Making Magic with Innocent Kids

We were challenged by Innocent kids to reproduce a magic trick from the back of their Kids Juices packets as part of their magic circle.  There are seven #innocentmagic tricks and seven of the Innocent gangs favourite bloggers have been chosen to perform. We were sent a sample of Innocent's new juice flavour tropical, which both the boys loved.  Mini isnt a fan of orange juices, but really likes the tropical flavour, which is a blend apples, oranges, pineapple, mango and passionfruit and even better it has no bits, so no funny faces!  I love that these are the perfect size for lunch boxes and I will be putting them in when the boys go to football training during the holidays (they have school dinners normally). They also count as one of the boys five a day (which is great if you struggle to get fruit and veg in to your kids). mini magic We were set the "hovering water" trick below: We have practiced, practiced and better practiced and this is our video! As you can see we ended up very wet! However, take a look at Nia from the Ana Mum Diaries performing her trick really well! We might not have succeeded...................... yet, but we are having lots of fun trying.
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The Bloggers guide to encouraging and nurturing a love of reading

I am a book lover, I always have been and it is one of the things that I have always wanted to foster in my children.  We have books everywhere in The Mad House.  You can not go into a room without there being books. I wanted to share with you some information about the Scottish Book Trust, which is Scotland’s leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing. The organisation works with writers, children, teachers, librarians and readers from all backgrounds to spread a love of books and reading. Don't worry if you are not in Scotland as  the Scottish Friendly Children’s Book Tour (which has been running for 14 years) comes in to schools in England too and reaches on average 6000 children every year. Mini at nearly eight is just like I was as a child, he loves books, loves reading and often falls asleep with a book in his hand.  He learned to read before school from sitting watching Maxi read. Maxi, however, at nine is something of a reluctant reader.  This is not down to inability, oh no he has been reading at an advanced level since starting school. The Bloggers guide to encouraging and nurturing a love of reading So I put out the question to some amazing bloggers that I know and asked them what was their one top tip for encouraging and nurturing reading in children:
  1. Read everyday with your child. It's the single most important thing you can do! Growing Book by Book
  2. Provide lots of books, magazines, pamphlets, leaflets, letters etc. Anything and everything that can be read. And lots of variety! Swirly Arts
  3. Start reading to children from an early age, make it part of the daily routine and encourage children to choose books they enjoy as they get older The Life of Spicers
  4. Make it fun, We have homemade book marks that we've made together and we have reading charts that we use to record how much reading we’re doing by adding a sticker to it every time they read for half an hour.  When they get to the end we all have a family treat like an afternoon out or a treat tea! Dairy of a Frugal Family
  5. Be the example!! Have a stack of books you are reading, and talk about how you enjoy reading with your kids. If they see you do it, they will want to do it too. Chicken Babies
  6.  Start reading when they are babies, regular visits to the local library where they can choose their own reading material greatly helps Rambling through parenthood
  7. Not pressurising them to conform and most importantly find them books they like reading...nothing more off putting than being 'forced' to learn to read with a really dull book Cherished by me 
  8. Read books that have been made into movies. When you're done with the book you can watch the movie together, compare the movie version to the book version,etc.. Suzy Homeschooler 
  9. Change it up by listening to books on audio together while traveling. Ask comprehension questions! Still Playing School
  10.  I would suggest having a reading routine. For most parents, the easiest time to do this is bedtime. Make it a "special" time. Sit in a comfy chair. Snuggle up. Cover yourselves with a special blanket. Give your child your full attention and block out other distractions. Try and do it every night...even a quick book on nights where you're putting your child down late. All these things help show kids how reading is an important and precious activity!  One Time Through
  11. Take them to the library regularly and let them choose their own books. What do we do all day 
  12. Start reading from the absolute beginning but also let your children see You read! I read in front of my son all of the time and I think it helps - If Mummy loves it why won't he! Petit Moi
  13. Anything can be reading material, if they want you to read cereal packets then go with the flow. Recipe books also make good reading tools as they like the pictures Emmys mummy
  14. Start young. Look at picture books with your baby. Read board books to your toddler. Even if they are running around you in circles, read the words and then point out things you think will interest them. Eventually, they get to a point where sitting and reading appeals to them. Make reading a part of their life from the beginning and it will become a natural part of their life throughout their childhood (and beyond). Library Adventure 
  15. This week it would have to finding your ladybird books from childhood. Seren has been reading all of mine, intrigued that they were from when mummy was a little girl! Johnson Babies
  16. Set an example and read yourself. Both my children have loved 'reading' their own books alongside me from a very early age. I think children emulate what they see so if their parents read then it can spark their own interest in it. Catch a Single Thought
  17. Make reading the norm. We have a house full of books, read to my son after lunch and before bed every day. We've visited the library and borrowed books since he was a baby. He knows nothing different and he even had books as rewards when we were potty training Over 40 and mum to one
  18.  Let them pick their own books to read at home. If you have to read 'Room on the Broom' every night for two weeks so be it. It means they love it and enjoy it. Also just because you liked a certain series of books or an author when you were a child don't expect your child to like them as well. Reading at home should be all about pleasure.   Jibber Jabber
  19.  Read to your kids every day from the very beginning! When your children start enjoying longer, more complex picture books, start reading simple chapter books to them. It will increase vocabulary, comprehension, and conversation. There's nothing like bonding over a great book! The Measured Mom
  20. Read to them every night, even when they can read themselves. Never skimp on it. My 9 year old still gets so much from me reading to her at bedtime. We read books that she might find too challenging to read alone and it fires her imagination and vocabulary. Actually Mummy
  21. When you read together make it special. Make sure you turn off the television or the radio and put your mobile phone down. Snuggle under a favourite blanket or make some hot chocolate or in the Summer sit on a blanket in the shade with a cold drink or an ice lolly. Make the time when you are reading for enjoyment cosy, relaxed and inviting. Damson Lane
  22. Seek out different books, ask other parents, children and your librarian what books they'd recommend for your children. Mums do travel
  23. Let your children see you reading an actual book rather than glued to electronic devices (that's a lesson for myself to learn!). They copy so be their example and show a love of books. Three Children and It
  24.  Read, read, read!!! My kids all get to pick their own books at the library. This has become a really big deal! My daughter got her own library card when she was 5.  You would have thought she won the lottery! Big hair and books
  25. My big tip is audio books for children who are not keen on the actual book, it's an easier way in. Sometimes they will read along as they listen. David Walliams does great readings on all the audio versions of his books. Opposable Thumbs
  26. As children get a bit older libraries have great reading schemes running through the summer holiday, where children get rewards for reading books. Hellies Corner
  27. Encourage a love ofof reading by choosing books, based on your children's interests.  That should be true for very small ones, but also for older children. Offer your toddler books about dogs if he is excited to see them, and do not disapprove of an older child if he wants to read a novelization of some cartoon that looks like garbage to you. It is alright, they will outgrow it. It is the great feeling of pleasure associated with books that will stay and matter in the end. Adventure in a Box 
  28. Read to them every day. If they are too restless to sit and listen, read aloud while they play and show the pictures. Let them choose books at the library and treat is as a special event. Give books as a birthday party gifts to friends to teach their value to your own children. Let them see you reading. Have books always accessible to them. Bare feet on the dashboard
  29.  I pretty much let my son read anything he fancies, he's three but loves Batman so we have loads of comics as well as books and..umm... he does get Young Adult graphic novels out of the library sometimes! I have to change the wording a bit (thankfully we're still at the age where I can do that) but he's always desperate to pick those up and read them. Crafts on Sea 
  30. My Autistic son is 8 and has the reading age of 11yrs+ He needs no encouragement! He LOVES books and most nights falls asleep with a big hardback Encyclopaedia stuck to his face!! Our world and Autism
  31. We started reading to him at about 4 months old, he got/gets 3 books every night, and over 3 years later he still does! We always let him choose books as well as toys when it's treat time. He loves to be read to now during quiet time in the day and has started to read a few words himself. Mischievous Mum
  32. Hide a torch under their pillow (school age) with a good book at bedtime. Make sure they know it's there but say goodnight and turn out the light. All mine then reach for it and read for a god half hour before falling asleep! Makes for peaceful bedtimes, I factor the extra half an hour in so they don't go to bed too late, and the idea that it's almost not allowed seems to really grab them lol!!! Musings of a 21st Century Stay at Home Mum
3.
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Things to do in York and Leeds with Kids

We love living where we do in the NE of England and York is only an hour away from us and Leeds an hour and a half.  However, if you live further afield take a look at Hotel Direct Things to do in York and Leeds with Kids

York

  York is a beautiful city and is one of those places perfect for strolling around with wonderful green spaces such as Museum Gardens. The ten-acre botanical Gardens, stretch from the River Ouse up to the back of York Art Gallery.  The gardens were planted in the 1830s and you can download a guide if you are visiting to find your way round.  York Castle Museum has a world-famous Victorian street which reopened in June 2012.  It is the most iconic part of York Castle Museum and its schoolroom, police cell, Hansom cab and cobbled street surface all remain. The National Railway museum is always a huge hit in this house and is UK's largest railway museum.  This fantastic free museum has something for everyone including model railways, steam engines and over 10000 railways items. Find out more about what we think of it here. Build on the site of a preserved Viking Village Jorvik Viking Centre is one of the most visited attractions in the UK.

Leeds

  Leeds is a fantastic place with lots to see and do as a family including the Leeds City Museum which is free and has four floors of interactive galleries and exhibitions. My boys love the Armories, which is home to Britain's national collection of arms and armour and even better is it free. The  Thackray Medical Museum is truly unique and is the only museum of its kind in the North of England. You get to explore your medical past through innovative exhibitions.  It is a real hidden gem and perfect for inquisitive children. Leeds is proud of it's industrial heritage and Leeds Industrial museum is housed in what was once the world's largest woollen mill. Step back in time to learn about the industrial history of Leeds from manufacturing textiles and clothing to printing, engineering and locomotives, which the city was world famous for. Close by is Harewood House and gardens which is one of the Treasure Houses of England and is renowned for its stunning architecture and exquisite interiors and it also has a wonderful play park for children. The Tudor-Jacobean estate of Temple Newsam once owned by Henry VIII is home to Europe's largest rare breeds farm. and makes a great day out for visitors of all ages. 3.
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#My Happy Place

We all have one.  A happy place, somewhere that we feel safe and content.  Somewhere that leaves us feeling at peace.  I have a couple.  One is my "Crudy" (craft room/study) and the other is on the beach. So I want to share #myhappyplace my happy place
The Beach I grew up by the seaside and the sea has always been my compass.  We lived in landlocked Berkshire for over ten years and I felt all at sea, so discombobulated.  I never knew which way I was facing or directing I was going. When we boomeranged back to the NE of England I knew that I wanted to be close to the sea.  In fact I have a sea view from my study and from Mini's bedroom (although not for long as they are building more houses)!  We don't actually live in walking distance to the beach, but it is a two minute drive away. There is something about the way the waves crash on to the shore, the ever reliable ebb and flow of the tide and the way the sun and moon reflects on the sea and makes it looks different without actually changing it. I love the smell of the salty air and there is nothing better than having your breath taken away by malt vinegar on hot chips. I always feel this is where I should be.  It is where I go to clear my head, to clarify things and give me perspective on life.
my desk, my happy place
The craft room/study It may be the smallest room in the house, but it is filled with creativity, inspiration and joy.  It holds all of my play things and it is where I blog, work, craft and sew. I love being cocooned in this happy place.  There is just so much potential in this room, the smallest in our home.  It is my haven, where I can come when my mind won't stop chattering.  Making things sooths my soul, it makes me happy. I love that I can sit and write surrounded by things that inspire me to do more and be more.
I am sure that you must have happy places and I want to know them.  So write a blog post and let me know.  Tweet me using #MyHappyPlace or even post a picture of it on Instagram using the #MyHappyPlace hashtag. To start the ball rolling I am going to tag some bloggers who's happy place I NEED to see and challenge them to blog about it, then get them to tag who's happy place they would like to see. Now as this is an old fashioned meme, no linkies involved at all.  When a blogger does their post, it would be great if they could link to bloggers who they would like to see their happy place and share the link love.  The only rule is if you do a post please link to the person who tagged you.  Feel free to use the button below if you wish too.
The Mad House
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Encouraging picky eaters – kids in the kitchen

I am blessed to have kids that eat pretty much everything I put in front of them most of the time.  However, we still have times when they are under the whether or just being kids when they refuse food. I find that a great way of getting them and me out of a funk it to bring them in to the kitchen and make things together.  However, when that fails this is a failsafe way to encourage picky eaters! My top tip for picky eaters We were challenged by by Love Yogurt UK  to produce a recipe for Yogurt Week (19-25 May), which got me thinking about what to make and how to involve the boys. easy chopping for kids I love the fact that my boys are active in the kitchen and want to help.  Chopping is one of the things that concerns me, those little fingers, sharp knives and clumsiness are something that concerns me.   However with this chopper thing (yes that is the technical term in The Mad House) the boys have to keep both their hands on the two handles meaning that fingers are away from the blade. Recipes (I feel ashamed calling these recipes as they are so simple) Natural/plain yogurt or greek yogurt Sweet additions
  • Honey (not advised for under ones)
  • Maple syrup
  • Stewed fruit
  • Berries (frozen ones are great as you only need a few)
  • Mashed mango
  • Peanut butter and honey
Savory additions
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Chopped skinned cucumber with time
  • Mustard and honey - my boys love this for chicken
  • Chilli sauce - yogurt is a great way to take the heat out of it.
  • Avocado, garlic and lime juice
  • Tinned tuna
Now you can pretty much dip anything in these sauces, so they are a great way of introducing new foods.  My boys had pineapple, melon and mango to dip and carrots, cucumber and breadsticks.  But you could dip fish or chicken fingers, cheese sticks, toast,  sweet peppers, green beans, asparagus,  sliced apple, sliced pears and baby corn. Dips for kids For more information check out @loveyogurtUK on Twitter, the Yogurt Week website or Love Yogurt UK on Facebook. 3.
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My Small Stuff – April

April showers, make may flowers.  I hope this is the case.  April in The Mad House was filled full of the joys of an Easter holiday which meant a visit to the Chill Factore and also a brilliant day out with friends at FlamingoLand (review to follow). Aprils small stuff We have made the most of the good weather to replace the raised beds in the garden and add more.  We have also been testing out a Karcher Pressure washer, well I say we, but mostly MadDad has been using it to clean the car, patios and water butts! We have also spent rather a lot of time outside on scooters, playing football and cricket and Mini helped out at GrandPa's farm for a day too. It seems looking back that April was full of cake, at home where we made easter nests, easter eggs and various other cakes and also at Blog Camp. We have been practicing our magical abilities thanks to Innocent and their magic circle.  If you want to join in then #innocentmagic tricks are on the back of the packets of all of the innocent Kids juices. We received a package of shreddies with a special knitted coat by the knitting nanas! April was also filled with crafting.  I have been playing with the New Circut Explore, so have the boys.  We have also been busy making cards and the pompom maker made an appearance again! April wouldnt be complete without Easter parties, paste eggs, bonnets and fun with family, so we managed to squeeze all that in too. In fact April has been a brilliant month.  I hope yours has too. If you want to join in, then feel free to grab my badge and add yourself to the link below.
The Mad House
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Blogs are like children, you don’t have favorites, they are all unique!

I am something of a blogging OAP and I saw a post where bloggers where sharing their favorite bloggers and I thought I would join in.  But the thing is blogs are like children, it is wrong to have favorites.  So I am going to share with you some blogs that rock my world at this moment in time! blogs are like children
Nurturestore Cathy blogs about play ideas.  She started blogging not long after I did and she is an inspiration to me.  Her blog is full of inspirational, simple and effective prompts for play, crafting and fun.  Every sunday she sends out a newsletter that is filled with a weeks play activities. She also writes and publishes ebooks which are filled with amazing activities for babes, toddlers and older children.  Oh and she also has an app too with over 800 ideas and activities on. The Diary of a Frugal Family Cass blogs about maximising what you have, whether that be money, time or making memories.  Her kindness and generosity of spirit shines through in everything she does including her blog.   She has some great ideas and I love her series on teaching children the value of money. I am proud to say that though blogging Cass and her family have become friends as we live near each other and she and her family have become our friends and she is always there when I need her. Thinly Spread Chris is one of those people whose integrity is admirable.  She blogs about family life with four children aged from 18 through to 8 and also is an avid supporter of Save the Children.  She is one of those people that is generous of spirit and also a great listener and advice giver.  I have been lucky enough to be a receiver of her sound advice on numerous occasions.  I also hope that when the time comes for my children to spread their wings I can only be half as gracious about it as she is. The White Approach When you see Karen's home in pictures you would never guess it is filled with twin nine year old boys and an 18 year old too.  It is a wonderful haven of white.  It is stylish and seems oh so aspirational, but the beauty of Karen's home is that it really is very achievable and she shares that with you via her blog ands how she has achieved it on a very tight budget. I can atest to the fact that her house is a warm, inviting and very practical home because over the years she has become a family friend and her boys and my boys adore each other and what more we have been welcomed in to her home. Utterly Scrummy food for family Michelle provides fantastic family friendly food inspiration.  Her meal plans are amazing, budget friendly but more than that include food that is tasty, easy to prepare and cook.  They are perfect for busy families.  Each week Michelle provides a meal plan including a shopping list. Her recipes are perfect for my growing boys and I love that they are easy to make, but tasty and nutritious too. Head in Book Oh how much do I love this blog........... it is hard to put into words.  The fab Head in Book says what I am thinking, but with much more eloquence.  She talks about current events and politics in a way that everyone can relate to.  She makes me think, she makes me question the status quo. She doesn't accept that things have to stay the same.  Oh but better than that she understands irony! Mortgage Free in Three This blog is all about saving money and making money. It is about frugal stuff that works.  Elaine shows me how to make a little go a long way.  Not only does Elaine gives loads of advice, ideas and methods of saving money, but she provides you inspiration for making money too.  All this whilst she is growing men.   But the thing about Elaine isn't just that she blogs about all this, but she actually offers help and advice on how you can become more money savvy.  She is a wise woman who I have learned a lot from. Susannah Conway It is hard to explain exactly what Susannah Blogs about, but her blog always leaves me thinking.  It encompasses spirituality and mindfulness. it is a place of kind words and forgiving nature.  It is all about learning to accept the person you are and be at peace with your inner self without losing the urge to be a better self. It is where I go when I need to feel the wind in my hair and the sand between my toes.  The People Shop - Alison's Blog Alison Sadler is one of those people that you want to be best friends with.  She has an innate sense of style and her love of colour and design makes me smile.  She is so giving with her craft tutorials and I want her to be my new BFF. She inspires me to craft more for craftings sake.  To let my creativity flow.  But more than this, she brings together hundreds of crafters, makers and designers on Instragram every Monday for her #makeitsewcial chats and show and tells. The AR Blog The musings of Becky and the photo's of Becky and Tom grabbed me by my heart and then picked me up and shock me.  There was and still is something about their images that imprinted themselves on me.  The way they capture the everyday moments, the simplicity of the images countered with the complexity of the everyday is just amazing. Plus we have a shared love of yellow and who couldn't love a woman that tells you that giving blood burns in excess of 650 calories!
So these are some of my current favorite reads over a lot of genre's from crafting, play, politics, food, parenting, lifestyle and finance.  So come and share your favorite reads of the moment as there is nothing nicer than finding a new read.
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Why did the pup chew My Hotter shoes?

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser Alvin claimed my hotter shoes I love shoes and over the years of blogging have developed a real love of Hotter Shoes.  Once you find a brand that are comfortable, but also stylish then you tend to stick with them.  My previous Hotter shoes got me through a three week vacation to Florida without any blisters, so you can understand why I loved them do much. So you can imagine that I was devastated to find out that Alvin had claimed one of my shoes and not only had he claimed it, he had destroyed it before I realised. So I was delighted to see that #CollectiveBias were looking for someone to go and shop for a pair of Hotter shoes. hotter shoes Collage

What makes Hotter Shoes so great?

Hotter shoes are the most comfortable shoes I have worn ever and I don't say that lightly.  I have wide feet and a high instep so have searched high and low for shoes that are comfortable, but also stylish as I am not yet an OAP! Hotter shoes have special contoured footbeds, extra roomy toe boxes, soft padding at heels and tongues, lightweight, shock absorbing soles and smooth internal seams.. They also come in a wide fitting too. I have been wearing Hotter shoes for the last four years and I am really impressed at the newer styles coming out this spring.  I decided to buy a pair of  DIzzy shoes, which are flat to replace the Shake ones that Alvin chewed, but I have my eye on the Dawn Wedges in  bright pink for the summer. my hotter shoes  Collage I have been wearing the Blue Neon lace ups for the last two months and love them, they give me great support and look fab too. The shoes I chose are the light olive Dizzy and are light, comfy and look pretty great on too, better still they had £10 off and were £56 rather than £66. These shoes will be kept away from Alvin I can assure you!
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Lets talk about Free Range parenting.

My boys are nearly 8 and just turned 9 and  last summer I championed #Freerange parenting.  I tried to give them freedom to explore, play and investigate independently. Are you a free range parent We are very lucky that we live in a housing estate on the edge of a village and have an excellent environment for children to play in.  Cars drive slowly through the area, we have fields nearby and a woodland area and back all within 2 minutes of the house.  The estate is filled with children of all ages and a lot of them are allowed to play out and you can often find a group of them playing football or cricket after school or during the day. My boys are allowed to walk to and from school on their own and to visit one of the local parks.  They are allowed to visit friends and to play football on the green.  I trust them.  I know they they will push boundaries, but that is what being a child is all about.   I insist that they wear helmets when on their bikes and their scooters.

Am we free range enough?

  last week Forest Poppy linked to a great post about The Overprotected Kid.  It got me thinking that I maybe need to be a little more freerange with the boys. It left me wishing that we had an area such as The Land near us.  It also reminded me of an incident last summer that initially had me pretty scared. Mini came home to get a bottle of water and when I asked why he told me they were using a magnifying glass to try to start a fire! I was petrified, but then after talking it through my MadDad he told me I should be pleased that Mini felt he could tell me and also that he was sensible enough to make sure they had water.  Oh and that as a child he had set fires on the farm with his glasses and this is what boys do! Both the boys are members of the local Beavers and Cubs and they do a lot of life skills activities there and love it and they are spending next weekend at camp and I have to swallow my urge to wrap them in cotton wool and keep them at home.

Why we free range parent

  I have to admit that I do not find free range parenting easy.  I have to make sure that I fight my fears for the good of my boys.  I want them to have street smarts, I want them to enjoy the childhood that MadDad and I did.  I remind myself constantly that the danger is no worse than when I was a child and that the fact is we are just more aware of it. In fact parenting isn't easy full stop.  I want to raise well rounded, caring and independent individuals who can cook, clean and be good company! I find it hard balancing their needs in this modern world.  Finding an acceptable balance between screen time and other activities.  I do worry that they are over reliant on  technology, especially during the winter months.  Are you a free range parent?  Do you worry that your children live in to much of a protective bubble?
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My two weeks with the Cricut Explore – An interim review and thoughts

The Cricut Explore was released in the UK today and I have been lucky enough to have had one to play with for the last two weeks, so I wanted to share with you my thoughts from this first two weeks with this revolutionary machine. First off I am going to admit that it has been Easter Holidays here and my number one priority is my boys, so it remained unboxed for three days and has only been played with in small chunks oe with them with me. Secondly, I am going to admit that cutting is my kryptonite.  I hate cutting things, I do not have mad cutting skills and I love my Cricut Mini. Lastly, this was a gift from Cricut, however, my views are always my own, honest (to a fault) and that I have an ongoing relationship with Cricut and am going to be providing them and you with some projects.

The Unboxing Experience

  I have admitted that the Cricut Explore remained in its box for three days before I had a 20 minute chunk of time to devote to it.  I thought it would take me this long to set it up.  I was wrong.  It took 7 minutes to get the machine out of the box to pluged in and working and that was with a 7 year old helping. unboxing the cricut explore Normally with machines and boxes, you have to have one person open the box and the other tug at the internal packaging to get it out.  Not so the Cricut Explore, there are little tags to remove the packaging and then the machine is in a tote bag and comes out so easily. Mini and I had the machine plugged in and in place in seven minutes and ready to cut.  We didn't even look at the instructions! In the box you get everything you need to get started, including a 12 by 12 cutting mat, a pen (yes the Cricut Explore can cut and draw at the same time)!, samples to cutting materials. a tote bag and all the cables you need.

Using the Cricut Explore

  Using the Cricut Explore really is childsplay.  Both Mini and Maxi have created projects over the Easter holidays on the our machine.  They found the new project center and Cricut design space simple to use and very intuitive. and not once did we get the instruction booklet out.  There will be more on their projects over the coming weeks. The Cricut Explore really does make cutting, designing and making projects simple, easy and what's more they look amazing. Our intial review on Cricut eXPLORE

What we love about the Cricut Explore

  Both me and the boys love the new Cricut Explore.  I want to say it really is a revolutionary machine and will change the way I craft and create.
  1. It cuts over 40 different materials including fabric, felt, wood veneer, vinyl, freezer paper, cardstock and much more with just the turn of a dial.
  2. It is quiet, so I can craft and cut when the boys are in bed (yes I am a midnight crafter)!
  3. It is so easy to use.  Both the machine and software is usable without even reading the instructions.
  4. You can design on the machine - YES, this means you can use your own images or design them.
  5. Is makes crafting inspirational, not aspirational.  It gives you the ability to produce fantastic items.
  6. They have a try before you buy on their image library and you can have access to this online for £7.99 a month or for a single image at 79p or for all year at £79.99.
I don't say this lightly but they really have thought of everything.  There were a few things that I felt the machine needed like a wireless access and I have since found out that a bluetooth adapter is due out in the next six months as is an interface with tablets. I have only had the machine two weeks, but yesterday met with Kim from The TomKat Studio and Mandi from Vintage Revivals and these two amazing American bloggers have had their machines from September last year.  So take a look at what they thought of the Cricut Explore. Cricut Explore the easons Also just look at these amazing items, which were all made on the Cricut Explore by the very talented Suzie from Cricut. Disclosure: Review based on a free sample
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