of the Arctic Home campaign, Mum in the Mad House has teamed up with Coca-Cola and WWF to offer three lucky readers the chance to win an exclusive Arctic Home gift pack, which includes a beautiful fleece blanket, stylish white hooded jumper and much more!
We all know how mischievously messy kids can be, so why not share your experiences in your latest blog post and win some extra cash?
My boys know no fear, they are mini thrill seekers and love visiting theme parks, but being eight and nine, means that they are not tall enough to go on a lot of the rides, but they really enjoyed Thorpe Park and could happily spend a couple of days at a time there!
A while ago I was asked to be in a video by Dr Beckmann about their stain removers and their colour and dirt collector sheets. Me in a video! Initially I was going to decline, but I use the products and actually for once decided to step outside my comfort zone and say yes.
We fell in love with Center Parcs when we visited Whinfell earlier in the year. It was a perfect family holiday and had something for everyone in the family. Center Parcs are currently giving people the opportunity to win a break a the Center Parcs Village of their choice with the #wincpbreak competition which they are running more »
I adore advocardo’s. They seem to be one of those things that people either love or hate. Me I love them, but I find it really hard to predict when they are just right to eat. So when we were challenged to make our perfect sandwich with Primula by the Tots100 to To celebrate National more »
The minimads took their first trip to Alton towers this Saturday. My boys are mini thrill seekers and adore rides of any sort and were a little disappointed that most of the big name rides were for children over 1.4 meters. Of the ten thrill rides the boys were not big enough for eight of more »
Like many families we are squeezed. With work, family commitments, school, diy, sports, beavers, cubs, hobbies and cooking, cleaning and all that comes with a home and much more and since the new rules about holidays during school time we are even more squeezed. We have just Squeezed an awful lot on to a weekend more »
Mother’s Day is a special time of year where we celebrate everything that our mothers have done for us over the years. From changing your nappy to helping you put money into your children’s savings account and, these days, listening to all your worries and woes, your mum has been there for you through it more »
The last time I visited the Canary Islands was in January 2001. 2000 had been a really bleak winter and my Father had died in an industrial accident and I really needed some winter sun, so Madad and I took a wonderful relaxing trip to the Canary Islands. The Canary’s really were the perfect place to capture some winter sun, make peace more »
We are delighted to be Center Parcs family bloggers here at the Mad House and cannot wait to start planning our trip to Whinfell Forest and enjoy our first family Center Parcs holiday. Center Parcs are currently running a fantastic competition to win a stocking full of goodies OR a family break at Center Parcs. Below is the stocking full more »
We are huge fans of LeapFrog and have been since the boys were small. They grew up with LeapFrog and are only just at seven and eight leaving that stage of their life behind. We have been putting the new LeapReader though it’s paces and it is certainly an improvement and step up on the more »
Can you believe that it is only two months to 2014! I know that I can’t. To help ease you into 2014 mode, I have a fab giveaway from PhotoBox to win a personalised calendar ready for the new year. A photo calendar is the ideal way to personalise a calendar and help remember those all-important dates more »
John Lewis have asked me to find the item I own that matters most to me to help celebrate the launch of their first ever TV advert for Insurance.
So I had a long look round my house and actually realised that things are not what is important to me. I remember the heartache and hard work it was emptying Mum’s house after she died and I brought some of her things home with me, but for me the things that matter most are the things that we use all the time. I try not to keep things fo0r best. I adore the fact that I use my mums old rolling pin to make my pastry just as she would. I find that the items that matter the most to me are the things that bring my family together, so I decided that my item would be my teapot.
Tea is a drink to be shared. A pot of tea is a social experience. There is nothing in this world that can not be solved by a cup of tea.
I start my day with a cup of tea brought up to me in bed by MadDad and my boys have also caught the tea bug off me. We love the whole experience of making tea in a pot. They love pouring in the milk, offering sugar and then pouring their tea. It is a time when we all relax and take time to enjoy each others company and chat together. It slows us down. We have to be patient and wait for the tea to brew.
I am not a tea bag girl and inherited my Grandad’s love of tea leaves and I think this is why I have a thing for tea pots. Loose leaf tea is much nicer from a teapot, so we have pots of various size ranging from a single person pot to our family teapot which holds four good mugfulls. This is my favorite teapot of all. I think that it is due to the fact that we use it as a family. It is too big for two or three people, we all need to be having a cup or two to warrant its use. So it is the family teapot.
To celebrate the fab advert John Lewis have launched a competition on Vine to find out #whatmattersmost to people. You can find out more about the compeition here http://whatmatters.johnlewis-insurance.com/competition/. You need to share your vine video with the hashtag #whatmattersmost for the possibility to win a weekly prize of a Canon SLR and the grand prize £1000 John Lewis vouchers.
This summer, leading children’s soft drink brand Robinsons Fruit Shoot, in association with Nickelodeon, launched Get Your Skills On, a campaign designed to give kids the chance to give kids the chance to learn the latest cool skills ranging from street dance to free style basketball to urban percussion. With the help of the Fruit more »
Carcraft are challenging people to craft their dream car to be in with the chance to win £50 worth of Amazon vouchers.
It is really simple to enter all you have to do is:
1. Help your child (or children) craft their dream car.
2. Take a photo – there is room for more creativity here!
3. Finally, tweet us your photo at @Carcraft with the hashtag #DreamCarCraft.
But get your skates on as it ends on Friday. To find our more take a look at the craft your dream car terms and conditions.
Today has been one of those days where we have all played hokey cokey with the weather (in, out, in, out, in, out) so we took the opportunity to work on our car drawing when it was raining.
How much extra does it cost to order from JUST-EAT.co.uk?
JUST EAT is the nation’s top online takeaway ordering service. We’re free to join, and with over 17,000 restaurants nationwide you’re sure to be able to find something you fancy.
Whether it’s a meal from your local Chinese restaurant or a piping hot curry from the nearest Indian, ordering is simple. Find great new restaurants in your area, or take advantage of online ordering with your old favourites!
Click here if you’d like to follow us on Twitter for competitions and discounts!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Chocolaterie Diane White Chocolates Pralines 150g
Edinburgh Preserves Wholegrain Mustard 100g
New English Teas English Afternoon Tea x 10 Envelopes
Triple Chocolate Gourmet Cookies 100g
Cherry & Coconut Flapjack 120g
Honey Baked Flapjack 120g
Hand Made Sundried Tomato & Sesame Biscuits 100g
Lewis & Cooper Savoury Mustard & Coriander Biscuits Tin 200g
The Wooden Spoon Plum, Pear & Apple Jam 113g AWARD WINNER Silver Award from The Guild of Fine Foods
Presented in a fully fitted 4-person wicker hamper with stripey lining
CUTLERY CONTENTS: 4 x Forks, Knives, Spoons, Plates & Cups
Win Your Family Holiday This Year!
The recession has hit most household budgets hard, with families struggling to meet basic outgoings, and not very much left in the pot for luxuries like holidays. If you’re feeling pretty gloomy at the prospect of giving your break a miss this year, imagine how good it would be to win your family holiday this year!
With Cushelle and Butlins, you could do just that. They have teamed up to give away three UK breaks, for families to try out the brand new Wave Hotel at the Bognor Regis Butlins resort. The lucky winners can check in two adults and two children, for a super exciting vacation at Butlins.
Those with older children, between the ages of 8 and 14, will be especially excited by the new Wave Hotel, as everything about it has been carefully designed to appeal to hard to please teens and pre-teens. The designers have gone with a cool and quirky underwater theme, complete with submarine style rooms, and the tech geeks at Butlins have gone all out to integrate the latest gadgets and gizmos to appeal to tech savvy kids.
The piece de resistance is the Games Port, where families can challenge each other to interactive modern games. The hotel also boasts a kindle and iPod library for guests, free Wi-Fi and a Soho Coffee Co Café. In the bright, funky designed rooms you’ll find iPod docks, freeview, and individual DVD players for each bed – saving on squabbles over what to watch!
Outside of the hotel (if you can drag the kids away!), the Bognor resort has also been treated to a brand new fairground, where you can ride your favourites for free! There’s also a fantastic new Discovery Studio hosting live shows themed on science, animals and magic – perfect for inquisitive kids!
It’s got to be worth a quick click to enter – all you have to do is enter a Cushelle barcode online. And even if you’re not a winner, Cushelle will give you £20 off your Butlins break of choice, making a family holiday that little bit more affordable.
So why not print the entry form and have them draw their favourite teacher with a comment and email either a photo/scan to firstname.lastname@example.org by 30 June 2013.
So my boys are going to do one for each of their teachers, when I asked Mini his response was:
My teacher deserves a years supply of tea as he is the BEST teacher in the world, plus he supports Middlesbrough Football Club and they have been relegated.
Maxi thinks this teacher deserves a years supply of tea:
My teacher has beautiful hair and helps me learn and puts in lots of effort.
They have also been kind enough to offer my readers the chance to win a Chewits hamper worth £25 bursting with Chewit goodies.
The prize will include:
Chewie Gum Box which consists of 12 packs of Gum
Chew Tin – Consists of eight stick packs in a silver encased tin
Chewits Mug and Key Ring
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I am a huge advocate of free range parenting and natural play. One of the ways I encourage this is by taking the boys to our local woods and also to Dalby Forest, which we are ambassadors for.
I want them to learn that they can climb trees, roll in leaves and use natures playgroup. I want them to learn all about unstructured play. I want to encourage them to build dens and look out for nature. In short I want them to have balance in their lives, I want them to have a natural childhood along with the technology that pervades their lives.
I am sure that I am not the only parent that feels this way. If so then this giveaway is perfect for you.
o hands, one for each of my children. I still take joy in the fact that at eight and nearly seven the boys want to hold my hands when we go places.
Two hands, to hold on tight to the man of my dreams
Two hands that love to get dirty with bread, paint, glue and glitter (not all at the same time mind you)
Two hands, one to hold the book and one to turn the pages as I read the bedtime story
Two hands that love to gently stroke my children as they sleep.
Two hands that tippy tap away on the keyboard letting the words flow from brain to blog
Two hands that hold the camera capturing the moments to make the memories
But mostly my two hands help, they help my children learn to make their own way in the world
Fancying winning a 3 night weekend or 4 night Midweek break with Haven Holidays? I thought you might…………
All you have to do is share a picture of one of your Haven holidays saying why you think nothing beats a holiday by the seaside using through Haven’s Facebook app before 14 April 2013.
Then Rory the Tiger will choose a winner and they can either have a 3 night weekend or 4 night Midweek break in a Deluxe caravan for up to six people before October 2013 (but this excludes July and August).
Now I know that I am lucky to actually live by the sea, so I am biased, but I also know that nothing beats a seaside holiday. There is something about the sea that makes me and the rest of the family relax and feel grounded. The boys adore the sea. They never seem to feel the cold of the water until they get out! They love digging and making sandcastles and honestly nothing beats fish and chips out of the paper at the seaside.
When I was growing up even though we lived by the sea, most of our family holidays were taken in our touring caravan at the great British seaside resorts. In fact look at the photos my brother found of one of our holidays!
I love the fact that no matter how hot it was my Grandad would be fully dressed!
I love reliving my holidays of past with my children, so why not enter and see if you can win a seaside holiday.
For full terms and conditions please see the Haven Facebook app page
If you are of my generation then you will remember the amazing ticks that the Harlem Globetrotters did. In fact they were all I knew about basketball at one point in my life!
Both of my boys are sports mad and after checking our their you tube video I knew that this would be something that they would adore. The UK tour starts on 25 March, so in order to be in with the chance
to win a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) to the UK venue of your choice then please complete the rafflecopter entry below. The draw will close at noon on Friday 15th March.
Wondering if there is a venue near you? You can find the Harlem Globetrotters tour dates and venues online.
Do you have a budding novelist in your house?
Thompson Al Fresco Holidays have a fantastic Young Story Writers competition at the moment. The competition is for budding young story writers aged 6-12 years old and open until the 31st March 2013. Your child has to write a short story no longer than 500 words with the theme My Fantastic Journey. You never know they could win a family holiday for up to six people.
You might want to get your young story writer some inspiration and Jeremy Strong’ has created his very own story created exclusively for Al Fresco Holidays.
We’ve teamed up with the friendly people at Thorntons to giveaway a delicious ‘I Love Chocolate Hamper’!
Thorntons sell yummy personalised chocolates, toffees, fudges and also some delicious looking hampers like this one we’re about to giveaway. Everyday there is a reason to make someone smile, whether it’s to say ‘I Love you’ or just to say ‘thinking of you’, why not lift and brighten up someone’s day by buying them a box of chocolates from Thorntons to create those smiles
To enter answer the question below via the rafflecopter mechanism:
Who opened Thorntons’ very first shop 100 years ago?
a) Harry Steven Thornton
b) Joseph William Thornton
c) Andrew Thomas Thornton
As you know I have been taking part in the Tots100 Swagbucks competition along with 12 other fantastic bloggers and I wanted to tell you about my experience before the winner is announced next week. I am not sure yet that Swagbucks is for me, I haven’t been very stressful with it, but I do think there are a number of reasons. Firstly the toolbar doesn’t work in Chrome and that is my preferred browser and secondly the major one for me is that I think it is possible to get many more points if you are willing to use Swagbucks to register with gambling sites, but I don’t gamble, so it didn’t really work for me. Another issue was that often people post hints and tips to the Swagbucks facebook page and with the changes on facebook I often didn’t realise they were there until to late.
I am not sure that this time of year was the best time for me to focus on Swagbucks, as I am short of time and I think that if you have time to use it to do the daily poll, survey and searches via them you can make a lot of cash. Wendy made £100 in just three weeks, where I made less than £10! Pippa also made an amazing number of points too, which highlighted to me that it is more than possible and it was me that wasn’t using the site right!
Also I think it is really important that you get other people registered and using swagbucks as you get a proportion of their bucks too and neither of my referrals used the search function.
So my top tips would be:
Get in to a routine (I will try again after Christmas)
Use the seach toolbar
get your referrals to use swagbucks
So I am going to try again in the new year when I have more time and if you want to have a go with me, http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/MuminTheMadHouse
If your children are anything like my boys, then I am always grateful for any help I can get with the cost of shoes. I love shoes and have to say that the boys do not share my enthusiasm for shoes other than for football boots and trainers, which are something that I can not get excited about. I more »
I am all for passive income! So the thought of getting paid for doing what I do online anyway was a no brainer for me. So when the Tots100 were looking for people to take part in their Christmas Swagbucks challenge I jumped at the chance to be part of it.
What is Swagbucks?
Swagbucks is a site that basically rewards users for spending time online. With this site you accrue a virtual currency for doing the things that you might normally do online – using search, watching videos, chatting, playing games, doing polls and surveys etc etc – and you earn from doing it.
Swagbucks has been running in the US since 2007 and is one of the country’s top 100 trafficked websites. Since 2007, the company has paid out more than $26m in rewards to its members – and now Swagbucks is available in the UK!
What is the challenge?
The competition is simple, whichever blogger earns the most Swagbucks by 5pm on December 14, 2012 will win a fabulous £250 gift card.
So I can earn these virtual pennies in a couple of ways, by searching the internet, spending time online, doing little quizzes and playing games and I can appeal to my friends, family, loved ones, blog readers etc to sign up and have a go themselves.
getbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)
All you need to do is click this code: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/MuminTheMadHouse and follow the easy instructions – Please
2013 Diary Contents:
Double page week-to-view
4 storage pockets
Elastic closure strap
Pen loop (new feature for 2013)
Now the fab people at KTwo have offered a free diary to one of the readers of The Mad House. So please follow the rafflecopter instructions.
SO if you have ever been through what we have, then Calpol want to hear from you. Whatever event your little one missed out on – it could’ve been a family trip to the zoo, their best friend’s swimming party or their 6th birthday party – CALPOL® want to hear about it. So ‘enter’ to enter their story into their Second Chance Saturday competition.
This is a delightful book which gives you a simple craft for every day of the year themed by weeks. The crafts are all achievable fun and many can be made with things that will already be in your stash. With weeks such as star week, Bear week and mittens week, I was hooked and so were the boys. The book is fantastic for novice crafters or perfect for a teen looking to craft. Yes some of the crafts are simple, but I am a big fan of simple crafts. Most weeks induce a cake topper and garland.
Show off your cooking skills and win Jamie Oliver’s best-selling cookbook
“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for the trees have no tongues.”
A Universal Picture © 2012 Universal Studios. All Rights Reserved.
To celebrate the release of The Lorax, in cinemas now, Mum in the Madhouse is giving one lucky person the chance to win a HP Deskjet printer!
HP has partnered up with Universal to celebrate the launch of the feature film Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. HP encourages eco-conscious choices when printing, such as choosing ENERGY-star qualified printers, using responsibly-sourced paper and recycling HP print cartridges through the Planet Partners programme. Every Inkling makes a difference.
The 3D-CGI feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is an adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a boy as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet
Summer is supposed to be on it’s way and regardless of the weather, the children will be off for their summer break!
So today I have a super competition for you to win a free day of football coaching for a child and a friend from Powerleague , who run football and sport centres across the UK. Both my boys adore football and are in U7 and U8 teams. I guess there must be something in their gene’s as MadDad played five a side football with his work until recently.
The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received. The winner will be notified within 28 days of the closing date. The prize is as stated: no cash alternatives are available. This competition is open to UK entrants only.
Clare Florist are a family owned florist who specialise in supplying online flowers. They believe that flowers delivery should be a pleasure for both the sender and the recipient. They have a really easy to navigate website where you can search for flowers by occasion, price, colour and type.
I adore taking photographs and take far too many each month. This is a habit that I have passed on to both of my boys and when they were younger, they both had a VTech Kidizoom and they have stood the test of time in The Mad House, even Mini’s, which was dropped more times than I can recall.
So you even know what it means? Well, have you ever left the house and had to return as you were worried that you had left the iron on or some other appliance? New Research by British Gas found that 30 million Britons suffer from ‘appliance anxiety’ and can worry for up to 80 minutes each week about leaving appliances – such as boilers, irons and hair strengtheners – switched on when they’ve left the house.
No I am going to admit that I have been known to do this occasionally with the iron, in fact I have ruined a pretty new iron by leaving it on all day.
We have a bunk bed buddy in natural finish in Mini’s room for his mid sleeper bed and it has been a real revelation for him. Like all tidy books products, it is superbly well built and designed and the buddy is very lightweight, but perfect solid and strong at the same time. We live in a new house and the more »
ersil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure have launched a fab new tool in conjunction with British Skincare Foundation and a leading paediatric dermatologist. All you have to do is simply tick the multiple choice answers to their six questions, click submit and you are provided with some free expert skincare advice tailored specifically to you and your baby or child.
o matter how many times I profess my love of LEGO Duplo and LEGO, I just don’t think I can put into words just how much we love it as a family. Yes we are opn the cusp of the top end of the age range for LEGO Duplo, but due to the fact that it is compatable with LEGO (yes you can connect and interchange the bricks) it is still one of the most played with toys in The Mad House.
We were sent a super duper selection of LEGO Duplo Cars 2 sets to play with as part of the expert program. Rather than do a straight review of the kits (which are fabtastic), I thought I would give you a run down on why we love it so much:
To celebrate the release of Spooky Buddies on Disney DVD from 10 October, we’re giving away a copy of the Buddies Pack box-set to 3 lucky winners!
The quintet of irresistible talking puppies, Disney’s lovable “Buddies,” are back for a ghoulish good time in a fantastic all-new Halloween-themed adventure, Spooky Buddies.
Overflowing with trick-or-treat action, the ‘Buddies’ films are favourites of families and kids of all ages. The Buddies Pack features all 5 adventures; Air Buddies, Space Buddies, Santa Buddies, Snow Buddies and latest adventure Spooky Buddies.
To be in with a chance of winning this wonderful prize, just answer the following question in my comments:
Which of the following is not a film from the Buddies series?
a) Spooky Buddies
b) Air Buddies
c) Mountain Buddies
I have discussed before on this blog why breakfasts for children are so important and the fact that 1.7 million children did not eat breakfast. Kelloggs have just completed some further research in to breakfasts with UK children and the results are equally shocking:
1 in 7 UK children do not eat breakfast in the mornings – rises to 1 in 5 of secondary school children
The main reason school children skip breakfast because they have no time in the morning
UK Children spend £650m each year on buying food in shops on the way to school –
25% of children eat crisps, chocolate or burgers on the way to school
1 in 4 girls at secondary school skip breakfast and 14% of them do so because
We love books in the Mad House and I have blogged before about encouraging reading in boys and so when we were offered the chance to review a Tidybooks bookcase I was intregied to see how it would fit in to our home.
The Tidybooks bookcase is self assembly, but it is so well designed that even the boys could help. No small tacks to hammer in the back, everything was fastened with an allen key and it was super fast to put together. MadDad and Mini managed to do it in about 30 minutes and without the help of little hands I am sure that he could do it a lot faster. I was also suprised at how tall the bookcase is (it is taller than Mini at 115cm).
I love the fact that this bookcase is very slim in depth and is designed so children