T20 Blast – A real fun day out

Both the minimads are sporty boys and love playing and watching sport. I am one of those odd women that loves Cricket. I remember going to watch the local team play with my Grandad (the cricket club was at the end of our road) and I loved sitting next to him and watching and learning. Top tips for getting the best out of T20 Blast with kids When we were invited by The England Cricket Board to attend a local T20 Blast match we thought it would be a great introduction to the boys of cricket, albeit a much short, more fast paced match and we were right. For those not in the know T20 is a shorter version of a day match.  With only 20 overs per side.  1 over is 6 balls.  On average it takes about three hours. The beauty of T20 is that there are lots more fours and sixes and also more people caught out in a shorter time.  It is like a match on fast forward.
The Natwest T20 Blast is a fast paced, big hitting, all-round entertainment package both on and off the pitch, involving some of the world’s top cricketers. With a quicker format and more lively game night experience, the Natwest T20 Blast experience takes on a modern twist and signifies the start of summer
We went to see Durham Jets hamer Derbyshire Falcons and it was a great afternoon.  Yes we got a little wet, but that didn't dampen our spirits.

Top tips for getting the best out of T20 Blast with kids

  1. Take a picnic.  Fod at the stadium is expensive. We packed a picnic and grazed throughout the match
  2. Get their early - parking at Durham is inexpensive at £2.30 and close and by getting their early we got a great car parking space and got to look round before the game started (which is called stumps) and got good seats
  3. Take clothing for all eventualities, we had hot sun and rain within minutes, so make sure you take waterproofs, hats, suncream and a blanket.  Don't take an umbrella they drip on other people and you cannot see over them if sat behind someone with one.
  4. Take binoculars, the boys loved being able to see a little better and binoculars are great for this.
  5. Stay at the end and get the players autographs
  6. Grab the noisemakers and cards for waving when 4 and 6's are hit
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Fab home made ice lollies and popsicles for kids – Kids in the Kitchen

Fab home made ice lollies and popsicles for kids We have a rule in The Mad House, which is that we do not partake in the ice cream van, this means that I have a freezer drawer full of ice lollies and we love making homemade ice lollies or popsicles.  I never throw away nearly out of date juice or smoothies as they make fab lollies, Just like Kate at Crafts on Sea. mixed berry lolly They are also a great way to get your kids to eat more fruit and veg (yes veg) if you have fussy eaters and you can tailor them for your childrens tastes.  My two also love them when they have sore throats. Ingredients
  • Spinach (or other green)
  • Berries (if you have fresh great, if not frozen ones are perfectly fine)
  • Liquid - coconut water, yogurt, juice or water
  • Sweetener (if required) - we use date syrup, but honey is great too
  • Blender or food processor,
  • Ice lolly moulds or paper cups and lolly sticks
  • Blend the spinach with some coconut water first, I use about a bowl of spinach to a bowl of mixed berries.
  • Add the berries and blend.  I use frozen a lot of the time, they are cheaper and just as good.  I let them thaw for 5 minutes before blending them.
  • Add coconut water to get the right consistency for you.
  • Taste and add sweetener as required.
I get about 20 lollies from a £1.50 box of berries.
Tip: We sieve the berries once we have blended them as my boys are not fans of seeds.
Mixed berry and spinach ice lollies
Variations:  soft fruit is great for ice lollies such as banana or mango.  You can use any sort of liquid, such as soy or nut milks and coconut milk is delicious with strawberries or pineapple, peach, vanilla and greek yogurt.
If you are looking for some more inspiration take a look at these: easy DIY popsicles, home made smoothies and freeze the leftovers,  fruit and yogurt popsicles, three ingredient strawberry pops, simple juice lollies  I am definitely making these avocado and kiwi pops. and Center Parcs have some great tips too.
Tip:  If you make your lollies in a multiple mould, take them out and pop them all in a bag in the freezer one they have frozen, this way kids can help themselves easily and you are not trying to get them out whilst they wait impatiently!
lolly cup
Tip: when giving kids lollys give then a cup to put them in when they want to put them down, it saves finding puddles of melted juice everywhere!
‘I’m a Center Parcs Family Blogger and visited Whinfell village with my family. If you want to enter to win a place as a wildcard winner just go to the challenge page to find out how 
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Win a Febreze #DriveHappy Road Trip Kit

According to a recent survey commissioned by Febreze, a bad smell tops Brits’ list of turn offs when getting into someone’s car. I know that I hate a smelly car, but with two boys and a dog it can be hard to make sure my car smells clean when there is football kit in the boots and a dog on the backseat! Febreze wants to make sure summer family road trips run as smoothly (and as freshly) as possible. To do this, Febreze has created a #drivehappy Kit.

#DriveHappy Road Trip Kit

I have a #drivehappy Kit to giveaway, which includes (Please note that some prizes may vary, for example the travel pillow and travel games may be subject to change)
  • Febreze CAR Vent Clip to ensure your car smells fresh.
  • A backseat organiser to keep your car neat and tidy.
  • A £50 supermarket voucher to stock up on travel essentials (snacks, tissues, etc.)
  • A CD of top driving songs you can car-aoke to on your road trip.
  • A travel pillow so you can catch some much needed Zzz’s.
  • A universal car charger to keep you connected on the go.
  • Travel sized games to entertain you and the kids on the journey.
The Febreze #drivehappy Kit was inspired the official Febreze Road Trip!  This summer, three members of the British public have been handpicked to embark on a European road trip. Throughout the trip the drivers will have to perform a series of unexpected challenges which will cause a bit of a stink! After they perform a smelly challenge their car will be ‘Febreezed’. They'll then pick up surprise passengers who will have an opinion on the air freshness in the car. These passenger approvals will dictate the next part of the journey for the driver. If they approve, the drivers will get a totally fresh experience, if not they will pay a stinky price!  The road trip started last weekend at the Goodwood festival of speed.  You can follow the road trip and all of its episodes on the Febreze Youtube channel. To be in with a chance of winning, all you have to do is watch the video above and leave me a comment below to let me know which of the Febreze celebrities hands the drivers their challenge envelope at the end?  You can also get additional entries using the rafflecopter entry:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Pinterestingly – Pins I’ve found interesting this week #3

I have had a couple of weeks off Pinterestinly as real life has been getting rather busy! So what have I been pinning this week.  Well it is the boys last week at school, so I have been pulling together some activities for the summer break   floating ball catapuly  filn nightsummer spinesummer ideas I would love to know what you have been pinning, leave me your pinterest details below.  Oh and if you want to follow me, then I am http://www.pinterest.com/mum_themadhouse
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Leather lace-on shoe mustaches

lace on leather mustache for soes I am a converse girl, have been since school and just because I am the wrong side of forty doesn't mean that I am going to stop wearing them! I have been doing projects with my Cricut Explore and have been thinking about what I could do with leather when I had a POW moment and decided to make some leather lace-on shoe mustaches for me and the minimads.

 Cutting leather on the Cricut Explore

I uploaded an image of a moustache and inserted two circles, which I resized to 0.2 inches and then placed them when I wanted the holes for the laces to be and welded them to that place, but clicking on all the images. tash3 The Cricut Explore is proving to be a ninja cutting machine and has managed with everything I have thrown at it so far and this was no exception.  I set selected the cutting material in the menu and changed the dial to custom. I used a deep cutting blade and the leather cut really easily as you can see from the video.

Leather lace-on shoe mustaches

Shoe mustaches mini I am really pleased as to how these turned out and would be as simple to make with just a stencil and scissors. Materials:
      1. Leather (I got a scrap pack from Ebay)
      2. Crop a dile (I have this kit - Crop-A-Dile Punch Kit)
      3. Eyelets
shoe moustache collage I used the Cricut Explore to cut the leather and the holes and then added an eyelet to them with the crop a dile to finish them off. I am really pleased with them and even more so is Mini. Minis show tashes 3.
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How to make a Capri-sun pencil case

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. Capri sun pencil case We are busy "dumping the junk" in The Mad House.  We have noticed that when the boys grab junk food that we suffer the consequences in their behaviour.  We needed to find a drink that I could freeze and pop in lunch boxes over the summer for football camp, so wanted to give Capri-sun a go. We visited our local ASDA and decided to try the Capri-Sun Fruit Crush as part of our #CollectiveBias shop, it is fruit juice and spring water and no nasties.   I can safely say it went down well and neither of the boys had a reaction to it - yippee! caprisun But I was left with the cartons and wanted to use  them, so I decided to make a pencil case with them (we are all about reuse, reduce, recycle here thanks to Bob the builder! How to make a Capri-Sun pencil case

How to make a Capri-Sun pencil case

  Surprisingly Capri-sun pouches are really goof doe sewing  and this pencil case took me around 30 minutes last night. caprisun pencil case how to It is also great for a beginner to make as the zipper goes in before you close the case.  I used washi tape to hold the pouches together before sewing them and it made it so easy to do. Now we have to buy more Capri-sun as both the boys want a pencil case and this time they are going to sew their own. 3.
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Paddington Bear takes over Warburtons

warbeartons If you are anything like me you will try to get the good stuff in your kids any way you can.  One way I do this is by buying half & half bread.  The boys do not even realise that I am giving them anything different! From this week over 6 million Half & Half products will bear the name Warbeartons in they team up with the ever youthful Paddington Bear. warebeartons In addition to just changing their name they are encouraging families to get out and about this summer and enjoy their own adventure by joining them and paddington aboard the ‘Warbeartons Adventure Bus’, which is infact a travelling loaf!
Warburtons will also be challenging families to spot the Warbeartons Adventure Bus and upload a picture to the Warburton Facebook page, for a chance to win a once in a lifetime adventure family holiday. Fans will also have the chance to influence the bus’ journey and track its progress on Warburtons’ Facebook page.
Paddington will be  touring Britain in a double decker sized bus in the shape of a Half & Half loaf - sharing his summer adventure tips with families across the country ahead of the summer holidays. Families will get the chance to meet Paddington Bear, sample Paddington’s favourite marmalade sandwiches and take home a special summer adventure guide - featuring Warbeartons ‘Top 10 Family Adventures’ and ‘Top 10 Adventurous Sandwich Recipes’, created by sandwich guru Helen Graves. 3.
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Looking after your eyes and your family’s eyes

  Looking after your eyes and your familiy's eyes MadDad wore glasses from being a toddler, I started wearing glasses at 20, so there was a high chance that our children would need to wear glasses too.  We took them both for their first eye test at a year old and Maxi was fine, but Mini needed specs as he is really long sighted. reading glasses Having a child that needs glasses makes you really aware of how vulnerable eyes are.  More so when that child is sensitive to the sun, so wears reactorlite (glasses that tint in the sunlight) to help prevent his headaches.
Boots Opticians lenses now come with  Boots Protect UV protection as standard which are worth £40.  This protects both the front and the back of the lens.
Recently Boots Opticians got in touch and asked if I would like to review their service and spectacles, as someone who has had laser eye surgery and also only really used a local opticians I thought it would be great to see how a national chain work and also I really wanted a pair of their exclusive Orla Kiely sunglasses (yes I am THAT shallow)! Orla sunglasses I was really impressed with the service I received both before the test, during the test and after.  Both the Optician and the assistant were knowledgeable, approachable and friendly.  The test results were exactly the same as at my local independent optician, which was really reassuring. For me it isnt the test that is the hard part, but choosing spectacles and working out the cost.  The cost of the frames is only the beginning and once you start adding in all the lens options (which I do not understand) the price suddenly escalates and I start to feel out of control.  However, Boots put the customer in control by making the prices clear and understandable and at no point did I feel pressured to pay for lenses that were more expensive. In the end I walked away with a pair of reading glasses and a pair of Sunglasses all for £145. MadDad also went to Boots Opticians for a test and he has been going to Opticians since he was a year old, has had operations on his eyes as a child and his Mum is borderline for glaucoma.  He was really impressed with the tes and when his pressures came back slightly high, he was given drops in his eyes and then had them retested on a more accurate machine.  Thankfully they were well within normal, but it is really reassuring that the Optician wasn't concerned about running over, just about making sure MadDad got the best service possible. Boots Opticians stats His test was the same as the local optician again and as he was really happy with his glasses he decided to go for a classic pair of sunglasses, but with varifocal lenses.  Geeta the optical assistant helped him and the boys chose the frames and then talked through the lens options with him.
Do you get your kid's eyes tested?  You can get them done free annually on the NHS from Boots Opticians.
Disclosure: Boot's paid for my trip to Britmums Live, for eye tests for me and MadDad and £300 towards glasses. 
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“The Day That” giveaway worth £130

Win a unique baby gift – a framed photograph of the dawn your child was born Roomshot14 The Day That have been taking beautiful photographs of sunrise ever day since mid summer’s day 2005. Their photographers have captured dawn rising over the sea which is deeply symbolic – the start of a new day, the start of a new life. It means you can own a beautiful photograph taken on the very day your child was born, one of the most unique new baby gifts on the market.  Available as framed, mounted, canvas, acrylic or digital download, these are truly dramatic images.
“It captures the spirit of a new life beginning, it’s so beautiful” - Elton John
We are giving you the chance to win a stunning “Classic” framed photograph of the dawn of your special date worth £130. Use the calendar below to see what the dawn looked like on the special day your baby arrived in this World: To enter, simply use this calendar above and find your own special day and tell us how many photographs were taken on the day your child was born. Please include the date and number of pictures in your answer and use the rafflecopter entry for more ways to win: framed photograph of the dawn your child was born a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Dalby Forest and Go Ape Junior with Vimto Squeezy

I have mini thrill seekers for children as you may know if you are a regular reader.  They are pretty active and love a challenge, so when Vimto Squeezy suggested they give Go Ape Junior a try at Dalby Forest they were up for the challenge. The minimads visit Dalby We have a discovery pass for Dalby Forest and love visiting.  It is great for a day out, with a Gruffalo trail, fab adventure playground, beck. plenty of bike trials, walks, a cafe. shops and a toilet.  We love visiting with Alvin and having a BBQ (yes you can have a BBQ).  It is a beautiful place and now it has a Go Ape Junior. We packed our standard picnic which usually includes bottles of water, but we also packed some Vinto Squeezy too, which was drunk a lot faster than just water! vimto squeezy The boys loved Go Ape Junior, you get an hour to go on the two rope courses as many times as you like and they certainly made the most of their time. Go Ape Junior   I would recommend Go Ape Junior to anyone with kids.  They do not have to be part monkey like mine, in fact the course is designed to enable all levels of skills and to instill confidence in children.  They recommend that you go round with the children first. Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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